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Which hotel in Lisbon?

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Jul 19th, 2014, 02:31 PM
  #1
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Which hotel in Lisbon?

This is my first time visiting Lisbon and I am a (young) senior traveling solo. Am ending a group tour in Lisbon and have added three nights on my own following the tour. I have made a reservation at the Marque de Pombal. The hotel looks lovely but I want to make sure I'm in a good location for getting around. I might take the train to Ericeira to visit a friend for the day. Not sure yet which train station I need.

Based on whether or not I want to return to Sintra after the group tour ends, I might take the train there one day (I don't know from which station). A morning tour with Grand Circle includes stops in Sintra and Cascais. If I decide to depart from the tour and stay in Sintra for the afternoon, how easy is it to train back to Lisbon and how much time should I allow? This would eliminate my taking the train back to Sintra after the group tour. This is my first time on an organized tour so not sure if they let people do that. If given the choice would you spend a little time in Sintra and a little time in Cascais or drop Cascais to spend more time in Sintra?

My budget for hotel is to stay under $200 a night. I know Lisbon is hilly, but I would prefer a hotel where it's not at the top of a hill that I need to climb each time I go in or out.

My flight out of Lisbon departs at 10:25am. I thought I would be able to take the aerobus but I think it starts too late for me to do that, so I think I will need a taxi from the hotel to the airport. How much time should I allow to get to the airport on a Saturday morning?

Thanks.
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Jul 19th, 2014, 08:09 PM
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Centrally located, flat enough..Sofitel and Avenida Palace however I don't know their rates.
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Jul 19th, 2014, 10:04 PM
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I would recommend the Avenida Palace, it's practically next door to the Rossio station, which is where the train from Sintra arrives, and is very convenient to all the other forms of transport in Lisbon. I can't afford it, so I stay at the Residencial Florescente, which is nearly as convenient.

If you want to depart from the tour in Sintra, just tell the guide and then do it. Is the tour taking you to Belem? That's where I would want the most time, although I would want more in Sintra than Cascais.

Looks like the airport bus starts at 7:00, but you could take the metro instead. That seems to start at 6:00. The airport is quite close to downtown. See http://www.golisbon.com/transport/transport.html

For some things to do in Lisbon see my TR: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ing-lisbon.cfm
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Jul 19th, 2014, 10:36 PM
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Thank you both for your comments. thursdaysd, I read your Lisbon report and I'm glad I did. You pointed me in some directions. I believe the tour bus will go to Belem, but I think we will not be exiting the bus. Having never taken a tour I don't know what to expect.

I looked for your photos on smugmug but the page didn't go anywhere. I'm big on taking photos and hope to get some stunners on this trip -- 14 days in Spain (starting in Madrid) and ending with four days in Lisbon.
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Jul 20th, 2014, 01:33 AM
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From Lisbon to Ericeira, you can take a bus from the Campo Grande metro station.

It is easy to take the train between Lisbon and Sintra, you take it from the Rossio train station in the center of the city.

You should have plenty of time with either the Aerobus or Metro (opens at 6:30 am) as there will be no traffic on Saturday mornings.

Enjoy Lisbon!
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Jul 20th, 2014, 02:49 AM
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<< I believe the tour bus will go to Belem, but I think we will not be exiting the bus >>

It looks like you're doing a drive by that morning and the afternoon is free. If the last portion of the bus excursion is Belem you can leave the tour there, visit the monastery, coach museum, and discovery monument on your own and take the bus back to Lisbon.

Cabs are very cheap and plentiful in Lisbon so it would be easy to get back to your hotel or some other sight in Lisbon.

<< Having never taken a tour I don't know what to expect. >>

Every tour is different. Even if you had taken a tour(s) before it doesn't mean that you'll know what to expect from this one.
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Jul 20th, 2014, 05:38 AM
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Sorry to hear the link no longer works - I think smugmug has reorganized things. Try this:

http://kwilhelm.smugmug.com/Travel/L...o-2008/Lisbon/

Am amazed that the tour only does a drive by in Belem, the monastery is an absolute must-see!
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Jul 20th, 2014, 06:01 AM
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I was surprised to, thursdaysd. Here's the description from the tour itinerary:

"...in the historic section of Belem. Here you'll see the 16th-century church of the Jeronimos Monastery, containing Vasco da Gama's tomb, the ornate Belem Tower, and the Monument of the Discoveries."

The half day Lisbon tour ends before lunch.
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Jul 20th, 2014, 06:42 AM
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Bookmarking
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Jul 20th, 2014, 06:47 AM
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Oh, have now found the tour. I'm, sorry, luvtotravel, but I wouldn't take a GC tour if you paid me, and this itinerary just confirms my opinion. The included sightseeing is minimal - you only go past places like the palace in Madrid, for instance. And then you have hardly any time in Granada, and not even the opportunity to take the night tour of the Alhambra, which is an absolutely magical experience. Worst of all, instead of spending nights in Granada or Ronda, you spend two nights in Torremolinos!!! Package tour central. The LAST place I would stay in Spain! And the Portuguese part isn't much. I think this will be a case of making lemonade from lemons.
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Jul 21st, 2014, 10:37 PM
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It was interesting reading your comments. I have to agreed that taking an organized tour is probably not my cup of tea, but my last two trips to Europe were solo and I want some people around this time, especially for Spain and Portugal as I know nothing about them (but I'm learning). I realized when I booked this tour that I would get only a glimpse of things. I can always return at a more relaxed pace some time in the future. Usually I go to Italy, France, Greece or England. This is something different.

I'm going to skip the optional tour to Morocco and do as some previous travelers have mentioned and take a bus one day to Mijas. I think I'm spelling that right. It's a village of white-washed homes built into a hillside. It sounds more to my liking and I am not interested in Torremolinos at all. From the photos I've seen it looks like a large beach town that I can do without.

Not many tour companies will take solo people without a single supplement. This one did. With a free airline ticket using points, this will be a reasonably priced trip. One good thing, they allow a lot of free time in the afternoons and I can go back to places that look interesting in that free time. Even half the dinners on "on own," so I don't have to rush back to be with the group. And I've added one night on the front end and three nights on the back end where I can do as I please.

Another reason I didn't want to be alone on this trip is I've read a lot of comments over the years about petty crime in Spain. I tend to look like I don't have much of value on me so I'm not wearing a target on my back -- no jewelry or fancy clothes, etc. I don't want to be paranoid while on my own, but I am concerned more about pickpockets here than I have in other countries. I'm not a young person and I don't move quickly any more. At least in Paris I knew some of the scams they pull and was able to laugh them off. I hope that's all I'll encounter in Spain and Portugal.

Sorry to be so wordy. I get like that in the evening.
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Jul 21st, 2014, 10:46 PM
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thursdaysd, I looked at your photos -- they are stunning! Great job and thank you for sharing them. Diane
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Jul 21st, 2014, 11:18 PM
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In Lisbon you needn't stress too much about the possibility of crime. Yes, pickpocketing on public transit, especially the tram routes, is a concern for tourists. In fact, you will see signs on board and hear warnings to "Take care of your belongings." Heed that advice.

The only threat to your safety you really need to worry about is the calçada portuguesa, the mosaic sidewalk tiles While very beautiful, they can be slippery or a tripping hazard.

Other than that, IMHO this is a very safe city.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 05:52 AM
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If you are willing to share there are tours that don't charge a single supplement - Rick Steves and Intrepid for two. Also, I believe OAT (GC's small group for seniors outfit) waives the single supplement, not that I would travel with them either.

Barcelona is supposed to be particularly bad for street crime, I don't know that the rest of Spain and Portugal is any worse than the rest of Europe. Wear a money belt and stay alert.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 06:46 AM
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luvtotravel,

I stayed at the Lisboa Plaza Hotel, which is one block behind the Sofitel and around the corner from a metro stop. This was in sping of 2013 and if I recall correctly I paid about $150 per night. It was clean, nice staff, good breakfast (included in room price) and I thought a good location. Here is their website: http://www.lisbonplazahotel.com/

I believe they are part of a small local chain of hotels, so there may be other hotel options on their website you can consider.

When I visited Lisbon, I took a taxi to/from the airport and recall for each trip it was approximately 20Euro.

Have a wonderful time!
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 09:00 AM
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If the tour goes to Belem and doesn't take you inside the Jeronimos Monastery that would be a travesty.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 09:25 AM
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<< If the tour goes to Belem and doesn't take you inside the Jeronimos Monastery that would be a travesty. >>

Hardly a travesty. She can tour the monastery on her own. I did it on my own. Then you can take your time. Of the three monasteries I visited (Tomar, Batalha, and Belem, Belem was the nicest as it had been cleaned).

I don't think being in a group makes you less exposed to pick pockets. You're probably more a target because one becomes complacent in a large group and is busy listening to the tour guide and less likely to be aware of surroundings.

I occasionally take tours but never feel safer on them than on my own.

I've been on several GCT tours and have enjoyed all but one. I'm not sure if it was the tour guide not up to the mark or the country I visited. Probably a bit of both.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 09:43 AM
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We LOVED the Avenida Palace. It's gorgeous, right in the center of walkable Lisbon, fantastic breakfast buffet included, awesome service. Great prices.

Lisbon is a favorite city, after spending 5 nights there recently. We are dying to return.

Easy day-trips by train to Sintra and Cascais.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 05:27 PM
  #19
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I appreciate all the suggestions. I looked at the Avenida Palace and they do not have availability for all three nights I need...and they are asking about $250-$280 a night. Over my budget. I booked the Marques de Pombal, close to the hotel I'm staying in with Grand Circle for an easy transition. It looks nice and is $191 a night with breakfast. After reading how much people like Lisbon, it's working out well that I'm staying there for a total of six nights.

Adrienne, I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your tours with Grand Circle. I think I will, too. I'm treating this like traveling with a cruise line -- one day or several hours in a spot for a quick overview. Not the way I usually travel, but I'm keeping an open mind. Of course I'll report back here after my trip and will have photos to share.

BTW, Grand Circle and OAT are owned by the same company. I read in Grand Circle's literature that they were created to serve members of AARP, people over the age of 50.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 07:34 PM
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We stayed at As Janeles Verdes and loved it, though it isn't as centrally located as Marques de Pombal, we loved the quiet street and the helpful staff. Taxis were not expensive (except when they took the indirect route). We found it easy to get to and from the airport. enjoy your trip.
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