Road Trip between Lisbon and Porto

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Mar 27th, 2016, 02:07 AM
  #1
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Road Trip between Lisbon and Porto

We are a family of four adults and have booked four nights in Lisbon and four nights in Porto. Travelling between the two we have six nights and think we will hire a rental car.
At this stage our plan is two nights in Evora followed by two nights in Tomar (to see Obidos, Alcobaca, Batalha,Fatima and Tomar and maybe Nazare), followed by one night in Coimbra and one night in the Duoro valley before dropping off the car at Porto airport and then going into Porto.

Any advice about this itinery? Is hiring a rental car the best idea to see these places? Originally we thought of staying in Nazare for two nights and travelling around the nearby sights before heading for Coimbra but this looks like it involves backtracking and thinking that Tomar might be a better option to stay in with the idea of seeing it and Fatima one day, then travelling to Alcobaca Batalha and Obidos the next day before returning to Tomar or does this not make sense? We are trying to see these areas without covering the same ground so would be very grateful if people could advise whether best to stay in say Nazare or Tomar or would we be better to go Evora to Obidos Alcabaca and stay in Nazare the night, then the next day travel to Fatima and stay in Tomar the night before moving onto Coimbra.

I realise we have all one night stops with this last plan with the exception of Evora but think we could cope with this if we didnt have too much mileage to do in one day.

Any suggestions about driving in the Duoro valley and where to stay as opposed to going by boat and or train from Porto.

Many thanks for any and all suggestions. Please fell free to criticize and take this itinerary apart as we genuinely would like good advice from people who know this area.

Warmest regards to all contributors - very much appreciate your input!
MillyMay is offline  
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Mar 31st, 2016, 09:03 AM
  #2
 
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Hi!

Well, is never easy to see/live the most during hollydays, but I think your plan looks ok.

Going to Évora: Try "Bifanas no pão" (bread with a pig steak) at Vendas Novas (if your are allowed to eat pig). Anyplace, they are really good.

Évora is really nice (bones chapter, Diana's Temple) but small, I think you can see all in one day, That does not mean your should not stay for 2 nights.

To me, seeing Tomar (one of my favourites) and Fátima is ok, but my advice is: Fátima, Tomar, visit+dinner+stay and leave the day after. You could stay in Òbidos, inside our outside the walls. Returning to Tomar seems to me a waste of time. So you could leave Tomar, go to Batalha, then Alcobaça, then you can jump to Nazaré (matriarc are very funny wearing 7 skirts) and end at Óbidos.

Next day Coimbra with one night and the last one at Douro Valley (btw I don't know why a river between high mountais is called valley)seems ok.

Of course I would need to know what you value most (locals, historic places, monuments, "places-everytourist-goes", places unknown by tourists, etc.), to advise better!

Wish you excellent hollydays!
Helena

P.S. Hope you are used to drive in mountains.
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Apr 2nd, 2016, 07:53 AM
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Depending on the time of year, accommodations in the Douro can be difficult if not booked well in advance. There are several nice Quintas that have rooms. I'd look at Quinta do Vallado (www.quintadovallado.com), Quinta do Pégo (http://quintadopego.com) and Quinta de la Rosa (www.quintadelarosa.com) first.
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Apr 4th, 2016, 01:32 PM
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I think your plan sounds do-able if you don't mind 1 night stays. We really hate 1 nighters but sometimes it's necessary to fit in the places you want to see without backtracking.

We are headed to Portugal in mid May for 15 days. After much research and feedback from the Fodor community, we have planned our time as follows. Hope this helps in some way for your planning:

Arrive Lisbon early evening and stay for 5 nights, 4 full days, with day trip to Belem and another to Sintra.

Pickup rental car at downtown hotel on day 6 and then drive to Evora for 3 nights. On our way to Evora, stop at Arraiolos and maybe Montemor. Spend the following day in Evora and 3rd day will do side trips to visit Monsaraz, Sao Bento do Corval for pottery(base of Monsaraz hill), Vila Vicosa & Estremoz.

Drive to Obidos on day 9 and stay 2 nights at Pousada. Spend first day visiting town and the following day visiting Alcobaca, Batalha, Fatima or another option is making a day trip to Nazare.

On the morning of day 11 drive to Tomar and then late afternoon drive to Bussaco Palace Hotel in the Busaco Forest. Stay here overnight.

On morning of day 12,drive to Braga and Guimaraes and drop car late afternoon at Porto airport. Overnight in Porto.

Days 13-14 in Porto and day 15 take train from Porto back to Lisbon. Overnight in Lisbon before flight back to US the next day.
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Apr 6th, 2016, 03:23 AM
  #5
 
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A few notes: it's a nice plan showing a lot of homework. Montemor-o-Novo is a nice to see town, but with no special attractions do display. I'd prefer to save time to Arraiolos. Apart from the tapestry, Arraiolos has a Pousada out of town (1 mile). Even if you are not staying there, it is worth to visit Pousada's chapel, because it has the walls all covered in fine painted azulejos (one of the best collections in Portugal, google "pousada arraiolos azulejos").
After visiting Monsaraz and Alentejo's castles (the real thing), you may find Óbidos a little disneyesque, but nevertheless is a nice place to stay as a base since it is in the crossing of major roads. It you have not reserved Pousada, consider the option of staying in Tomar (much cheaper, I guess). The nearby templar's castle of Almourol offers great photo opps.
Bussaco is sacred ground since it witnessed 200 years ago, one of the 1st defeats of Napoleon's armies.
Other options alongside your planned route are Elvas (military architecture, recently recognized as UNESCO heritage for it's extensive walls and defensive works), Marvão (eagle's nest, overlooking tens of miles of Portuguese and Spanish plains) and Castelo de Vide (for jewish heritage)
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Apr 9th, 2016, 01:34 AM
  #6
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Thanks so much to everyone for all your ideas and suggestions.
We are really looking forward to this trip and yes I agree one night stays are not the best but sometimes necessary to fit everything in.
I guess one thing we are still really wondering about is whether we should just stay one night in Evora then drive to Tomar - stay a night then go to Nazare for two nights if this would be a better plan and more relaxing.
Other option is to drive Evora to Obidos and onto Nazare but would then need to either stay in Tomar or backtrack to Nazare which doesnt make a lot of sense.
Basically I wonder if the extra day in Evora is worth it to see surrounding towns or whether we would be better heading to Nazare for two days and not worry about other towns around Evora but open to suggestions from people who know a lot more about the area than us.
Also is it necessary to book accomodation before we go or could we find accomodation easily in May without pre-booking?
Again many thanks for everyones helpful suggestions - they are very much appreciated !
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Apr 9th, 2016, 01:38 AM
  #7
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Also to answer you Helena we love to see the countryside and the local people and do what they do as to eating in local cafes and walk the streets etc. We love history but prefer to stay away from places that are too touristy - would rather do what the locals do. Its the same in every country including our own New Zealand - we never go to the tourist places as so many nicer places where the locals go.
Any suggestions you have we would love to consider.
Thank you very much for being so helpful.
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