We are a family of 6 adults, seeking a good, first time itinerary for Portugal. Two are flying into Lisbon from India, 2 are coming from the south of Spain, and 2 will be coming from Santiago, Spain. We would like to see: Lisbon, Porto & the Algarve. We need to get 1 back to Lisbon for a 7 AM flight on 5/25. Any tips for planning this (short) itinerary? It's a challenge!
Hi Leslie: Last May, I met my husband/son in Santiago, Spain following their completion of the Camino de Santiago. We then spent about a week travelling Portugal, doing Porto, Coimbra, and Lisbon. We learned several things which might be helpful to you. Those coming from Santiago will have to take a bus (I believe the line is "EXPRESS. The tickets can be purchased at the main station in Santiago - It's about 3 hours or so to Porto, and I believe there are buses to Braga. Your parties from southern Spain may have train service. Once in Portugal, there are reliable trains. There really is no train service between Santiago/Portugal. I recommend Porto-very interesting and beautiful. People were very friendly, but I have to tell you that even though we had two Spanish speakers along, Portugese was totally different and not that many people spoke English. Communication was often comical, Spanish is NOT popular. Those coming from Lisbon to Porto will have a lengthy train ride. Lisbon was wonderful - ready public transport, good food, various different areas of town, and "squares" everywhere in the city where people relaxed and enjoyed afternoon tea/cappucino/pastries. Definitely do go to the Castle. Very efficient airport, and a taxi in the early morning to the airport arrived as promised. Rented apartments in Porto and Lisbon through an online overseas site, which worked really well. We had lovely places both cities with laundry facilities in Lisbon. I highly recommend apartment rental if you are over 2-3 days anyplace. Coimbra was less fun because we were in a dirty, noisy old hotel. Hope maybe this helps you plan. It would be easy to spend a week in Lisbon and go to Algarve, but Porto is farther than that. Rick's Portugal guide was invaluable, especially due to language barrier.
Jennifer, thanks so much for your helpful reply. I'm interested to know what sites you rented your apartments through-? And do you feel that seeing Porto, Lisbon and the Algarve is too much in 7 days? Thanks again!