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Where to go before/after Lisbon and Porto?

Los Angeles...
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181 posts
5 reviews
Where to go before/after Lisbon and Porto?

regarding our trip in early May-- our young adult daughters will arrive early on a Sunday morning, and we will meet up with them and take the train to Porto straight away. 3 nights there, then train back to Lisbon for 5 nights, after which they depart.

Husband and I will arrive Lisbon approx 4 nights before they arrive, and will have 3 nights more after they leave.

So here's the question- where shall the two of us go for the 3-4 nights before and after?

Sintra? Obidos? Evora? We're sort of slow travelers when it's the two of us- not rushing around, more of a relaxed pace, so if some of these places don't normally rate so many nights, that might be ok with us, as long as there are some amount of things to do!

Also, we would travel by public transportation so hopefully places that are pretty easy to get to/from Lisbon. We're mid-60s, like art and architecture, history and culture; no need for beaches this trip. Thanks!

13 replies to this topic
Lisbon, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Azores, Lisbon
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25,205 posts
57 reviews
1. Re: Where to go before/after Lisbon and Porto?

we would travel by public transportation, that's the issue. A place with lots to see for those that "like art and architecture, history and culture" is the triangle Batalha-Alcobaça-Tomar but the public transports are not exactely frequent (even less if a weekend is included).

But I really think that you should consider train to Tomar, stay there for 3 nights and then locally by the bus station check the daily chances to reach Batalha and Alcobaça with Rodoviária do Oeste.

Doncaster, United...
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1,626 posts
113 reviews
2. Re: Where to go before/after Lisbon and Porto?

and for your 4 nights,while i've spent 3 nights(2 full days) in evora and not left the city you might find 4 a bit too long but just over an hour away by bus i thought beja was a lovely town that may well interest you both.

Lisbon, Portugal
Destination Expert
for Azores, Lisbon
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25,205 posts
57 reviews
3. Re: Where to go before/after Lisbon and Porto?

Yes, Évora and Beja have interesting things, but again the issue of transport (Lisbon to Évora, easy and frequent) but from Évora to the surrounding twons/villages not good at all.

Sudbury...
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8,646 posts
1,135 reviews
4. Re: Where to go before/after Lisbon and Porto?

Evora is a lovely medieval town and we spent a wonderful day there (we had a car). Part of the adventure was staying in the most fabulous hotel, “Convento do Espinheiro”: it is a museum of its own (a renovated 16th century convent). You need a car to stay there though.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g18…

I totally agree that visiting Batalha, Alcobaca, Tomar and Obidos are fantastic options. We had explored all of them in one day, except for Tomar unfortunately (ran out of time). But again you would need a car to do that. Driving in Portugal is very easy, the roads are wonderful, so maybe think about renting a car.

Sintra is an obvious choice for a day trip from Lisbon, but not with a car. Parking is very challenging, the roads are twisty and narrow, tourist buses are innumerable. Very easy train trip from Lisbon to Sintra would be the best choice or a taxi (we took a taxi from Cascais).

Dunstable...
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2,388 posts
158 reviews
5. Re: Where to go before/after Lisbon and Porto?

I totally agree with Noraatc that driving is very easy in Portugal. We have rented a car on most all of our trips to Portugal and will be renting a car on our April/May trip. How do you handle jet lag? I happen to be pretty good to go on this and we have rented a car and headed out directly from the airport on several of our trips. We did this for our trip to Evora a few years ago. Evora is only 1hour and 20 minutes of easy driving to reach from the airport. I happen to be a big fan of the Alentejo and there are so many enjoyable hill towns to visit in the area that can only easily be done via rental car. Four days in this area would be a good thing.

On our November trip, we picked up the rental car at the airport and drove to Alcobaca and then onto to Batalha and spent the evening. It is a short drive to Tomar where you could spend a night or two. It is about 1 hour and twenty minutes from Tomar back to the Lisbon Airport to drop off you car before your daughters arrive.

Everyone is different on how they handle jet lag and I do realize that you are flying to Lisbon from LA which is much worse than ours from Boston. One thing that we have found is the more we do when we first arrive, the better we are as far as adjusting to the time change. We had almost no jet lag on our November trip or our trip when we went to Evora directly. I am the designated driver and Hubby is the designated "navigator" that at times can be questionable.

Like you, we are seniors. We are rather slow travelers in the fact that we normally spend two or three nights every place we go. The one night in Batalha was a rarity for us but it worked out well since we were heading out to Golega for three nights.

Just some thoughts.

Portland, Oregon
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614 posts
35 reviews
6. Re: Where to go before/after Lisbon and Porto?

I suggest Cascais for a few days. It is easy to get there on a commuter train from central Lisbon. It is an easy place to spend time - I just spent a week there in December. Check out the destination descriptions on the TA site.

Sudbury...
Level Contributor
8,646 posts
1,135 reviews
7. Re: Where to go before/after Lisbon and Porto?

Agree! We stayed in Cascais for four days and loved every minute of it. Beautiful seaside resort with gorgeous views of the ocean and the rocks. The most amazing sunset on the Guincho Beach... One of the most impressive I have ever seen.

Washington DC
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46 posts
73 reviews
8. Re: Where to go before/after Lisbon and Porto?

Sintra is worth a day trip.

Coimbra, the university town halfway between Porto and Lisbon, is a nice place to spend a day. The university library is incredible, and the old town in Coimbra is reminiscent of out of the way Europe, like Sicily or rural Greece.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
181 posts
5 reviews
9. Re: Where to go before/after Lisbon and Porto?

Lots of good suggestions to consider- thank you all.

For those of you who suggest Cascais- did you spend all your 4 days or week there? What kinds of things did you do? Are there sights nearby accessible by bus or taxi?

I thought at first staying in Sintra might work nicely, but I realize we'll be going there for the day when we're in Lisbon with our daughters so that won't make sense. (I assume it doesn't make sense to go there twice!)

Am thinking Evora and Cascais, to base ourselves in and go on outings from there?

(We really will not be driving, and some of the places mentioned aren't too bad to get to by car to/from the airport but much bigger production by train/bus.)

Sudbury...
Level Contributor
8,646 posts
1,135 reviews
10. Re: Where to go before/after Lisbon and Porto?

We spent four days in Cascais staying at the beautiful Relaix & Chateaux hotel, Fortaleza do Guincho. Here is my review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g18…

We took a taxi to Sintra on one day, then a train to Lisbon on another, on the third day we drove to Belem, but you can take a train. On the fourth day, we left the hotel and drove off to Evora. All our evenings were spent in Cascais - it is a little Mecca of restaurants. The restaurant at Fortaleza do Guincho has a Michelin star: fabulous exquisite food.

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