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Portugual in Sept. itinerary advice pls.

Planning a 2-week trip w/a friend September 18-Oct 3. We are both late 50's, active; enjoy charming small towns, wine, hiking/biking, strolling villages, eating local food. We don't need to see every church and castle but of course enjoy some of that. I prefer to minimize travel time by staying in one place and doing day trips if possible.

Looking at 4-5 nights in Porto (side trip to Durous Valley), 4-5 nights in Lisbon (side trip to Sintra and maybe Cascais?). Considering spending the last part of trip going in Algarve and staying in Lagos. It would require most of a day to get from Lisbon to Lagos door to door.

In your opinion, is it worth it to make the trip down to Algarve region or should we stick to visiting the north and Lisbon?
I realize there are beaches near Lisbon but the photos of the beach caves look so amazing.

Also wondering if Lisbon and Porto are "too large" -- I love towns with a village feel but with good restaurants and shops. To give an idea, some favorite places I've stayed are St. Remy, France; Positano, Italy; Cesky Kromlov, Czech Republic; Taoromina, Italy. Should I consider staying in Cascais and day tripping from there?

This is a trip badly needed for a respite from some personal traumatic events so I am trying to plan the best possible experience. Thank you so much.

Posted by
346 posts

About five years ago we (2 active adults in 50-60's) stayed in Sintra for our first four days as we were looking for a small town to RR as we started a trip through Portugal and Spain. We went to Lisbon and other small towns from that home base. Our apartment was so peaceful and private. Perfect to sip wine on the patio and look to the beautiful valley. We stayed at http://stayatcinco.com/.

Posted by
7124 posts

You could spread yourself around a little.

Porto (4N) with days to the Douro, Braga
Coimbra (2N)
Tomar (1N)
Evora (2N)
Lisbon (5N) with days to Sintra, Mafra, Cascais

Posted by
4238 posts

If you want to do the beach then the Algarve is the place in Portugal. Frankly, you can go to the beach back in the USA.

I would skip the Algarve.

Porto is a great place, but you can see it in 2 days. If you take a Douro River cruise that would add more time. We did a seven day cruise that was wonderful.

Lisbon is a large city, but has the feel of a smaller city. Porto is perfect. Also, I highly recommend a wonderful Bed and Breakfast in Porto. It is the InPatio Guesthouse. It is the best.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for your replies. With the distance to the Algarve and the limited time we are in Portugal, it may be best to save the this area for another time.