Portgual 7 days

Apr 21st, 2015, 09:05 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2015
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Portgual 7 days

Hi everyone, planning for a 7 day trip to Portugal: Lisbon including Sintra day trip (3 days), Porto (2 days), Douro Valley (2 days). Is it possible to go without driving? Not sure if we will rent a car and was hoping to go by train. Is that possible, or preferable, especially for Douro Valley? Any thoughts welcome!
Anpan is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2015, 05:07 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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I did a similar trip in October. You do not need a car, unless you want to drive around the Douro Valley. Sintra is less than an hour from Lisbon by train that you catch in central Lisbon, and we took a train to Porto (3-3.5 hours from Lisbon). We only did a day trip from Porto to Douro Valley and booked a wine tour through Viator. Here are some other tips:

Sintra is a can't miss. The castles and scenery are stunning! We had been told by some other travelers to take a cab up to the top for Pena National Palace, hit the Moorish castle, etc. and walk down. That was a good plan. We both had sandals on, and that was a terrible plan since the terrain down is steep. I'd recommend gym shoes or hiking shoes

The hotel we stayed in in Porto was nice, but I thought too off the beaten path -- Hotel Eurostars Das Artes.

We stayed at 2 hotels in Lisbon since we came back after Porto to fly home. Both were nice: Hotel Santa Justa and Heritage Avenida Liberdade (on the fancy shopping street).

Here are a couple of restaurants and wine bars we liked in Lisbon:

Pizzaria Lisboa (if you need a break from Portuguese food)

Champanheria do Largo (nice little wine/champagne bar behind the Heritage Liberdade Hotel). Right by a street car stop, but don't take that one. It doesn't go anywhere good. Your guide book should tell them the line to take -- lines to get on were really long at midday. Go early. It's also right by CERVEJARIA TRINDADE, a famous restaurant in a beautifully tiled building. We didn't go as it's very traditional Portuguese food (I'm a vegetarian and my friend doesn't eat seafood), but people at the wine bar said it was really good.

Wine Bar do Castelo - wine bar up near the castle

Largo -- fancier dinner. Mix of Portuguese and non. It's by Belcanto, which is a famous restaurant there, but their menu wasn't kind to vegetarians.

For souvenirs, we found the shops up by the castle had the best stuff.

You should take a Tuk Tuk around. Fun way to see the city. We took one to the Tower of Belem, Padrao dos Descobrimentos and some other sites that were a little off the beaten path. The company we went with had a deal to skip the line at Pasteis de Belem -- the famous bakery that sells those little custard tarts. That was awesome, as the line was probably 50 people long when we went. We stayed in the Tuk Tuk and the driver went in and got them. We got the Tuk Tuk at the Parca do Comercio.


Here is the day trip we took into the Douro Valley through Viator from Porto:

Nice small group, good lunch, nice scenery. Nice, good, but not great -- it might be great for Portugal, though. We visited a place that made olive oil and wine, and then another winery, and then went to the owner's house for port tasting and snacks. There is a particular tour guide that is supposed to be really good, but we didn't have him -- I don't remember the name. If she looks at reviews, she'll find it. I would recommend it.

Douro Valley Small-Group Tour with Wine Tasting, Portuguese Lunch
and Optional River Cruise.

We thought it was cool to visit some of the port caves across the river in Porto. We went to Taylor's (a little stuffy, but really nice restaurant with a fabulous view from the outdoor deck). We went to a really good restaurant on that side of the river --Rabelos. Awesome rooftop deck.
cmlyons is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2015, 05:42 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
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all good above, let the train take the strain.
bilboburgler is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2015, 11:03 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Do we assume that you are arriving in Lisbon and departing from Porto? If not, you'll loose a day returning to Lisbon to catch your flight.

River cruises up the Douro are interesting, but limiting. If you are not going to be driving, then take the train upriver and the ship downriver. It will be more interesting. If you're staying at one of the Quintas, they can arrange for a taxi to meet you.
Robert2533 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2015, 11:12 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 69
We flew in and out of Lisbon. We took a 5 p.m. train from Porto back to Lisbon so we could catch our flight the next morning. Got into Lisbon before 9, and it gave us the whole day in Porto.
cmlyons is offline  
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