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One Month in Portugal Advice

My husband and I are planning on spending a month exploring Portugal late spring. We are interested in history, small towns, cities, wine, food. Normally we like to travel a slowly and am thinking of breaking our trip up like this:

1 week in Porto area (we definitely will want to visit the Duoro and Vinho Verde region north of Porto.
-Would you stay in Porto or somewhere else?
1 week in Alentejo region
-Not sure where we should stay in this area?
1 week in the Algarve, most likely staying in Tavira.
1 week in Lisbon to explore the city and nearby cities along the coast

Does this sound like a reasonable way to split up our time??

Haven't decided how best to get around Portugal and would love your suggestions??

Thank you in advance for your help and suggestions!!


Posted by
14 posts

Visited lovely Portugal for two weeks just before the pandemic. Definitely visit Douro Valley. We took a beautiful tour with Viator which included wine tasting and a boat trip. Must do! It left from Porto. Porto has lots to offer, so spend several days. We also were surprised how much we enjoyed Lisbon. Stay in the Baixa district for at least 3 days. Must have Pastel de Nata tarts!
We thought Obidos so very charming, but our three days was way to much. The town can be seen in one day. Sintra is a lovely area, but the Castle was a bit too Disney for our liking. Other great towns - my favorite Cascais! Could live there. Other nice small towns are Nazare, and Aveiro. Cannot comment on the Algarve as we did not head south. We got around just fine with trains and buses. You’re going to love the warm and welcoming people!

Posted by
327 posts

I’ll be in Portugal this summer for three weeks. I’m not sure there’s enough in the Alentejo region to fill up a week (I’m sure others will disagree). If you really want to stay in Alentejo, probably Evora is the best home base. Personally I would spend that week farther north, maybe with Coimbra as a home base. There’s a lot more to see in the Beiras and Estremadura regions that could definitely fill up a week.

The middle of the country is easier with a car but you can get around the Lisbon area easily on trains.

Posted by
1180 posts

It will be difficult to do Porto, Douro and the Vinho Verde region in a week, IMO. However, day trips from Porto to the Douro are doable. The Vinho Verde region might be a bit far to a day trip. I would leave out the Verde region if you are only there a week, but there are others that will likely disagree.

Late spring in the Alentejo will be hot. Unless you have a car, there wouldn’t be enough to do, IMO. Evora is good for 3 nights - maybe four. Be sure to do the Megalith tour while there.

If you must do the Algarve, Tavira is a good choice. But, again, without a car you will be severely limiting yourself.

You can easily spend a week or more in the Lisbon area, especially if you want to see the cities close to it. You don’t need or want a car in Lisbon.

Posted by
194 posts

Hi, I'm Helena, I'm portuguese, born and living in Porto district!

And you say... wow, good, Helena is going to tell us a lot about Porto.

Well, not this time. I'm here just to say a thing or two about Alentejo.

Alentejo is not a place to do things. It's quite the opposite. Alentejo is a place to stay. A place to feel. A place where you don't rush to experiment, do, visit... oh no, it's a place where you just don't rush taking many pics for future memories. You don't need that. The region stays inside you, in your soul. You will have time enough, (because you are not rushing) to see the wild animal life (the partridge are lovely, but maily in Spring, when they are looking to be a couple, and so are the hares, always running from one side to the other). And don't forget to look at the sky. In the night. A beautiful sky! (There was a planetarium here, not sure if it still exists, it's the better place in Portugal to look at the sky! Looking at the sky, I know, it's not adventurous, I think noone ever that was in Portugal spoke about the sky, but well, anyway...)

Alentejo is a big region, from the ocean to the borders with Spain (West to East) and covering a lot of land from North to South. I like the beaches, but for me they are very windy. They are lovely, Porto Covo, Azambujeira, etc, but to me Alentejo is more about the interior. My favourite place is Minas de São Domingos.

Wow, what to do at Minas de São Domingos? Well... nothing. If you have a car, visit "Pulo do Lobo". Besides that, just go to the river beach, very lovely. Eat at the local restaurant (there are only two) AND accept the appetizers (not a very common thing to advise to people coming to Portugal, but trust me, the cheese is from another world!!!) And... Well there are a couple of other thing to do, but they are kind of not exactly legal, I'll send a pm.

Have a nice time, no matters if you visit Alentejo or not, and if you need some insight, I'm at your disposal!

Posted by
149 posts

Regarding the Alentejo; is renting a car the only way to get there from Lisbon?
My wife and I are going to a wedding in Lisbon in late June and staying (2 weeks) in Lisbon. She is then returning home and leaving me loose in Portugal for a week. This will be our third visit to Lisbon so I would like to explore a bit. We have been to Porto (I like Lisbon better).
A decade ago a friend of a friend got married in the Alentejo (Reguengos de Monsaraz) and raved about it.

My only problem is that I do not want to drive. Would that limit me to Evora and Beja?

Feel free to PM me if you prefer

Posted by
13 posts

OK Helena, now I want to buy a house in Alentejo so that I can live there part of the year!! Seriously. I wonder if there's a market for short term rental houses there....

Posted by
194 posts

Dennis, you don't need a car, but for the part of Alentejo I was talking about, you need a bycicle, or at least a donkey!

Posted by
194 posts

winchaidg, what you want is a "monte"- "Monte alentejano". They are (still) cheap. But, besides Alentejo, there are still a lot of places good to live in the end of the world, where you can ... ok, you can do whatever you want. Let me describe a Litle: oranges on the trees, people raising chickens, home honey, old ladies with vegetables... etc?

Of course if you have an incident, and you need an ambulance, or whatever, that will take 30 minutes or more to get into you. And if the snow appears (not the case this year) that can be a problem. Anyway, we have people from other countries choosing Portugal to live. I'll be glad to give you more details, if youn want to.