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Please help with itinerary for first timers to Portugal

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Nov 1st, 2016, 09:30 AM
  #1
hax
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Please help with itinerary for first timers to Portugal

Hi Fodorites!

My husband and I are planning our first trip to Portugal next May, and would love your help. We are trying to keep it to 9 or 10 nights, but of course, find so much we want to see that it’s hard to make choices. We are early 60’s and love great food, wine, scenery, history, local charm, museums and hikes.

Prefer to limit one-night stays as much as possible.

Here is our tentative itinerary. We are thinking of flying into Lisbon and out of Porto (or vice versa).

Fly to Lisbon. Stay 3 or 4 nights with day trip to Sintra
Rent a car and drive to Obidos, lunch, and then overnight in Coimbra 1 night.
Drive to Douro Valley—2 nights
Drive to Porto, drop off car. Stay 3 nights with day trip to Guimares and/or Braga/Bom
Jesus
Fly home

If we reverse trip, we would stop/lunch in Coimbra and overnight in Obidos.

Questions for those who have been there:

Lisbon or Porto first? We’re thinking Lisbon as we like to do bigger cities first while fresh.
Which also asks…overnight in Obidos or Coimbra?
Three or 4 nights in Lisbon?
Are we missing anything we will be sorry for later?
Should we avoid Coimbra during Quimas das Fitas?

Haven’t gotten to hotels/inns/pousadas yet, but would love advice there, too. Charm and sense of place more important than price, but prefer to average under 200 euro a night. One two splurges ok.

Thank you all!
Hax
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Nov 1st, 2016, 11:37 AM
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If you're interested in seeing the Douro, then I would do that at the begining of the trip after a few days enjoying Porto.

Quimas das Fitas is a celebration for graduating college students, not a wild Tomatina, and not something you should look to avoid. The entire town joins in. There will be concerts and other events taking place during the week that you might actually enjoy (www.facebook.com/queimadasfitascoimbra/).

You can finish with at least 3 nights in Lisbon. Drop the car off at the airport and take a taxi to your hotel.

You shoud consider staying at one of the wine hotels in the the Douro; Ouinta da Pacheca's Wine House, Quinta de La Rosa, Quinta do Vallado or Quinta do Pégo.

In Porto, check out the Hotel Tearto, it's within your budget. Or if you want something a little more upscale, there is The Yeatman. And of course the Pestana Palácio do Freixo is always a good option, better if you belong to the Pestana Group.

In Coimbra you can check out the Pousada de Condeixa, but we also like Quinta das Lágrimas (www.quintadaslagrimas.pt/quinta-das-lagrimas).

In Lisbon there is the newly reopened Almalusa Baixa/Chiado (www.almalusahotels.com/en/hotel), Bairro Alto (www.bairroaltohotel.com), Hotel Britania (www.hotel-britania.com), Santiago de Alfama - the former Chiado16 (www.santiagodealfama.com/) and the Pousada de Lisboa (www.pousadas.pt/en/hotel/pousada-lisboa).

For dinner in Porto, try Pedro Lemoz at Rua do Padre Luis Cabral 974. If you're up to it, we highly recommend Rui Paula's DOC Restaurant overlooking the river in Folgosa do Douro. He also took over the Boa Nova Tea House in Leça da Palmeira, just a 20 minute drive up the coast from the Palácio do Freixo.

In Lisbon you might try Lisboa à noite in the Bairro Alto (www.lisboanoite.com), or Largo (www.largo.pt) for lunch or dinner.
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Nov 1st, 2016, 11:49 AM
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Check out Guest House Douro in Porto. It's the best, the innkeepers, Carmen and Joao, can give great advice re: restaurants, tours, excursions, etc, and help with anything else you may need.

Here's my trip report from a few years back of a very similar trip. http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...l-portugal.cfm

We started in Porto and worked our way down to Lisbon. We were able to use our frequent flyer miles to get a flight into Porto and out of Lisbon, so that's why we did it in that order. Either way would probably be fine.
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Nov 1st, 2016, 11:52 AM
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Also, we stayed in 2 pousadas in transit, Pousada do Castelo in Obidos and Pousada de Santa Cristina, Condeixa-a-Nova (not too far from Coimbra, and very close to the Roman ruins). We were pleased with both pousadas, each with very different character.
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Nov 1st, 2016, 06:48 PM
  #5
hax
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Wow, thanks so much, Robert2016 and MFNC! Great info.

MFNC, I've saved your report.

Robert2016, why do you suggest doing the Douro up front?

Also, go Cubs! (Chicago girl here
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Nov 2nd, 2016, 01:42 PM
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You head to the Douro first so that you can relax a bit once you reach Lisbon, and not need to drive.
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Nov 2nd, 2016, 03:43 PM
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Drive to Porto, drop off car. Stay 3 nights with day trip to Guimares and/or Braga/Bom>

Why not hit one of these en route to or from the Duoro?

Been to both and loved each - did as day trip from Lisbon but would rather have overnighted in each.think they're rather on the way.
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Nov 2nd, 2016, 04:01 PM
  #8
hax
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Thanks, Robert2016-- I see your point. We do like to relax more at the end our trips. We were thinking the Douro and Porto would be more relaxing than Lisbon with all its museums, no? We don't plan to drive in either Porto or Lisbon.

PalenQ--I am glad to hear you loved Braga and Guimares. Unfortunately, we only have 9 or 10 nights, and we were trying to limit our one night stays.

Think we need three or four nights in Lisbon?

Thanks again!
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