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Lisbon, Cascais to Porto July itinerary details: Day trips + rental car questions

How does this look:
-Fly into Lisbon 4 nights Day trip to Evora or ?
-train or drive to Cascais 4 nights Day trip to Sintra
-drive to Porto 3 nights Day trip to the Douro Valley
-fly out of Porto to Milan

Should we rent a car in Lisbon? do we get the car at the airport and how is it driving out of Lisbon. Or do we take the train to Cascais and rent a car there if we can? Is it crazy to drive from Cascais to Sintra and try and park in July or is it better to do a tour. Once we get to Porto do we need it there or should we drop it off right when we get there. Thoughts on who we rent the car from?

What is it like driving in July when everything is crowded?
And for the day trips are there companies that you like to use to book those (Evora, Sintra) and is there a tour that you especially liked of the Douro Valley Thank you!

Posted by
16996 posts

I know your daughter especially likes Cascais, but it's only 20 miles from Lisbon. Do you really want to go through the hassle of switching hotels? I'm not sure there's enough to keep you busy there for more than one day unless you just want beach time. If you are firm on sleeping in both places, I'd seriously consider going to Cascais first. May as well use your jet lag day in a place that doesn't a lot of sights to visit.

I'd just take the train or a bus to Evora rather than spending the extra money on a tour and tying myself to someone else's schedule.

Sintra is easily reached by train from Lisbon or by bus from Cascais. I don't know whether one is preferable because of the location of the train/bus station. Your guidebook should provide useful information about the location of the major Sintra sights. If they are scattered (too long ago--I don't remember), you might prefer to drive if you need a car for some other purpose.

Posted by
25 posts

All good thoughts so thank you. We love exploring cities but we also love nature so I think the idea of being on the coast for a couple of days sounded nice. We also want to slow down a little on this trip and not rush from place to place. But it's a good point that Cascais is so close to Lisbon and I also worry that it will be very crowded in July! Our daughter was there in April which I'm sure is a whole different experience. I wonder if there is somewhere else we could stay on the coast for a couple of nights in between Lisbon and Porto??

Posted by
16996 posts

There must surely be some decent options, but I'm not a beach person myself, so I have no suggestion for you. A guidebook to Portugal should cover the Atlantic coast.

Posted by
1878 posts

You don't want a car in Lisbon. I don't think you need a car at all for this itinerary at all, except maybe the day trip to the Duoro part. The train from Lisbon to Porto is only a few hours, right? There is an easy bus between Cascais and Sintra. Personally I like Sintra much more than Cascais as a place to stay. I would consider staying two days in Sintra and two in Cascais. Cascais the hotels were very high priced and we ended up staying in a really dumpy one that was still $140 per night. Cascais seemed to have lots of loud rowdy groups when we were there, maybe it was a soccer tournament weekend or something. Kind of like the stag party groups you see in Dublin or Prague. This was in September, probably even worse in July. Portugal is one country where it's worth it to pay a little more for a hotel. The standards at cheaper ones sometimes are not great. I agree with the idea of starting in a smaller, quitter place.

Posted by
921 posts

You really don't want to drive in Lisbon! And, it's definitely possible to rent a car in Cascais. If you use Auto Europe, they consolidate with Europcar - which is right across the street from the train station. Don't try to drive from Lisbon to Cascais. The train is super simple and inexpensive. If you are going to stay 4 nights in Cascais, I would suggest a vacation rental instead of a hotel. And, in July, you might not want to stay in the old town center. As a previous poster mentioned, it's prime tourist season and can get noisy in that area. But, if you stay a little out of the center, it remains quiet all summer. There is a bus that makes a loop around town that is very useful - if you don't want to rent the car until time to leave Cascais.
I would suggest the bus to Sintra rather than driving. Parking is a major problem and the bus works well.

If you want a tour of the Douro, CoolTour Oporto is a nice one. The price is reasonable and the service good. It gives you a good taste of the river, wineries, etc.
Feel free to PM me with specific questions you have about Cascais. Especially locations of hotels, apartments, etc.

Posted by
25 posts

Thank you so much. This is SO helpful! I think I like the idea of 2 nights in Cascais and 2 nights in Sintra for a different experience. And I think we'll still start in Lisbon so we can pick up a car in Cascais and drive. We love road trips because you can go at your own pace and see more.

-Fly into Lisbon 4 nights Day trip to Evora?
-train to Cascais 2 nights pick up a car
-drive to Sintra 2 nights
-drive to Porto 3 nights Day trip to Douro Valley Possible drop the car and take a tour of the Douro Valley.
-fly out of Porto to Milan

It is 4 places instead of 3 but we get to see more which I like and we're driving so it's easier to deal with our stuff. Ideas on places to stay in Cascais, Sintra and Porto?