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Traveling to Portugal, updated posting

VictoriaJZ

10+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
I've done some research [and the JulieDawnFox website is a big help] and right now this is the plan = fly into Lisbon and AP train to Faro. Stay in Faro for 3 days and rent. car on the last day to see things east of there which we haven't yet [via bus/train] then we have some options [see below] and then before we fly out of Lisbon we stay in Sintra for 4 days and use that area as a basis to look around W and NW [we've been to Nazare/Coimbra so generally south of there] - that leaves about 6-7 days in the middle - I'm thinking we'd find a base in the Sagres region and drive around in SW Portugal and then drive to Evora and stay in that area and drive around seeing things there. We may go up to Tomar, but can do that from the Sintra base. Does that make sense in general? My thought is to find something close to the ocean for the Sagres or Sintra times and something in the quiet hinterlands of Evora for that timeframe. Our main interest is visiting historical and cultural places and small villages etc. Not feeling rushed. Ideas or suggestions? Much thanks!!!
 

Kathrynj

10+ Posts
As the Algarve isn’t my favorite area of Portugal, my comments will be somewhat biased. I find northern Portugal to be much more interesting and authentic than the Algarve.

If you are already staying in Faro for three days, you might want to drive up the coast from Sagres. There really isn’t a lot to see in that area. I’ve not driven very far north, but from what I read the coast north of Sagres is spectacular. However, be aware that the road is not a coastal one for at least some of the way. You have to drive off the main road to get to the beaches.

There is a lot more to see in Lagos than in Sagres. Some of the most iconic rock formations are there and the town is large enough for a good variety of restaurants, etc.

Also, be aware Sintra is not on the coast but a few miles inland. From the higher hills, you can see the sea though. And, depending on the time of year you will be here, staying a bit out of town isn’t a bad idea. The tourist hordes are staggering in the summer.

Tomar is quite nice and is small enough to not be overrun by tourists yet. There is a castle ruin outside of Tomar - Almourol- that is a nice visit, especially if you get there by water.

Evora is also very nice, with Monsaraz fairly close. And, lots of wineries to visit, if that interests you. There is a great Megalith tour from Evora with an archeologist, that is well worth your time.

This is an article that lists a number of small towns that might be of interest. I’m using this article for a road trip this fall.
 

VictoriaJZ

10+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
That is a big help — we are mainly staying in a place [ie Sagres] and using it as a base from which to explore the general vicinity. Thanks for the article == I have been on the hunt for smaller, interesting places to visit and this helps quite a bit. [we are going to be traveling in late Sept-early Oct so I am hoping we will miss the heaviest tourism].
 

Tappers

New Member
I hope I'm not too late to encourage you to see Tomar. We used it as a base for 5 days last year and thought it was the perfect sized small town. It has a beautiful riverside, is very walkable and has several nice restaurants. Just outside Tomar is the Convent of Christ, a Knight's Templar castle that is a must see - spectacular architecture. The area is called the golden triangle because also close by are Alcobaca, a 1178 Cistercian Monastery with the grave of Queen Ines de Castro (killed by her father-in-law) and a kitchen with giant oven, and Batalha– a monastery built in 1300-1500's to fulfill a vow by King John I for winning the battle of Aljubarrota against Castile. It's architecture shows the end of Gothic and start of Manueline art. King John & his English wife are buried in the completed chapel (other children in the chapel include Henry the Navigator). John's son King Duarte & wife in are buried in an unfinished chapel. The stone carvings are unbelievable! All three of these are in small towns with lots of restaurant choices and shops with typical handicrafts.
IMG_1695e Tomar.JPGIMG_1696g Tomar.JPGIMG_1704b Tomar.JPGIMG_1738 Batalha.JPGIMG_1739 Alcobaca.JPG(I would suggest any or all of these three over Almourol, which is in a beautiful setting but more in ruins and not as much else to see.)
 

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