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First time to Portugal

Will 7 days in Portugal be enough? I do want to visit one island and the small villages. Is it worth the time to visit Porto as well?
Thanks!

Posted by
4041 posts

7 days enough for what? In that time, you could just about cover Lisbon and Porto. You cannot cover a whole country in a week!

What island? It's a main European landmass, not comprised of many islands as say Croatia is.

Posted by
2356 posts

You mean the Azores or Maidera? Count a day for travel and the attendant airport hassles. The answer to your first question is likely, no, 7 days is enough only for a well planned very limited visit. We just spent two weeks there and feel like we just skimmed the surface. If a week is all you can muster, plan on seeing Lisbon, which has a lot to offer, then plan a route to smaller places like Evora and Obidos from there. Islands are for folks with much more time or a seperate trip. Porto-we liked it but it's not for everyone. It's what Rick would call "gritty". If you like port it's a fun place to taste. The Douro Valley is beautiful. We did not visit the Algarve as we did not want to spend time in overcrowded beach towns. Get Rick's Portugal book. It's brand new and full of good ideas. We purchased other guide books and found them pretty useless.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you Alan,

I am just starting to looking into this trip so I don't have a lot of information gathered yet. I appreciate your informative reply.

Posted by
409 posts

Hi Toni,

If you want to visit the Azores, and for that amount of time, stay on Sao Miguel only. If you want my PDF guide, send me an email at brengina2@hotmail.com. In the subject line type: Azores.

Sao Miguel will have everything you are looking for, except the hustle and bustle of big cities.

If this is your first time visiting Portugal and want to visit Lisbon and/or Porto, forget the Azores on this trip...not enough time.

Posted by
110 posts

In my opinion, one week is not enough time in Lisbon alone, not to mention the rest of the country. Of course, it depends on your interests. Rick's book is a good place to start reading up on Portugal. There are also many on-line descriptions of the country.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you for the info. I ordered RS book. I am in the process of looking for places to stay in Lisbon via VROB.com. any suggestions on neighborhoods I should consider? I don't want to be in a "sleepy" area, but don't want to be in an area with a ton of clubs and noise either. We are two/three girlfriends (40's & 50's) traveling together.

Posted by
73 posts

We spent time there two years ago. We spent 3 nights each in Lagos, Lisbon and Porto. Three nights was barely sufficient.

With a total of 7 nights, wow - if it were me I would spend time in/around Lisbon and Porto - the two largest cities in Portugal

Have fun

Posted by
3340 posts

I just saw a recorded CNN Anthony Bourdain TV show on Oporto (the locals' name for their city). That show, which featured a big 2-day pig-roast dinner with family and friends of a long-time restaurant colleague (preceded by the on-site slaughtering of the pig, which wasn't exactly pleasant, but the show stressed that people should know from where there food is coming, and how it got to the table), as well as loads of seafood and other delicacies during his visit. Oh, and two women running a fish stall at the market who used some pretty raunchy (translated) language. The town looked wonderful, and since it's been 14 years since our last visit to Portugal - and we didn't have time to fit in Oporto then, with just a week -- it looks really appealing. As far as "grittiness," that show didn't make the city itself it look anywhere as gritty as, say, Naples, Italy, and his shows generally seem to seek out the edgiest parts of a place! The views shown of the city, which maybe didn't represent every part of it, showed no ultra-modern high-rise buildings, and it looked like some parts of Europe did maybe 30 years ago. Bourdain summed up his show suggesting that maybe nothing ever really changes. Tradition seems important in Portugal - be sure to take in a Fado dinner show (Rick's book includes info on at least one in Lisbon). Oh, and the area in and around Evora, in cork tree country quite some way inland from the coast, was among the highlights of our last trip, but with only 7 days that could be stretching things even more for you.

Posted by
2356 posts

Oporto is an English word. O Porto means the port which is what the English heard when the port trade was being established. It got incorporated into both languages so you'll see both. But the Portuguese we met refer to the city as Porto. It has some interesting sights-the Reibera area along the river is popular for good reason. The Stock Exchange Palace, the train station for it's tile work, the market, all worth seeing. But, there are many areas that are run down. Porto did not get hit by the earthquake of 1755 so it was not rebuilt as was Lisbon. There are complex inheritance laws and other statutes that act to delay rehabilitation of crumbling buildings, sometimes forever. And there are many, sometimes right in the middle of blocks that have otherwise been rehabilitated. We enjoyed Porto. But if we only had time for one city in Portugal it would be Lisbon.