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Need input for last part of Portugal trip

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Aug 9th, 2018, 05:53 PM
  #1
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Need input for last part of Portugal trip

Hello! I have not posted on fodors in YEARS and it's good to be back. Daughter (28) and I taking a trip to Portugal mid September for 9 or 10 nights (Haven't booked flights yet). So far have 3 nights airbnb in Lisbon, lovely seaside hotel in Lagos (2 nights at Vivenda Miranda, our splurge)...then I'm vascillating... We have a city - Lisbon, a beachside - Lagos...and now leaning toward Douro area with departure from Porto. Do you suggest adding one more night in Lagos (and explore Algarve) and then 3 nights in Douro region with day trips? Ideas? We plan to rent a car but we are also Uber fans. Perhaps not so easy to Uber in the countryside? Meandering is desired too... Thank you in advance.

Need to add, we LOVE wine. So Douro area is a must.

Last edited by Austin; Aug 9th, 2018 at 05:55 PM.
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Aug 9th, 2018, 11:16 PM
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No advice because I’ve never been to Portugal. But thrilled to see you doing this! You might want to talk to Myriam. She’s a Portugal (not to mention a wine and meandering) expert!
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Aug 10th, 2018, 02:12 AM
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I very much enjoyed Porto. Public transport is good, and you could do day trips to Guimares, Braga or Coimbra. I've only visited the first of these, but it was is a beautiful city, and well worth the effort.
While I am very fond of heavy Portuguese red wines, Porto was pretty much devoted to Port - and touring the port houses on the Vila Nova de Gaia side of the river. You could spend one day doing the trip up Douro by train , visit the vineyards, and back by boat (these tours are sold everywhere in the city)
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Aug 10th, 2018, 06:14 AM
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Pity you didn't decide to do the seaside north of Lisbon rather than south, it would make the logistics easier. There is a train from Lisbon to Porto via Coimbra - I would take the train to Coimbra for a couple of nights and finish in Porto, but you might want to go straight through. You could also consider Evora on the way north instead. I am not an Uber fan and the regular taxis in Lisbon are very cheap.

Three nights in Lisbon is two days or two and a half days, one probably jet lagged. That is very short, given you can easily spend one day in Belem and one in Sintra which would leave no time in Lisbon. If you can't change the Algarve hotel, maybe Lisbon - Lagos - Evora - Lisbon. Note that the Algarve can be heavily touristed.

My Lisbon TR is old (I've been back more than once but haven't done another TR) but the sights I write about are still there: Loving Lisbon
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Aug 10th, 2018, 06:54 AM
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I'd advise spending a couple days in Sintra (and perhaps adding on more time to Lisbon). That will cut down on time traveling from here to there and give you more time to actually see things. Sintra is also completely different than Lisbon and the Algarve since it's a heavily forested area and the little historic town center feels almost Bavarian. Most all of the sites are set in large parks or grounds, so there are lots of opportunities for meandering. This plan doesn't take you to the north of Portugal, but I'm of the camp of spending adequate time in a place to get to know it rather than trying to do everything.
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Aug 10th, 2018, 07:02 AM
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It might still be pretty warm in mid-September (maybe that's okay with you) but I'd also look at the Alentejo region, north and east from Lagos. This is a vast region of plains and rolling hills, stunning vistas, cork trees and resident storks, whitewashed villages, old castles and superb Pousadas, and many many vineyards producing (mostly red) decent table wine.

Some years ago my sweetie and I spent a couple of nights at the Horta da Moura country hotel near the hill village of Monsaraz. HORTA DA MOURA - HOTEL, ALENTEJO, ALQUEVA It was literally one of the nicest and most beautiful places we've ever stayed, with good (very Portuguese) food, friendly horses for carriage rides, a nice pool, and drop-dead gorgeous rooms. The countryside is nothing short of superb for driving around; pack a picnic lunch (the hotel will provide) and find some roadside woods or lake side (mainly reservoirs but who cares) and you're good.



Return to Lisbon via the World Heritage city of Evora, with its Roman ruins and superb medieval core. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/phfGTQf6HpE2
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Aug 10th, 2018, 11:31 AM
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Evora is great for a day or two and lovely drives thru Cork plantations around the city - consider heading to Elvas near Spanish border - lovely old smaller city with a great ancient aqueduct on its edge and then via Fatima if that strikes your charms or Coimbra to Lisbon. Takes on Duoro are mixed on Fodor's in past -some love it others think overhyped.

Try to hit Batlaha Monastery - UNESCO World Heritage site near Porto.
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Aug 10th, 2018, 05:14 PM
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Yes, that's us too - a few places well experienced instead of several. Great ideas from all so far... Perhaps I'll keep Lagos at 2 nights.
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Aug 10th, 2018, 05:27 PM
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I also would recommend spending more nights in Lisbon. We were there in April and love it! You can click on my name to read my trip report. We spent 5 nights in Lisbon, and that included a day trip to Sintra.
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Aug 11th, 2018, 08:10 AM
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I stayed in Lagos and found it one of few neat really old cities on Algarve - along with Tavira and some beachtime sweet.
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Aug 13th, 2018, 06:40 AM
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If you are able, stop at Alcobaça a striking cathedral where the royal family is entombed. We preferred it to Bathalha.
You need more time in Lisbon. Porto is interesting to visit but doesn’t need as much time as Lisbon. Coimbra and Evora are very worthwhile stopovers too.
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Aug 13th, 2018, 07:35 AM
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Do both Batalha and Alcobaca, which I also found really neat, by car - idea for staying at nearby Nazarre - cool seaside town not far from Alcobaca.
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Aug 13th, 2018, 08:42 AM
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Here is my trip report from a couple years ago for ideas. I would not add another night in Algarve (for us it was the least exciting part of the trip). Douro valley is awesome for wine tasting and relaxing in a Quinta. I also would recommend Evora and a nearby white-washed village if you can squeeze it in your itinerary. We stayed in Marvoa but Monsaraz may also work out well for its proximity to Evora. Enjoy.

Trip report (Lisbon, Doura valley, Marvao, Evora, Algarve)
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Aug 13th, 2018, 10:55 AM
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Unless really into beaches I'd also say 2 days is enough - Lagos is the exception to fairly sterile seaside resort communities. But the hotel sounds great for relaxing - I'd put at end of trip - traveling around not always that relaxng.
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