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Itinerary Help for Portugal

Minnesota, USA
6 posts
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Itinerary Help for Portugal

I will be traveling to Portugal in September with my wife and my sister. Unfortunately, we will only be there for one full week.

So far, based on our research, we all agree we would like to spend time in the Lisbon area, Porto, and Lagos. My concern is that these areas are too far from each other, and that we will spend too much of our time traveling.

Our goal is to 'experience' some of what Portugal has to offer, while still having a relaxing holiday. We are not the kind of travelers who need to hit all the big 'must see' tourist sights. We enjoy soaking up the daily life of the locals. After all, we can always come back.

We would like to enjoy interacting with people, exploring, eating and drinking the local specialties, experiencing things that are uniquely portugal, and maybe even a couple days at the beach.

Anyway, with that as a background, my questions are:

1.) Are these reasonable destinations with the limited time we have?

2.) What is the best way to get around - hire a car for part of the trip, hire a driver, or use public transportation?

3.) Any other cities, events, attractions we should consider adding/modifying to our itinerary?

4.) My sister is a huge soccer fan - is anybody playing in late september - and if so, where is the best place to take in a game?

Thank you so much for any assistance and recommendations.

- Scott

Albufeira, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Algarve, Faro
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50,751 posts
32 reviews
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1. Re: Itinerary Help for Portugal

A lot of questions - here's my thoughts on some of them. Others will I am sure expand/contribute..

1) You will be stretched to cover all those areas reasonably no matter whether you drive or take the train;

2) Lisbon to Porto is just less than 3 hours by train (trains run every hour) and as both cities have excellent public transport networks (and evil driving conditions!) you would best cover those by train etc. Trains and buses here are inexpensive eg Lisbon to Porto €27.50 one-way by the fastest trains.

Lisbon to Lagos is quicker by car (3 hours) than by train etc (4 hours) and if you wanted to see the area of Lagos in a short space of time a car would be almost essential.

Porto to Lagos would take 6 hours or so by car; about 7 hours by train (all day in other words) so the order of visit will be important.

3) Hardly!

4) You can get the Portuguese League soccer fixtures at www.lpfp.pt; tickets for the 'big three' ie Benfica, Sporting of Lisbon and FC Porto can usually be obtained unless they are playing each other. However game DAYS and times are not confirmed until about a week before as all matches are shown live on TV and are therefore played in the evenings.

For other matches eg European Champions League you will need to look around locally, but these games are usually sold out early especially if a Portuguese team is playing a British or Spanish team.

Games at the lower levels are very poorly attended, so for example if you were in a town with a 2nd or 3rd Division game that Sunday afternoon you would have no problems getting in; indeed they would welcome you with open arms!

Hope that helps a bit; enjoy your trip.

Minnesota, USA
6 posts
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2. Re: Itinerary Help for Portugal

Thank you very much for the detailed responses. It is very helpful.

We will re-consider the trip to Lagos, given the time constraints. Our primary reason for going to Lagos was to see some beautiful beaches. Will we be able to expereince some nice beaches around the Lisbon area and be able to swim in late Sept.?

Modified itinerary:

Porto: 2.5 - 3 days

Lisbon area: 3.5-4.5 days

We would sleep around Lisbon and do a couple shorter day trips - possibly Evora, the coast, and the balance around the city.

Good itinerary for a first time visitor, or any suggestions to modify?

Thank you.

Porto, Portugal
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587 posts
12 reviews
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3. Re: Itinerary Help for Portugal

The modified itenerary sounds fine to me. You will find "real-life" Portugal very stimulating in both Porto and Lisbon, and the good thing is they are very different cities, so you'll not be bored.

4. Re: Itinerary Help for Portugal

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