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Portugal driving tour

The following is our tentative travel in Portugal:
Would love suggestions as to time spent, places to skip/add
Fly into Lisbon 3 nights (day trip to Sintra)
Drive to Obidos 2 nights. Visit Nazare, Alcobaca
Drive to Coimbra 2 nights
Drive to Douro Valley 1 night (Visit Aviero en route)
Drive to Porto 3 nights (Braga en route)

Should we adjust and add Salema? We will have spent the prior month in Spain.


Posted by
4684 posts

Have you been to Lisbon before? If not, 3 nights (i.e. 2 days) isn’t enough if one day is going to be a day trip to Sintra.

Obidos is worth a couple of hours, but I wouldn’t stay there, particularly if you are going to use it as a base to see Alcobaca and Nazare which are both to the north before driving north to Coimbra. Why head back south to stay? Personally, I think Nazare is over rated but Tomar, Alcobaca and Batalha are all worth a visit and I would stay in this area, not Obidos.

Your time in the Douro is rushed with the side visits you have planned. Many of the roads are winding and progress can be slow.

Porto is compact and could be seen in a full day.

Unless you are prepared to add another week, you don’t have time for the Algarve. Salema has been ruined by over development and has lost its character, so wouldn’t be my choice of where to stay. If you want beach time, add some days around the Silver Coast, which would be less driving.

Portugal is a beautiful country, but unless you want to drive on the boring motorways and see little, driving is slow and time consuming.

Posted by
988 posts

I will echo pretty much everything Jennifer wrote.

With 11 nights, you are spending too much time going from place to place. Add days to both Lisbon and Porto. Do one of the fine Douro day trips on a small bus tour unless you have multiple nights - which you don’t. Braga is not en route from the south to Porto - it’s about an hour north. You can also day trip there from Porto.

You don’t need or want a car in Lisbon or Porto but driving to see Obidos, Alcobaça and Batalha is good. Rent a car for just the center area then train the rest of the time. Coimbra is quite nice.

You definitely do not have time for the Algarve if you are even attempting the other places you mention. Portugal is more about savoring the charming places not about rushing from place to place. Build in time to sit on an esplanade with wine or coffee, have a three hour lunch. These are the things I love about the country.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you both for the suggestions. Interestingly, one says cut a day from Porto, one says add...hmmm.
I’ll be adjusting to add a day in Lisbon. Maybe cut a day in Porto. We have no intention of driving in Lisbon and Porto...not sure why that was assumed. Day trips on buses with other people males my skin crawl. Have done a couple and would rather not do any ever again. We have driven the entire island of Ireland, through Scotland, England, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and France. The driving, obviously, doesn’t bother us and we manage to get around on the tiny roads just fine.
I appreciate the heads up on Obidos. Makes sense to stay further north.
We will savor the culture, engage with the Portuguese and, I’m sure, have a wonderful time. We’ll go back with our golf clubs at a later date. 😊
Thanks for the help!