Suggestions for a Portugal home base?

Oct 30th, 2009, 03:14 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4
Suggestions for a Portugal home base?

Three of us will be spending two weeks in Portugal in December. We plan on renting an apartment in Lisbon during the week leading up to Christmas and then moving elsewhere to spend the week after Christmas. It's the second week that has me (I'm the travel planner) perplexed. We'd again like to rent an apartment, but I'm not sure where to look. Our preference is to be in a central location -- not too big of a city -- that would easily allow us to take day excursions (we'll have a car for the second week). All options are on the table. The only requirement is we would like to spend a day in Fatima. That could, of course, be something we do on our way to or from our destination. Any suggestions for a nice central location with easy access to history, culture, good food and pretty scenery?

Thanks for the help!
biomrose is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 03:36 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,431
My choice would be Porto. It is a lively city, offers day-trip sights such as along the Duoro River.
treplow is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 06:20 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4
Thanks for the suggestion, Treplow. We would like to visit Porto, but would really rather center ourselves somewhere more rural.
biomrose is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 11:49 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 911
There is a lot to see in the Porto area including the Duoro Valley but I'm not sure how much is open during the winter. You could stay in a smaller town in the north like Guimaraes and do daytrips to Porto, Braga, etc. Or have you considered Evora with daytrips to Marvao, Estremoz, etc.
Lily is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 11:58 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,509
I suggest Estromoz or Evora for the Alentajo. However, I do love Viana do Castelo as a base in the north--do not miss the Thursday market at Barcelos.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Nov 4th, 2009, 08:59 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2
Hi biomrose. I would be thrilled to benefit from your experience as I am going to Portugal on December 29, 2009 through January 8, 2010. We are taking an 8 day road trip starting in Lisbon -- I'd like to see as much as I can but want to enjoy the experience without overloading. We are an active couple with adult daughters and love culture, sights, food and wine. Any input from anyone would be greatly appreciated. So excited!!
eveeee is offline  
Nov 4th, 2009, 12:01 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 16,579
Hi; Evora has been suggested and it's a great central location. It's east of Lisbon, perhaps a bit less than two hours drive. Very easy drive. Many towns to visit nearbye. I think three or four days in Evora and then three of four days in Obidos, about an hour north of the Lisbon airport. There are also many towns to visit in that location, Sintra being one of them. Richard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/evora [you can click on the city and then the district to view the history of the surrounding towns] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/obidos
iris1745 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2009, 12:48 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 16,579
P.S. Fatima is just north of Obidos. Could also visit Tomar and Batalma http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/fatima http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/tomar
iris1745 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 01:33 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4
Thanks to all for the great suggestions. We did a similar trip to Italy two Christmases ago and based ourselves in Assisi. We'd venture out every morning for a different day trip and left feeling like we'd gotten a real feel for the Umbrian countryside. We had such a good time we thought we might try a similar approach this year in Portugal.
biomrose is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 02:16 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,181
Hi, biomrose,

If it were me, I'd choose from one of three bases: somewhere in the Alentejo (near Evora, since that's probably the most central); in central Portugal, the Beiras region near Coimbra (which would give you lots of access to mountain areas such as Luso, Lousa, as well as towns like Tomar, the ruins at Conimbriga); or north near Guimaraes (from which you could visit the northern towns of Viana do Castelo, Ponte de Lima, Vila Nova da Cerveira).

Any of those places is going to give you lots to see, but maybe the Alentejo is the safest in terms of weather during the winter. You can easily fill a week with visits to Monsaraz, Marvao, Castelo de Vide, Borba, Vila Vicosa -- and that's only the northern part of the Alentejo -- then there's Serpa, Beja, and the Alentejo coast as well.

good luck with the trip planning. Laurie
lreynold1 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 03:18 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,713
does anyone have any info on the Grande Lago area?
we are thinking of taking a boat cruise there.
some town names are Monsaraz and Juromenha..

thanks
jetsetj is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 04:10 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 16,579
Hi jetsetj; Monsaraz is a lovely town to visit. Richard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/monsaraz
iris1745 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2009, 04:32 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 20
When traveling in Portugal we took the train everywhere from Lisbon, so I can't help you out with that. Please watch your pockets, when on the trolley's in Lisbon - lots of pick pockets, but with that said, it is a wonderful country. We took the train to a magical place called Sintra,.[ which was recommended by another person on this site] a long walk up into the mountains to see the castle 40 min from Lisbon. We also drove 3 hrs to the Algarve, the beach along the Atlantic. You don't want to leave, it is so beautiful, but I'm not certain that's on your itinerary.

Maybe you have some suggestions for us we are going with 17 family members Mar.to Apr. and we have a farm villa in Orvieto, Umbria. I see you were in Assisi and I'm wondering if you might have some suggestions, or things you may have done differently.Did you drive up to Florence, or over to Rome? Things to consider etc. What were your highlights?We will be renting cars.
grucci is offline  
Nov 7th, 2009, 09:19 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,713
thanks iris
jetsetj is offline  
Nov 7th, 2009, 08:34 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 4
I realize this would be more appropriate on the Italy forum, but as grucci asked here, I felt I should answer.

We took the train from Rome to Perugia where we picked up our rental car. Spello and Orvieto were particular favorites. I really wanted to like Deruta, but we just didn't connect. If you get the chance to see the mosaic floor in the thermal baths of Bavagna, I strongly encourage you to do so. For a small city, Bavagna is full of charm.

Experiencing the Italian celebration of Christmas was the real highlight for us. Every where we went there were nativity scenes on display; they weren't limited to churches -- people would display very elaborate setups in windows of their homes that fronted the streets or in buildings left open for easy access. Always you would find traditional manger settings, which were then enhanced by Italian-centric themes.

I realize this isn't particularly helpful for your itinerary, but the Umbrian countryside provides much to be enjoyed -- particularly the people you will meet. Don't be afraid to wander off the guidebook path. Umbria is a wonderful place.
biomrose is offline  
Nov 9th, 2009, 09:17 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 20
biomrose, thank you - I'm new to this site -
grucci is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:26 AM.