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Portugal in April - 10 days

We will be arriving in Lisbon in early April, and would like to spend 8-10 days in Portugal before heading to Paris (from Porto). We plan to rent a car and have been to Lisbon, Sintra and southern Portugal several times and would like to see something new. Although I’ve driven in Europe many times, I would prefer to avoid larger cities. We love history, small towns, churches, palaces, wonderful food and unique, historic hotels. In general, we would prefer to stay in one place for 2-3 days rather than constantly moving.

Unfortunately, I’m struggling to develop a logical itinerary and would hugely appreciate some help! We want to enjoy the trip and smell the flowers - no need to see every church in Portugal (impossible!). I’ve also suggested hotels, assuming I can get reservations) and would also appreciate your thoughts on them.

Tentatively —

Day 1 Taxi from port to airport to pick up rental car (avoids driving in Lisbon and there are no rental agencies at the port - and the airport is in the right direction). Depart airport (@11 am), lunch in Setubal or along the coast (seafood!), Arrive Evora. Walk the walls around Evora to get a feel for the town.
Stay in Evora at Albergaria do Calvario (2 nites).

Day 2 Walking tour (2 hours) of Evora, lunch at Tasquinha d’Oliveira,visit the Temple of Diana,Cathedral, Church of St Francis, Bone Chapel and wander Praca de Giraldo.
Stay in Evora at Albergaria do Calvario.

Day 3 Spend the morning wandering Evora, catching upon what we missed yesterday (Cadaval Palace?). Drive to Arraiolos. Stop at the cork factory. In Arrailos, see the castle, Church of Mary, carpet museum.

Stay in Arraiolos. at the Pousada Convento de Arraiolos (2 nites).

Day 4 Visit Villa Vicosa Palace Ducal (11 am English tour). Lunch at Narcissus (?).
En route back to pousada, stop in Borba to see the church of St Gregory, stations of the cross.
Stop at a winery in Estremoz (Tiago Cabaco?Jao Portugal Ramos?)
Stay at the Pousada Convento de Arraiolos Orioles

Day 5 Depart Pousada for Alcobaca. Tour the monastery of Alcobaca, en route to Tomar.
Stay in Tomar at the Hotel dos Templarios (1-2 nights).

Day 6 Tomar - tour the Castle and Convent of Christ. Wander Tomar.
Stay in Tomar at the Hotel dos Templarios (2 nights).

Day 7 Drive to Covilha, check in at the Pousada (2-3 nites?). Spend the afternoon in Belmonte at the Museo Judaico (which sounds quite unique).
Stay in Covilha at the Pousada Serra da Estrela,

Day 8 Day off to hike, swim and enjoy the pousada. Or day trip to Viseu.
Stay in Covilha at the Pousada Serra da Estrela,

Day 9 Head to the Douro Valley, visit the Musee de Lamego, Chapel of San Pedro.
Stay at at the Vintage House Hotel, Pinhao (2 nites).

Day 10 Boat trip on the Douro, Lunch at a winery (suggestions??)
Stay at at the Vintage House Hotel, Pinhao.

Day 11 Drive to the airport in Porto, drop off the car - and head to Paris.

Any suggestions on the itinerary, hotels, what to do - and to skip - would be MODST appreciated!!

Posted by
409 posts

In Setubal, I recommend “Tasca da Fatinha” for lunch. The grilled seafood is spectacular. My Lisbon family eat here often, I have only been there once.

Posted by
2523 posts

In Evora have dinner at Botequim da Mouraria, Rua da Mouraria 16A. The food is excellent. You sit at a counter and since there are only 12 seats, reservations are necessary. On my visit to Portugal, this was the best meal I had.

Posted by
922 posts

You have definitely done your homework and are seeing a number of things still on my list. A couple of suggestions you might want to consider.
In Evora, there is a tour of the Megaliths outside of town that is led by an archeologist. It was the highlight of my first trip to Evora. He does a tour in English every day (I think). It’s called Ebora Megalithica and is excellent.
The other suggestion is the town of Guimarães north of Porto. It is known as the birthplace of Portugal because the first king was born there. It is a charming town that you might want to research. I’ve not been to Viseu so can’t compare them but Viseu had one of the bad fires this fall and I don’t know how much this affected the actual town. Just something to consider.

Posted by
152 posts

Thank you so much! I've added both the tour of the megaliths and Guitamares (yes, I have some research to do on this but, at first glance, it looks fascinating). We may be adding another day to Portugal...

And, thank you for advising of the fires in Viseu - I knew of the fires, of course, but not precisely what townsthey effected.

again, many thanks!!

Posted by
152 posts

Thank you so much for the suggestions on restaurants - I'm already hungry for all Portugal has to offer!!

Posted by
152 posts

Yikes! I just realized that we will arrive in Lisbon on a Saturday! Will the churches/museums (anything?) in Evora be open on a Sunday? I seem to recall that Sundays in Portugal are very quiet...

Note - I just tried to reorganize the schedule a bit to head to Estremoz first but it seems that the Palace Ducal is only open in the afternoon and so I assume there is no English tour. Is this correct?

Thank you!!

Posted by
922 posts

If you arrive on a Saturday, you might want to consider spending your first night/day in Lisbon. There is a lot to do in the Lisbon area on Sunday - much more than there would be in the smaller towns. Did you visit Belem on your previous visit? Or take the ferry from Cais do Sodre to Calcilhas? Or even visit my town of Cascais? You could even make your way to Evora in the late afternoon on Sunday then be there to start your exploring first thing Monday morning. Be aware that a number of restaurants close on Monday - but definitely not all.
If you can’t modify hotels, you could check on wineries outside of Evora to see if they are open on Sunday and visit a couple of them.

Posted by
152 posts

Thank you for your suggestions. Staying in Lisbon might be possible but, if we did, we';d have to reduce time somewhere else - and I'm not sure where that could be! I love Lisbon but, yes, we've done all you suggest - and Cascais - and Estoril... But, we'll see...