My husband and are planning a week in Portugal and would like to include Sintra, Duoro, and Porto. We will be staying in Lisbon with probably day trip to Sintra and was thinking overnight in Porto and next day to Douro. Is this reasonable? Should we rent car or take train? What about boat from Porto to Duoro? Leaving in 2 weeks and any advice would be helpful. Thanks in advance!
with a week in Portugal, I'd stay 4 nights in Lisbon, with a day trip to Sintra by train, then take the train to Porto and spend 2 or 3 nights with a day trip by boat to the Douro Valley. "Douro Azul" - www.douroazul.com is one option, the ATC/Porto Tours office in Porto has several others - www.portotours.com. Most can be arranged at their office in Porto, near the Se cathedral, a day or two in advance. Trains from Lisbon to Porto run almost hourly, taking about 3 hours, and tickets can be purchased the day before. There is a Portuguese rail ticket office located in the Rossio train station downtown (where you catch the trains to Sintra), where you can buy the tickets. Trains to/from Porto leave from the Oriente train station.
Years ago, three of us had a rental car and used it to visit Sintra on our way from Lisbon to Obidos. We didn't go as far north as Porto, and then headed southeast to Evora. Can you get a good deal on a car? Do you want to go places on your schedule? Is someone OK with doing the driving while the other person helps navigate and enjoys the scenery? Options to consider . . . have a great trip!
BTW, Rick Steves always says to travel light. I'd like to refine that and say that weight is not the issue; it's bulk. So my mantra is, "Travel Thin." I always avoid cotton clothing (except for socks) and instead use Gore-Tex, nylon, and some of the other synthetics. For example, instead of a sweater I pack a Nike, long sleeve warm-up top. It has a fourth of the volume, all of the fashion, and a good measure of the warmth of a sweater. Choices like this reduce bulk, improve your options for getting your clothes quickly laundered, and reduce weight as well.