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Help Needed Portugal Itinerary Questions

JJH

10+ Posts
Hi,
I just booked a last-minute trip to Portugal (first visit). I will be departing on Friday October 22 (arriving Saturday October 23) and returning on Sunday November 7. So I'll have 15 nights.

I plan on traveling within Portugal solely using public transportation. My interests are food/wine, architecture, historical sites and nature. Basically, I prefer walking around outside and taking in the atmosphere and am less interested in art museums. I usually prefer staying in small/medium size towns. However, I think it makes more sense to spend a chunk of my time in larger cities (Lisbon and Porto) to give myself more day trip options (using public transport).

Here is my initial itinerary:

Arrive in Portugal
Train to Lagos; stay for three nights
Train to Porto; six nights; possible day trips include the Douro Valley, Braga, Guimaraes and Coimbra
Train to Lisbon (six nights); possible day trips include Sintra, Cascais, Obidos and Evora

Any thoughts? Any day trip options from Lagos? Will I feel like I'm spending too much of my time in cities given my preference for smaller spots?

Thanks in advance for any assistance
 

Dennis

100+ Posts
Where are your arrival and departure points? You have set an ambitious itinerary for yourself!

Is there a particular reason you wish to visit Lagos? Unless you have a particular reason for visiting consider skipping it.. However if you are intent on visiting you may wish to consider visiting Cape St Vincent and Sagres fortress to the west. There are coastal paths with great vistas suitable for walking. Dress warmly. Hill walking away from the coast is good around Monchique.

Your choice for day trips from Lisbon and Porto are solid selections. Consider breaking your journey between Lisbon and Porto by staying the night in Coimbra, enjoying the university atmosphere and visiting the Roman ruins of Conimbriga just outside town.

Both Lisbon and Porto will provide you with many neighbourhoods to explore.

As for other towns to consider: out of Lisbon - Tomar; out of Porto - Ponte de Lima. If you are of a religious bent there's Fatima.

Have a great trip.
Dennis
 

JJH

10+ Posts
Thanks Dennis. This is very helpful. I was starting to think Lagos wouldn't be the best match for me on this trip and you confirmed my suspicions.

Appreciate the the advice on Coimbra and the other day trip options. I will start doing some research on them.
 

Andrew

500+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
On my first trip to Portugal I got the advice that Coimbra and Evora weren't appropriate as day trips from Lisbon. For my second trip I spent a few nights in Coimbra to start the trip after the transatlantic flight; trip report here.

 

JJH

10+ Posts
Andrew,
Thanks for your write-up. It's very helpful.

Dennis,
I forgot to answer your question about my flights. I am arriving and departing from Lisbon.
 

johngentry

10+ Posts
A trip to Lisbon is a must for anyone visiting Portugal. It is the jewel of Portugal, and there are many museums to see in Lisbon. Take one of the city's iconic trams for a tour of the city, and don't miss the Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara for a spectacular perspective over Lisbon. Also, don't miss Belem, which has a stunning tower, and the Mosteiro des Jeronimos. Most importantly, sample the famed Pasteis de Belem, which are delectable.
 

Tappers

New Member
Tomar is a great stop. It's a small town, very walkable with a beautiful riverfront area. On the hilltop above is the 12th century Knights Templar castle and medieval convent. Also nearby Batalha and Alcobaca each have beautiful monasteries with wonderful Manueline architecture. I'm not sure of public transportation connections as we had a car, but worth checking out.
 

Dennis

100+ Posts
Regarding transportation, we were fortunate to have a car . However, friends of ours had success in inquiring at their hotels about individuals willing to act as drivers for the day. Costs varied (and it was 5 years ago) but they reported costs averaged about 45 Euros/4 hours (e.g. enough time to visit Batalha, and cruise through Fatima from Tomar). Some cautions are: getting an English speaker, size of transport, compensation in case of accident, ability to share with another person/couple.

For visits to port lodges I found that it was worth booking tours that were of higher cost. The selection and quality of ports on offer was vastly superior.

I found visits from Porto to Braga and Guimaraes worthwhile. They are readily accessible by public transport.

Wishing you fine weather and great times.
Dennis
 

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