Portugal

Hello

Our family of 2 adults and 2 kids( 9 years and 3 years ) are planning a trip to Portugal from Feb 13th to Feb 23rd. I am thinking of Feb 14-19 in Lisbon with a day trip to Sintra, traveling to Evora on Feb 20, spending the night there. On Thursday leaving for Coimbra and spending the night and Friday night there prior to leaving for LIsbon on Sat, Feb 22. Leaving for the US on Feb 23rd. Please let me know if this is manageable esp with a 3 year old. Also I am thinking of renting an apartment in Lisbon, in the areas of Baxia and Alfama.

Thanks and appreciate your help. It is my first time traveling with the 3 years old to Europe, so slightly nervous.

SC

Posted by Carol
Martinez, CA, USA
749 posts

Can't comment on travel with a 3 year old but just want to raise a couple of points. We have visited Portugal several times and once did as you plan - that is spend some time in Lisbon then return for one night prior to leaving. We discovered it makes more sense to arrive in Lisbon airport and leave immediately for the other sites, then return to Lisbon for several days before we leave.

Your days don't seem to add up. You say you will spend Feb 20 in Evora and leave on Thursday and spending Thurs and Fri night in Coimbra. But Feb 20 is Thursday so that actually leaves only one night in Coimbra.

You don't say how you'll be travelling, if by car, train, or bus, but if you're driving you could follow this plan. Get car at Lisbon airport and drive directly to Coimbra, only about 2 hrs and spend 2 nights there (Feb 14-15). Drive to Evora, 3 hr drive, and spend one night (16), return car at Lisbon Airport, 2 hr drive, and spend 6 nights there (17-22), taxi to airport on 23rd. For only one day in Evora you might want to skip it on this trip as it involves a lot of driving and with a 3 year old it might not be worth the time.

Posted by soumya.sreeram
5 posts

Thanks for your reply. I do realise that the days dont add up. It should have read, Feb 19th leave for EVora, spend the night there and leave for Coimbra on feb 20th. We dont want to drive, instead would prefer to use the public transport. We will likely use the trains. Can we just do rental at Coimbra to drive to Evora?

Thanks

Posted by Carol
Martinez, CA, USA
749 posts

We have always used a car between towns but I'm sure you can rent a car wherever you choose. Have a great time!

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

I agreed with Carol, Lisbon should be last, just from the logistics alone.

Neither Coimbra nor Evora will have rental car places (probably a mom and pop, but nothing that would let you pick up in one and drop in the other). To use trains between these two cities, you have to pass back through Lisbon. The airport has cars and is located for an easy drive to Coimbra. The back roads down to Evora are scenic. Evora makes an easier entry to Lisbon than from the north. You can drive the triangle in much less time than you can train it. By driving you have three legs instead of four. Ditch the car at the airport and get into the city by whatever.

I'm the expert on three year old kids, having palled around with one a bunch of times in the past year. She handles her own passport and boarding pass, drags her own roller, does her own security business, and is a champ on subways and airport trains. When she's tired, she conks out. Nothing to it.

Posted by VS
Palo Alto, CA, United States
672 posts

I agree with ending in Lisbon, if you can work out a way to leave the big city for the end you will be better off. I strongly recommend two nights, one full day, in Sintra. A day trip just does not do it justice. In fact that's a nice quiet place to shake off your jet lag. Do you have a special interest in Coimbra? I thought it was nice enough on our 2008 trip, but maybe not worth going out of your way for. I could see doing two nights in Sintra, two nights in Evora, and the rest in Lisbon. In that direction from Lisbon I would recommend Nazare and Obidos over Coimbra. Renting a car just for a days transportation might be pretty expensive, but it might be worth it with the family. We picked up in Coimbra and dropped in Caiscais on our 2008 trip, and I am still seeing Coimbra and Evora as choices on Autoeurope for pickup/drop off.

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
9110 posts

I stand corrected on the car rental locations. I remain unanimous in the rest of my logic.

Three things to check:

Is the Lisbon train transfer at Orinete or do you have to do a station switch. I think you're okay.

Price of car vs price of train tickets for X people. I don't know who travels free.

I think the A1/IP1/E80/whatever it's called might be one of those nutty toll roads with unmanned booths which would be something else to work out.

Posted by Valerie
Old Bridge, New Jersey, USA
37 posts

I visited a friend who was living outside of Lisbon. Mostly everything I did was with a 16 month old and it worked out fine. There were some cases where I went and toured a port wine house on my own, or spend some time wandering. In most cases, she and her husband had already been to the sites. The Portuguese love babies and children, but many sites are not child-proof in any way--Convento de Christos, sites within Sintra, the Roman ruins at Coimbraga. We travelled by car, which worked out well. I think the main newer highway going north-south has expensive tolls so many locals are not on them. There was traffic around Lisbon, but I saw nothing as bad as what you'd deal with getting in and out of Manhattan, or the District of Columbia. The sites, at least when I was there in March, were not crowded. Areas like the Algarve will be much busier and touristy. Enjoy!

Posted by soumya.sreeram
5 posts

Thanks all for your replies. The reason that I am interested in COimbra is the roman ruins about 10 miles away. Is it worth seeing the ruins? Also if I do travel from Coimbra to Evora by train, it stops at Lisbon. Does that involve an actual change of trains or is it just a stopover at Lisbon. It mentions only couple of minuts stop over at Lisbon.

Appreciate all the help in planning.

Thanks

Posted by Carol
Martinez, CA, USA
749 posts

We think the Roman ruins at Conimbriga are worth seeing. They are mainly mosaic floors and a few walls and are not far from Coimbra. In Coimbra itself you should not miss the old university, especially the library with it's beautifully bound leather and gold books. Look up images of Coimbra library on google to see if you feel it's worthwhile. The university also has a beautiful chapel and a few other interesting buildings as well as a fantastic view. Coimbra also has an old cathedral which is worth visiting. We love that part of Portugal. If you research a bit more you may decide to stay there and leave Evora for another trip. Whichever you choose you will surely have a great trip!