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Portugal suggestions?
  
 
cohenfive
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Portugal suggestions?


We are heading to London at the end of the year for a wedding, and are hoping to fly down to Portugal to spend several days there. We really don't know much about the country, where we should go, what to see, etc. I know the weather probably wont' be great but it is what it is. Any ideas/suggestions would be appreciated, and if you have a travel company you used there that you liked, that would be helpful info as well. Thanks.


Oct 30, 2017 at 08:11 PM
jdc562
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Portugal suggestions?


In my experience, the Rick Steves guides are excellent, and he has several on Portugal. He probably has better suggestions for lodging, etc., than a travel agent. However, if you don't have special reasons to go to Portugal, and haven't been to Southern Spain, I'd highly recommend Seville. To me, and others, it is the greatest place on the Iberian peninsula, especially to maximize the worth of a trip limited to several days. There is a bullet train to Seville from Madrid (assuming you're flying in from London).


Oct 31, 2017 at 12:59 AM
Rajan Parrikar
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Portugal suggestions?


Where in Portugal do you intend to go? The south (Alentejo, Algarve etc) has a totally different flavour than the north (Porto, Braga, Coimbra). And then there’s the beautiful capital Lisboa. Do you like the beaches? If yes, go south. Do you like beautiful mountain scenery, historic churches (Porto)? Historic university town (Coimbra)? I suggest you Google the places I have cited. That’ll give you a good start.


Oct 31, 2017 at 02:52 AM
DABNIK
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Portugal suggestions?


I have been to Lisbon 3x in the past 4 years. One of my favorite cities. Easy to get around; people are great; safe; cheap; - and outstandingly gorgeous. Lots of old bldgs (1755 was the "the quake"). Can take a train trip for the day to Cascais or Sintra.

I'm usually in Portugal for a week or two & Southern Spain for a month or two.
Any ?? - send me a PM
Doug



Oct 31, 2017 at 07:30 PM
elizabeth77
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Portugal suggestions?


Portugal is beautiful. I agree hat Lisboa is fantastic all in itself - tons of street opportunities and the inherent contrasts of modern life and ancient cobbled streets - and take a look at Sintra. It is much photographed but for good reason.

Comporta is my favorite place in Portugal in terms of relaxation but it's a beach town, so not ideal timing.



Nov 05, 2017 at 02:14 PM
cohenfive
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Portugal suggestions?


Thanks all. We will be putting the trip together this week, will likely have more questions. We are thinking of also driving over to Spain to Seville, and the Alhambra.


Nov 05, 2017 at 02:21 PM
cohenfive
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Portugal suggestions?


If we drive over to Seville, will we have any issues with crossing the border in a rental car, or is it all good as both are EU countries?


Nov 07, 2017 at 04:16 PM
Sandra33
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Portugal suggestions?


And please keep an eye on your gear. I lost everything from camera to tripod two years ago north of Lisbon along the coast. Thefts from carboots are quite common there unfortunately

But beside this it is a beautyful country.



Nov 08, 2017 at 01:45 PM
longlens
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Portugal suggestions?


There is a substantial car theft industry in Portugal and Spain. Thefts from the rear trunk or 'boot', as well as from the car interior are very common. The thieves look for tourists parked, especially at lunch ( since most people take items into hotels at night). Locals I knew in Lisbon NEVER left anything in the car, just to be safe.
Lisbon is a gorgeous city, with much to see and photograph. Sintra, is easily accessible by the local suburban train and has several castles.



Nov 10, 2017 at 11:18 PM
cohenfive
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Portugal suggestions?


Thanks. I always take my camera gear with me...always.

Trip is taking shape. We fly into Lisbon Jan 2..On the 4th we drive south to catch some of the scenery on the southwest coast. We go to Seville night of 4th. On 6th we drive to Ronda/Malaga. On 7th we drive to Granada and have a tour of the Alhambra on the 8th. Not sure what we are doing night of 8th. We drive back to Lisbon on 9th, and fly back to London morning of 10th.

Any suggestions/comments much appreciated.



Nov 10, 2017 at 11:24 PM
 

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jdc562
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Portugal suggestions?


Sounds great. Regarding the request for suggestions, how about adding a week, or a month, or...
You'll see what I mean when you get there.....



Dec 10, 2017 at 06:47 PM
cohenfive
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Portugal suggestions?


This is our 'survey' of the area. If we really like it, I'm sure we will go back.

We are going to head there without a really detailed itinerary. We have a hotel in Lisbon (hope it is in the right area), a rental car, and a hotel at the Alhambra in Grenada. Not sure we need the car in Lisbon, thinking about delaying picking it up until we leave the city and drive south and east. We are going to stop in Seville, and are also thinking of stopping in Ronda which sounds gorgeous. My wife has an inkling to try to visit Gibraltar, not sure how realistic that is. We don't have other lodging set up to give us some flexibility when we get there.

Thanks.




Dec 10, 2017 at 06:53 PM
Nick_Brisbane
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Portugal suggestions?


If you have time to get to Cordoba on your way to Lisbon it will worth it if only to see the Mosque (google).
Google maps tells me its about 2.5 hrs drive time.



Dec 15, 2017 at 11:22 PM
nampramos
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Portugal suggestions?


Cohen, me being a Portuguese, I could tell you that you are driving way too much in such a short period of time.

You can easily spend a week in Lisbon and surrounding areas, without even needing to rent a car. Getting an apartment on Airbnb would also be way better than any hotel.

Food is absolutely fantastic. From all the many countries I've visited, only in Japan did I feel like I had amazing food on a regular basis.

In Lisbon, be sure to give "Mercado da Ribeira" and "Palácio Chiado" for food. They are big food courts (not the best name for it) with local restaurants having their own space there.

If you'd be spending more time around Lisbon area, I'd give you a lot more tips but since you're going south and then Spain, there's no point.

Regarding your rental car, no need to have one in Lisbon. You'll spend hours stuck in traffic. Be sure to check with the rental company if you can drive it to Spain. Not all can or you will need to pay extra. Remember that you will be paying highway tolls in Portugal on your way to Spain. These can be quite expensive if you drive all the way from Lisbon to the south coast on the highway and then to Spain again on the highway. Very convenient and comfortable, but can be expensive.

While in Lisbon, use the metro system and if you really need car, take Uber. Very cheap. A day trip to Sintra can be made with via train. Two days in Sintra would actually be the best.

Try to avoid all the restaurants that cater to tourists. If they have people on the street trying to call you in, just skip it. If you think the menu prices are too cheap to be good, you'd probably be in for a big surprise.

If you like cooking, get an Airbnb and you will find the amazing fresh fish at the supermarket. Grab a couple bottles of wine from there as well. Anything above 5 euro will be fantastic.



Dec 16, 2017 at 08:17 AM
Nick_Brisbane
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Portugal suggestions?


Adding to that expect tolls in Spain as well. Portugal has lots of tolls for small amounts while Spain has fewer for larger amounts (Our first toll Madrid - Segovia cost 16 euro). Ask your rental company for a transponder and pay at the end.


Dec 16, 2017 at 12:32 PM
cohenfive
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Portugal suggestions?


Thanks. i know we are trying to see a lot in a short time. It is our first time there so we want to 'survey' things, and assuming we like it, we will come back. We are renting a car, but not until we are leaving Lisbon. I figured we wouldn't need one there. Thank you for the recommendations on the food courts. We will get around via metro and uber. As far as the tolls go, not much we can do about them. We will be getting a transponder, and yes there is an extra fee to take the car into Spain. Just part of the trip cost.




Dec 16, 2017 at 01:05 PM
nampramos
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Portugal suggestions?


In Spain there actually isn't the need to take the paid highways since there are also highways that are free. Portugal is not the case though. If you'd have time, you'd drive south in Portugal through the coast. It takes double the time but it is a much more rewarding trip.


Dec 17, 2017 at 03:14 AM
Javier Munoz
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Portugal suggestions?


Since I am originally from Cordoba I am going to chime in.

IMO Cordoba and Granada are more beautiful than Sevilla. I am not saying Sevilla is not worth it. It is Ok, but Cordoba and Granada are well above Seville in terms of charm. Plus there is nothing in Sevilla like the Mosque in Cordoba or the Alhambra in Granada. There is also the thing of me (and most non-sevillian spaniards) finding the people of Seville rather annoying. They try way too hard to be funny and very very few of them really get there.
Ronda is a great visit that I totally recommend. Very close to it there is a very small town called Setenil de las Bodegas that is quite scenic. Close to the area is also the Torcal de Antequera (funky rock formations).

If you were to decide to visit Cordoba and go from there to Granada, you could pay a short visit to Priego (it would be a 30 minutes detour from the road). If you are into castles or are a fan of Game of Thrones, the castle of Almodovar (less than 20 miles away from Cordoba) is Casterly Rock.... before the CGI. I am not that much into castles but I think that that one is OK.

Both in Granada and Cordoba there are arab baths (unfortunately they are not the originals) but they are quite relaxing (I have been in Granada´s one and it was nice).

Now, regarding Portugal, the Algarve has some of the most beautiful beaches from the Iberic Peninsula, Lisbon is great and Sintra has a few nice places. There is a weird place in Sintra called La quinta do Regaleira (a small palace of an eccentric millonaire) that is spooky to no end (typical 19th century cultist eccentric who in my wife´s opinion was probably adept to human sacrifices.... we made that part up, but we wouldnt be surprised if it was true).I personally love Alentejo´s food so I wouldnt mind visiting Evora.

Of Course, if you were to go to Alentejo, you can also enter Spain throught Merida (great Roman Ruins), or throught Caceres (charming and underrated city) and Trujillo. If you are in the mid-north Portugal and still want to visit some of Spain, Salamanca is another beautiful city and Zsmora is really nice if you like Romanesque.
Hope it helps



Dec 18, 2017 at 07:30 PM
nampramos
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Portugal suggestions?


Javier, good tips! I'd definitely skip Seville over those.

Regarding Sintra, the place you mention is Quinta da Regaleira (you were pretty close with your Spanish version of it )

Check out the viewpoint at Praia da Cordoama in the West coast of Algarve. Praia da Arrifana is another spectacular spot. Then there's there cliffs in the city of Lagos, already on the South coast of Algarve (and a lot more touristic too).



Dec 19, 2017 at 05:38 AM
mdude85
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Portugal suggestions?


nampramos wrote:
In Lisbon, be sure to give "Mercado da Ribeira" and "Palácio Chiado" for food. They are big food courts (not the best name for it) with local restaurants having their own space there.


I have been to Palacio Chiado and I like it a lot as well. In the US it would be referred to as a 'food hall' (more artisanal/high end than a food court). Layout and organization is a bit weird but a cool space nonetheless.

We booked a small inn called Feeling Chiado 15 in the Baixa/Chiado neighborhood, which was a great option sort of between a typical hotel and an Airbnb. Right across the square from the inn is a wonderful archaelogical site, the Carmo convent, which has a central nave with its roof destroyed in the 1755 (?) earthquake. On a clear sunny day you should be able to get some great dramatic photos.

There are also some fantastic high vantage points over the city. A well known one is at the Belvedere of Our Lady of the Hill. I also like the vantage point at the Portas do Sol Belvedere. Both are located in the Alfama neighborhood which are very lovely to have a stroll and taking photos of the alleys, trolly cars and beautifully colored buildings.

There is also the top of the Santa Justa lift (elevator) which has a great view over the Baixa area. I would not wait in line to take the lift from the street level. You can access the top of the lift from a courtyard at the rear of the Carmo convent.




Dec 19, 2017 at 06:45 PM
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