Portugal in July questions

Old Feb 1st, 2020, 08:32 AM
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Portugal in July questions

My wife and I, both seniors, are planning a 2 week vacation to Portugal in July. Flying in and out of Lisbon, flights booked. We have been in Lisbon before so have seen most of the City sites. We have also been in Porto but want to spend more time there and probably do a few day excursions from Porto.
Besides that, Evora looks like an interesting place to spend a few days and visit the megalith sites in the area.
This is our starting itinerary:
Arrive Lisbon
1 night in Lisbon
Take train to Evora
3 nights in Evora
Take train from Evora to Porto Via Lisbon. I understand that a train change will be necessary.
1 week in Porto
return by train to Lisbon
3 nights in Lisbon
Return Flight.

I have a few questions:
- I'm wondering about the train travel both to Evora from Lisbon and especially from Evora to Porto. I'm feeling nervous about it. Are there any complications or potential difficulties doing that?If its going to be stressful I'd rather drop.
- Is 3 nights in Evora too much? We won't have a car and will have to rely on a tour guide for the Megalith visits. Otherwise we would just walk around Evora.
- I've considered the possibility of renting a car in Evora and exploring that general area outside of town but I do feel a bit wary when I read about the high accident rates ion Portugal

Possible alternatives that we've considered.
- spend 3 nights in Lisbon at the beginning, then take train to Evora. Spend 1 night in Evora and then take train to Porto. Return to Lisbon for 3 nights and then home.
- OR spend 4 nights in Lisbon, then take train to Porto. On return, take train from Porto to Evora via Lisbon, and spend 2 nights in Evora. Take train back to Lisbon. 1 night in Lisbon and then leave return home next day
- OR if Evora is too much trouble to fit in our schedule and transportation is complicated , drop Evora and split time between Lisbon and Porto. Could perhaps look at a day trip to Evora

We would appreciate any comments and advice


Jim143 is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2020, 08:52 AM
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The train has no stress that I can think of. July can be hot and first class may be cooler. seat61.com offers some advice.

The driving is no worse than Belgium or Poland (both not such great countries for driving). I think there is enough to do without driving

I guess you've seen this https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attrac..._Alentejo.html
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Old Feb 1st, 2020, 01:35 PM
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thankyou biloburgler. Going to rethink Evora.....didn't realize it is such a hot area. Evora in July might not be a good idea.
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Old Feb 1st, 2020, 01:46 PM
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Hi

To view the Portuguese official train site use:

https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en



From Lisbon to Evora it’s best if you use the Entrecampos station in Lisbon because it’s a direct train. If you use the other train stations in Lisbon you will have to transfer trains.

Lisboa Entrecanpos - Evora .



From Evora to Porto you will have to transfer trains at Entrecampos station and again at Porto Campanha station to your final destination of Porto Sao Bento station.

Evora - Lisboa Entrecampos station - Porto Campanha station - Porto Sao Bento station



I have rented cars in Portugal but avoid it as much as possible unless absolutely necessary.

I find the driving stressful and tiring, not just driving safely but also making sure I don’t get lost, and parking is a problem in all the large cities.

I find the way people drive in Europe in general to be very different from North America.

Also if I drive I don’t consume any alcohol and miss out on some great wines available in Portugal.

At the end of the trip I’ll have to deal with the car rental agency nickel and dime charges, and that does not make for an enjoyable trip.

Given the extensive public transport system in Portugal ( including taxis if needed) I rarely feel the need to rent a car.



3 days in Evora is probably too much if just staying in the city, ok if taking side trips based in Evora.



Regarding side trips out of Porto, you may want consider Braga or Guimaraes for cultural / religion based monuments.

Aveiro is considered the Venice of Portugal ( nowhere near the splendor Venice) but it does have a lagoon , canals , moliceiros which are a sort of motor powered “gondola”. In Aveiro sea salt is farmed and it’s an interesting tour / site.

They also have a famous dessert “ovos moles” which is basically egg yolks with sugar ( you can buy it in a miniature wood barrel which make for a neat souvenier) .

Happy travels
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Old Feb 1st, 2020, 05:32 PM
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jim,
I strongly advise you to rethink Evora in the summer.

Although Evora is indeed a very interesting city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you should know that it can be horribly hot in the Alentejo region in July and August, with temperatures reaching 35-40C or more.
Our guide at the Esporão winery in Regenços de Monsaraz said that the workers must do the harvest in August in 40 C+ heat.
I've traveled through the Alentejo region in August and never want to do it again. Just so that you know and can be prepared for the heat....
And the Rede Expressos bus from Lisbon's Sete Rios station is a much better option than the train to reach Evora because of the more frequent schedules.

In July, for more bearable temperatures, if this were my trip, I'd head north, taking the Alfa Pendular high speed train from Lisbon to Porto and from there visit historic Guimarães and Braga and the Iron Age hillside settlement of Citânia de Briteiros via a minivan guided tour from Porto or rent a car and venture to points further north in the lush and green Minho to Viana do Castelo, Ponte de Lima, Barcelos, etc. The Minho in the north is an area that's more bearable in July and driving in this region is not at all difficult.
Just some thoughts...
Minho | Porto and the North Portugal.



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Old Feb 2nd, 2020, 05:08 AM
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We're dropping Evora. I almost had accommodations booked there, so thanks everybody for your input. I guess I should have researched Evora more thoroughly but I never gave a second thought to the climate. Its a trip for another day and a different season. We've decided to concentrate on Lisbon and Porto and do side trips from there using public transportation. But I will give the Minho some thought...just need to get some comfort in the driving part.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2020, 06:01 AM
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Don't ignore the islands, the Azores are especially nice as is Maderia

My friends who live in the south tend to leave the country and give their estate over to people who want to rent it so they can return to the cooler UK, they find winter is nicer. I tend to take holidays in Portugal in October or April. You might like this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lines_of_Torres_Vedras if you hire a good guide in Lisbon they can make the battles come alive for you.

Maybe to give you some comfort I've travelled to Portugal 6 or 7 times over the years and only rented a car once. The trains and buses are fantastic and take you city centre to city centre.

Last edited by bilboburgler; Feb 2nd, 2020 at 06:05 AM.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2020, 10:17 PM
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If you have any interest in wineries, consider visiting the Alentejo area. I did a daylong winery tour with Maureen Ferguson of Grape Olive Pig and had a wonderful time. She is both a wine expert and a great local guide, having moved to the area on marrying a Portuguese guy several; years ago. She picked me up at my Lisbon hotel and we spent the day wandering from one winery to the next.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2020, 02:48 PM
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Yes I think we can manage well without a car. The winery tour looks interesting Thanks.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2020, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim143 View Post
Yes I think we can manage well without a car. The winery tour looks interesting Thanks.
Jim, If you are talking about the winery tour that Seamus mentions in the Alentejo region, please keep in mind that this is the region that Maribel says is extremely hot during the summer. Evora, which you were considering, is in the Alentejo region.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2020, 03:49 PM
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Speaking of wine touring,
If you're interested in a daylong (8-hour) winery tour from Porto north to the vinho verde region of the Minho, here's an option:
The participants visit Quinta do Soalheiro, which is one of my favorites, producing alvarinho.
https://www.bagoduva360.com/home-en

And Melgaço at the Spanish border is a charming wine producing town.
https://juliedawnfox.com/making-the-most-of-melgaco/

Just another idea.

Here is an explanation of how best to reach Guimarães from Porto by public transportation-
https://porto-north-portugal.com/gui...-day-trip.html

And how to reach Braga-
https://porto-north-portugal.com/bra...aga-train.html

Last edited by Maribel; Feb 3rd, 2020 at 03:56 PM.
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