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Suggestions for 2 locations for time in Portugal

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Jun 20th, 2014, 04:13 PM
  #1
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Suggestions for 2 locations for time in Portugal

My husband and I will be in Portugal for 2-3 weeks next May. We will most likely fly into Lisbon and spend a few days there to begin. After our time in Portugal, we will be heading to the Galicia area of Spain. I would love help in identifying 2 locations where we can spend about a week each. We would like to stay away from the highly touristed areas, and would like to settle in a small town or village, with good access to day hikes. I guess one could be in south and one in north. We will be renting a car, and are open to drives of an hour or so to hiking areas. Any ideas?
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Jun 20th, 2014, 07:51 PM
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In the north I liked the town of Guimaraes, but don't know how good the hiking is within an hour's radius.

http://www.portugal-live.net/UK/places/guimaraes.html

I didn't visit Viana do Castelo, but it sounds lovely and you would be right near the Peneda Geres national park.

http://www.portugal-live.net/UK/plac...o-castelo.html

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com...eres-portugal/
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Jun 20th, 2014, 09:24 PM
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We like Braga and Viana. If you are flying into Lisbon be sure to stop at Coimbra on the way north.

In Galicia plan on seeing the Rias Baixas, a beautiful area. In Galicia they speak Gallego which is founded more in Portuguese than Castilian.

Lugo has a well preserved Roman wall.

If you can find out the schedule for when they swing the Botafumeiro at the Cathedral in Santiago, go, it is quite the spectacle to see a five foot incense burner swing across the Cathedral spewing smoke and fire.

https://www.google.com/search?q=bota...w=1920&bih=945

There is also a strong Celtic influence in Galicia. One of the main regional instruments is the bagpipe. So another place to see is Castro de Barona, Celtic ruins.

And two of the most beautiful places in Galicia are Iles de Cies, which a ferry ride from Vigo and one other place and should satisfy your criterion for a hike. The other is Costa da Morte.

Sorry, we rarely stay in hotels there. And I have a personal rule on these boards not to recommend a hotel or restaurant that I or someone I trust has not stayed or eaten at in the past year.
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Jun 21st, 2014, 04:58 PM
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What we saw of Peneda Geres park was fabulous. We ended up just spending a day driving through it due to bad weather that was expected. I would have loved to have more time there. Viana do Castelo is about a 30-45 minute drive from the park so you could stay there. We didn't see many tourist pin either place. We just spent a month in Portugal and Viana do Castelo was not my favorite town, but its nice and I think Peneda Geres is the place to go for hiking.

Have fun - Portugal is a lovely country.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 01:04 PM
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Thanks for the ideas. I have received 2 books with trails in Portugal, and so have a couple more questions.
First, we are interested in staying for a while in southern Portugal, and there appear to be trails in the Algarve. We would like to avoid the over-developed areas and concentrate on smaller villages. So, what about Monchique? There are also nice trails near Alte, so wondered if anyone had been there?
Second, for northern Portugal, Viana do Castelo looks nice. I wonder also about Ponte de Lima. Does anyone have any input on that village?

Yestravel, are there northern villages you especially liked?
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Jun 26th, 2014, 01:54 PM
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In the north, the Minho, we stayed in Guimares and enjoyed it; it's a small city with several historic sites.We also drove by both Viana do Castelo,and Ponte de Lima and would certainly consider staying in either of them. I tried to find references to Ponte de Lima on this forum as I remember reading several favorable posts about it when planning our trip.
Galicia is a favorite of ours too and I second the Rias Baixes area for a stay.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 01:58 PM
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I recommend Galicia too
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Jun 26th, 2014, 03:08 PM
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We went thru Ponte de Lima and it seemed to be much bigger than Viana do Castelo. It looked nice and perhaps it's a bit closer to Geres?
If you plan to go into Spain, Galicia is wonderful. Sticking to Portugal, there is a lot to see. Agree that Guimares is just lovely, but probably had the most tourists of anywhere we were. Porto is a great city and the Duoro River Valley eastwards is beautiful. Luso was a nice little town and you can always go walking in the forests at Buscasso. Coimbra has the university with its fabulous library. If you are only looking to hike I'm not sure these towns are the best place to base yourself though.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 05:15 PM
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Yes, we will be heading to Galicia from Portugal, spending a week to 10 days there. I was hoping to settle in one place for the time there, but think it would be best to choose two spots, one near the coast and one inland. I need to continue my research before deciding on places to settle. Any ideas?
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Jun 26th, 2014, 06:21 PM
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See above.
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