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Your thoughts on the Portugal Tour?

I have been looking at the Portugal tour and decided to sign up. I like the idea that there is only one long day bus ride, this minimizing bus time. (I like the buses, but I can ride them in the USA if that's my goal.) I also like the fact that it concentrates on just one country since learning language, even just a few words, is difficult for me. :-(

Any thoughts on what I might prepare for ahead of time? Or things I might take advantage of while on the tour? I have taken a number of RS tours and I often end up thinking "If I had known that, I would have prepared better for this part of the trip".

Thanks.

Posted by
1068 posts

Took this tour a couple of years ago and enjoyed it immensely. It is a tad different now, but not much. Anyway, not much to "know" in advance. Look at where they will give you time on your own and do some research on that area. My guide (Christina--good guide and nice lady) helped me arrange a small (one other tour member) trip to some standing stones near Evora (really enjoy neolithic sites and have seen them all over.) That half day added a ton to my trip and without prior research I probably wouldn't have know they were nearby. I think the food is better than you might think (many people think French or Italian, which I enjoy, but Portuguese was good also!) Finally, the Portuguese were extremely polite, as an example when wandering around a hotel looking for the breakfast room the desk clerk insisted on taking me to it rather than just giving directions. I would also plan a bit for a day or two extra in Lisbon before and perhaps a day after in Porto. Didn't stay late (me bad) but enjoyed several days in Lisbon including the Royal Carriage Museum, the unusual Marionette Museum and a day trip to Sintra.

Posted by
260 posts

I agree, go a day or two early if you can. We went on this tour in 2014. We spent a day in Sintra & Cascais with SIntra Magik tours (private) the day the Rick Steves tour started since we didn't have to meet the group until the evening. That SIntra tour was wonderful and a great beginning to the whole Portugal experience. Cristina is a super guide and I hear good things about other Portugal guides too. Yes, the food is yumm, I even loved the couple of times I had goat. Be adventurous!

Posted by
97 posts

I found Portugal a very easy country to navigate. The people are very warm and friendly, and it appeared to me that almost everyone spoke English! Definitely bring comfortable shoes - cobblestone streets everywhere, and I found that I was constantly tripping! Also, definitely, schedule time for a trip to Sintra - a real highlight for me. I don't know what time of year you are going, but I found that the weather was not as warm as I anticipated (although, I must admit I am always cold!). While on RS Tour, we tried to fit in a trip to Cascais on our fee afternoon while in Lisbon, and we felt too rushed.

Posted by
1068 posts

Thought I would add that if you are staying near the area the RS group used during the Portugal trip, getting to Sintra is a snap. The train station was about 8 blocks away from the hotel and drops you near enough to the center of Sintra to walk in. There are hop on buses there that can take you to the other sites in town which are not near the center. Well worth the trip IMHO.