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
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!