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train or car rental in Portugal

Old Apr 20th, 2018, 10:03 AM
  #1  
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train or car rental in Portugal

My husband and I are planning a 10 day trip to Portugal in beginning of June. My Itinerary is Lisbon with side trips, Obidos,Coimbra, and Porto. Should we rent a car or are trains convenient and easy to use? Should be start reserving hotels now or can we wing it and look while we're there? We really like being spontaneous and staying longer in one place if we like it. Our interests are nature, architectural, culture, good food and music. What are your recommendations? Since we're just starting our planning, I would like any help. Thank you.
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Old Apr 20th, 2018, 11:31 AM
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No need for a car for that trip, and it would be a nuisance in Lisbon and Porto. The trains are fine

Portugal has been getting popular, for June I would book.
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Old Apr 20th, 2018, 12:31 PM
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I've done all those places by train - and as thursdayds says cars in the two big cities are useless and a hassle. Also consider doing the short train ride from Lisbon out to Sintra and its fairy-tale castles.

You could hit Coimbra en route to Porto - put bags in station left-luggage and explore the amazing upper town university district. 1-night stands are a bother -packing up and unpacking, etc all time consuming -

You can book train tickets in advance online at Portugeuse Railways' site- https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en and maybe get discounted tickets by doing so early. www.seat61.com has tons of sage advice on doing that - general info trains and what to expect www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts.
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Old Apr 20th, 2018, 12:39 PM
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Between the town itself and Conimbriga there is enough to do in Coimbra to justify a two night stay.
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Old Apr 20th, 2018, 01:36 PM
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Not sure if 10 day stay means landing day and departure day?

If ten full days then yeah Coimbra would make a neat few-day stay - if not maybe not.

I'd suggest doing a day trip from Porto to say Guimares or Braga too - cities to me as interesting as Coimbra (all three are great).
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Old Apr 20th, 2018, 04:12 PM
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Get a rental car as you leave Lisbon and drop it off as you arrive Porto. It will give you the flexibility to see the small villages and towns.We stayed in Guimares before Porto and that area, the Minho, is filled with wonderful places to visit. We spent two nights in Coimbra to explore the surrounding area as well as the city.
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Old Apr 20th, 2018, 04:17 PM
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I agree with HappyTrvlr. Getting the train one way and picking up the car at one end (Lisbon or Porto) and returning at the other works out very well. It is an easy drive between the two with stops in-between.
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Old Apr 25th, 2018, 10:22 AM
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I only have 8 days in Portugal. I prefer to limit to a few destinations rather than running all the time
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Old Apr 25th, 2018, 10:25 AM
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I do like that idea as i like to stop at smaller towns and explore. Is it possible to pick up a car in Lisbon, drop it off in Porto and then take the train back to Lisbon. Or should i keep the car, explore area around Porto and take a different route back
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Old Apr 25th, 2018, 10:32 AM
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In 8 days you hardly have time to meander between the two main cities if you are to spend any time in those fascinating places. A one-way car rental is of course possible but trains for your short time period would be fine too for what you want to visit. Cars in Porto or Lisbon are useless. Perhaps do a day trip from Porto by train to Guimares or Braga - research them - both smaller city gems. Ditto Lison-Sintra and its fairy-tale castles.
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Old Apr 25th, 2018, 04:42 PM
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My husband and I leave for Portugal on Monday. It's our first time so I can't really recommend anything at this point, but I will tell you that renting a car in one place and dropping it off at another will double the cost of the car. I checked into it and the prices were much higher for a one-way rental. We decided on the following itinerary, and all hotels are booked (and all have free parking).

3 nights Lisbon; after third night, take train back to airport and pick up rental car. This way, we avoid having to drive in Lisbon.
1 night Tomar
3 nights Porto, will do some day trips
2 nights Coimbra
1 night Sintra
Bring car back to airport and fly home

This weekend, I will be contacting the hotels to make sure we have a parking spot reserved. We wanted the car so we could easily explore Tomar and the surrounding area, as well as smaller towns that are not easily accessible by train.
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Old May 8th, 2018, 10:26 AM
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Portugal

Thanks everyone for your help. I'll have 10 days. Thinking of Lisbon for 3 days (side trip to Sintra and Cascais), train to Coimbra (2 days) train to Porto (5 days). I'm thinking of exploring that area with a rental car. Does this seem doable? Any ideas or suggestions? Also going the first of June. What is the weather like? Is a light jacket sufficient? Is it hot? I was thinking of a light down jacket that can fit into a backpack. Thanks for all your help
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Old May 8th, 2018, 11:41 AM
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I'd suggest driving from Lisbon to Porto instead of renting a car once in Porto - hit several places and return car once in Porto. Or, take trains to easy day trips like Guimares and Braga and a tour up the Duoro Valley.
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Old May 14th, 2018, 03:15 AM
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3 weeks in Portugal

Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr View Post
Get a rental car as you leave Lisbon and drop it off as you arrive Porto. It will give you the flexibility to see the small villages and towns.We stayed in Guimares before Porto and that area, the Minho, is filled with wonderful places to visit. We spent two nights in Coimbra to explore the surrounding area as well as the city.
My husband and I will be spending 3 weeks in Portugal Sept-Oct. we are starting in Lisbon and ending in Porto. After 2 nights in Lisbon, taking train to Sintra, spending 3 nights there (was able to snag one of the few rooms at Sintra1012) then picking up car in Estoril, and taking a slow crawl to Porto. We like to drive, but distances between villages/towns we are staying in is pretty short. Have booked mostly bed and breakfasts. Have researched extensively and very excited about this trip!
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Old May 19th, 2018, 12:08 AM
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I am a car rental kind of traveller. We are in Nazaré as I type this, just wrapping up our trip.

As a data point, tolls on tha A highways are quite expensive. I haven’t seen our final bill but a business associate who I met with near Porto told me that for Lisbon to Porto, tolls will run 60 euro one way so he regularly takes the train or even grabs a cheap(er) flight to save money.

We really enjoyed our trip. We airbnb’d everywhere & aside from Lisbon, we avoided cities. An apartment in Lisbon/a farm in Merida, Spain/a rural house in the Marvao area/a cabin on the Douro River/a beach house north of Nazaré. We met some great people & ate well. This country is truly beautiful.

Ian
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Old May 19th, 2018, 02:31 AM
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Nazare

Originally Posted by Ian View Post
I am a car rental kind of traveller. We are in Nazaré as I type this, just wrapping up our trip.

As a data point, tolls on tha A highways are quite expensive. I haven’t seen our final bill but a business associate who I met with near Porto told me that for Lisbon to Porto, tolls will run 60 euro one way so he regularly takes the train or even grabs a cheap(er) flight to save money.

We really enjoyed our trip. We airbnb’d everywhere & aside from Lisbon, we avoided cities. An apartment in Lisbon/a farm in Merida, Spain/a rural house in the Marvao area/a cabin on the Douro River/a beach house north of Nazaré. We met some great people & ate well. This country is truly beautiful.

Ian
Good to know about the tolls. We will just have to budget that in. We will be staying at Quinta das Rosas, on a hill overlooking Nazare for 3 nights in late September. It looks like a wonderful place to stay. We hear there is a really great restaurant nearby- Pangea. In addition to exploring Nazare, we plan to take a day trip to Alcobaca to see the historic Monastery there. Do you have any tips/recommendations for Nazare?
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Old May 19th, 2018, 05:16 AM
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A ‘road’ in Lomba, Portugal.


Our rental is in Falca Beach, a few miles north of Sitiado, which is the town on the rock above Nazaré. Since it is not high season yet, yesterday we drove & parked at the Faro (lighthouse) for pics & street parked in Sitiado. In season this would probably be impossible unless you go early. I sat in the sun in the plaza while my wife shopped the tourist shops. We took the funicular down (2.90 euro each for an up & down ticket) & ate lunch at one of the many restaurants in the maze near the main beach. Nothing memorable really.

Overall, my best advice for Portugal is to prepare for ‘interesting’ driving experiences. They really love round-a-bouts here. I forgot my standard gps at home so we have been using Google maps & apple maps for nav since I have a great data roaming plan. Both are very slow & I often had to commit before they could give me directions. Of course, 70% of the time I took the wrong turn, so we have done a lot of circling or turning around. And I have stuffed my rental down streets that were scarily narrow. Just fold the mirrors in & stay calm & try not to yell at each other too much.
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Old May 19th, 2018, 05:39 AM
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No reason you can't keep going round the roundabout until your GPS makes up its mind.
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Old May 19th, 2018, 06:02 AM
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In previous trips involving lots of roundabouts and getting lost, in Tuscany and Provence, we know exactly what you mean! We will be pre-loading our GPS with all relevant addresses prior to leaving home. It really helps.

Planned to go up the funicular and try the percebes , which we’ve never had. Any restaurant that stands out for you in Nazare?

Your attached road picture made me nervous just looking at it!
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Old May 19th, 2018, 07:30 AM
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Ian
 
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
No reason you can't keep going round the roundabout until your GPS makes up its mind.
Except you get dizzy . . .

Originally Posted by norvells View Post
Any restaurant that stands out for you in Nazare?
We only had one lunch there. Restaurante Nova Casa Cação & it was friendly but just OK.

We spurned hotels this trip for house rentals so we have only had a handful of restaurant meals in 3 weeks. We saved a bundle of money & since we are staying rurally, it also saved driving at night.

Ian
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