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Portugal itinerary help

NEW
We have since updated our itinerary and dropped the Algarve and will only be in Portugal for2 weeks. Any thoughts are appreciated.
Lisbon - 5 nights with day trip to Sintra
Evora - 2 nights
Douro Valley - 2 nights at Casa do Visconde de Chanceloeiros (as suggested)
Porto - 2 nights or should this be 3 nights?
Coimbra - 2 nights
Obidos/Toma/Nazare - 2 nights
Lisbon - 1 night airport hotel

OLD POST
We are planning to come to Portugal from Toronto end of June 2019. We can spend 3 weeks. We are renting a car when we leave Lisbon. So far we have 2 weeks planned. Lisbon (5 nights), Salema (3 nights), Evora (2 nights), Nazera (1 night), Coimbra (2 nights), Porto (3 nights). We have another 6-7 days that we can spend in Portugal. We could spend more time in places already listed, extend into Spain, Azores, or Medeira, anywhere else in Portugal we should see? Also looking for apartment/hotel recommendations. We would like 3 bedrooms if we are renting apartments with laundry.

Posted by
3847 posts

Be aware that Portugal is not well connected to Spain, despite what one might expect from looking at the map.

Also keep in mind, late June is probably going to be uncomfortably hot in late June/early July - hot enough to keep many of us away.

Posted by
3679 posts

Portugal is well connected to Spain by plane. There are many cheap direct flights a day between Lisbon or Porto and Spanish cities. Even if there were fast direct trains between the big cities in each country, flying would be faster and probably cheaper.

Posted by
1990 posts

I would say somewhere relaxing up the Douro Valley for 2 or 3 nights. Also, I really enjoyed 2 nights in Sintra, which merits considerably more time than a day trip. Early and late in the day and evening are great, without all the day tripping crowds, and there are some excellent restaurants and bakeries in Sintra too

Posted by
479 posts

Add another day to Nazera and then see Obidos, but even better Batalha, Tomar, Fatima, Alcobaca

Head into the Douro to Pinhao and stay in the Casa do Visconde de Chanceleiros (make resv. now) for at least 2 days

Head for Guimaraes for 1 night.

travel to spain to Santiago de Camposteld for a night or 2 then drive back to Porto to fly out.

Don't miss a tour of the cork farms in Evora...

Posted by
12023 posts

I haven't been to Portugal recently so I don't have current info, but more than one person on this forum has felt that Salema is not the best place on the Algarve, that it has been spoiled. I believe Tavira has been suggested as a better choice.

I have been to Madeira twice and loved it. It's a great place for those who love to walk is beautiful country, looking down on terraced hillsides. I'd probably want to allow 5 days there.

There are a lot of interesting places on the mainland. I suggest that you pick up a guidebook with comprehensive coverage. I liked Guimaraes, Viseu, and the market in Barcelos. However, I'm fond of secondary cities and don't mind going to non-touristy places that have really nice historic centers but not necessarily a lot of Michelin-starred sights.

There's plenty to see in Portugal, and I wouldn't feel the need to branch out to Spain. If you decide you want to do that, I'd favor a foray north to Galicia, which has a lot of interesting places beyond Santiago de Compostela: A Coruna, Pontevedra, Betanzos, and smaller towns like Tui, Combarra and Cambados. I don't recommend Vigo, though; it is largish, industrial, and just not all that special. A huge advantage of Galicia, aside from its relative proximity to Porto, is that it normally has very moderate temperatures even in mid-summer. (A Coruna seems to be an exception to that.) If you instead travel east into Extremadura or Andalucía, you will have a very hot time of it indeed. Those regions of Spain are better visited at a different time of year.

Posted by
2774 posts

I too wouldn’t recommend Salema - it’s been ruined by over development.

The drive from Lisbon to the Algarve is long if you don’t take the rather boring toll road, so to make it worth your while, I would head to the less developed Tavira, but stay for longer than the 2 full days you have planned there. Either that or drop the Algarve, which at that time of year will be packed with pasty- skinned north Europeans like myself hitting the beaches.

Evora could easily occupy you for 2 full days ie 3 nights. Tomar, Alcobaca and Fatima are all worth a visit. I saw these places when I stayed in Foz do Arelho and had other day trips to Nazare (disappointing) and Obidos.

Posted by
676 posts

Be aware that the end of June in the Algarve will be very busy, and that Salema would be one of the last places I would stay at any time of the year. I’m one of those that thinks RS fascination with Salema is very puzzling! If you want to be central, Lagos would be my choice. If you want the option of driving over into Spain, Tavira would be good. But, you can easily spend three weeks just in Portugal.

Evora will be the place that will be hottest, but is very much worth at least two nights. Be sure to do the Megalith tour while there.

There are a number of places in central Portugal worth visiting, so more than one night would be good. I’m not fond of Nazare but from there you could visit Alcobaca and Batalha. And Tomar is a lovely small town with a great monastery above the town.

Coimbra is worth 2-3 nights, especially if you want to see Conimbriga outside of town.

And, you could easily spend at a week between Porto and the Douro valley with trips to Guimarães and Braga.

Northern Spain is an easy drive from Guimarães and is beautiful. Especially during the summer, it would be my preference over southern Spain.

One other thought - you could easily take the train from Lisbon to the Algarve before picking up your car. The train is easy and cheaper than driving. But, once there, you must have a car.

Posted by
287 posts

Just back from Portugal last month. We had 16 nights on the ground and did the exact route as you as follows:
Lisbon-3 nts Day tripped to Sintra, picked up car on our way out. Drove the coastal route to
Lagos-4 nts Day tripped to Salema, Silves and Sagres. Stopped in Beja enroute to
Evora-2 nts Stopped in Tomar on enroute to:
Nazare-4 nts Day tripped to Obidos, Alcobaca and Conimbriga for the Roman Ruins. There is tons to see in this part of Portugal!
Porto-3 nts Dropped car on way into town.

With 5 extra nights, I would add 1 to Lisbon; add Coimbra for 2 nights; and add 1 to Porto to allow for day trip to Guimares or Braga. I didn't love Lagos, but my husband did. It was a good base for the day trips we planned. We did a coastal boat trip there as well. I also didn't love Nazare, but it was also a good base camp. We stopped into Sao Martinho do Porto for a bit, and I wished we had stayed there instead. We did stay in apartments, but they were either studio or 1 bedroom so can't help you there.

We found the roads to be excellent and well signed. Easy to get around. The people are amazingly warm and friendly, and twice when lost we had people take us by the arm and lead us to where we were going. Good value food and wine. Enjoy Portugal!

Posted by
4 posts

You have Portugal rather well covered. As you still have time, I strongly suggest you fly a few days to the Azores. In the Azores, I suggest S. Miguel island. S. Miguel is incredibly beautiful and a very unique place, because of it's location and geography.

If you don't want to go to the Azores, I suggest continue north to Braga and Guimaraes (one night should be enough) and then to Geres National Park. Geres is very nice, you can stay there in a more rustic environment or make it a day trip from Braga/Guimaraes/Porto.

I think this list about traveling in Portugal could be useful for you.

Posted by
9 posts

My husband and I just got back about two weeks ago. We stopped at Sao Miguel (flew from Porto) on the way back to Boston and loved the three days we were there (already looking at going back and to other islands!). We rented a car and stayed in Furnas. The island is gorgeous and it was a relaxing end to our vacation. The flight back to Boston was only a little over 4 hours.

Posted by
2308 posts

Evora can be done on a day trip from Lisbon. You don't need two nights there.

Consider a day trip from Porto to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, north of Porto.