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11 nights Portugal, please help me refine itinerary

Hello all,

I could sure use some help completing our plans for Portugal in late February, early March.

Here’s what we have so far.

Lisbon, 4 nights. Standard first time in Lisbon sightseeing,

Pickup rental car, quick visit to Obidos and stop by Nazare. Tour Alcobaça cathedral on way to

Alcobaça, 1 night

Leave Alcobaça in the am, driving to Tomar. Visit Templar sites.

Tomar, 1 night

Leave Tomar, driving to Coimbra. Join guided or private tour in the afternoon of main sites.

Coimbra, 1 night

Visit Conimbriga ruins in the AM. Drop rental car at Coimbra-B train station. Train to Porto

Porto, 3 nights. Fly to Madrid

Madrid, 1 night. Fly home from Madrid.

I am thinking I might steal a night from Porto and add to either Coimbra or Madrid. In Rick’s Portugal book, there are a lot of sites listed in Coimbra. Or, we could skip Tomar, and add a night in Coimbra for less moving around.

Any advice appreciated. Remember the time of year as well, will probably be colder up north?? I already have our plane tickets, so the number of days and routing is set.

Posted by
326 posts

Don't skip Tomar, even as a day trip! The cathedral & aquaduct are worth it.

Can you fly home from Porto? Seems a waste to fly into Madrid for just a night.

Posted by
34 posts

Nope, was using airline points and couldn’t get routing through Porto. It is what it is. Would like to at least see the Sorolla museum, as we missed it last time.

Posted by
2118 posts

storm, this looks good me, although the 3 one-night stays in a row may be hectic. Try to pack all you need for those nights in a tote bag or whatever, so you don’t even have to open your lugge using those stops. Unpacking and packing, checking in and out, etc. can use up limited time. The Douro Valley upriver from Porto is a beautiful highlight of Portugal, i don’t know if the beauty there would be diminished in Feb-Mar, maybe not much. You could do a 1-day boat, or boat plus bus or train back, tour there from Porto, although that would limit your time in Porto.
Lisbon is great, lots to see and do, but spread around the city. I loved the Tile Museum, not everyone goes there, but then I love all the tiles in Portugal. I also found a great little antique tile store in Lisbon. Nearby Sintra is also lovely, lots of places to visit there. Many people take a day trip to Sintra, but it merits more.
Enjoy Portugal, everyone seems to love it!

Posted by
34 posts

Thanks for responses so far.

I don’t love the 3 one night stands, but the only way around it is to drop sleeping in Tomar and just see the sites, then push on to to Coimbra, I think. But that makes for 2 hours of driving on that day.

Anyone like that idea better? Just stopping in Tomar on the way to Coimbra?

I’ll likely keep Porto at 3 nights and Madrid at 1. We were in Madrid 4 nights last year, so this quick stopover could just be for cheap wine in a cafe or perhaps one museum.

Posted by
1176 posts

Too many 1 night stays
Can you stay in either Alcobaca OR Tomar for 2 nights instead? They are close enough for day trips
I’d also not like so many sight visits with luggage left in a parked car.
Coimbra probably deserves 2 nights

Haven’t been yet but am planning a trip May 2020

Posted by
34 posts

I only have 3 nights for central Portugal. So it could be Alcobaça and then 2 nights in Coimbra, and Tomar can be saved for next time.

Posted by
13314 posts

I stayed in Tomar for 3 nights. My preference is to drive more and pack/unpack less. Obidos was fine for a 2-3 hour visit. I spent a little time in Nazare and very much wish I'd spent a little more planning time looking for a better seaside town to visit (as was advised by RS forum folks). I went to 4 monasteries on my trip, Alcobaca & Batalha while based in Tomar, the one in Tomar itself and Belem while I was in Lisbon. My favorites were Alcobaca and Batalha. One evening I had dinner at a medieval restaurant in Tomar that was good fun and good food. The idea is that everything you see, eat and drink is what you would have in the 14th century. The dining area is lit by candles (you may need your phone to read the menu). There's wine but no coffee, fish but no potatoes, fruit but no chocolate . . .

One full day in Coimbra should be plenty. I took it very slowly, and used the entire day to do the RS walk. I lucked out at the University, it was graduation day and I spent extra time there watching the happy grads and their proud families and was even able to talk with some of the students. I also went to a fado performance recommended on the RS walk and had dinner afterward at the restaurant just up the lane from there, then completed the walk.

Consider dropping the car at Porto airport and taking the metro into the city. 3 nights gives you 2 days. I wouldn't make it less.

Posted by
3346 posts

Porto is great, if you can book the InPatio Guesthouse (the best B&B ever) do it. Book early it only has five rooms.

Recommend taking a day cruise up the Douro or the train.

Posted by
34 posts

Okay, here's our revised itinerary. Made some choices on accommodations.

Lisbon, 4 nights. Lisboa Carmo Hotel. Standard Lisbon sightseeing stuff.

Pickup rental car, quick visit to Obidos. Tour Alcobaça cathedral on way to

Alcobaça, 1 night. Challet Fonte Nova

OPTION ONE:
Leave Alcobaça in the am, driving to Tomar. Visit Templar sites. If we have time, Conimbriga ruins on the way to Coimbra. Drop car at EuropCar in Coimbra (2 locations, one is Coimbra B, one is downtown by the stadium). Uber to apartment

OPTION TWO: Leave Alcobaça in the am, Drive to Batalha, then drive to Conimbriga ruins on the way to Coimbra.Drop car off. Uber to apartment

Coimbra, 2 nights Casas do Arco apartment

Train to Porto

Porto, 3 nights. InPatio Guesthouse.

Fly to Madrid

Madrid, 1 night. H10 Puerta de Alcalá hotel. Fly home from Madrid, noon flight.

Any other feedback or places to see (or eat!) much welcomed.

Posted by
34 posts

Becky, what do you remember about the neighborhood around the Sorolla Museum? I can get a free night at the Intercontinental on points, but can't tell if this is more of a business area, or if it would be fine. We stayed quite near the Prado last time, so don't need to repeat that experience.