Portugal in March - Madeira or Porto?

Old Jan 20th, 2018, 10:31 AM
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Portugal in March - Madeira or Porto?


My mother and I will be vacationing in Portugal mid-March and are looking for some advice on best places to go. I will be in Lisbon for work February 20 - March 13 and she will be meeting me in Lisbon on the morning of 13th. Our plan was to stay in Lisbon for two nights so I can show her Sintra and around the city and then depart on the 15th for either Porto (a work contact also suggested Douro?) or Madeira Island until 21st.

We are huge wine and food enthusiasts and would love to be able to walk around and explore and see some beautiful culture. We also love warm weather and beach time and being outdoors, and ideally would love somewhere we could get a bit of all of the above.

A friend suggested Madeira Island, which looks beautiful, will it be warm enough to go to the beach this time of year? If not, would Porto be a better destination for us? Any suggestions for places to stay in either?

Any and all advice is much appreciated!!!
akh219 is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2018, 11:42 AM
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Never been to Madeira but seems for what you want a dream - Porto is a large but really neat old city but for several days you would want to day trip to several nearby gems like Duoro (nice excursions from Porto -nice by car but public transports not the best.

Guimares and Braga two great historic cities easy trains rides.

If Porto take train from Lisbon and maybe stop in Obidos and Coimra en route. Lots on trains check www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.
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Old Jan 20th, 2018, 11:48 AM
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Porto and Madeira are very, very different. Porto is a very old city with lots to see. In March the weather is unpredictable and it's not spring yet. Porto is colder than Lisbon and it also rains more. Not good for the beach unfortunately, the water is too cold and the air temperature will not be that high, with lucky maybe 20 degrees. You can go to the beach but only to take some photos. As for culture, Porto definitely has much more to offer, from the monuments to the food and the people. Wine is part of Porto culture, is were the famous wine is made.Lots of wine cellars to visit. A big highlight will be the Douro river cruise. It will take you through the world heritage site of the Douro Valley, a one of a kind landscape, were the vineyards grow and wine is make. Plus, close to Porto, there's the city of Guimarães, the born place of Portugal, a word heritage site, the city of Braga, the Rome of Portugal because of the number of churches and several more cities, all deserving a visit. You can easily spend a month there without seeing everything.
As for Madeira, it has subtropical weather, it will be warmer than Porto but it also can rain more, especially in the mountains. Madeira is a natural wonder, itīs a lush green environment, very, very beautiful. The main city is Funchal which is very pretty. It's the best island destination of Europe for some reason, right? As for beaches, unfortunately Madeira is not a beach destination, its a nature and culture destination, it has some few beaches, but not yellow sandy beaches .
For that you need to go to Porto Santo island close to Madeira, there you'll find the most amazing beach. In march it'll be almost deserted. The water is also warmer then in mainland Portugal.
Madeira Beaches and Best Sandy Beach

I cant decide for you, both are very good, but very different, and you'll have lots to see and do in both. Portugal is a big beach destination but for that you need to come between Mai and September. The best beach destination in Portugal is the Algarve region. In a good year it's possible to go to the beach in March, but its not that common.
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Old Jan 20th, 2018, 01:58 PM
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We have been to both and Madeira is much more quirky. From the extremely ugly but omnipresent espada fish to levada walks, Madeira is more unusual. As it as about 700 miles off the African coast, it will use some of your time for trips back and from Lisboa.
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