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Vacations in Portugal

Miami
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Vacations in Portugal

We will be going to Lisbon in September and we are planning to drive Lisbon-Fatima-Tomar. Are the Portugal roads safe?

We also will like to know if someone can suggest a good place to stay in Lisbon. A hotel close to the tourist attractions but also in a quite zone. What about a Fado Cafe to listen to Portuguess music?

Thanks

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1. Re: Vacations in Portugal

We have just returned from Portugal and the roads were great - very uncrowded. Tolls are payable on some of the main motorways, but there are loads of great new roads (no charge) that are a pleasure to drive on.

We chose not to drive into the cities (we visited Oporto and Lisbon). As with all big cities, traffic can be a bit daunting, so we stayed outside and took the train in (just a few Euros). It might even be worth parking the car at the airport and taking the bus into the city.

We bought a book called 'Special Places to Stay'. They have loads of great hotels. They have a great website: www.specialplacestostay.com . Just click on the country then scroll down to the map, click on the map and go to the area you want. We stayed in a few places from this book and they were great.

Have you discovered the Pousada chain of hotels? They are government owned and many are in renovated historic buildings. They can be pricey, but we bought a 4 night 'passport' for 290 Euros. You have to book ahead for this.

We also discovered www.bancotel.com. This site sells you a 'cheque book' of 5 cheques for 250 Euros. We stayed in a 4* hotel in Cascais (half an hour on the train from Lisbon) for 5 nights - just one cheque a night.

Have a great time!

Kathy

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Cascais
Cascais
Lisbon District, Portugal
New York
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2. Re: Vacations in Portugal

Coming from Miami (I assume Florida), you should be use to crazy drivers. In Portugal, the main highways are great, but the Portuguese are known for their suicidal drving habits -- unfortunately this is not an exaggeration - just ask a Portuguese. Things are better now that the government has cracked down on drunk drivers.

Some important driving tips:

If you rent a car in Portugal, it will be a stick unless you pay extra for an automatic and you specificially request it. In the busy sean, it is hard to get an automatic. Make sure the car has one of those satefty triangles and the insurance information in it - required by law and if you are stopped you may have problems.

Absolutely stay to the right if you are going slower than the rest of the traffic. The Portuguese will tailgate you instead of coming around you.

You probably won't believe me, until you see this happen often -- when you are on a two way road and go to pass a car, that car, after you are in the left lane, will move faster instead of giving you room to cut in front of him and the car that is coming in the opposite directions will speed up.

With all that said, enjoy driving, but drive defensively. If you are going to be in the Lisbon area, the drive along the Marginal (road along the coast) is beautiful and special - go as far as Cascais or even further to Gincho beach.

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Florida
Florida
United States
Cascais
Cascais
Lisbon District, Portugal
Lisbon
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3. Re: Vacations in Portugal

We just came back from 15 days in Portugal, we stayed the first week in a beautiful place, www.casalantigo.com, you can't miss it, it's on the hills over Guincho beach, 5 min. car from the centre of Cascais and it feels that you're in paradise. After that we went South, that it's really nice also.

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Cascais
Cascais
Lisbon District, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal
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4. Re: Vacations in Portugal

Hi!

September is not a holidays for most portuguese people, so the roads must be not too crowded. It's pretty easy to go from Lisbon to Fátima and Tomar, the highway is good (and paid!) but you may like to use secondary roads if you have time and want to see the "countryside". Unfortunately I have to agree that portuguese drive like insane suicides... (no idea if we're better or worse than Miami drivers!)

There are many nice hotels in the centre, it really depends on what budget you have. You can try:

Bairro Alto Hotel (it's new and beautiful) or Lisboa Regency Chiado.

As I live in Lisboa, I don't use hotels many times but if you need more info on a specific one, let me know and I'll try to be useful!

For Fado, the only place that pop up my mind is called "Senhor Vinho" but I'll ask my bro and post it later. ;)

New York
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5. Re: Vacations in Portugal

Anazus, if you have the time, could you give me some suggestions on restaurants in Lisboa or any where in Portugal. I will be in Portugal for about a month, starting end of July.

As I am a frequent visitor, I am always looking for interesting restaurants - any price range. To give you an idea of what I like, my favorite restaurant in Portugal is BomJardim, in Lisbon. Another restaurant I like is in Belem- don't remember the name but it is just to the left of and with a great view of the Discovers Monument.

I am not interested in touristy places - just "locally popular" ones. Thanks.

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Belem
Belem
Lisbon District, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal
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6. Re: Vacations in Portugal

For Popular Restaurants and the most bang for your dolars, I recommend the Restaurants in Carnide Area.

There is a Subway staion very near, just ext the station, and at the cross road near the Teatro Armando Cortez (facing front of you) take your right. Just walk a little bit (going up along a wall with little tiles) and get inside the Carnide area at your left. It's prety safe, so don't worry.

My personal favorites are:

Pregoeiro de Carnide

Gravatas

Paco de Carnide

Progresso

But you have much more to choose, all of them in a few square meters.

Hope this helps, and uif you need more indications, please just ask :-)

Lisbon, Portugal
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7. Re: Vacations in Portugal

I fully agree with Gravatas as a very nice place to have lunch or dinner. Ask for a table in the yard and enjoy! It may not be too easy to find coming from the metro station but if you need further explanations I'll try to help.

I would also suggest a different part of town: Campo D'Ourique. There are plenty of nice restaurants, my favourites are:

Stop do Bairro

rua Tenente Ferreira Durão, 55 A

(it's a tiny one, very popular between traditional portuguese food lovers)

Coelho da Rocha

Rua Coelho da Rocha, 104 A/B

(bit more expensive and "formal" but again a good choice if you're looking for portuguese food)

For Fado:

Restaurante Senhor Vinho

Rua do Meio à Lapa, 18

www.restsrvinho.com

New York
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8. Re: Vacations in Portugal

to Thx1011 and Anazus, Thanks alot. I will try as many of the restaurants you listed as I can. I have almost 30 days of eating in Portugal, which means I should be able to try a few of the ones listed.

Also I would like to correct my July 19 message in case any one going to Portugal wants to try a good restaurant with a great view in Belem. The restaurants I like are immediately next to the Discoveries Monument- as you face it, to the monument's right (not to the left as previously stated). Then to the right of that restaurant also with a view, but not as good, is a less expensive restaurent and almost as good. Unfortunately, I don't remember the names, but you can easily find them by the location.

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Belem
Belem
Lisbon District, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal
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9. Re: Vacations in Portugal

To Brooklyn born

If you like portuguese restaurants, and as you have time, don't miss "Tromba rija", in Marrazes, a small village just outside Leiria (near Fatima).

It's a unique experience. you will never forget that meal (a kind of samples of everything good and authentic the traditional portuguese food has to offer - and you eat what you want, as much as you want, for a fixed price).

It costs 30€, house wine, fruits and cheese included, but if you decide not to have the main plate (I never have, or better saying, I never can), the entire meal costs only 25€.

You probably don't read portuguese, but explore www.trombarija.com - click "Ementa" pot.

It's better to book, you will find the phone and email under "Contacto". And don't arrive too late.

Best regards,

Jose Manuel

New York
6 posts
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10. Re: Vacations in Portugal

Jose - thanks alot. Sounds great-will definitely go there. Unfortunately, I do not speak Portuguese so I can't use the site you suggested. I mostly survived with hand signals and facial expressions and the kindness of the Portuguese, when I first starting going almost 20 years ago, but now it is much easier because so many speak English ( but dealing with a plumber or an electricial-- that's another story!!!)

If you come up with any other ideas, they will be much appreciated. I leave this Wednesday, but I have access to internet on an irrregular bases.