Portugal in one week?


Feb 13th, 2013, 08:49 AM
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Portugal in one week?

The husband and I are planning our FIRST trip to Europe and we are planning to be in Portugal for a week in October. He is a surfer and I am a Yoga teacher. We do not like to be in the tourist kind a energy but we love museums, historic places and of course beaches. I would like some help in suggestions out of the touristic route and how is about the weather around that time of the year.
MyriamBaker is offline  
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Feb 13th, 2013, 09:13 AM
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I don't know enough about surfing to know whether your husband can surf at Nazares or if he would want to see it even if he can't surf there, but you probably want to go to some surfing websites/message boards and get advice about what's doable in October.

You don't say where you are coming from, or whether you have bought air tickets, but I'm guessing that you are planning on one of your stops being Lisbon. The Gulbenkian museum in Lisbon is one of the outstanding museums of Europe, and I hope you will make time to see it.

It probably would be very much worth you while to spend some time on line reading about the other museums of Lisbon because the colonial history of Portugal, which includes colonization of parts of India and a long relationship with the Far East, has resulted in its having a couple of museums of with many great treasures of the East that might be of particular interest to you as a teacher of yoga. I am thinking in particular of the Museum of the Orient

I also feel that the Convento do Carmo in Lisbon -- a beautiful religious complex that was half destroyed by the great Lisbon earthquake -- is an important place to see if you wish to understand Lisbon, and of course there is the beautiful monastery in Belem.

Other than that, Lisbon is very much a place to stroll around (or ride its trams) and enjoy its cafe life and music, and its various historic quarters, many of them decorated with beautiful tile work. It is not a hectic city, but a sunny relaxed one. You will quickly get a sense of which neighborhoods are touristy and which are not, and it is easy enough to walk away from the touristy ones. (Bring good shoes to wear with anti-skid soles. Lisbon is hilly and has slippery tile sidewalks in many places.)

But I think that with only a week, dividing your time between Lisbon and the surfing beach is really all you have time to do without turning yourselves into a hectic tourist. It is a wonderful destination for a first trip to Europe because it is really a very distinct European culture, and yet it has all the things people come to Europe to enjoy -- the beautiful ancient streets, the delicious food and wine (and mercifully cheap), the beautiful architecture, the fascinating history. Listening to Portuguese spoken is all just a pure pleasure even if you don't understand a word.
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Feb 13th, 2013, 12:01 PM
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i think it's safe to assume that you'll be in Lisbon for at least a few days. i highly suggest a daytrip to both Belem and Sintra.

Belem- There is a LOT of history in such a small town. It will feel very much like part of Lisbon, not even far enough to be a suburb. tram 15 will take you there just after you cross underneath the 25 de Abril bridge. There's a fantastic monastary, a couple of huge waterfront monuments, and the world famous Pasteis de Belem.

Sintra- Take a 20 minute train from Rossio Station to get here. The pena palace and castle of the moors are beautiful and give you a panoramic 360 view of the area.
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Feb 15th, 2013, 03:10 AM
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If you're going to be based in Lisbon but don't want to travel as far as Nazare for the surf, Ericeira is closer.

Personally, I'd skip the Convento de Carmo in favour of Saõ Vicente da Fora
I agree with the advice about the Gulbenkian and the Museu do Oriente though. I'd add the Museu de Arte Antiga to the list - it's fascinating and crammed with exhibits.

The Alfama neighbourhood of Lisbon spreads downhill from the castle and is a maze of crumbling buildings and narrow streets - worth a wander.
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Feb 15th, 2013, 05:08 AM
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We were first-timers in Lisbon, Belem and Sintra just last month. Click on my name if you'd like to see our trip report (and photos).

I very much agree with most of the recommendations so far, especially the Convento de Carmo, Aflame neighborhood, the amazing monastery in Belem, the palaces of Sintra, and the bars/restaurants/nightlife around Bairro Alta neighborhood.

Wish I could tell you more, but our trip was a short one. Since our weather was unexpectedly awesome, we didn't do as many indoor things as we'd planned and, sadly, never got to the Gelbenkian museum. Next time.
mr_go is offline  
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Feb 15th, 2013, 08:02 AM
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Our photos look like this:
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Feb 15th, 2013, 08:30 AM
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I've been to both Ericeira and Nazare but not to surf. However, my impression is that surfing is much more organised in Ericeira, with surf schools and people going out in groups, and also with quite a few places to rent boards and other surfing equipment. In Nazare, you see an odd person surfing on their own, but not so frequently. If you do decide to surf in either place, be aware that the sea can be extremely treacherous with very dangerous currents - make sure you get some good local advice before trying the waves. The beaches in Nazare claimed some lives last Summer, and that was even with lifeguards present - there will be no lifeguards in October.

We were in Lisbon for the last weekend of October 2011 and the temperature was an extremely balmy 27 degrees on the Friday and Saturday. However, the heavens opened on the Sunday so it wasn't so good.

Would highly recommend a day trip to Sintra and spending a day in Belem. If you do make it to Ericeira then take the time to have a look at the Convento in Mafra - it's enormous!! Also, if you're in Lisbon while there's a soccer game on - especially a Benfica one - try to go - they're great fun.
ter2000 is offline  
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Apr 15th, 2013, 01:59 AM
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Quinta da regaleira in sintra it's beautiful.
And there's so much to do in Lisbon...
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Apr 15th, 2013, 08:14 AM
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If u go to lisbon and fancy more secluted areas you can go to Meco beach in Sesimbra. All the surrounding area has a very nice vibe to it but keep in mind that it is the mecca for nudists but also surfers.
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