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Driving from Porto to Lisbon....suggestions?

Some friends and I are driving from Porto to Lisbon to catch a 9:30 PM flight. Any suggestions for a particularly scenic route or perhaps some historic or scenic places to stop along the way? We've done wineries in the Douro valley, so not that. And , Of course, there's Coimbra, but we're a bit citied-out.

Thanks!

Posted by
16857 posts

Santarem and Fatima (major pilgrimage destination) are right on the driving route. Tomar and Batalha (important monastery) are not far off it. Obidos (very picturesque small walled town) and Viseu (probably larger than you're looking for) would require more of a diversion from the direct route. I enjoyed Batalha, Obidos and Viseu. The others I haven't visited, but I recognize the names as being places of tourist interest.

If you don't mind the detour to Obidos, it would be a nice contrast to the large cities of Lisbon and Porto. Rome2Rio suggests that stopping in Obidos would add about 30 minutes of driving time, but I don't know how accurate that is.

Posted by
32 posts

In addition to what acraven said, I'd add Alcobaça to the list of small towns. It's between Fatima and Obidos and boasts a beautiful monastery.

Sintra is another great option if you are a bit "citied-out". It's a small little town about 30 minutes by car from central Lisbon, nestled at the base of a hill that is adorned with several castles, including an Old Moorish castle that offers some spectacular scenery of the surrounding countryside. Palacio de Pena, Quinta da Regaleira, and the Palacio Nacional are all worth seeing as well. Also be sure to try some of the local sour cherry liquor (ginja) in one of the shops in town while you're there!

Posted by
11154 posts

I stayed in Santarem and visited Tomar from there, and can confirm that both are very nice. If you go to Tomar, don't miss the Museum of Matchboxes. It's fascinating - wait till you see the Nazi one! And Santarem just has a lovely vibe, and has two must-see churches. While the Igreja da Graça, with its rose window, is more famous, I was more impressed with the stunning azulejo tiles in the Igreja de Marvila.

Posted by
80 posts

Hi Melissa,

Are you staying overnight on the way, or driving through? The answers might be different depending on your answer to that question. If you're driving through, you're probably limited to 1 or 2 stops?

Tomar, Batalha, and Alcobaca are all fantastic, each with great historical attractions. Unless there's something going on in Fatima, or you are pulled there, it's really just a big (huge!) empty square. Obidos is an adorable town that is pretty touristy, but it can be easily seen in an afternoon. We also went to the water (Nazare), which was gorgeous- felt very different than other places we saw.

I don't think you can go wrong- it's a lovely drive, and lots of possibilities for great stops!

Robert in Montreal