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Another itinerary help request - 10 nights

Hi there. I know there are lot of itinerary help requests, but I can't find the exact right one that seems to fit us. My boyfriend and I are flying in and out of Lisbon, arriving October 10, for 10 nights. We always like to rent a car where we can drive and explore, and plan on doing so when getting out of Lisbon. Our interests are wine, beaches, museums, architecture, and local people and food.

Any suggestions would be welcome.

Thanks!
Terri

Posted by
917 posts

If you haven't done so already, I would encourage you to purchase a guide book on Portugal. RS is usually good but there are many others. Reading a guide book will give you ideas of what's here - then as you narrow down your choices and have specific questions, we can be of more help.

Posted by
4166 posts

I have been to mainland Portugal twice and love the country and its people.

I would spend 3 days in Lisbon. Take in Evora on a day trip from Lisbon, then drive to Sintra, visit Cascais, then north to Obidos, Batila Cathedral and go to Porto for at least 2-3 days.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you both for the responses. I do have several guidebooks and have done some research online. I was originally thinking 3 days in Lisbon, with a side trip to Sintra; then driving south to the Algarve staying there 4 nights. (RS suggests Salema, and I've read online that staying in Faro is better than Salema.) So maybe 2 nights in each place? From there could we drive to Porto and stay 2 nights, with the last night back in Lisbon. We are arriving in Portugal on October 11. Will it be worth it to drive to the Algarve that time of year? Another thought is to skip Porto and drive from Faro to Seville for 2 nights before heading back to Lisbon.

Lisbon - 3
Algarve - 4
Porto -2 - or Seville
Lisbon - 1

Posted by
2518 posts

October isn't exactly beach weather in Portugal - even in the Algarve. The average high temp is around 66°. Much of the Algarve will be shut down at this time. When I was in Portugal 2 years ago, I picked up a car at the airport and than drove to Evora. From there, I went to the disused town of Castelo Rodrigo with a population of about 50. I stayed at a B&B called Casa da Cisterna which was wonderful. The owner arranges trips to visit the prehistoric petroglyphs in the Coa National Park. She has a key to the gate and takes you at dusk which is the best time for a visit. From there, you can head to Porto through the Douro Valley wine area. Some great Quintas for tasting and some nice places to stay. From Porto, you could head south stopping at Coimbra, Batahala, Alcobaca, and stay the night in Obidos. Then a night in Sintra before ditching the car and spending at least 3 nights in Lisbon.

In Evora, I stayed at the Pensao Policarpo - very small town Portugese hotel, quaint, convenient with a great staff, free parking and a good breakfast. David, the owner is a an excellent host. One of the best restaurants I visited in Europe is Botequim da Mouraria in Evora - only about 15 seats, you sit at a counter and get a gastronomic delight - get there early or you'll wait. In Castelo, you might want to try the home cooked meal at Cisterna - reasonably priced and typical of the area. In Porto, I stayed at Hotel B&B Porto Central. It's a modern hotel, not a B&B, with onsite parking and is centrally located for sightseeing. The well regarded restaurant Abadia is a short walk away. Great seafood, old-world service, try the grilled octopus! In Lisbon, I stayed at Brown's Downtown Hotel on Rua de Vittoria. Great rooms with a kitchenette, tastefully furnished, chic. Centrally located to take Rick's three walking ours, near the river, close to a Metro stop.

Posted by
917 posts

The itinerary you write about is way too much hopping around IMO. If you want beaches, you can find beaches without going to the Algarve. You could easily spend that much time in just Lisbon and Porto. But, I really like Evora also. Driving to Evora would give you the freedom to visit some of the wineries in the area. But, the Douro valley has many wineries..
I would encourage you to stay a maximum of three places in your ten days. Each time you change hotels/towns you actually lose most of a day in making the change. Sevilla is great, but you won't do it justice with such a short side trip. Narrowing it down is the toughest part of planning a trip!

Posted by
3993 posts

The Algarve doesn't shut down in October, although things like the boat trips may not be running or run less frequently. It's a busy time for golfers and pensioners visit in addition to thousands of people living there.

I have been to the Algarve in October (I'm not a pensioner!) and we had some days on the beach, but we also had a few days if heavy rain.

In your shoes and with only 10 days to play with, I would stay further north. Visit Lisbon and Porto and many towns nearby such as Evora, Obidis, Tomar etc. If you want the beach, do a day trip to the Silver Coast or somewhere such as Foz do Arelha.

If you do go to the Algarve, don't stay in Faro. It's an industrial city and is the least attractive place for tourists on the Algarve. Salema has been ruined by over development. Stay places such as Lagos, Alvor, Tavira or the slightly inland Silves or Loule.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you all for your responses. They are very helpful, and much appreciated!

Posted by
17 posts

We flew in to Faro stayed in Lagos then in Lisbon then we rented a car and drove with two teens to go surfing just north of Lisbon then dropped the car at the airport.

The SUP cave tours were great for us heart Lagos. Here is their e-mail you can find them on-line too, Nick Robinson nick@algarvesup.com

We stayed at Apartamentos Turisticos Marsol in Lagos that is a bit minimal at fist look but it was a great place to stay with the super market around the corner and we could cook dinner a couple of nights. We loved the owners!

We had a great three days in Lisbon. Here are the things I would love people to know about.
We loved the Taste of Lisbon. I highly recommend it. We did the traditional tour and if we have more time would have done the 28 Tram tour too. They had great food, wine and education of history with the max of 12 people. My teens loved it too. You can find them on FB.
We stayed in the party area of town and had a horrible time at our Airbnb, in Bairro Alto.There was so much noise. I loved the area and would suggest the Hotel in the area.
The markets are amazing. We loved the Time Out Market and the Stale there named Toranja for Portuguese artist was fabulous. The time out market is much more polished then the old a
Grapes and Bites was a great place for dinner and of course wines!
Day trip to a beautiful winery was worth it. The name is Bacalhoa Buddha you can find them on FB too.
The artist Camilla Watson is on the walls of the building in the streets the we learned about on our food tour. Very beautiful artist.
Not sure if that helps with your itinerary but I thought that my information might help you on your trip. Enjoy Portugal is an amazing place to visit . I hope to go back.