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Finalizing Sept-2019 15 Day Itinerary (Lisbon, Algarve, Duoro & Porto)

I booked this trip for 2 of us quite some time ago and am now finalizing the itinerary and could use some input from previous travelers. Currently I have the below:
1. Arrive in Lisbon Sept 22nd - stay 4 nights (Sintra day trip) and tour Lisbon
2. Drive to Algarve Sept 26th and stay 3 nights (Sagres, Lagos Area)
3. Drive to Evora stay Sept 29th (tour Evora) - hotel ADC
4. Drive to Coimbra Sept 30 for 2 nights - staying Hotel Oslo - visit university library & area
5. Drive to Duoro Valley and stay 2 nights (Oct 2nd/3rd) - wine tours and enjoy Duoro river
6. Drive to Porto - drop car - stay in Porto 3 nights (tour Porto) - depart Oct 7th
We enjoy good local food & entertainment, historic - must see places and traditions of places we visit, nature and scenery - especially waterfront areas. Museums are not top on list.

I am a bit reluctant about my accommodation and location of staying in Coimbra but know that we need a driving break somewhere in there before getting to the Duoro Valley. We like to stay in nice places with A/C perhaps balcony and nice view (breakfast and parking required) - does not have to be a big hotel. In Duoro Valley we are staying in Casa de Canilhas House.

Obidos and Nazare, Tomar is on our list but am not sure if there is a more central location to stay to see Coimbra and those within our current itinerary. Much appreciate comments from the forum.

Posted by
1443 posts

I like the way you've allocated your time, I don't see any tweaks.
This said, if you don't "care" for your accomodation in Coimbra, then don't stay there. You don't need that break (Douro is perfectly reachable from Évora, you could head straight there). Or, you mention Tomar: also a worthwhile place to stay.

Not sure what the fuss is about Nazaré however, have no regrets if you can't fit it in. Never been to Óbidos.

Posted by
3482 posts

With your route and requirements u might consider a chain hotel like Accor hotel chain. We enjoyed Sofitel in Lisbon and Ibis in Coimbra parking is convenient with these hotels. We stayed at a b&b in Obidos however I do not think it has A / C.
Obidos a walled historic village was a delight to stay in.

Posted by
13314 posts

I stayed in Tomar for 3N (late May this year) and day-tripped to Alcobaca and Batalha for the exquisite monasteries and to Obidos and Nazare. Obidos was crowded with groups, mostly Portuguese and Far Eastern, full of tourist shops, definitely "meh" - but I had already visited several similar (much less crowded and not touristy) places, so I won't tell you not to visit, but do try to go early or late in the day. I was sorry I spent any time in Nazare - huge sandy beach lined with shops and cafes for tourists - instead of finding another coastal town. Since you'll be seeing beaches and scenic ocean vistas in the Algarve, you probably won't be at all impressed with Nazare. Tomar itself is worth some time for the historic center and the monastery (but the ones I mentioned above are much better).

Posted by
839 posts

Just a couple of thoughts to add to the other responses.
In the Algarve, Lagos and Sagres are about an hours driving time apart. Stay in Lagos rather than Sagres. There are many more choices of hotels and restaurants with some of the most iconic Algarve rock formations in Lagos. Sagres is an easy drive from Lagos.

The hotel you have chosen in Coimbra looks good to me. While it’s in the lower part of town, the Baixa area of Coimbra is full of restaurants and very close to the hotel. You would likely have difficulty finding a hotel in the upper (Alto) part of town with parking. While in Coimbra you might want to drive out to Conimbraga. It’s a Roman ruin outside of town with great mosaics. And, Go Walks tour company does a great walking tour of Coimbra that includes the university and library (a must see). And, Tomar is a much better option than either Nazaré or Óbidos.

Posted by
3488 posts

Lagos is a much nicer option than Sagres, which is a cold, windy bleak place even at the height of the season. They are about 30-35 minutes apart.

I don’t know why Nazare is recommended by RS. There are many better beaches around and the town itself is very average. Obidos, Tomar and the other monastery towns such as Alcobaca are worth a visit.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you everyone for your input. I have tweaked my itinerary now to make sure to visit Tomar and Batalha areas. We will probably keep our hotel Oslo-Coimbra for 1 night or maybe the 2 as parking is free and appears easy to access. Thank you for recommending the GO Walks tours and I will be looking at booking that. Would anyone recommend breaking up our 2 night stay in Coimbra and perhaps stay 1 night in Tomar or can we drive to Tomar/Batalha from Coimbra in order to avoid a hotel move? Also if someone stayed in a good Tomar accommodation with parking a recommendation would be appreciated.

Just to clarify that we are visting Sagres but not staying there. We have booked Pestana Alvor South Beach (hotel is on the boardwalk) - will this give us easy access to Lagos? Has anyone stayed at this location before?

Posted by
839 posts

The hotel you have booked is In Portimao - not Lagos. Because of the traffic in Portimao plus the drive to Lagos, it will be a bit of a drive. If you can change your booking to Lagos, I would recommend it. Portimao is not as nice, IMO.

Posted by
3488 posts

Your hotel isn’t in Portimao, but it’s not in the centre of Alvor either. It seems to be surrounded by characterless modern tower blocks. The village centre has far more character.

Lagos is a 30 minute drive from Alvor. You can’t walk it, as the river estuary is in the way, so you have to head inland round the estuary. Alvor is popular with families. Personally, I would prefer to stay in Lagos.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks for the input about Alvor and I am looking at changing that hotel as I was not certain of the location, nor a fan of their decor and very modern vibe. I agree about Lagos - does anyone have a good hotel recommendation? Of course I had booked a long time ago and now the selection is getting slimmer.

Posted by
40 posts

I read through comments - interesting notes on Nazare. RS does indeed recommend staying there. Might it just be for logistics getting to other places on day trips? What would be the recommendation for a better beach town in the general vicinity?

Posted by
4 posts

Not sure if this is the right place to provide feedback but here it goes. My husband and I have returned from our 15 day Portugal trip and I thought I would post a few suggestions for those who are finalizing a future itinerary. We stayed in 7 different hotels, walked 110 miles in our tours, and drove 1,500 miles. We saw a lot of Portugal - it is beautiful, people are friendly and the food is generally very good. As you can imagine we were quite tired upon our return!

My suggestion is to keep the tour to a minimum of 3 days in each accommodation, and don't overdue on the itinerary so that you don't get travel burnout, and stay in central town which we did. Portugal is very hilly and walking is sometimes difficult on the cobblestones - good shoes are a must.

We loved all of the places we stayed in, but we had a bit too much driving and the GPS sometimes did not co-operate with direction accuracy, even though the car rental upgraded us to a Mercedes. A bit of a mistake as it was a full size car and not the compact we reserved.

We regretted not having more than 3 nights in Lagos.It was a pretty place with many beaches, nice scenery and good food.

Evora was a pretty town but we thought not really worth our visit and we would have liked to have added Tomar or Batalha instead, but it would have been too much. Can't see everything in one trip and you certainly should not try to do that:)

Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra were extremely busy with tourists even at end of September & beginning of October. In Porto we enjoyed taking Tram 1 to the beach boardwalk "Foz do Douro", and highly recommend the scenic ride. If you like water this is a must visit. It's amazing for strolling along the waterfront, and is a beautiful spot to stop for a drink at one of the seafront cafes/ restaurants. You can also view where the Atlantic ocean meets the Douro river - not far from where Tram 1 has the final stop.

In summary, next time I visit Portugal I will not overdue the itinerary and will take a break from the touristy visits and enjoy some of the beautiful scenery Portugal offers!