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Portugal 1st visit

Raj

New Member
Folks - we are a family of 4 including 2 toddlers. Our travel style is traveling during shoulder season to avoid big crowds. We like open-air natural beauty or if it' a city, find a cute neighborhood cafe and people watch, leisurely stroll in a park, eat at some select restaurants that locals flock to (love seafood), check out outdoor farmers/flea markets and pick up good produce for home-cooked meals, open-air music and festivals and of course mix in a little bit of play areas for kids which are often found in parks or indoor places. We don't necessarily center all our activities to just what the kids would enjoy

We do like to go slow so thinking 5-6 nights in each place with day trips from there. Hence, we'd like to do either Porto OR Lisbon and the Algarve region. What would you recommend based on what I've stated above?

Also if any of you have an idea of the tree pollen (especially oak season) and if it's areas south that get hit first, that info would be good to know

Thanks
 

Ian Sutton

500+ Posts
Algarve probably best for the kids, as it can tick all the boxes (though outdoor music may require a little planning / research, and even adjusting timing if you find a local event that fits the bill. Should be many more music events in the cities.

Some friends had an apartment in Tavira, and that certainly had charm (fly into Faro). Fantastic seafood, but that seems to be a given in coastal Portugal. For walking, the dunes around the salt flats are a lovely relaxed setting and pleasant green areas / open spaces along the river. Local produce decent, including a very good bread shop, but without the range of great specialists that I'd expect elsewhere. The covered market is the best bet for produce - it's in an odd location, but it is walkable, even with young children. Some good ice-cream near the river, not up with the best of Italy, but wouldn't be out of place were it in Italy.
 

Kathrynj

10+ Posts
Since I live in the Lisbon area, I am much more familiar and maybe a bit biased toward this area. There are a number of lovely parks in Lisbon proper, with all of the other things you mentioned as wanting to do. Porto will be a bit cooler than Lisbon in the shoulder seasons and usually has more rain. There are many festivals in this area but many have already been cancelled for this year. Transport from Lisbon to the Algarve is easier than from Porto just because of the distance. The train all the way from Porto to the Algarve might be a bit much for toddlers.

You really can’t go wrong with either area, and bear in mind there are beaches close to both Lisbon and Porto. Some of the rock formations in the Algarve are spectacular, but it’s definitely not typical Portugal due to the high number of tourists and British expats.

Also, things are just beginning to open back up with no guarantee of continued opening of restaurants, museums, etc. The government is playing it pretty safe and would likely close things back down, if our Covid-19 Numbers start going back up. I would be hesitant to book for this fall unless you have a good cancellation policy.
 

Kathrynj

10+ Posts
I forgot to address your concern about oak pollen. It’s very interesting that there are almost no reports of high pollen in the Lisbon area. But, there aren’t a high number of oak trees where I live (Cascais). In the spring, we do go through a period of time when there is the yellow powder on things indicative of something blooming, but I don’t think it’s oak. The weather apps usually mention low dust and dander but pretty much nothing else. Very different from where I lived in the States, and I have significantly fewer allergy symptoms here.
 

Raj

New Member
Thanks Kathryn - when do you start seeing the yellow powder in the spring? Approximately what date?

Ian - we are planning a trip about middle of May 2021. Would it be too cold to enjoy the beach and outdoor pools at that time? I found a good hotel where I have some points - Marriott Pine Cliff and they claim lots of kids are using their outdoor pool by early May but the weather report shows it's only about 65

Thanks
 

Kathrynj

10+ Posts
The yellow powder this year was in the last few weeks. I know because my house keeper couldn’t come due to the lockdown and I noticed it on my balcony a couple of weeks ago. But, we had a very warm winter so it could be a bit later next year.

Regarding swimming in May - in this area there have been a few people in the pool in the last couple of weeks on warmer days. The beaches don’t officially open until June 1, when they start having lifeguards and loungers to rent, etc. But, if it’s warm enough people go before that. Few swim in the sea at this time of the year anyplace in Portugal due to the water temps.
 

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