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13 day Itinerary Help

Nova Scotia
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302 posts
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13 day Itinerary Help

Hi. After much research and using the search functions on this site, we have two possible itineraries for a 13 day trip to Portugal, arriving in Lisbon the afternoon of October 13th and flying out on October 26th. First trip to Portugal and fairly experienced European travelers, comfortable with trains and buses. Though we sometimes rent cars, for this trip we’ve decided that we will rely solely on public transit. We’re looking for a relaxed pace. We’d rather leave some things for a return trip than over commit. We’d like to avoid long days spent in transit. Shorter trips preferred. We’re ocean people (live in Nova Scotia) and just enjoy being around the sea, so it doesn’t need to be swimming weather for us to enjoy the ocean. When we travel we enjoy historic sites, but we always strive to gain an understanding of modern day life. We seek out local restaurants off the beaten path, and like the idea of staying in Quarto’s or small hotels when traveling outside of Lisbon. Our problem is that aside from Lisbon (a must), we’re quite taken by both the Algarve and Nazare. Using public transit, it is possible to do both but not without a fair bit of backtracking and long days on trains or buses. We also don’t want to rush Lisbon. So, keeping in mind we’ll be there October 13-26th, which of these 2 basic itineraries would you choose?

Arrive Lisbon 4 nights (side trip to Sinatra)

Bus to Nazare for 5 days (including side trips by Bus)

Note we will not reserve rooms in advance and will have flexibility to travel around if we get bored.

Bus to Coimbra for 2 nights.

Train to Porto for 2 nights.

Fly home from Porto

Or

Arrive Lisbon 3 nights

Train to Lagos and bus to Salema

Spend 8 nights in the Algarve. No fixed plans but possibly Salema, Lagos, Tivira

Train or bus to Lisbon for the final 2 nights

Fly home from Lisbon

Thoughts, comments, and suggestions much appreciated. Thanks!

P200e
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87 posts
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1. Re: 13 day Itinerary Help

Just got back from our European trip which included Tavira (3 nights) and Lisbon (4 nights).

We loved Lisbon. There's so much to do and see which didn't give us enough time for side trips. Food is phenomenal, but just stay away from restaurants that are aggressive in trying to get customers to eat at their place.

We stayed at:

1) waytostay.com/Lisbon-apartments-en-217-2921.…

2) http://www.shiadohostel.com/

Loved Tavira as well. It's a nice quaint fishing village. You have to travel a bit to get to the beaches. I recommend Santa Luzia over Ilha de Tavira. As far as restaurants go, Aqualsul and Restauranted O Porto.

We stayed at http://www.casabelezadosul.com/index.html

Porto, Portugal
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2. Re: 13 day Itinerary Help

Personally I would definitely choose itinerary number one. You will see more of the "real" Portugal. The Algarve's principal attractions are beaches and weather but in October it will be cooler and that region does have the disadvantage of being very tourist oriented and has lost alot of it's authenticity (inevitable, given that it's one of Europe's main sunshine destinations).

I would also suggest that 5 nights in Nazaré might be too much, you might want to cut out a night or two so that you can spend some more time visiting some of the attractions in the north, such as the Douro Valley, Braga or Guimarães, all easily reached from Porto. In Porto there are many beaches easily accessible by public transport, so you'll never feel far from the sea.

Nova Scotia
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3. Re: 13 day Itinerary Help

Thanks HCMh,

We're leaning strongly towards the first option which takes us to Porto. I'm wondering about the logistics of a trip to some of the sights you mention, such as the Douro Valley, Braga or Guimarães. Can we easily use public transport and would you suggest day trips from Porto or is there a logical place to spend a night or two? We agree that 5 nights in Nazere is too much, so if we allowed 4 nights for Porto and surrounding areas what would you suggest? Many thanks...

Porto, Portugal
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4. Re: 13 day Itinerary Help

Hey Tim,

Braga and Guimarães are both on the Porto urban rail network and can be reached within 45 minutes by train. So I think it would probably be easier to stay in Porto and do day-trips to both these places.

Check this link for train timetables:

www.cp.pt/cp/displayPage.do…

As for the Douro Valley, well there are many different options, trips by boat, by train or a combination of both. Trips can take a day or more , it really depends what you prefer. There are a number of agents selling these trips in the centre of Porto and the tourist office or your hotel can also advise. Were you to decide to spend a night in the Douro region then you would probably be looking at the towns of Régua, Pinhão or Lamego. I’ve not been to Pinhão but I’ve been to the other two and I think Lamego is much more pleasant.

Feel free to ask for any more advice.

Nova Scotia
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5. Re: 13 day Itinerary Help

Are advance hotel reservations required for the last half of October? We're not entirely sure how much time we might spend on route from Lisbon to Porto (Nazare, Coimbra etc). If we call a day or 2 in advance, do you think we'd have any trouble finding a reasonably priced room in Porto? We tend to book smaller 2 star hotels. I take it from your post and my research that day trip cruises to the Duoro valley are easily arranged a day in advance. Thanks again...

Lisbon
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6. Re: 13 day Itinerary Help

Hello,

I normally use booking.com to do my bookings and they normally allow until 48 hours previous to your arrival to cancel your reservation without paying anything. I guess other websites might use the same politics. So you better book and be more confortable although in that period I don't antecipate any issue in finding a place to stay.

Have a nice trip!

Porto, Portugal
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7. Re: 13 day Itinerary Help

I don't think you will have much trouble booking budget accomodation with two days notice in October. Same goes for Douro tours, although availability and choice in October may be reduced compared to summer months.

8. Re: 13 day Itinerary Help

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