Portugal and Madeira

Old Apr 20th, 2022, 07:11 AM
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Portugal and Madeira

Hello everyone, so I’ve been doing research for a while now and have decided to visit Portugal and Madeira. So we have 22 days, but not sure where we should start first…thinking Lisbon for 5 or 6 days, visiting the town for 3 days and then doing day trips to Sintra, Cascais, Evora…
Porto and Douro valley , not sure how long there, not sure what else is a must to see…Algarves, stay in Lagos, not sure how long there, fly to Madeira for at least 3 days? then fly home from Lisbon or Porto depending which way is best. We are coming from Toronto Ontario, Canada and already in love with Portugal although we have not visited yet. We will visit in September 2023 and a bit in October. We love culture, history, scenery, food, wine and can hardly wait to go! Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, thank you! SG.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2022, 05:44 AM
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Instead of flying back to Lisbon or Porto from Madiera you could always add the Azores for a few days - there are non stop flights from PDL to Toronto.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2022, 11:07 AM
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Thanks, that’s a thought. Maybe I should land in Porto and work my way down to the south of Portugal, fly from the airport in Algarve to Madeira and then off to Azores and fly home from there?
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Old Apr 23rd, 2022, 12:09 PM
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You have more than three weeks worth of traveling in your original post, and that excludes quite a bit between Lisbon and Porto, and anything north north-east of Porto aside from the Douro itself. The same applies to the Alentejo east and south of Evora (unless you plan to drive). Looking at a couple of guidebooks and establishing some type of itinerary with transportation mode might be useful. The Michelin Green Guides give the amount of time that should minimally be spent at each site, and viaMichelin or just Googling distances between towns would help in knowing how much time you must spend traveling between sights.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2022, 03:51 PM
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Thanks, so much to think about. We are now thinking 25 days now, 2 days for flights…Sadly to say, but this will possibly be our only trip to Portugal and it has been on my bucket list for awhile now…
I realize that I’m probably trying to take in too much…What if I had just 3 home bases on the main land…Porto, 4 days, Lisbon 5 or 6 and Algarve 5 days? Can I just do day trips? We were thinking of renting a car for Algarve area but only when leaving Lisbon. I don’t think we need a car for day trips around Lisbon. Can I do the same around Porto? I would appreciate any advice! Thank you. SG
I also just purchased the Michelin green guide so that should help, thanks Michael!

Last edited by scissorwizard; Apr 23rd, 2022 at 04:05 PM. Reason: Added a sentence.
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Old May 13th, 2022, 08:05 AM
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Thoughts on 3 Week Itinerary

Sorry to be late weighing in, but I thought I would chime in because of my family's three-week trip to Portugal last September and one-week trip to Madeira last March.

My advice: Stick to the mainland and make Madeira/Azores a separate trip.

Madeira, where we are looking to retire, is its own little universe. And from what I've heard, the Azores are too. Just a day or two in each won't allow you to fully appreciate these islands. I loved mainland Portugal, but I will probably grow to love Madeira even more.

For the record, our mainland itinerary were mostly three night stays in the following locations: Nazare, Aveiro (two nights), Porto, Marvao (two nights), Evora (one night), Tavira (two nights), Quarteira and Lisbon. Nazare and Lisbon were our favorite spots, although the castle at Marvao just needs to be experienced to be believed. For our overseas trips, we always find it better to leave the most important city for last so that we are not affected by jet lag during our first days. So we always high tail it out of the airport and drive to a smaller community for our first stop.

The best advice I can give you: Bring good walking shoes and a sense of adventure. Portugal is very hilly with lots of cobblestone streets. Most beaches are only accessible from a location that is higher than the beach. And don't be afraid to try "interesting" cuisine like "percebes" (goose barnacles). You won't regret it. Also, the Portuguese are the Canadians of Europe. They are exceedingly nice and polite. Enjoy your trip!
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Old May 18th, 2022, 04:52 PM
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Hi there! Yes, the more I read , the more I think, Portugal only this time… I would need more time to do Madeira…Another time, hopefully . I will study the places you mentioned. Did you rent a car to visit all those places? We love trying new dishes so will definitely try “ percebes” and francesinha, cachorrinho,( small hotdog with cheese), Bacalhau…Good comfortable shoes for sure. So looking forward to this trip. So appreciate the time you took to give us ideas. Looking forward to travelling again. Thanks so much! SG
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Old May 19th, 2022, 07:51 AM
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We rented a car for the whole trip, though once we reached our final stop in Lisbon, we returned it. (Cars are more of a hindrance than a help in both Porto and Lisbon) My wife has difficulty walking because of MS and we brought a small dog, so it just made sense. Plus, it made side trips more possible. For example, before heading to Aveiro (the Venice of Portugal) from Nazare, we were able to spend some time in nearby Alcobaca, Fatima and Tomar. On our way to Porto, we stopped in the beachside suburb of Matosinhos. And finally, on our way to Marvao, we stopped in the tiny town of Idanha a Nova, the birthplace of my six-time great grandfather Dr. Samuel Diogo Nunes Ribeiro.
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Old May 20th, 2022, 11:12 AM
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Hi a2travelguy, wow that’s pretty special to be in the same village, where he was born 1668…I read about that grand father of yours… Hard times for him and his family but sounds like he was a very brave man. It’s nice to know the history of your family, right? Very special…thank you for sharing. SG
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