Trip itinerary help

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Aug 10th, 2018, 10:13 AM
  #1
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Trip itinerary help

We will have 11 days in Portugal at the end of September. We are looking for suggestions in the north and south to visit. We like gardens, scenic towns, etc. Don't care about museums. Would you take a train to Porto and then rent a car for a few days in the north, then go to Faro and rent a car for a few days in the south. Then train back to Lisbon for a couple of days? Or rent the car at the Lisbon airport and use the car the whole trip except when back in Lisbon? Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Joe
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Aug 10th, 2018, 10:44 AM
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I'd suggest maybe skipping car all together and taking trains - spend say 5 days in Lisbon and do day trips to places like Evora or Sintra and take train to Porto for 3-4 days and do day trips by train to places like Guimares or Braga or tours to Duroro - and spend a few days at say Nazarre near Porto and a great seaside town. I'd forget Algarve - so many nicer places to go IMO on limited time - Coimbra could be a neat stop too between Lisbon and Porto. Anyway for lots on trains check www.cp.pt - Portuguese Railways' site where you can book your own tickets online at a discount often if early enough. www.seat61.com has great info on doing that yourselves online - general info Portuguese trains and where to go also check BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com. If wanting to do Duoro in depth rent a car in Porto.
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Aug 10th, 2018, 12:13 PM
  #3
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Thank you very much for the advice...very good.
Best,
Joe
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Aug 10th, 2018, 12:59 PM
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Thanks - you might check flying into Lisbon and out of Porto - unless you have direct flights to Lisbon from home.
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Aug 10th, 2018, 01:11 PM
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We rented a car for our ten day trip to Portugal. It is very easy to drive in Portugal and we had no issues. We liked the flexibility of having a car so we could drive where we wanted to. We drove up through the Douro Valley and it was amazing!
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Aug 10th, 2018, 01:33 PM
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Depends what you want on short trip - but cars are great - stay in Lisbon some days and rent car and forget Algarve IMO -mainly modern resort cities and wend you way north from Lisbon - for coastal neatness Nazarre area great and then can really do Duroro at leisure - end in Porto, return car enjoy city and take train back to Lisbon or fly out from Porto.
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Aug 12th, 2018, 11:27 AM
  #7
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Thanks for all for your advice. So it looks like we will be landing at Porto from USA and departing from Lisbon...so this is good. We arrive Porto on Monday 9/24 and depart Lisbon on Thursday, 10/4. So that is 10 nights in Portugal. I think we will do day trips via train, etc and not rent a car. So with this in mind, would you suggest splitting the time 5 days each between the two bases? And however you would split it, what would you suggest we do with the time in each? Thanks again!!
Best,
Joe
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Aug 12th, 2018, 11:36 AM
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Yes maybe 5 days each and try to stop in Coimbra (research it) when going between Porto and Lisbon for a few hours and go up to university area and its awesome huge courtyard area.
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Aug 12th, 2018, 02:06 PM
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We spent 5 nights in Lisbon this past April. Those 5 nights included a day trip to Sintra. We loved Lisbon, we saw a lot, but there were a few things we didn't have time to see. We had about 3.5 days in Lisbon, and almost a full day in Sintra. You can click on my name to read my trip report from this past April.
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Aug 12th, 2018, 03:36 PM
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My favorite Lisbon day trips - Belem - well part of Lisbon
Sintra
Evora

Porto
Guimares
Braga
Duroro is a long day trip - take escorted bus or boat tour if going there.
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Aug 13th, 2018, 01:28 PM
  #11
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Many thanks for all the help. Here is what we are thinking...please feel free to pick it apart and comment!

Mon. Sep. 24 Arrive Porto from USA at 10:30 AM - crash and maybe go our for dinner and walk after nap
Tues. Sep. 25 - Porto sights
Wed. Sep. 26 - Duoro Valley and river cruise day trip
Thurs. Sep. 27 - Guimares day trip
Fri. Sep. 28 - Braga or Amarante day trip????
Sat. Sep. 29 - AM train to Coimbra then PM trip to Lisbon from Coimbra
Sun. Sep. 30 - Lisbon sights
Mon. Oct. 1 - Day trip to Sintra
Tues. Oct. 2- Day trip to Evora
Wed. Oct. 3 - Liston sights
Thurs. Oct. 4 - AM flight back to USA

Here are some questions:
1) With only one full day in Porto and maybe part of our arrival day, are we shortchanging Porto itself? What are the must sees in Porto? We don't care about museums...we like castles, fortresses, landscapes, gardens, historic places
2) With two full days in Lisbon, what are the must sees? Our likes are above.
3) Any other suggestions to improve the above?

Thanks and best!
Joe
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Aug 13th, 2018, 03:30 PM
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Belem certainly should be on your list with your wishes -really part of Lisbon - on Tagus River - take tram 28 - the hill-climbing tram up thru the old Alfama - hilly old part of town.

But itinerary looks great - day trips can be left in flux - play it by ear.
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Aug 13th, 2018, 03:43 PM
  #13
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Done! Thank you. Do you think it is possible to take the train from Porto to Coimbra and spend a few hours...then train to Tomar for a few hours...then last train to Lisbon? Or just do a separate day trip from Lisbon?

Joe
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Aug 13th, 2018, 04:25 PM
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Not sure how far Tomar is from Coimbra but IME I only spend a few hours in Coimbra -just went up to University area - the library and quad being the top sights. So with early start possible I would think but a long day - check on luggage storage at both train stations - not sure on current status.
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Aug 14th, 2018, 03:55 PM
  #15
 
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I can only speak to Lisbon... For Lisbon the Castle of St. Jorge, the Belem neighborhood, and a day trip to Sintra (as you've planned).

I wrote a trip report with our itinerary, photos, and cost breakdown:
http://fanofblank.blogspot.com/2017/...nd-sintra.html

Hope it helps you get some ideas of the sights.
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