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Portugal 2020!
Old 12-17-2019, 01:58 PM   #1
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Portugal 2020!

Hi All,

This year our group is looking to visit Portugal - have done some initial planning, but looking for recommendations and options.

Initial thoughts are to fly into Porto, spend a few days there, then drive to Viana do Castelo for a few days, Pinhao for a few days, Coimbra for a few days, stay note side of Lisbon for a few days, and then Lisbon proper and depart. 20-30 days or so ...

We tend to like historic, but out of the way spots, with occasional larger thrown in.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-17-2019, 02:04 PM   #2
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Portugal is a small country. You will see a lot in 20-30 days. We did not spend that much time, so did not have a chance to visit the southern beaches of Algarve. We did not even have time to spend in Evora, which is one of the recommended spots.

Oh well, gotta leave something for the next visit.
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Old 12-17-2019, 02:09 PM   #3
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I'm going in April for 2 weeks, first time in country.

Lisbon, Sintra, then drive down to Lagos to visit the coast for 3 days, fly up to Porto, then an overnight in Pinhao.
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Old 12-17-2019, 02:29 PM   #4
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We have been to Portugal twice but want to go back. The first was from Spain to the Algarve, then up to Lisbon and area for a week.

The second was flying into Porto. We spent two days in town, rented a car, a spent a week in the Douro Valley. It was wonderful...so much that we plan to return.
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Old 12-17-2019, 03:04 PM   #5
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Obidos is nice.....took a train from Lisboa.....get there early, walk around the old city walls, and have the place to yourselves:

Obidos Portugal Tourism Guide - Updated for 2019!
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Old 12-17-2019, 03:31 PM   #6
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In Lisbon, we stayed in an Airbnb right off the Avenida Almirante Reis, and it came with a parking spot in the underground garage. Of course, I just parked the car for the duration, except for the day trip to Sintra. Yes, I drove to Sintra instead of taking the train, but we left early at 5AM.

In the last day in Lisbon, we ventured out just 3 miles off the city center to the area around the aquarium (Oceanário de Lisboa) to get away from the crowd. What a huge difference with open spaces, wide streets, and more modern lodging. Next time, we will look for a place to stay there, and take the metro to downtown. The hubbub of Lisbon was good for a couple of days, then we needed room to breathe.


PS. Avenida Almirante Reis is the main avenue of Lisbon, and we happened to be there during the May Day Parade. It was fun to watch different worker's unions marching down the street loudly chanting, demanding better pay, more benefits, higher pension, etc... I did not speak Portuguese, but could still guess from reading the banners that they carried.
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Old 12-17-2019, 03:31 PM   #7
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We loved Portugal. Porto is great for a few days as well as Lisbon, but the soul of the trip was in the Douro Valley outside Pinhao. If you can find a guide, I would hire one. The logistics of the Valley are rustic at best. In some places you can't cross the river for many miles. Getting around is slow, but there are so many things to see from wineries to ancient Roman ruins to petroglyphs, but you need to know where they are and in some cases, that isn't easy.
The food is simple, but wonderful. It's a great area, though somewhat poorer country in relation to the rest of Europe. We'd go back.
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Old 12-18-2019, 12:23 AM   #8
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Do they have peri peri chicken everywhere?

I remember th Bourdain episode on Portugal featured more than one dish which involved drain8ng the blood from the animal and cook8ng with it.

Not going to try those dishes.
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Old 12-18-2019, 12:52 AM   #9
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Glad you ask!

No, I found out that peri peri chicken is only popular down south. Even in Lisbon, I stumbled on a single place claiming that it was its specialty, and I was disappointed. The grilled chicken was good, but the sauce was merely brushed on afterwards, and it came from a bottle. Hah! It was not hot enough for me.

I queried the waiter, and he admitted that peri peri chicken was not popular even in Lisbon, and most Portuguese did not eat spicy food. Next time, I will travel down to the Algarve to check this out.

PS. We ate mostly grilled fish while in Portugal. My wife who is not fond of fish said it was so good and she enjoyed it.
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Old 12-18-2019, 05:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by explanade View Post
Do they have peri peri chicken everywhere?

I remember th Bourdain episode on Portugal featured more than one dish which involved drain8ng the blood from the animal and cook8ng with it.

Not going to try those dishes.
Never saw or even heard of it.
We ate lots of grilled fish, carrot/potato based soups and seafood stews.

Seek out a cherry cordial called Ginja.
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Old 12-18-2019, 08:31 AM   #11
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my buddy Jon lived there awhile and wrote several blog posts, might help...

https://lifepart2.com/living-in-portugal-travel-blog/
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Old 12-18-2019, 08:36 AM   #12
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Old 12-18-2019, 08:40 AM   #13
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We have not made it to mainland Portugal, but were in their Azore Islands a couple of times. We also were nearby a couple of times on the Spanish coast.

If you're wanting to stay in three cities for a week or so each, I suggest finding an apartment with laundry facilities. That way, you can travel with so much less luggage--a carry on bag will do it. We found great apartments in Barcelona and Granada, Spain on Booking.com earlier this year.
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Old 12-18-2019, 09:50 AM   #14
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We spent 22 days in Portugal in 2017.
Loved it.
My reviews https://www.yelp.com/collection/c4DDuTqoI-3WsEeUfcSH8A
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Old 12-18-2019, 10:04 AM   #15
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I have been to Portugal a couple of times. My recommendations are:
Queloz Palace in Lisbon
Port Lodges in Porto
Sintra, Cascais and Etoril
Restorant Castro in Cascais
Lagos
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Old 12-18-2019, 10:17 AM   #16
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Recommendations -

Go to the Pasties de Belem site for original custard tart - so good!
Enjoyed the National Coach Museum in Belem
Drinks on patio behind Convento do Carmo in Lisbon - amazing ambiance
Pinhao - do the Jorge Barefoot Tour - really fun day
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Old 12-18-2019, 11:07 AM   #17
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Speaking of custard tart, I read so much hype about it I bought 3 for each of us, because on Youtube someone claimed to eat 1/2 dozen in a day.

Oh my. It was hard enough to finish the 2nd, let alone the 3rd. Don't overeat, and ruin a good thing.
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Old 12-18-2019, 12:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
Speaking of custard tart, I read so much hype about it I bought 3 for each of us, because on Youtube someone claimed to eat 1/2 dozen in a day.

Oh my. It was hard enough to finish the 2nd, let alone the 3rd. Don't overeat, and ruin a good thing.
We started out ordering 1 each. Waiter looked at us like we were crazy. Did end up with a 2nd one each after we split a sandwich.
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Old 12-18-2019, 01:37 PM   #19
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We are going to Portugal in 2020 also. Flying into Porto and will have a rental car for Douro Valley. This will be our first visit to mainland Portugal. We have been to the Azores a couple of times and really enjoyed that.
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Old 12-18-2019, 02:35 PM   #20
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Obidos is very nice but can be crowded and touristy. Walk up hill for a 'block' or two and walk along the less crowded streets above the main drag. IIRC, there are several nice plazas with views of the surrounding countryside.

Also, if you can arrange it, tour a cork farm. It was one of the most interesting things I did in Portugal. I leaned how the previous dictator took the land, overworked the cork trees, and how the families finally got it back. The families are restoring the old cork trees to health, planting new ones and expanding into other areas to finance things (like guided hunting, and making wine). Whatever you do don't refer to a bad bottle of wine as being 'corked'. Them is fighting words!!!

The cork business is interesting. The owner of the farm we toured is in his 40's. He is planting new trees, not for him or his children, but mostly for his great-grandchildren.

Oh, the Portuguese spent years viewing American TV shows with Portuguese subtitles, so their English is rather good.
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