Travelling Through Portugal

Sep 12th, 2019, 11:42 AM
  #1  
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Travelling Through Portugal

Myself, my husband and our 2 children (11 and 15), are planning a trip to Portugal next summer and would love some feedback on renting a car versus taking public transportation. We are looking at flying into Porto (from Toronto, Canada) and making various stops south over the course of a week or so and ending in Lagos. We will stay there for about a week and then fly out from Faro. We would love some assistance on if we need a rental car or could do the trip using various forms of public transportation. We plan to do a lot of beaches, main tourist attractions, hiking, outdoor activities, etc. in places like Lisbon, Sintra, Obidos, Nazare, Aveiro. Thanks!
rhondaarmour is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 12:29 PM
  #2  
 
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A group of 4 is nearly always better off travelling in a car, especially if it's a family.

That said Sintra, Obidos, Aveiro and probably Nazare ttoo are all easiléy accessible by train or bus.

I think your should go for a mix of public transport and driving to get the most out of both options.
BDKR is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 08:11 PM
  #3  
kja
 
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As noted on your other thread, you can check your transportation options on rome2rio.com
-- just be sure to click through to the underlying websites, as the main page is not sensitive to seasonal variations.

Whether a car is best or not, even for a group of 4, depends on priorities and interests. For example, the driver doesn't get to enjoy the scenery in the same way s/he would if taking public transportation, and the driver wouldn't be able to partake in an occasional glass of wine or beer if driving shortly after a meal or other break. With 4 people, you would need a car large enough to hold all the luggage, which can make the car a bit larger than one might want on some roads. Some parents want to introduce their children to using public transportation, which can be a great experience in and of itself, not to mention that it's an opportunity to interact with other people. And of course, public transportation is a greener option. With just a week or so, you could easily plan a trip that would not require a car if you want. Your trip, your call.
kja is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 10:16 PM
  #4  
 
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Good points in favour of public transport by kja and the kids are old enough to carry their own luggage.

I'm not much of a fan of rome2rio. I recommend getting the info from the official sources. www.cp.pt for trains.

I'd still recommend going for a mix of driving and public transport unless you're hardcore fans of one or the other.

You could use the car to move from place to place, not having to worry about carrying your luggage and than you could do daytrips by train from time to time. For example to Sintra or Obidos from Lisbon. Than use another day to drive around the spots around Sintra.

A scenic train trip to the Douro Valley from Porto. You can take a steam train on weekends. The narrow gauge Vouga line near Aveiro is also fun if you like trains. It is the last remaining narrow gauge line of Portugal.

https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en/how...storical-train

https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en/how...storical-train

I'm thinking like a couple of days in Porto with a daytrip to the Douro. Pick up a car and drive to Lisbon, than return the car. After a few days in/around Lisbon take a train to Faro/Lagos and rent another car for a couple of days to discover some "hidden" coves and beaches.
BDKR is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 10:19 PM
  #5  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by BDKR View Post
I'm not much of a fan of rome2rio. I recommend getting the info from the official sources.
rome2rio's underlying pages link to official sources in almost all cases. If they don't, one can identify the official sources in almost any decent guidebook.



kja is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 11:41 PM
  #6  
 
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Rent a car. Driving in Portugal is easy and stressfree and you can stop wherever and whenever you like.
No need to lose time to go to stations, wait for trains, schlepp with luggage, etc.
We drove all over Portugal many times. The only time we took the train was from Sintra to Lisbon and back (and parked our rental car at the station in Sintra which is quite a hike from the center).
MyriamC is offline  
Sep 13th, 2019, 06:12 PM
  #7  
kja
 
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I understand the benefits of road trips, and sometimes include them as part of my journeys, but every time I rent a car in Europe, I find the first day or two stressful, because the rules of the road and signage differ from those with which I am familiar. I wonder if MyriamC, who lives in Belgium, appreciates that issue?
kja is offline  
Sep 13th, 2019, 11:07 PM
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
I understand the benefits of road trips, and sometimes include them as part of my journeys, but every time I rent a car in Europe, I find the first day or two stressful, because the rules of the road and signage differ from those with which I am familiar. I wonder if MyriamC, who lives in Belgium, appreciates that issue?
Being used to drive in Belgium, I'm of course used to drive in the worst possible conditions of narrow roads, traffic jams, etc. Therefore I don't mind driving in other countries, and not only in Europe. Signage for every country can be found online. In Europe it's mainly the same for every country, except speed limits. I really don't see that as an issue.
MyriamC is offline  
Oct 9th, 2019, 05:21 PM
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We just got back from Portugal and did a combination of public transportation and rental car. We used public transportation when in Lisbon including for day trips by train to Sintra and to Cascais, and rented a car from the Lisbon airport when our time in Lisbon ended. While in Lisbon we found using Uber very convenient and cost effective (and we walked a lot). We found the highways easy to navigate and surprisingly empty (we did rent a transponder device from the rental company as most of the roads we needed were toll roads). We drove to Obidos (don't take the car into the old part of the town), Tomar, Nazare, Batalha, and Evora. We enjoyed the freedom of being able to come and go when we wanted, having somewhere to put our stuff, and not having to lug our bags around. If you can dive the 401 you can drive in Portugal! Enjoy.
Waterloo12 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2019, 12:14 AM
  #10  
 
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I would probably use the public transport such as the train (there are fast trains) to get to the main cities and then rent a car to visit Sintra, Obidos and Nazare, is a good idea. Lisbon and Porto are a bit crowded in terms of traffic, the public transport might be a good option.
oliverclive is offline  
Oct 13th, 2019, 04:33 PM
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by kja View Post
I understand the benefits of road trips, and sometimes include them as part of my journeys, but every time I rent a car in Europe, I find the first day or two stressful, because the rules of the road and signage differ from those with which I am familiar. I wonder if MyriamC, who lives in Belgium, appreciates that issue?
Perhaps that is an issue that is peculiar only to certain individuals and does not necessarily constitute something that concerns others.

Beach hopping in the Algarve, and hiking, would definitely benefit from a car. Outside of Lisbon and Porto a car affords many more options in Portugal. Given the OP's travel preferences, renting a car when leaving Porto and dropping it in Lisbon (I presume that will be several days later), and then another rental when leaving Lisbon for the Algarve might make sense. Definitely the Lisbon - Algarve - Faro portion will be better served by car.
Aramis is offline  
Oct 13th, 2019, 05:26 PM
  #12  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
Perhaps that is an issue that is peculiar only to certain individuals and does not necessarily constitute something that concerns others.
Indeed! That's why I phrased the issue as I did. I made a statement about my experience -- which is not a matter for debate, (although others could have / have had different experiences) and I asked MyriamC a question, to which others can reply as they see fit.

Last edited by kja; Oct 13th, 2019 at 06:09 PM.
kja is offline  
Oct 13th, 2019, 07:21 PM
  #13  
 
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I would say yes to trains Porto to Lisbon, pick up a car when leaving Lisbon to Faro and leave it at Faro airport. Look at accomodation in Monchique, high up in the hills, great views, the only precaution would be bush fires in the summer ( common in Portugal over the summer season, )...
misskdonkey is offline  

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