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Daytrips from Porto

Amsterdam, The...
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Daytrips from Porto

I will spend 8 days (6 full days) in Portugal at the end of October and already got some great advice. Am now reading up some more, but so many places appeal to me for daytrips... whereas I think I want to spend a maximum of 4 days doing daytrips outside Porto and the rest in Porto.

Viana do Castelo, Barcelos, Guimarães, Amarante, Coimbra, the train ride to Pinhão or Pocinho (too far?) all appeal to me, but I need to narrow it down.

I'm not looking for museums, cathedrals and important historical sights per se, I prefer soaking up atmosphere (hoping to come across lazy towns with old people sipping coffees and enjoying sweets, as I saw a lot in Ericeira), wandering around pretty streets with azulejos, cozy squares and sitting in nice cafes (maybe hearing some fado in the evenings? I have taken note of some cafes that might have fado in Porto), sniffing the sea air on beaches, watching landscapes from trains, and I like markets and flea markets.

Is Coimbra different enough from Porto to make it worth the trip?

Which of the small towns to the north best suits my tastes, or can some be combined easily?

As for a train ride along the Douro, which is a nice town to have as a destination for a daytrip (max. 3 hours one-way) and have nice views from the train on the way over there?

Is it worth going to Viana do Castelo for the sea air and open views or is the beach near Porto nice enough (for a walk)?

Thanks for any opinions.

Algarve, Portugal
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1. Re: Daytrips from Porto

If you like, have a look at this trip report: tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-g189180-i598-k44613…

If you're not looking for museums etc. just go to Guimarães historical center and walk around. It's lovely. You can combine that with a trip to Amarante.

A full day for the Douro region is a must. Take the train all the way to Pocinho. The further you go the better it gets. There's not much in Pocinho so take the first train out of there to either Pinhão or Peso da Régua. From either town you can take an hour boat trip on the Douro. http://www.cenarios.pt/ (small cruise) The railway station in Pinhão is beautifully tiled whereas I feel there's a little more to see in Peso da Régua. Or you stop in both?!

(If you decide to stop in Pinhão, the train back to Porto is with a switch in Régua. If the timetable doesn't give you the connection, look them up separately)

A visit to Coimbra's University library is a 'must'! Yes, it is different enough to make it a day trip.

Take the tram nr. 1 to Foz do Douro rather than going to Viana do Castelo.

Check out Viseu. It's nice for a day and the bus will get you there in 1 1/2 hrs.

Albufeira, Portugal
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2. Re: Daytrips from Porto

If you can fit in a trip to Guimarães, it is well worth a visit. The local train from Porto will get you there in a little over an hour. The ticket there and back is €6,20.

Train timetable is at cp.pt/StaticFiles/CP/Imagens/PDF/Passageiros…

If the cable car up to the 'mountain' is operating, take a ride!

Lisbon, Portugal
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3. Re: Daytrips from Porto

Pocinho is too far, Pinhão railway station is very nice and it has a wine store there. But in October, even by the river, things will be very quiet especially on a weekday.

"I like markets and flea markets" go to Barcelos on a thursday, one of the biggest traditional markets in the region. www.portugal-live.net/UK/places/barcelos.html

Amarante is nice, but once you have limited time here, I would not make a detour there. I think that Viana do Castelo, especially at Monte de Stª Luzia has sea views that none of the beaches close to Porto has. If you have a car then a detour to Ponte de Lima is very interesting. portugal-live.net/UK/…viana-do-castelo.html

Coimbra is totally different from Porto, and the Fado there is different from the rest of the country, you can go to Fado ao Centro, "a Cultural Center committed to promote Fado from Coimbra, with daily LIVE concerts at 6:00 pm". www.turismodecoimbra.pt/index.php?lang=en

http://www.fadoaocentro.com/en

Amsterdam, The...
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4. Re: Daytrips from Porto

Thank you all for the excellent advice!

I probably won't rent a car. The trains and buses seem a lot cheaper and that way I can sit back and enjoy the views. And I'm not staying far from São Bento.

I do like driving but you need to watch the road more... (going solo).

Now I'll just have to find out at what times the last trains/buses go back to Porto.

Algarve, Portugal
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5. Re: Daytrips from Porto

The first time I went into the Douro valley I went as far as Pinhão and did regret. So I just had to come back for more. You may do the same? :)

Here's a nice Youtube about the last part of the train journey:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrdgPmBgczs

Sheffielduk
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6. Re: Daytrips from Porto

Amarante is a very pleasant small town. No monasteries or castles. One museum which is currently closed. Nice stop for a stroll and lunch.

7. Re: Daytrips from Porto

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