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First time to Portugal - South to Mertola or North to Coimbra?

Spending three nights in Lisbon, then two in Evora. We are stuck on whether to go from there to Mertola or Coimbra. We prefer small towns (Mertola), and either destination will be a long bus or train ride, but what about the scenery on the way? We are going in March, and think it may be wiser to stay south weatherwise (Mertola again). Or maybe we should look at going somewhere closer to our next stop which will be Sintra, and ending up in Obidos for our final stop. Any thoughts?