Portugal September Trip

Old Feb 9th, 2015, 06:45 PM
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Portugal September Trip

Hello, my husband and I are considering going to Portugal for our first trip to Europe. To be honest Europe in general intimidates us, the farthest we have traveled out of the USA is the Mexico for me and Canada for him. We considered coming here for our honeymoon last year but went to Alaska (amazing btw) instead.

This brings me to my question about our trip. Can you recommend an itinerary outline. I would love to base ourselves out of 2 or 3 places and day trip from there. I am am willing to drive but would only like to do this in the countryside or small towns. We would fly in and out of Lisbon for the best prices. Some places we think we want to see the Algrave, Lisbon, Sintra, Evora and Combria.

We would arrive on a red eye on September 3 and leave September 12. Any recommendations? Must sees that we should consider? Thanks, and sorry I wrote a book.
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Old Feb 9th, 2015, 07:27 PM
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I do not know about possible cities in Portugal, but sometimes the cost of returning to the same city for departure makes the total cost nearly as high or even higher than the cost of multi-city flight, plus it uses up costly sightseeing days for travel.
Sometimes you have no choice, but It costs both money and time to backtrack.

In general, it is best to put all time in your departure city together at the end of the trip, so you do not have two different hotel stays and you are in the departure city for your last night.
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Old Feb 9th, 2015, 10:01 PM
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Lots of travel info here:

http://wikitravel.org/en/Portugal

For quick train schedules, use this:

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en?
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Old Feb 10th, 2015, 02:24 AM
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Lisbon would be a great experience for a "softer" introduction to Europe, than say the really busy places like Rome or Barcelona. You can day trip to Sintra--30 minutes-- from Lisbon easily and Coimbra is a couple of hours by train, so again an easy day trip.

Evora is less than a couple of hours by train so again, easy day trip. However, you have only 8 days on the ground excluding your two travel days, so if you do all three day trips and still want to see something of Lisbon, it doesn't give enough time to stay down on the Algarve and then get back to Lisbon for your return flight.

There are beaches within half an hour of Lisbon at Cascais and Carcavelos if you want to get some beach time.
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Old Feb 10th, 2015, 11:27 AM
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We spent 2 weeks last summer pretty evenly split between Portugal and Spain. We loved both. Flew into Lisbon and spent 2 nights then rented a car and drove to Porto, stopping in Sintra on the way. Spent 2 nights in Porto then drove out into the Duoro Valley for 2 nights. Back to Porto for a late flight to Barcelona. 3 nights in Barcelona, then rented a car and drove north to Cadaques (loved, loved, loved!!!) where we spent 2 nights, then into the Pyrenees for 2 nights, then back to the wine country SW of Barcelona (but near the airport) for 1 last night, stopping at Montserrat on the way. Flew back to the states from Barcelona. It was a great trip! Only thing I would maybe do differently in retrospect (other than make it 3 weeks! dreaming...) would be to skip the Pyrenees. It was not a difficult trip, although we have gone to other places in a Europe a few times. I know we spent a longer time than you have...just wanted to give you some other ideas.
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Old Feb 11th, 2015, 05:35 AM
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Just saw a AAA trip to Portugal for next October.
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Old Feb 11th, 2015, 10:19 AM
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Since this is your first trip to Europe, you'll find Portugal a comfortable destination. Most of the people you'll encounter speak English, the food is excellent and the wine outstanding.

With only eight days, I would concentrate on enjoying the area around Lisbon, with a day-trip to Evora, by private car, not the train, which takes 2-1/2 hours each way.

Have lunch at Cervejaria da Esquina. Head out to Cascaias for the day and walk the beach. Take the train up to Sintra. When in Belém be sure to stop by the historic Pastéis de Belêm for a light snack. You'll find people waiting in line everyday.

Be sure to pick up a good guide book for Lisbon. It will come in handy.
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Old Feb 11th, 2015, 01:36 PM
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I'd look at two stops Lisbon and Porto, both are small cities but Lisbon is a little more easy to step straight into, while Porto is a little dustier; but in both cases the cities are safe and worth the time.

While in Europe the train is the easy way to get around, both to do a day visit to Evora but also to get to Porto. I'd probably stay over in Evora and eat the Lisbon hotel night but you could just make it a long day.

https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en/ the local company
www.seat61.com who gives good advice on train use

Now some options, Algarve is basically a long series of golf courses and hotels/villas, all very nice with the odd Roman remain, bird reserve, surfing and, on the eastern tip, what remains of the Navigation school that guided Europeans to the new world the second time. It will still be hottish in Sept.

Alentejo, the zone above the Algarve is made up of natural parks, cork-oak trees and farms, great if you like hiking

Porto, has the Port wine trade to enjoy and wine is made all over the country.
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Old Feb 11th, 2015, 05:19 PM
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There are only two morning trains from Lisbon Cais do Sodre to Evora, one at 06:00 and the second one at 08:12. Return trains are at 4:55 pm and 7:02 pm.
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