Portugal itinerary - 3 weeks in March??

Jan 29th, 2016, 12:10 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 152
Portugal itinerary - 3 weeks in March??

We are a 'mature' couple planning our first trip to Portugal in March. We've travelled a lot over the years but know little about Portugal and have been reading so much my head is starting to spin.

Here's the current plan. I'd really appreciate some advice about it, places to add to the list and perhaps places to cut out. Only some days are fixed (Tavira, Evora and Lisbon) and although we're happy to find some places on the road it would be good to have a route planned out.

4th March - Arrive Faro from Sevilla by bus – pick up a little car at Faro airport and drive to Tavira.

4th and 5th - Two nights in Tavira – relax and see surrounding area (what should we not miss here) - BOOKED a place by the river.

6th - Drive west to Lagos area see Silvas, Selima, Sagres etc – stay one night probably in Lagos itself – nothing booked.

7th and 8th drive north along the coast and east towards Evora – maybe stay on the coast one night and one night in Beja – comments? Better place to stay, perhaps two nights in one town?

9th – 13th – stay four nights in Evora – explore Evora and the surrounding area, Monsaraz and what else? BOOKED a place with cooking facilities in the old town

14th – head north

So then we have 6 nights after Evora before we want to be in Sintra – during that time we were thinking to see Estremoz and Vila Vicosa, Marvao, Alcobaca, Batalha and Tomar . We’d thought to go about as far north as Coimbra but are concerned it may be too cold still to go up to Porto and Baga and beyond. Other recommended places are Peniche, Piodao, Nazare...

With our limited time we don’t feel the need to see everything in this first visit – we’d rather relax in beautiful places, eat well and enjoy. We’re not sure which places to stop in during this time though. It could be three stops of two nights or two stops of three nights. Love some advice here.

20th Sintra for 2 nights (nothing booked) having left the car behind at Lisbon airport. I like the idea of being here after the day trippers go back to Lisbon.

21st Sintra

22nd head down to Lisbon apartment in Baixa Chaido BOOKED for 3 nights - explore Lisbon for two full days and

25th fly out to Dubai and Australia

Any comments, advice, suggestions all welcome!
yeshekathy is offline  
Jan 29th, 2016, 07:34 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 541
Am doing similar so watch with interest and hope you get some help...
Tommmo is offline  
Jan 30th, 2016, 01:16 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,760
I feel you are at conflict with yourself!
Let me try and explain.
You give a whole list of places some with one or two nights stay, which means either no full days or just one day. You have written you want to relax and that you do not want to feel the need to see everything in what is your first visit.
However you also ask for advice on what other locations to see.
Maybe cut out the north and stay further south and slow down to see more.
Late in March is Easter this year so if you are a round then maybe take in something of that where ever you maybe.
Moving onto the weather.
Who knows what it will be. It could be ok and yes you have a greater chance of warmer weather to the south of the country, but March can be cold, rainy or windy at any time. You could do a search for the averages but that will not prove what will happen.
So what apart form relaxing and eating has made you visit Portugal? Do you want to see more of that or are you after other suggestions? If so what?
ribeirasacra is offline  
Jan 30th, 2016, 03:57 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 152
You are completely right - we always says we want to go slow and then more and more wonderful options come up and we end up rushing a bit.

We decided to go to Portugal with little knowledge of the country at all and it is looking more and more interesting every day. We do love ancient sites and castles, the occasional cathedral (but not too many); we love old towns to wander, good authentic places to eat, wonderful countryside to drive through. Sounds like there's plenty of all that.

But... I am looking seriously to cut down the moves. We really don't like one night stays and it seems like the distances are not so great that we can't go out from a central place to see most of the 'attractions'.

When I ask for suggestions - I mean sites or towns it would good to see on the way - or go out to from central places (like EVora) or even places we should stop rather than the ones we have chosen.

So the direction is: Tavira (still two nights to just settle in after Morocco), then have a look at the Algarve coast and head on to Evora. We have four nights between Tavira and Evora, then four nights in Evora. Then we have 6 or 7 nights before we end up in Sintra (possibly in Coimbra and Tomar?) and then Lisbon for three nights before we fly home.

I want to keep a bit flexible about where we'll stay so that if the weather at the coast is awful we can head inland. We live on the water in Australia and it is blowing a gale with horizontal rain at the moment. If I was on holiday I'd certainly want to be free to move on.

By the way we fly out on 25th so we pretty well miss Easter - didn't actually realise when I was making the flight bookings, but it's done now.

Thank you for your comments - good reality check...
yeshekathy is offline  
Jan 30th, 2016, 12:15 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 522
If you're going in the direction of Nazare, you should add a stop in Obidos. Obidos is a charming village that I absolutely loved.

From evora, I drove to obidos, spent the morning there and had a late lunch in Nazare.

I've traveled to Portugal my entire life and that day still stands out as one the best days ever.

You could then spend the night in Nazare or even Alcobaca before heading to Coimbra.
Judy_Rosa is offline  
Jan 30th, 2016, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,915
<7th and 8th drive north along the coast and east towards Evora – maybe stay on the coast one night and one night in Beja – comments? Better place to stay, perhaps two nights in one town?>
There isn't very much to see/do in the Beja area. Beja can easily be visited from Évora.

If you like castles/palaces, I would add at least one extra day (maybe two) to Sintra. Palácio National de Sintra, Palácio de Pena, Quinta da Regaleira, Castelo dos Mouros, Monserrate, Convento dos Capuchos.
MyriamC is offline  
Jan 30th, 2016, 01:07 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,356
I have been to Portugal several times, but never to the Algarve, not being a beach person. I didn't find a lot to do in Evora, but a car would help. You are seriously short-changing Lisbon, which can easily take week including day trips to Sintra and Belem - I would consolidate Sintra with Lisbon.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 31st, 2016, 05:41 AM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 522
I agree with MyriamC and thursdaysd that you should add time to Sintra and Lisbon and spend less time in Evora.

My last trip to Portugal I drove from Lisbon to Evora in the morning (just a few hours' drive) and spent 3 days/2 nights in total there, including a day trip to Monsaraz.

I wouldn't combine Sintra and Lisbon as there is plenty to see and do in Sintra and surrounding areas alone to merit its own place on your itinerary.

Lisbon for 3 nights is certainly doable, but would not include side trips to Cascais, Estoril and Boca da Roca, all along the coast. Boca da Roca is worth a look as its the westernmost point of continental Europe. Stunning views.

You can visit these coastline towns from Sintra. We had a car and did a morning drive to Boca da Roca, then drove to Cascais and had lunch. Charming, charming.....
Judy_Rosa is offline  
Jan 31st, 2016, 05:54 AM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 522

I just re-read your itinerary and I also agree with MyriamC that you can do a day trip to Beja from Evora, so I'd keep Evora at 4 nights and travel the area using Evora as your base. You don't need a one-night stay in Beja.

Can the timeline/dates of the apartment in Evora be adjusted or are your dates set in stone? If you're able to adjust it back one or two days you can add those days to either Lisbon or Sintra.
Judy_Rosa is offline  
Feb 1st, 2016, 07:45 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 152
So... here's the latest plan - taking on board lots of advice (thank you soooo much) and still leaving things a bit flexible. Comments welcome of course!

Should we visit Belem? and if so should we do it from Lisbon or Sintra?

Also accommodation recommendations very welcome for the places we haven't booked... BUT we travel a lot, this is not an annual holiday, so we always try to keep to under AUD$100 per night - that means E60 or less for a double room. And we love places with kitchenettes especially if we are staying more than one night.

4th 5th Tavira booked - do a day trip out to the west and north or just hang out and relax.

6th head towards Sagres – maybe stop in Portamao, Lagos or on to Sagres Pousada depending on the weather. (nothing booked) see the Fortress at Sagres

7th – if the weather is good, stay on in Lagos area or head up the west coast to Aljezur, then Odeceixe (stop here), Odemira, Vila Nova Milfontes, Porto Covo – maybe stay Milfontes or Sines? Nothing booked

8th – inland to Beja area – stay in Beja or Moura or even Mertola - nothing booked

Between the coast and Beja a Roman' Villa Roma Pisoes' may be worth a visit

On the way stop in at Castro Verde - gorgeous church interior closed 12.30-14.00

9th – 13th Evora – one day around town – two out and about – lots to visit – booked in town centre.

must visit Monsaraz & Vila Vicosa, the palace of the Braganca family

walk on the roof of the cathedral

possibly tour the marble quarries in Vila Vicosa

13th north to Portalegro area –stay in Marvao (some lovely places quite reasonable) visit Castelo de Vide

Then drive up through Nisa (sheeps cheese etc) and Fundao (cherries) then over the high Serra da Estrella to Coimbra

14th – 16th Coimbra haven’t booked there yet – also see Conimbriga

16th – 19th stay Tomar and explore Batalha, Alcobaça, Nazaré, óbidos, Peniche (booked in Tomar)

(visit Convento de Christo early in the morning before the tourists)

19th - 22nd – Sintra (with car) – visit palaces etc and coast (Cabo de Roca)

drop car back to Lisbon airport early 22nd and head into Lisbon

22nd – 25th Lisbon booked apartment near Baixo/Chaido

25th fly out late in the day
yeshekathy is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2016, 02:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 87
Belém is part of Lisboa. It's just a short bus, eléctrico or taxi ride from the center. Or if you're in the walking mood, a pleasant 5 or 6 km stroll along the river, where you can stop at a waterfront restaurant along the way.
luz_de_lisboa is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2016, 03:22 AM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 522
Great itinerary, but it certainly is non-stop. But you will see so many beautiful places!

Sagres is s relatively short drive from Lagos. I stayed in Lagos and did a day trip to Sagres, so if you're staying at a Pousada in Sagres, I think you can stay an extra night there instead of staying one night in Lagos.
Judy_Rosa is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2016, 06:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,915
I agree with Judy_Rosa. Lagos is close enough to Sagres for a daytrip.
MyriamC is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2016, 07:01 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 371
I'm following your itinerary with interest as we'll be there around the same time but only for a week. I'm very impressed with your planning and all the research you've done.
baladeuse is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2016, 09:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 152
Big change! we've decided to make Lisbon 5 days (not 3) and do a day trip to Sintra from there. This means we'll come down slowly from Tomar and spend a night at the pretty little town of Obidos on the way.

Have to keep flexible after all.
yeshekathy is offline  
Feb 4th, 2016, 08:20 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,755
tagging too!
marigross is offline  
Feb 6th, 2016, 09:53 AM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 522
Glad you added Obidos to your itinerary, however, really surprised you're not spending a few nights in Sintra.

There is so much to see, I don't think a day trip is enough time to see it all.

Just my opinion, of course. Whatever you decide, you will absolutely love Portugal.
Judy_Rosa is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:47 PM.