Portugal Itinerary - please critique!

Old Mar 10th, 2008, 07:24 PM
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Portugal Itinerary - please critique!

I've got the tickets to Portugal, now I'm working on the itinerary. We'll be there for two weeks, arriving on a Saturday morning in Lisbon, and leaving two weeks later. We've been to Lisbon before, and although we really like the city, we're going to be there only a few days before striking north.

Here's our tentative plan:

Lisbon - arrive in the morning on day 1, and leave on day 4 (3 nights)
Coimbra - arriving from Lisbon, staying 3 nights
Guarda - arriving from Coimbra, staying 2 nights
Braganca - arriving from Guarda, staying 2 nights
Braga - arriving from Braganca, staying 2 nights
Lisbon - one night prior to leaving

I know I've left out Porto - would it be possible to stop through on our way back into Lisbon? As much as I'd like to spend more time in Alentejo (we have been to Evora day-tripping from Lisbon) and south, I just don't have time to include it this trip. Likewise, we've been to Cascais and Sintra, and will have to forego a return trip to them.

I feel like we're moving a lot but I'm not sure if there's anyway to consolidate areas. For example, instead of a stop at both Braganca and Braga, is there a good choice to stay somewhere in between?

I appreciate your suggestions (including accommodation suggestions for everywhere except Lisbon - I've got that one planned already).
GoAway is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2008, 07:42 AM
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You are missing 2 of my favorite locations in north Portugal. One is Viano do Castelo on the coast and a good base for that region. We will be going back to the Pousada there this May for 2 nites. The other is Marvao---a real jewel. With 2 weeks you will have a great time.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2008, 08:33 AM
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Thanks Bob.

The cities I've picked are really more general areas - thinking that it may be possible to spend the day out and about (rather than just in the city itself).

I guess my big concern is that the circle may need to be smaller - maybe remove the loop up to Braganca and go directly from Gaurda to Braga instead?
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Old Mar 11th, 2008, 10:26 AM
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My sense is that the circle is definitely do-able, except for Braga to Lisbon I think you've got around 200 km in between. I think it depends on how much you want to do in each place.
In between Braganca and Braga, for instance is the parque Peneda Geres National Park, which would probably deserve at least a couple of days.

A couple of thoughts --

If you took out Braganca, you could definitely see Porto. I haven't been to Braganca, but it's a place I'd really like to visit, so I hesitate to suggest that. The choice would be between more remote mountainous area and a city that is very enjoyable (there's plenty to do in Porto for a few days, especially if the weather gods shine down on you and give you sun!).

Instead of staying in Guarda, how about staying in Belmonte or one of the villages more in the mountains? I don't think there's a whole lot you'd want to see in Guarda.

I agree with Bob that Viana do Castelo is a very nice stop and is well located for nice day trips.

Have you identified the places you want to visit in each of these stops? That might help make the choices easier. For me, for instance, three nights is a long time in Coimbra, but if I were going to go to Bussaco and Conimbriga, and if I were going to spend the day driving from Lisbon to Coimbra to visit sites like Batalha and Alcobaca along the way, I could see staying in Coimbra for three nights.

You ask about consolidating areas. I think this depends on your travel style. For me, it's much more enjoyable to avoid as much back-tracking and to change hotels more frequently. For some, it's more enjoyable to stay put for one week and take day trips out every day. Either way, I think you've identified a great part of Portugal to visit!
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Old Mar 11th, 2008, 10:46 AM
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I've been using Via Michelin as a guide for driving times -- I'm hoping it's accurate.

Coimbra - it looks like within an hour or two drive I should be able to get to Fatima, Tomar, areas near the coast such as Nazare, or north towards Viseu. I had originally thought to base out of Fatima but decided that I might have a little more flexibility in lodging in Coimbra.

That's kind of been the thought process behind the entire itinerary. I really would prefer not to change hotels every night. I don't have a specific list of 'must see' items (yet), but I know that there are several things in each of these areas that caught my attention.
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Old Mar 13th, 2008, 09:30 AM
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GoAway.... We leave for porto on Sat and have two weeks planed up north. My research indicates that you could cut down the stays in Braganca and Braga to one day and then spend 2 days in Porto, which should be a "must" stop on your trip. We are staying at the Hotel da Bolsa in Porto, based on a lot of positive comments that I've read and because of it's location down near the Douro. For a clean, modern, inexpensive hotel in Braga and Braganca, check out the Ibis Hotels in both cities. Have a great trip.
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