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Travelling through Portugal for 2 weeks

Manchester, UK
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Travelling through Portugal for 2 weeks

A friend an I are going to Portugal for 2 weeks in September and are rough plan at the moment is :

Lisbon - 2 days

Sintra - 1 day

Coimbra - 2 days

Porto - 2 days

add in a it of travelling time and that's about 8/9 days. We're flying out to Lisbon and home from Porto.

We want a couple of days in the countryside/mountains/national park to see the other side of Portugal - does anyone have any tips? such as where to go, where to base yourself etc? the whole trip is being done by train but we could hire a car for a couple of days.

One option was to be based in Manteigas, the other to go to viana do castelo and then on to peneda geres nantional park.

ANy advice welcome!

Albufeira, Portugal
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1. Re: Travelling through Portugal for 2 weeks

Visit the mountainous Sierra Estrela in the north east. That's where you will definiitely need a car, as away from the main routes and towns local public transport is almost non existent.

Manteigas would be a good place in that general area.

Wauchope, Australia
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2. Re: Travelling through Portugal for 2 weeks

Hi, you haven't much time but consider 2 or 3 nights in Pinhao (Dourro). Beautiiful area with some great hiking up to local villages and Port Wine of course!

Dunstable...
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3. Re: Travelling through Portugal for 2 weeks

You are smart flying into one city and out of another. Two days in Lisbon might be a little tight but I see you have an extra day Sintra which means you can easily take the train from Lisbon to Sintra. On our trip in April, we very much enjoyed our short train ride (same train as Sintra) to the Royal Palace in Queluz. IF you do it on a Wednesday, you can be treated to lovely equestrian display about 11am (check the schedule) and we both enjoyed the fabulous bird of prey demonstration that was at 10am.

In April, we also enjoyed (about 1 1/2 hours via car) 2 days in Evora. A lovely city that is very historic including a fabulous cathedral that you can walk on the roof of and a Roman temple. From Evora, you could drive to Obidos which a neat but touristy little town that we did on another trip. Be careful IF you try to walk the walls! From Obidos, there are a several choices. We opted for Tomar. For us, the Convento de Cristo in Tomar is one of the high spots of all the many places we have visited in Portugal and I do wish to return there. WE spent a lovely evening there. It is a relatively short drive to Coimbra which we have not visited yet but on our list of must do.

Coimbra is a relatively short drive to Porto. You could drop your rental car off there. From Porto, you can visit Guimaraes which we wanted to visited but only two days in Porto didn't give us enough time to do. Yes, another place on the must does of the future.

As an American, I am very fond of rental cars. While rental cars are huge hassle in big cities, they give you the option to go where you want when you want. We always take a taxi from the airport to our hotel in Lisbon and then return to the airport to pickup our rental car. Then again, Americans drive on the same side of the road as Europe SO there is no stress involved Not like when I pickup a rental at Heathrow and head out to the little places in Wales we love.

Just some suggestions. Yours, Claudia

Manchester, UK
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4. Re: Travelling through Portugal for 2 weeks

Thanks Claudia and others,

I suppose it's the challenge of all trips in working out what to see and what to leave out. I had read about Evora and Tomar and they sound great and definitely on the list for next time, I think on this trip we wanted to concentrate more on the north. I've realised Coimbra is not as big as I thought it was so maybe we don't need so long there, and now I'm also quite intrigued by Braga.

We definitely want to see some countryside... the ideal scenario would be a nice small mountain town or village with beautiful scenery that we could do an (easy) walk from. A sensible route would be Lisbon, Sintra, Coimbra, and the serra de estrela mountains (where to be based), then on to Porto and fly home from there. OR Lisbon, Sintra, Coimbra, Porto, (if time Braga) and then Peneda Geres National park... Just can't decide..

I think we'll take the train between major cities, as I do find it tricky driving on the 'wrong' side and then hire a car for the countryside section.

Dunstable...
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5. Re: Travelling through Portugal for 2 weeks

Sounds like you have a good plan. Remember it is an easy train ride back and forth to Sintra from the Rossio Station (about 40 minutes each way) so you could stay at the same hotel in Lisbon for another night. It also might be easier to get to Coimbra from Lisbon by train.

Take a look at www.golisbon.com/portugal/cities/geres.html This website will also give you some ideas on places to stay.

As to Porto, you have many different options. We stayed out by the Casa da Musica since we were going to a concert there one night. Don't forget that there are some lovely places to stay in Vila Nova de Gaio which is just across the river from Porto. This is where the port houses are. We visited the Taylor port house and were very impressed with the looks of the Yeatman Hotel. When we return to Porto, I think that is where we are going to stay.

Have fun with your planning. I know I am doing some final tweaking for our trip in October. We are driving down to Sesimbra for a couple of days and then returning to Lisbon before we leave for my husband's conference in Lille, France. Hubby just popped on me the idea of going to one of his conference in Brisbane, Australia next April. This would be our third trip to Australia and of course, fun for me to drive on "wrong side' of the road! Yours, Claudia

Edited: 09 August 2014, 01:10
Lisbon, Portugal
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6. Re: Travelling through Portugal for 2 weeks

If you want to concentrate on the north then my suggestion is: go by train to Coimbra, stay 1 night, by train to Porto stay 2 nights. Rent a car and drive to the Douro Valley, stay at least 1 night, drive north to Peneda-Gerês, stay at least 1 night, drive west to Braga, stay 1 night (you can also visit Guimarães), drive to Porto and return the car, stay there the night before departure (unless your flight is in the afternoon).

7. Re: Travelling through Portugal for 2 weeks

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