My wife and I will end the 15 day Spain & Portugal trip in Lisbon next September. We want more time in Portugal and are thinking of staying on an additional 5-7 days. Since Rick's tour comes up through the southern portion of Portugal, we'd like to continue north from Lisbon, maybe flying home from Porto.We want to see Fatima and don't want to hassle with a car. Can it be done reasonably by rail and/or bus? Has anyone here done the Douro Valley River Cruise? Any suggestions?
Portugal has an excellent rail system....the whole country is one big commuter rail network. There are many trains/day from Lisbon to Fatima, and you can check schedules at http://www.cp.pt, and click on the "timetables and prices" tab in the upper right. Travelling from Oriente station is probably your best bet. The shortest journey on the schedule is 90 minutes, at a cost of about 11 Euro per person, one way. A suggestion.....5 to 7 extra days after Rick's tour might be much for Portugal itself...you may want to consider a few extra days in Spain, too.
I haven't done the Douro Valley river cruise, but I do love southern Portugal. I'd highly recommend a little town called Carrapateira (just north of Sagres) as a fabulous place to get a feel for non-touristy Algarve. If you are lucky there will be a place for you in one of the world's great B&B's -- Das Dunas (sorry, no contact information right now).
We went to Coimbra by train and then took a bus to Fatima. From Porto we took an 8 day Duoro river cruise to Salamanca on a Douro Azul vessel. It was great. Rick's Spain and Portugal guidebook has recommendations for day cruises on the Douro.
Thanks very much. It sounds very doable.