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Traveling to Portugal April 2022

My husband and I are traveling in April to Portugal from Canada. We are thinking 3 weeks, is that too long for just Portugal? How easy would it be to drive to Spain from the Algarve region? Mostly referring to covid restrictions, going from one country to the other. Thank you in advance for any tips.

Posted by
3831 posts

There's a lot to see and do in Portugal for 3 weeks, do not worry about that!
This being said, if you are driving and have 3-4 days to spare, it is easy and worthwhile to cross the border from Evora into Extremadura for a few days.
Crossing into Andalucía is also an option, but I am of the opinion that Andalucia deserves its whole trip.
Likewise, Galicia is very easily reached from Porto, Braga, etc., but April can be wet, wet, wet.

COVID restrictions cannot be predicted more than a few weeks in advance, but things seem to be improving in that regard.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you for your reply. Any thoughts about driving to Sevilla from Tavira? Maybe a day trip.

Posted by
3831 posts

To be honest, given the choice, I'd much rather skip the Algarve coast altogether and head to Sevilla for three days or so. Sevilla is not really a viable day-trip destination, there is too much to do and it is not that close to the border.
But the key question here is: do you think you will have the chance to go to Andalucia in the future?

Posted by
422 posts

Another vote for skipping the Algarve. There is plenty to keep you busy in Portugal for 3 weeks, even without the Algarve. Besides the big cities, look into the schist villages and other smaller towns, particularly those east of Evora. For the sake of simplicity and really getting a good taste of the variety of Portugal, I'd stay in there, that is one country, for 3 weeks, but only you know how badly you want to see Spain as well on this trip. These days, when driving from one country to another, the best bet is to check the websites of the countries involved. A good example of this is that Reuters and some British press are speculating that Portugal plans to drop its negative-test-for-entry regs in the very near future, but nothing appears on Portugal's COVID/tourism website(s).

Posted by
149 posts

Another vote to see less (countries) and thus see more (culture).
Lisbon alone is worth more than a week and with a car, you can explore the Alentejo or head North to Coimbra and/or Porto. I do not recommend a car until you leave Lisbon. It is NOT car friendly. Agree that the Algarve would not be the right time of year.
Where are you flying into?

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you, we are flying into Lisbon and spending approx. 5 days to tour Lisbon, Sintra and Cascais. Then train to Faro, pick up car, and drive to Salema and area, stay 2 days. Travel along the coast and end up in Tavira for 2 days (may drive into Spain to visit Sevilla). After the Algarve stay, drive to Evora, not sure if we should sleep 1 night or keep driving to Odidoes. Would like a couple days in Odidoes and area. Continue up coast to Aveiro and end in Porto. Drop off car, tour Porto and Douro Valley. Fly back to Canada from Porto.
Would appreciate any input regarding this itinerary.

Posted by
7723 posts

Obidos is a good place to base for exploring other towns but the town itself is worth about two hours and is filled with tourists. Spend at least one night in Evora.

Posted by
3831 posts

Looking at your plan, I would definitely skip the 2+2 nights in the Algarve.
Instead, I would spend 2 nights in Evora, and maybe 2 nights in a village north of Evora, such as Marvão. Or you could cross the border into Spain for a bit.
Then, rather than Óbidos, I would probably pick Tomar as a base to tour the area (Alcobaça or Batalha, Nazaré if there are waves, Coimbra, etc.).
I would then head to the Douro valley, keeping the car. And drop it in Porto at the end.

You could perhaps optimize this better, but I do not feel that the Algarve is worth your trouble this time.

Posted by
5552 posts

I have been to the Algarve in April and it wasn’t as warm as I had expected. Very windy too at the western end of the Algarve.

I too would suggest that you drop the Algarve. Salema is likely to be dead at that time of year - if you must include the Algarve, stay in Lagos. Two nights somewhere is only one day there. Unless you use the rather dull toll road, driving from Lagos to Tavira took me nearly 3 hours the last time I made the trip.

Seville is too far as a day trip from Tavira and really deserves three full days. Some car hire companies charge extra to take the car into Spain - some for the duration of the hire and others just for the days the car will be out of Portugal.

There’s more than enough to keep you fully occupied in Portugal for 3 weeks even if you don’t visit the Algarve.

Posted by
1179 posts

I’ll join the others with the recommendation to skip the Algarve in April. There is so much to see from Evora north, you will have no trouble filling your time. If you want a beach fix, there are many from Lisbon north. However, if you go ahead with the drive into Spain plan, there are no restrictions driving across the border at this point. Portugal has dropped the 24 hour negative test but only for those fully vaccinated with boosters. They are accepting the EU Covid Certificates but not certain about cards from other countries.

Evora is very worth your time and if you do have a car, you could drive west toward Spain from there. Evora deserves more time than Obidos. I agree with the others to spend a couple of hours there but not two nights. If you want to stay in the Silver Coast area, São Martinho do Porto is quite nice and you can drive from there to Alcobaca, Batahla, Nazaré and other areas. Coimbra, in the central part of the country is also lovely.

Posted by
828 posts

I suggest spending 4 or 5 days in Lisbon, and then spending 2 days in Sintra, especially if you are interested in seeing the different castles and palaces in Sintra. And then a day at least for Cascais. We spent 5 nights in Lisbon, and that included a day trip to Sintra and Cascais, which wasn't nearly enough. I wish we had the time to spend a night or 2 in Sintra, and had a whole day for Cascais. I would have enjoyed an extra day in Lisbon, too. Do you like museums? Lisbon has some awesome museums, other great sites, and it's a wonderful city for just wandering and exploring.

I haven't been to other parts of Portugal so can't comment on those other areas.

I do, however, agree with the posters who suggest saving Andalucia for a separate trip. You really need at lest 3 whole days to properly see Seville and all its wonderful sites. There is so much history and culture in Seville, and it's a beautiful city just for wandering and exploring.

Posted by
4693 posts

My daughter and I spent 3 weeks in Portugal (2019), and wished we’d have had more time to explore other places!
We traveled via public transportation, mostly by train, which was very convenient and inexpensive ( bought some discounted tickets in advance)
We started our trip in Sintra where we spend 3 wonderful nights. This was our itinerary: Sintra > Évora >> Tomar>>Coimbra>> Porto>>Lisbon.

I’ll share our trip report: Portugal, our trip in progress!

Enjoy your trip!

Edited to add:
I agree with the others in terms of taking a separate trip to explore Sevilla along with other amazing cities & towns in Andalucía 😊

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you so much for everyones input. This really gets me excited to travel.