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-   -   Solo to Portugal tips (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/solo-to-portugal-tips-1663276/)

kelsey22 Feb 3rd, 2019 06:34 PM

Solo to Portugal tips
 
I would love to hear from other solo travellers who have been to Portugal. What were your impressions? What areas of Lisbon and/or Porto did you stay in? I am beginning to plan this trip and would love some input. Thanks to all.

kja Feb 3rd, 2019 08:24 PM

I haven't been to Portugal yet, but if you haven't seen it, you might want to search this thread of solo trip reports to see if any cover Portugal.
https://www.fodors.com/community/tra...ection-744113/

Enjoy!

thursdaysd Feb 3rd, 2019 09:34 PM

I have been to Portugal several times. I have never worried about my safety. In Lisbon I like to stay near Rossio station. Click on my name for my profile which will have a link to my Lisbon TR.

Seamus Feb 4th, 2019 07:16 PM

I went solo to Portugal my first visit and had a wonderful time. First couple days I stayed at the Lisboa São Bento hotel which was fairly new, cozy rather than spacious but well designed and very pleasant, with good breakfast and excellent service from staff. Then headed to Porto for a few days where I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Porto because I had points to redeem there. Very nice but a bit out of the main sites of interest, though uber is readily available and pretty cheap. On a later visit to Porto stayed at Vila Galé Porto Ribeira which was delightful and better located for touring about. On return to Lisbon stayed in an apartment in São Bento area which was terrific though the immediate neighborhood had (to be charitable) a transitional vibe. Not unsafe at all, just a bit ragged around the edges. People are incredibly friendly and helpful

One of the things that made Lisbon so enjoyable was connecting with Maureen at Grape Olive Pig and booking a tour where we shopped in the local market and then cooked lunch with our purchases. Also booked an all day tour out to the Alentejo wine country with her and it was just grand.

barbrn Feb 5th, 2019 04:56 AM

Hi kelsey, I just returned from 12 days in Portugal a few days ago. I'm still a bit jet lagged, but I know what I loved, and I loved everything about Portugal. I can't help but think you will too.

I was not traveling solo, I went with a friend. We did a Road Scholar trip first for 7 days, then had 5 days on our own. While in Lisbon we stayed at Hotel Mundial, which was very centrally located. It had a great breakfast included. In Porto, we rented an apartment on the riverfront, Oporto Home Apartments. The view from the Porto apartment was worth every cent of the plane ticket to Portugal. Great prices for both stays. We walked a lot, climbed a lot of hills, took the trams in Lisbon and a few Ubers and taxis in Porto as it was raining. Taking the train from Lisbon to Porto was very easy, we also took the train from Lisbon to Cascais.

Porto and Lisbon are very different cities, I am not sure which I loved best. My favorite experience was the wine cave tour in Porto with the tastings. We ended up making new international friends, we all went out to dinner afterwards. I'm sure you are planning trips to Sintra, Cascais, and the coastline. I ate loads of wonderful seafood and enjoyed the wit and friendliness of the Portuguese people. We found the people so helpful and patient.

This trip ranks as one of my top travel experiences ever. That should tell you how much I loved Portugal. It was jacket weather in January there, the flowers were just starting to bloom.

PalenQ Feb 5th, 2019 08:21 AM

Done Portugal by train several times - would help if you say when you are going and how long overall - but if just Lisbon and Porto - 2 fantastic cities then take the train in between - or drive if you want to spend some days going between and stopping at places like Obidos, Coimbra or Nazarre, etc.For lots about trains check pc.pt - Portuguese Railways where you can book your own trains, at a discount if book early enough. www.seat61.com has lots on that - general info trains BETS: Spain & Portugal and www.ricksteves.com.

Porto especially has some nice short day trips by train. Lisbon too - like Sintra and Evora.

Seamus Feb 5th, 2019 07:14 PM

@barbrn - your remarks pretty much parallel my own experience! Off all he places I've visited on 5 continents (so far) Portugal ranks high. Can't point to any one thing, just the overall experience was delightful and memorable. Especially agree about the waterfront accommodation in Porto - just wonderful. Also had a great time touring the port houses, and met up with an international (US, Canada, Netherlands, France) group that remains in touch through Whats App to this day.
Go, kelsey, go!

rali Feb 6th, 2019 07:50 AM

Hi Barbm -- I am headed to Porto in early March. Is there a specific wine cave tour that you recommend? Also, I googled "Oporto Home Apartments" and there are several with similar names... thought I'd check to see if you know the location or exact company name? Thank you in advance!

barbrn Feb 7th, 2019 06:27 AM

Hi rali, Porto should be wonderful in March. We did the Sandeman port tour and three port tastings. It was great and the port was very good. I had read somewhere that it is the "Budweiser of port wine" which was fine with me. I think several of the port cave tours and tastings are good, but I was impressed with Sandemans.

The Oproto Home Apartment we used were the Oporto Home Riverfront ones. We had the Red Apartment, which was a one bedroom with a brand new sofa bed. The internet pictures do not do these apartments justice. We paid a bit more for a river view and balcony. I believe the same company owns the Oporto Charm Apartments which are in the historical part of Porto, which along with the riverfront is the other area of Porto you will spend a lot of time in. We had some problems right after we got settled in with TVs and the heat, and there was someone there to help us right away. They arranged transport to and from the train station for us and spent a bit of time pointing out favorite restaurants, grocery stores, attractions and answering our questions.

Seamus, I remember reading your trip report (he wrote a really good one everyone) and appreciated your enthusiasm for Portugal. It sure lived up to my expectations.

Kelsey, I think Portugal would be a fairly easy country to be a solo traveler in. Several of the people we met on our wine cave tour were solo travelers, and those are who we went out to dinner with afterwards.

thursdaysd Feb 7th, 2019 06:35 AM

I would also recommend the Taylors port cellars.

https://www.taylor.pt/us/visit-taylo...e/port-cellars

Seamus Feb 7th, 2019 08:05 PM

BTW I heartily endorse the Porto Walkers tour of port wine houses. It starts at 3pm and lasts four hours, includes visits to multiple port houses and plenty of tastings. Have done it twice and it was great both times. They also do a free (tipping allowed/expected) walking tour that starts at 1045 am that is quite enjoyable, does involve scaling some hills and staircases but is not brutal.

erfan77 Feb 7th, 2019 10:39 PM

I have heard a lot about Portugal. But honestly, didn't go there yet. Would highly appreciate I could know some more details about Portugal.

Seamus Feb 8th, 2019 06:53 PM

What would you like to know, erfan? You might do a quick search for trip reports Portugal hereto get started

kja Feb 8th, 2019 06:59 PM


Originally Posted by erfan77 (Post 16870050)
I have heard a lot about Portugal. ... Would highly appreciate I could know some more details about Portugal.

A good guidebook or two might provide an excellent starting point. You can even consult some at your local library!

memejs Feb 12th, 2019 08:30 AM

I traveled solo to Portugal this past summer and loved it! I write pretty detailed trip reports, so just click on my name to get all of the details on what I did along with some photos.

I bounced around Lisbon a bit for my accommodations. My favorite was City Lofts Lisbon, kind of close to the Cais do Sodre metro/train station - not right in the center of things, but close enough that it's a 10-minute walk or a quick metro or streetcar ride to the center. I stayed at Home Lisbon hostel to save money - the location there is great and I found it to be a clean, mostly quiet hostel. The home-cooked Mama's dinners are delicious and a great way to get to know people. I spent one night at the Independente Hostel in Bairro Alto and would not recommend it or the neighborhood - it was loud!

In Porto I stayed at the Passenger Hostel, which is literally above the Sao Bento train station (but not at all loud). This was my favorite hostel, due to its cleanliness and location. They also rent out private rooms. I then moved to the Innvict Aparthotel for a private room, which I found on AirBnB. It was also a great location - close to the water

bailey123 Feb 12th, 2019 01:46 PM

I did Lisbon as a solo female a few years back. I felt very comfortable going almost everywhere at any time of the day or night except I did not feel comfortable venturing into Alfama and Bairro Alto after dark. I stayed at Heritage Avenida Liberdade and it was great. Avenida Liberdade, a beautiful tree lined boulevard, is very convenient walking distance to much of Lisbon and to trolleys that will take you to other areas.

kelsey22 Mar 2nd, 2019 03:55 PM

Thank you all for your responses. I took a bit of a break from planning but I am back on it. I found some great trip reports too. I appreciate all the information.

mlgb Mar 3rd, 2019 10:39 PM

I spent a few nights in Lisbon and a few in Sintra this past October. I really liked this place I stayed in Sintra,

https://www.casadapendoa.com/rooms/d...tain-view.html

I would recommend doing Sintra as an overnight, not a day trip.

In Lisbon I liked the location of Feeling Eduardo IV near the São Sebastião Metro Station and El Corte Inglés shopping centre (food hall on top floor is convenient for single diners).

rali Mar 22nd, 2019 07:18 AM

I've just returned from Portugal -- most of the time I was a solo traveler. I felt completely safe in Porto, Madeira, Sintra and Lisbon. In Lisbon I stayed in an AirBNB in Barrio Alto. While I never felt unsafe, I agree with memejs -- I would not stay there again. The location was perfect but it was LOUD. Probably would choose a quieter but nearby location like Chiado or Baixa.

Others have commented on Port House tours in Lisbon so I'll skip that. I also did a one day tour of the Duoro Valley via "CoolTour Oporto" which was great. Small group (max 8 I think... we were 6) in a van not a bus. The guide was excellent and seemed like good value for both wine and olive oil tasting - plus an optional 1 hr boat ride on the Duoro River, which I would also recommend. Probably my favorite day of 3 weeks in Portugal was with Culinary Back Street in Lisbon (they also do tours in Porto I believe). Also a small group tour with an excellent guide. Loads of tastings and also interesting history and cultural background. Both of these tours were a very comfortable way as a solo traveler to get my bearings and also have some interesting social interactions with quality people along the way.

kelsey22 Mar 22nd, 2019 03:26 PM

These are all great tips. I am getting excited to plan the little details.

I thought about going from Lisbon to Sintra from the Lisbon airport. Has anyone done that?


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