My sister and I are planning on a trip to Portugal for about 10 days. We want a very relaxed itinerary but hit the beautiful can't miss sights, would like a trip on the Douro. I think I read somewhere you can do a day trip stop in a village stay the night and return when ready. A rental car is totally doable for us if needed. We are actually planning on being in Europe for 21-28 days so may cross over from Portugal and visit northern Spain so if anyone has good itinerary please help. I have just finished chemo and this is my trip that was a lifeline for me to hold onto while sick. After Portugal we may fly and do christmas market cruise? We are open to whatever. My only must is Portugal as I have seen most of Northern Europe. I would love to hear suggestion I want a free and easy enjoying life trip. Thank you for any help
Guess no one has ideas .....
Your question is too broad. It's a huge expanse of territory. There's some of us who know the whole area well, but probably nobody knows where to start.
If you're having trouble being more specific, the answers to these questions will help you focus your trip, and help others give advice:
What made you choose Portugal? Is it just that you haven't been before, or something else as well?
What places in Europe (and elsewhere) have you liked and not liked in the past?
You said you want to see "the beautiful can't miss sights, would like a trip on the Douro." Do you also want to see big cities, or just small towns and villages, or rural areas, or a mixture?
Do you have an interest in wines, religious pilgrimage sights, or anything else special?
Do you like to visit places that you or your friends have heard of, or do you mind visiting places others won't know about? (A coworker really likes the "brand names" of travel, like the Sistine Chapel and Stonehenge, and is less enthusiastic when told about other less famous places to visit. I don't agree, but for her trips, I've learned to stop "fighting" her wishes).
Any mobility restrictions? For example, parts of Lisbon are VERY hilly and would be difficult for some to navigate.
Etc, etc. Help us help you!
So sorry my question was so broad......chemo brain doesn't always say what I'm thinking....
I choose portugal because I've never been there, heard it's beautiful and not like everyone else's trips to europe. Also my father went there long ago and said it was one of his favorites and he went everywhere in the world.....he has now passed.
I like the unusual, I'm not a name brand person which is why I chose portugal. I love history but don't need to see 20 cathedrals.....I do wish to spend several days in Lisbon and then a day trip to Sinatra. I like cities but only in short spurts I prefer smaller areas, want great lodging or unique. I would like to see the duro area what is best way to see it by car, day cruise or train?
I hope this helps
Sorry yes I do have stamina issues but my sister doesn't so if I'm having bad day she could still enjoy. Also in Lisbon what area would be best to stay in...I want to wake up and have a view of rooftops or river.
Try this for a broad initial plan:
Spend time in Lisbon and work in a short run out to Sintra.
Afterwards, get a car and, armed with a study of the Michelin Green Guides (using the site rankings) for both Spain and Portugal, head west to Elvas, thence northwards through eastern Alentejo and Beiras and into the Douro Basin.
Run the river by boat.
Give what time you have for Spain to Galacia.
Come back down along the coast through the Tagus Valley and dump the car in Lisbon.
You should be able to do it in eleven days if you don't spend more than three nights in Lisbon. One would have to be along the Douro and one more would at either Elvas or Evora, I'd pick the former. The rest you could spread around.
Sounds great if we go into Spain we can add a few days....
Also can you take a day cruise and get off in a village that may have a nice posada or boutique inn then take cruise back to Porto?
You'll have to wait for somebody else or check with the boat companies. I've only been on the river in private craft.
This is my first visit to this website. How presumptuous is it for me to reply? Except I just very easily booked a day trip on the Douro through Viator.com and also booked two day trips out of Lisbon through them as well. We are taking the day trip from our rental apartment on the Via Nova de Gaia right near the Sandeman port cellar. We booked apartments for our two week Oct. Portugal trip after being inspired by the introduction to Rick Steeves tour book of Europe. We want to immerse in local culture as much as we can; we are somewhat intimidated by the language barrier. Hope I haven't offended anyone by mentioning this website or replying but I am very buzzed about planning this trip and finding an easy, reasonably priced way to make some day trips.
I just got back from Spain and Portugal. We were in Madrid, Granada, Sevilla and flew to Lisbon. It was all quite amazing. We really loved all the cities for different reasons. Sintra, outside of Lisbon, is worth a couple of days. Especially if you have the time. It is a beautiful place with a lot of history, great restaurants and shopping. I would highly recommend staying in Sintra. Rick's book doesn't do it justice.
I just got back from Portugal, and I'd say you HAVE to do the Algarve (southern coast of Portugal). It was INCREDIBLE. My husband and I did Madrid, Granada, Seville, and the Algarve, and the Algarve was by far our favorite. Even just seeing that small part of the country made me want to visit Portugal again right away! The Algarve can be quite tourist-centered, but there are still authentic experiences to be had and it was just lovely. Portugal in general is off the beaten path like you said...not "typical" European travel. We just loved it--the people, the food, the wine.
Can you try to find a way to the Algarve? We rented a car in Seville and drove over. I'd say you definitely need a car. We stayed near Albufeira. I'd avoid Lagos because it's extremely touristy and overrun with families w/ young children (not very relaxing). Cape Sagres--the western-most tip--was incredible and was once thought to be the end of the world. The small beaches (praias) are all incredible--Bengail, Marinha. Salema (Rick Steves' personal favorite) was charming and peaceful, despite the family-friendly atmosphere. The Algarve seems like the perfect place to relax after chemo treatment.
Of course, it's the off season now, so some things may be closed. The sea cave tour we really wanted to go on was closed, and so was a restaurant we really wanted to try. But it's still gorgeous down there, and there are plenty of restaurants and sites that are open. I think it'd be very relaxing.
I can't speak for the rest of Portugal because I only had time for the Algarve but like I said, I'm already planning my next trip back there. It's a beautiful, charming, friendly country that isn't completely overrun by tour groups like Spain is. I highly recommend it!
As for northern Spain, I didn't make it here on this trip but I'm dying to go to San Sebastian and La Rioja wine region. Both seem very relaxing especially after chemo.
Have a great trip...you deserve it.