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Please Comment on Preliminary Portugal Itinerary

Please Comment on Preliminary Portugal Itinerary

Old Jul 4th, 2008, 06:30 PM
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Please Comment on Preliminary Portugal Itinerary

We're planning to tour Portugal next May, and I have a preliminary itinerary that I would appreciate comments on. We fly in and out of Lisbon, and will rent a car when we leave Lisbon. I have also selected hotels that sound good to me - please comment on them also. Thanks very much.

Day 1 – Arrive Lisbon evening – Hotel: Sana Park Lisboa Hotel

Day 2 - Lisbon – Sightseeing Lisbon & Belem - Hotel: Sana Park Lisboa Hotel
Visit Rossio Square/ Baixa district/Alfama
Visit the Castelo de Sao Jorge
Visit Belem - Mosteiro dos Jeronimos/ Torre de Belem/ Museu Nacional de Coches
Visit the Museu Nacional de Arte Popular – if time

Day 3 – Lisbon – Sightsee Lisbon – Hotel: Sana Park Lisboa Hotel
Stroll through Barro Alto/Chiado
Take the Elevador da Gloria
Visit the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian and the Centro de Arte Moderna
Visit the Jardim da Fundacao
If time, visit Museu de Arte Antiga

Day 4 - Lisbon – Sightsee Sintra – Hotel: Sana Park Lisboa Hotel
Take train to Sintra - Visit Palacio Nacional de Pena/Visit Palacio Nacional de Sintra
Visit the Quinta da Regaleira – if time

Day 5 – Pick up rental car at airport - Drive to Evora - Hotel: Albergaria do Calvario
Walk the narrow streets and alleys of Evora/Visit the Praca do Giraldo/See the old Jewish quarter
Visit the Capela dos Ossos/Visit the Misericordia/Visit the Templo Romano and the Jardim de Diana for views
Visit the Galeria das Damas and Jardim Publico
Drive to Monsarez/explore town/visit castle
Visit the Se in Evora if we have time

Day 6 – Drive to Marvao – See Marvao and Castel de Vide - Hotel:Albergaria el Rei Dom Manuel (Marvao)
See Vila Vicosa en route – Museu dos Coches, Paco Ducal, and the nearby Castelo
Wander through Marvao/Climb the tower of the castelo in Marvao/Visit the Museu da Marvao
Visit Castelo de Vide/See the remains of the medieval sinagoga

Day 7 – Belmonte - Hotelousada Convento de Belmonte
Visit Sortelha en route
Visit the ruins of the Castelo de Belmonte/Visit the Museu Judaico
See the Centum Cellas – just north of Belmonte

Day 8 - Viseu - Hotel: Montebelo
Wander around Viseu – see the Largo da Se/Praca de Dom Duarte (especially at night)
Visit the Museu Grao Vasco
See the Orca dos Juncais (a large dolmen) near Queiriga – if time
See the Igreja Sao Juliau near Mangualde if time

Day 9 – Amarante - Hotel:Casa de Pascoaes
See Lamego en route
Drive along the Douro between Peso da Regua and Pinhau – visit a port wine cellar
Visit Vila Real – Solar de Mateus
Visit Vila Pouca de Aguiar if time – see medieval stone houses and dolmen
Drive to Amarante – wander around town/ Museu Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso

Day 10 – Amarante - Hotel:Casa de Pascoaes
Drive to Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto for the day
Wander through the Old Town of Porto/Visit the Ribiera Pier/Visit the Estacao de Sao Bento (azulejos)
Visit the Palacio da Bolsa, the Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Serralves, and the Torre dos Clerigos if time
Visit a couple of Port Wine Lodges – Taylor and ???

Day 11 – Guimares – Hotelousada de Guimares Marinha
Visit Barcelos– folk art center for the Thursday Market
See the Igrega de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira
Visit the Castelo de Guimaraes
Visit the Citania de Briteiros

Day 12 – Guimares – see Guimares and surrounding area - Hotelousada de Guimares Marinha
Visit Viana do Castelo – wander the narrow streets
Visit Vila Praia – fishing boats and beach
Visit Caminha – medieval plaza
Visit Pointe de Lima – narrow streets and medieval buildings

Day 13 – Coimbra – See Coimbra and surrounding area - Hotel:Condeixa-a-Nova - Pousada de Santa Cristina
Stop at Aveiro en route – and the Rio de Aveiro
Stroll through the narrow streets of the Old Town of Coimbra
See the Arco de Almedina/Visit the Universidade de Coimbra/see the Biblioteca
Visit the Museu da Fisica – science museum

Day 14 – Coimbra – See Coimbra and surrounding area - Hotel:Condeixa-a-Nova - Pousada de Santa Cristina
Visit the roman ruins at Conimbriga and the Museum
Drive to Buarcos if we have time
Visit the Se Velha if we have time

Day 15 – Tomar - Hotel: dos Templarios
Walk the narrow streets in the Old Town/see the Jewish Quarter
Visit the Museu-Sinagoga Luso-Hebraico Abrahan Zacuto Sinagoga de Tomar
Visit the Convento de Cristo
See the Pegoes Aqueduct
Visit the walled town of Ourem – if time
Detour to Bairro to the Pegadas Dinossaurios Serra de Aire – if time
Visit Vila Nova da Barquinha - if time

Day 16 – Obidos - Hotel:Casa de Campo Sao Rafael
See Nazare en route to Obidos
Walk the narrow streets and squares of Obidos/Walk the walls of the medieval castelo
Visit the Vauban fortress and see the fishing harbor in Peniche – if time

Day 17 – Flight Leaves at 8:25am - One hour drive to airport from Obidos (Is this reasonable?)

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Old Jul 4th, 2008, 06:51 PM
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Nice trip but too many hotels--did I count 10?
I would find a way to change hotels less often, probably a max of 6. Portugal is not that big and you are not even going to the Algarve nor to Viana do Castelo. You will love Portugal but why so much hasssle with hotels?
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Old Jul 4th, 2008, 08:01 PM
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Hi Bob. With the high cost of gasoline, we're trying to avoid backtracking. We would love to cut down on the number of hotels. Do you have any specific suggestions? (We've chosen hotels with elevators, so that it shouldn't be too much of a hassle to change hotels, but we would love to be able to cut down on the number of hotels as you suggest.)
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Old Jul 4th, 2008, 08:07 PM
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Hi, sandys

I think you've got a good itinerary here, but I think you need another week or so to do it. There are a couple of days that are unreasonably jammed. My comments:

Day 2 -- I think that it's unrealistic to think you can visit both the Alfama/Baixa/Rossio and Belem in one day. Each of them needs a day, I think. (And I think the Museu Nacional de Arte Popular is closed for renovations, but others may know if it's recently opened).

Day 5 -- I don't think you can visit Monsaraz and Evora in one day, well maybe you can, but you can't do them justice.

Day 6 -- You've got Castelo de Vide, Marvao, and Vila Vicosa in one day, that's at least two days.

Day 9 -- Way too much to do.

Day 10 -- you can't see Porto and all those other places in one day.

And the rest of the days, I think, are unreasonably packed.

If I were you, I'd put all your destinations on a www.mappy.co.uk trip planner and see how many kilometers you've set yourselves up for. And then, I'd factor that in and see how many hours of the day you've left for touring.

I am a pretty active tourist, I don't mind packing up and going from hotel to hotel every night (we travel only with carry-ons so it's just not a problem to have it all packed up every morning). But I think this itinerary is exhausting. For me, it's not the change of hotels that is daunting, it's the sheer number of places you expect to see each day. If I were you, I'd prioritize a bit and scale it down. But that's just my opinion. In any case, you'll love Portugal!
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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 07:15 AM
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sandys. I can see that you have given a lot of thought to your itinerary. All of the places you picked are great.

The only problem is that in my opinion you are changing hotels too many times. You may feel that you are saving a backtrack drive, but checking into and out of hotels takes time also.

Driving in Portugal is very easy. The roads are good and distances are not great.

Maybe you could pick a central area in groupings and do a them together. For example: Coimbra, Obidos, Tomar could easily be seen from one location. They are fairly close to each other.

This would work unless you have your heart set on the hotels you have picked.

Also, I agree with lreynolds about Lisbon especially. I think it will be difficult to cram all of your plans into the time.

Have a great time planning and enjoying Portugal.
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Old Jul 5th, 2008, 05:25 PM
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Thanks for all the responses so far. I have revised our itinerary, staying longer in some locales and cutting out Viseu altogether. I'm open to more suggestions. I know that I have too many things planned, and will have to cut some. Any suggestions as to what can be missed?

Revised Itinerary:

Day 1 – Arrive Lisbon evening – Hotel: Sana Park Lisboa Hotel

Day 2 - Lisbon – Sightseeing Lisbon & Belem - Hotel: Sana Park Lisboa Hotel
Visit Rossio Square/ Baixa district/Alfama
Visit the Castelo de Sao Jorge
Visit Belem - Mosteiro dos Jeronimos/ Torre de Belem/ Museu Nacional de Coches
Visit the Museu Nacional de Arte Popular – if time

Day 3 – Lisbon – Sightsee Lisbon – Hotel: Sana Park Lisboa Hotel
Stroll through Barro Alto/Chiado
Take the Elevador da Gloria
Visit the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian and the Centro de Arte Moderna
Visit the Jardim da Fundacao
If time, visit Museu de Arte Antiga

Day 4 - Lisbon – Sightsee Sintra – Hotel: Sana Park Lisboa Hotel
Take train to Sintra - Visit Palacio Nacional de Pena/Visit Palacio Nacional de Sintra
Visit the Quinta da Regaleira – if time

Day 5 – Pick up rental car at airport - Drive to Evora - Hotel: Albergaria do Calvario
Walk the narrow streets and alleys of Evora/Visit the Praca do Giraldo/See the old Jewish quarter
Visit the Capela dos Ossos/Visit the Misericordia/Visit the Templo Romano and the Jardim de Diana for views
Visit the Galeria das Damas and Jardim Publico
Drive to Monsarez/explore town/visit castle
Visit the Se in Evora if we have time

Day 6 – Drive to Marvao – See Marvao and Castel de Vide - Hotel:Albergaria el Rei Dom Manuel (Marvao)
See Vila Vicosa en route – Museu dos Coches, Paco Ducal, and the nearby Castelo
Wander through Marvao/Climb the tower of the castelo in Marvao/Visit the Museu da Marvao
Visit Castelo de Vide/See the remains of the medieval sinagoga

Day 7 – Belmonte - Hotelousada Convento de Belmonte
Visit Sortelha en route
Visit the ruins of the Castelo de Belmonte/Visit the Museu Judaico
See the Centum Cellas – just north of Belmonte

Day 8 - Pinhao - Hotel: Quinta de la Rosa
See Lamego en route if time
Explore the Douro between Peso da Regua and Pinhau – visit a port wine cellar

Day 9 – Guimares – Hotelousada de Guimares Marinha
Visit Vila Real – Solar de Mateus
Visit Vila Pouca de Aguiar if time – see medieval stone houses and dolmen
Visit Amarante en route – wander around town

Day 10 – Guimares – Hotelousada de Guimares Marinha
Drive to Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto for the day
Wander through the Old Town of Porto/Visit the Ribiera Pier/Visit the Estacao de Sao Bento (azulejos)
Visit the Palacio da Bolsa, the Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Serralves, and the Torre dos Clerigos if time
Visit a couple of Port Wine Lodges – Taylor and ???

Day 11 – Guimares – Hotelousada de Guimares Marinha
Visit Barcelos– folk art center for the Thursday Market
See the Igrega de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira
Visit the Castelo de Guimaraes
Visit the Citania de Briteiros

Day 12 – Guimares – see Guimares and surrounding area - Hotelousada de Guimares Marinha
Visit Viana do Castelo – wander the narrow streets
Visit Vila Praia – fishing boats and beach
Visit Caminha – medieval plaza
Visit Pointe de Lima – narrow streets and medieval buildings

Day 13 – Coimbra – See Coimbra and surrounding area - Hotel:Condeixa-a-Nova - Pousada de Santa Cristina
Stop at Aveiro en route – and the Rio de Aveiro
Stroll through the narrow streets of the Old Town of Coimbra
See the Arco de Almedina/Visit the Universidade de Coimbra/see the Biblioteca
Visit the Museu da Fisica – science museum

Day 14 – Coimbra – See Coimbra and surrounding area - Hotel:Condeixa-a-Nova - Pousada de Santa Cristina
Visit the roman ruins at Conimbriga and the Museum
Drive to Buarcos if we have time
Visit the Se Velha if we have time

Day 15 – Obidos - Hotel:Casa de Campo Sao Rafael
See Nazare en route to Obidos
Walk the narrow streets and squares of Obidos/Walk the walls of the medieval castelo
Visit the Vauban fortress and see the fishing harbor in Peniche – if time

Day 16 – Obidos - Hotel:Casa de Campo Sao Rafael
Drive to Tomar for the day
Walk the narrow streets in the Old Town/see the Jewish Quarter
Visit the Museu-Sinagoga Luso-Hebraico Abrahan Zacuto Sinagoga de Tomar
Visit the Convento de Cristo
See the Pegoes Aqueduct
Visit the walled town of Ourem – if time
Detour to Bairro to the Pegadas Dinossaurios Serra de Aire – if time
Visit Vila Nova da Barquinha - if time

Day 17 – Flight Leaves at 8:25am - One hour drive to airport from Obidos (Is this reasonable?)
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 08:55 AM
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That is better but you still have 4 one-niters in a row---that would be a killer for me. I have only travelled Portugal twice and do not know the attraction at Belmonte---your call. I would also try to see Estromoz as you transition to Marvao---I do love Marvao. Good luck !
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 08:57 AM
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Here are some pics you may enjoy including several in Marvao.
http://www.slowphotos.com/photo/show...y.php?cat=3832
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 09:32 AM
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Hi, Sandy,
You've picked some of my favorite places in Portugal, and after looking at your itinerary, I think that maybe the problems will solve themselves. What I mean is, when you arrive in Evora on Day 5, you'll see whether you have time to see Evora and also take a trip to Monsaraz. If not, Monsaraz falls off the itinerary. So long as you don't have your heart set on some of these places, that's not a bad way to deal with the overload. But I'll give some specific suggestions to your day by day.

Lisbon -- I think two days is a bit tight for Lisbon, but you can just drop some of the destinations as you see how the time goes.

Day 5-- I personally think it's a bit unrealistic to visit Evora and Monsaraz in the same day, but Monsaraz is a logical day trip from Evora so you can just play it by ear.

Day 6 -- The drive from Evora to Marvao via Vila Vicosa is completely do-able. My guess is that here you'll drop Castelo de Vide and that would leave you with a busy but not frenetic day.

Day 7 -- Marvao to Belmonte is not a bad drive, and the detour to Sortelha reasonable. I wonder whether you'll have the flexibility to visit Belmonte either on the afternoon of Day 7 or the morning of Day 8, depending on your time.

Day 8 -- Belmonte to Pinhao is probably about two hours. I think much of it is secondary roads. I think that if you want to enjoy the Douro valley (the section between Peso da Regua and Pinhao is very nice), you should forget about Lamego.

Day 9 -- Pinhao to Guimaraes. I think a visit to Mateus is a smart stop and you'll just have to see whether you have time for the other places. I like Amarante a lot, it has a very nice feel to it, but it doesn't really have many "must see" sights.

I see you have four nights in the Pousada in Guimaraes -- this is a great choice! It's lovely, and it's also out of town so easy to get up and going on day trips every day. It is isolated though, making choices for dinner limited. I've eaten in the Pousada and my experience is that it's good, not great.

Day 10 -- The day trip to Porto is do-able, but remember there will be headaches getting in and out on the highways. There's a good parking garage right in central Porto near the Bolsa and I'd just put the car there for the day. I think that seeing Porto in a day is tight, especially given the drive in and out, but you will definitely have time to walk around, cross the bridge and see the lodges, etc.

Day 11 -- Barcelos and Citania dos Breteiros are in different directions from Guimaraes, I think, but the distances aren't too large. But I think it's pushing things to think you can visit Guimaraes, go to the Barcelos market (with its crazy traffic jams on market day) and the Citania dos Breteiros in the same day. I personally was amazed by the Citania site, and it's in a beautiful setting, but I guess it's easy to lop off the itinerary if you're pressed.

Day 12 -- Viana do Castelo and Ponte de Lima are both very nice places, but I just don't think you can see them both in a day trip from Guimaraes, not to mention the other things you suggested.

Day 13 -- I haven't been to Aveiro (it's on my list), but I think you probably won't have much time to visit Coimbra on Day 13 as you drive from Guimaraes with a stop in Aveiro.

Day 14 -- If I'm right about Day 13, you're going to have a hard time seeing Coimbra and Conimbriga in the same day, and I'd forget about Bucaco.

Day 15 -- Nazare en route to Obidos is a good idea. I don't think this day will give time to go to Peniche. Peniche is a pretty spot, what I thought was the most interesting was the museum that is now in what used to be a prison during Salazar's dictatorship. The other thing is a boat trip out to the Island of Berlenga, but you definitely wouldn't have time to do that. You might want to scratch Peniche.

Day 16 seems do-able. (I personally liked Alcobaca more than Tomar, but others would disagree and Tomar has a lot to offer).

Day 17 -- I think whether one hour is enough to get to Lisbon will depend on the day of the week and the time of day. If your flight is 8:25, you'd want to be there by 6:30, I'd think, to give you time to return your car, etc.. At that time of day, you shouldn't encounter huge amounts of traffic coming into Lisbon even if it's a work day, since that would mean leaving Obidos at 5:30.

So, I don't mean to sound negative, I just wanted to give you my ideas about where you might want to slice things off the itinerary.

Moving north of Guimaraes for two days would make the day trips more do-able, but I know you are trying to cut down on moves and that would work against that principle. For me, I'd rather drive less, not backtrack, and check in and out more frequently. But I know there are those who find frequent check-ins and outs to be a real negative feature. We do one-nighters a lot when we travel, and we tend to have a leisurely breakfast, take a walk if the place calls for it, and then leave for a day's touring by 10 or 10:30, on to the next place. I never find it stressful, but then I take very little luggage and make the days' distances small. But this is a very personal thing, so sorry if I sound like I'm preaching.

Well, I've gone on for a long time, thanks for your patience if you've made it all the way to the bottom. I love traveling in Portugal and am in the process of planning another trip there for September, so looking at your itinerary just helped me sharpen my own plans! You have picked some really beautiful, and not too touristy, places to go.
Boa viagem, Laurie
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 10:28 AM
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Thanks so much for the detailed critique Laurie. You weren't being negative at all. I will definitely go forward with some of your suggestions as I revise our itinerary. We don't really mind one-nighters, since we can easily live out of our luggage and spend very little time packing up in the morning.
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 12:04 PM
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Bob. We loved your photos.
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 06:57 PM
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Just a quick p.s., Sandy.

The pousada in Belmonte is beautiful. Most of it is modern, there are only a few stones left of the original convent, but it is in a lovely location a few km out of town and there are very nice walks around it. We had a very good dinner there as well. All in all, I think Belmonte is worth a night's stop, though it probably isn't high on anyone's list of places to see.

Laurie
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Old Jul 6th, 2008, 07:23 PM
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Hi

I spent two weeks in Portugal in June and stayed in 10 different places during our 14 night stay. While many people advise against this, it worked for us. Like you, we felt that moving forward was preferable to backtracking and spending more time driving. We stayed in many neat places and I don't regret the lodging changes.

Our itinerary was somewhat different than yours, although we stayed in many of the same places. We spent two nights in Lisbon, which I felt was adequate (although we really rushed through various sites) and one night in Sintra-one of my favorite destinations. I'm glad that we did this as an overnight because we spent nearly two days seeing the sites nearby.

I wasn't as excited by Tomar or Conimbriga as I had expected and Evora was nice, but we only spent half a day there. I really liked Monsaraz because of the views and the pottery stops between Evora and Monsarraz. I've posted a trip report of our first few days which overlap some of yours. Will post the second portion in the next week or so.

I also posted reviews of the hotels that we stayed in on Trip Advisor. Not the same ones that you are considering but we really enjoyed most of them.
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Old Jul 7th, 2008, 09:02 PM
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I've made several changes to our itinerary. Thanks to everyone for their constructive suggestions.

Day 1 – Arrive Lisbon evening – Hotel: Sana Park Lisboa Hotel

Day 2 - Lisbon – Sightseeing Lisbon & Belem - Hotel: Sana Park Lisboa Hotel
Visit Rossio Square/ Baixa district/Alfama
Visit the Castelo de Sao Jorge
Visit Belem - Mosteiro dos Jeronimos/ Torre de Belem/ Museu Nacional de Coches
Visit the Museu Nacional de Arte Popular – if time

Day 3 – Lisbon – Sightsee Lisbon – Hotel: Sana Park Lisboa Hotel
Stroll through Barro Alto/Chiado
Take the Elevador da Gloria
Visit the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian and the Centro de Arte Moderna
Visit the Jardim da Fundacao
If time, visit Museu de Arte Antiga

Day 4 - Lisbon – Sightsee Sintra – Hotel: Sana Park Lisboa Hotel
Take train to Sintra - Visit Palacio Nacional de Pena/Visit Palacio Nacional de Sintra
Return to Lisbon and see sights that were missed on prior two days

Day 5 – Pick up rental car at airport - Drive to Evora - Hotel: Albergaria do Calvario
Walk the narrow streets and alleys of Evora/Visit the Praca do Giraldo/See the old Jewish quarter
Visit the Capela dos Ossos/Visit the Misericordia/Visit the Templo Romano and the Jardim de Diana for views
Visit the Galeria das Damas and Jardim Publico
Drive to Monsarez/explore town/visit castle if time

Day 6 – Drive to Marvao – See Marvao and Castel de Vide - Hotel:Albergaria el Rei Dom Manuel (Marvao)
See Vila Vicosa en route – Museu dos Coches, Paco Ducal, and the nearby Castelo
Wander through Marvao/Climb the tower of the castelo in Marvao/Visit the Museu da Marvao
Visit Castelo de Vide/See the remains of the medieval sinagoga

Day 7 – Belmonte - Hotelousada Convento de Belmonte
Visit Sortelha en route
Visit the ruins of the Castelo de Belmonte/Visit the Museu Judaico
See the Centum Cellas – just north of Belmonte

Day 8 – Peso da Regua - Hotel Régua Douro
Explore the Douro between Peso da Regua and Pinhau – visit a port wine cellar

Day 9 – Guimares – Hotelousada de Guimares Marinha
Visit Vila Real – Solar de Mateus
Visit Vila Pouca de Aguiar if time – see medieval stone houses and dolmen
See Amarante en route – wander around town if time

Day 10 – Guimares – Hotelousada de Guimares Marinha
See the Igrega de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira
Visit the Castelo de Guimaraes
Visit the Citania de Briteiros
Visit Barcelos

Day 11 – Guimares – Hotelousada de Guimares Marinha
Visit Viana do Castelo – wander the narrow streets
Visit Vila Praia – fishing boats and beach
Visit Pointe de Lima – narrow streets and medieval buildings

Day 12 – Porto – see Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia - Hotel:Quality Inn Portus Cale
Wander through the Old Town of Porto/Visit the Ribiera Pier/Visit the Estacao de Sao Bento (azulejos)
Visit the Palacio da Bolsa, the Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Serralves, and the Torre dos Clerigos if time
Visit a couple of Port Wine Lodges – Taylor and ???

Day 13 – Coimbra – See Coimbra and surrounding area - Hotel:Condeixa-a-Nova - Pousada de Santa Cristina
Stop at Aveiro en route – and the Rio de Aveiro
Stroll through the narrow streets of the Old Town of Coimbra
See the Arco de Almedina/Visit the Universidade de Coimbra/see the Biblioteca
Visit the Museu da Fisica – science museum

Day 14 – Coimbra – See Coimbra and surrounding area - Hotel:Condeixa-a-Nova - Pousada de Santa Cristina
Visit the roman ruins at Conimbriga and the Museum
Drive to Buarcos if we have time

Day 15 – Obidos - Hotel:Casa de Campo Sao Rafael
See Nazare en route to Obidos
Walk the narrow streets and squares of Obidos/Walk the walls of the medieval castelo
Visit the Vauban fortress and see the fishing harbor in Peniche – if time

Day 16 – Obidos - Hotel:Casa de Campo Sao Rafael
Drive to Tomar for the day
Walk the narrow streets in the Old Town/see the Jewish Quarter
Visit the Museu-Sinagoga Luso-Hebraico Abrahan Zacuto Sinagoga de Tomar
Visit the Convento de Cristo
See the Pegoes Aqueduct
Visit the walled town of Ourem – if time
Detour to Bairro to the Pegadas Dinossaurios Serra de Aire – if time
Visit Vila Nova da Barquinha - if time

Day 17 – Flight Leaves at 8:25am - One hour drive to airport from Obidos (Is this reasonable?)

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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 08:03 AM
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For sandy and Bob "Everybody's Favorite" Navigator:

>>>I have only travelled Portugal twice and do not know the attraction at Belmonte<<<-

Bob, if you noticed in my pix of Portugal, I dedicate a bit of pic space to Belmonte, and to its local sinagoga and its giant Menorah. The reason Belmonte has come into focus over the past decade or so, is basically tied to that.

During the Spanish Inquistion and the Auto da Fe (Portugal's very own Inquisiton), many of those Jews who did not exit in exile from those countries, took a chance by accepting conversion or going "underground" into some phase of hiding. In Portugal, the idea was that the further from Lisobon they went (within the country), the safer they could be as "hidden Jews", or in the case of those who converted, a chance to clandestinely continue to practice their Jewish religion (marranos and conversos both). Belmonte became a haven for several families, and today's population of about 100 Jews are direct descendants of these folks...going back 5 centuries. After Salazar's Era, many began to emerge and openly embrace their religion.

About 20-25 years ago, plans were made to someday construct a new sinagoga...and that finally came to pass in the past 10 years.

Therefore, Belmonte has become sort of a symbol of a tragic bygone time...and "pilgramages" (if you will) have been made by Jewish tourists, as well as Jewish and non-Jewish scholars of the Inquisition period. Hence, the growing interest, ever so minimal as it is.

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,...738534,00.html

I hope this clarifies the subject for you and any other interested posters Bob.

Stu T.
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 08:22 AM
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of course, I meant "pilgrimages"..typo

stu
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Old Jul 8th, 2008, 09:52 AM
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I have noticed a number of Portuguese towns with historical Jewish sites, and I am not surprised that they would create interest among Jews everywhere. Thank you for sensitizing me more to this very important part of Portugal's history, Stu. In fact, I was just looking for some information in connection with my own trip to northern Portugal in September and found reference to other important Jewish sites. It's in Portuguese, but the pictures and names of the towns are pretty self-explanatory.

http://valecoadouro.lac.pt/index.php..._aff&rub_id=67
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Old Jul 9th, 2008, 07:28 AM
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Wow, thanks Stu---very interesting.
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Old Jul 9th, 2008, 06:45 PM
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Sandys-

I noticed that you are staying at Casa D. Dinis in Marvao. We also stayed one night in June and had a great "local" experience. The room was fine, bathroom tiny, breakfast adequate. The fun part was the "bar" across from the B&B. They have a small outdoor patio with a few tables and a small indoor bar. In Portugal, a "bar" refers to a place where alcohol, coffee, other beverages and a few foods are served. In this case, they served "small plates", sandwiches and a few other selections. After confering with Manuel, the owner we decided to try the local green soup consisting of coriander, water, bread and a poached egg. Odd sounding but tasty and apparently bourne out of a siege where there was little but these ingredients to eat. We also had spaghetti with canned tuna, something I normally despise, but which, again was tasty. Two servings of each, plus a liter of house wine was $10.4E, the cheapest meal of our trip. We struck up a conversation with the only other couple on the patio, a couple who had brought a motorcycle across from England and found an affinity with Manuel, who also owned cycles.

We ended up spending hours in this small bar conversing with Manuel, who said he learned much of his extensive English in this way, and the other couple. Manuel served portions of Ginga, a cherry liquer, and took pictures of us on his cell phone. His wife, who ran the B&B kept calling to find out where he was. An unexpectedly fun experience!
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Old Jul 9th, 2008, 07:49 PM
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Stillhouse. Maybe I am not reading correctly but I do not think they are staying at D. Dinis.
I have nothing against the Dom Manuel. BUT we stayed at the D. Dinis and I personally would not stay anywhere other than there in Marvao.
We had room 15, I believe. Anyway, the one with the terrace. They usually prefer to rent it out for three nights. The cost is 60E, but if they do not have a reservation they will rent it out for less than three nights.
It is at the very tippy top of Marvao, right next to the castle.
It is huge.
The view is spectacular.
This place is wonderful.
I have a tourist brochure from Marvao which lists hotels, restaurants, etc and if you want any specific info, I would be glad to send it.
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