We will soon be heading to Lisbon for a 4 night visit. Then to Evora for 2 nights. We have one day (a Monday) where we are thinking to go to Porto for just one night. We will have been in Lisbon for 3 whole days (planning one day to do Rick’s walks, one to Belem and Cacilhas, one to Sintra). Since many sights are closed on Monday, and our hotel reservation in Evora is not until Tuesday night, we are thinking to take the train to Porto for Monday night. I have checked train schedules... we could leave 8am, arrive Porto about 11am, check in to hotel near Sau Bento Station, do ricks lower Porto walk that afternoon, ending across river for some port and dinner, then next morning do the upper Porto walk before hopping a 13:30 train back to Oriente station in Lisbon, and then on to Evora that evening. My concerns are A. Whether this will be too hectic an itinerary, in which case we will just spend that Monday in Lisbon instead, B. Are the trains generally reliable, as any delays could be disappointing considering our tight schedule, and C. The connection from Porto to Evora at Oriente is about 40 minutes. Is that enough time to disembark one train and find our connection? I understand we’ll only scratch the surface of Porto, and a lot of time on train, although I’ve read the ride is quite scenic. Any thoughts from fellow travelers appreciated, especially whether this is a crazy idea or not.
First the train transfer at Oriente.
If the trains are on time, 40 minutes is more than enough time - if late, make sure there is another train at a later hour that you can board - in other words don't travel on the last train of the day.
Oriente station has a modern look from the outside but inside it has a monolithic cement look at the lower level ( in order to support the trains ).
My only concern at Oriente station is determining which platform has the train that I want and then finding that platform.
If using the train, use the "Alfa Pendular" which is their bullet train and is the most time reliable.
But sometimes things happen - I have been on the train when heavy rain caused flood that damaged the ground around the train line and the bullet train traveled very slowly ( almost walking speed) for safety.
Second the trip to Porto.
While technically doable it is to hectic for me and probably for most travelers.
Better to use the time to either relax / sight see around Lisbon or take a side trip .
Take a longer lunch, enjoy a casual stroll, explore the less well know.
Although it sounds hectic, I think your plan actually may be quite feasible. I spent 3 nights in Porto so I had more time, but like in your plan, I did Rick's lower Porto walk the first afternoon, and his upper Porto walk the next morning. Neither felt rushed. I diverted from the lower walk to do a tour of the inside of the Palacio da Bolsa (stock exchange palace). fyi: Most of the port lodges in Gaia have their last tour around 5pm or at latest 6pm.
The AP trains only stop in Porto-Campanha. Don't waste time waiting for the local connection to Sao Bento. Just take a taxi to/from your hotel. Taxis aren't expensive.
Is the Monday in addition to the 4N in Lisboa and 2N in Evora? I don't remember the train ride being particularly scenic. I wouldn't use that much time out of a week-long trip to see little bit of Porto when there are so many things to see in and around Lisbon.
One of the lovely things about Portugal is the slower pace of life. With this schedule, you will be rushing from place to place with no time to savor Lisbon. Skip Porto for another time when you can spend at least 2-3 nights. It’s doable but isn’t worth the 8 hours on the train.
I would do one day in Evora and two in Porto.
I would spend the extra night in Lisbon. Going to Porto for one night sounds hectic to me.
The Gulbenkian Museum is open on Mondays! it was one of the highlights of our trip. I highly recommend it. The museum consists of the Founders Collection and the Modern Collection. Both are awesome and very interesting. I am not a big fan of modern art, but I really enjoyed the Modern Collection. Downstairs there is a historical exhibit on Portugal - very informative!
We spend a day visiting Sao Jorge Castle and then wandering through the Alfama. We followed Rick's walk and then wandered over to Mosteiro de Sao Vicente de Fora to see its beautiful tiles and views from the rooftop.
My point is, there is plenty to do in Lisbon!
Thanks so much for the input. We’ve decided to spend 5 nights in Lisbon, save Porto for another trip, and then our 2 nights in Evora. This feels much better to me. Already have an awesome flat booked for the 5 nights!