Help with September Portugal Itinerary

Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 04:31 PM
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Help with September Portugal Itinerary

My husband and I are taking our first trip to Portugal this September, and I would greatly appreciate advice about our itinerary. Some basic info: we have 12 nights in Portugal, flying into and out of Lisbon. It's just the two of us and we are very active (runners and multi-sport enthusiasts), but we also enjoy history, art, music, and we collect wine. We are very experienced world travelers, and we have learned that we enjoy our trips more if we have a minimum of 3 nights in each place.
Here's what I have so far:
Sun 9/4 --arrive Lisbon 8:20am, rent car, drive to Evora (3 nights at Mr. & Mrs. Smith Octant Evora). Explore Evora and relax at hotel
I chose the Octant because I have enough points for 3 free nights as a member of IHG. Has anyone stayed here? Thoughts? Is it too far outside Evora for restaurants, etc.?
Mon 9/5 -- Cycling in the morning, wine tasting in the afternoon. Recommendations for the best wineries in Alentejo? Restaurant recommendations?
Tues 9/6--Hiking in the morning, wine tasting in the afternoon
Wed 9/7--Drive to Lisbon airport, fly to Porto, rent car, drive to Douro Valley. (3 nights). Wine taste and relax at hotel
Realistically, how long should we allow to drive to Lisbon, drop off the rental, and check into airport (e.g, if we leave Evora at 7am, can we make a 10am flight?)
Hotel: The Wine House, The Delfim Douro, or Lamego Hotel & Life? Thoughts, recommendations?
Thur 9/8-- Kayak on Douro River in morning, wine taste in afternoon
Fri 9/9 -- explore area --recommendations for what to see or do? River cruise? Wine taste in afternoon
Sat 9/10 --Drive to Porto, 3 nights at Torel Avantgarde, which I believe is on the far westside of Baixa.
The Torel looks like a beautiful place to stay, has anyone stayed there? My one concern is whether we can go running from the hotel? While in Porto we will want to explore history, art, music, restaurants, recommendations? Food tour, bike tour?
Sun 9/11 Porto
Mon 9/12 Porto
Tues 9/13--fly to Lisbon, 3 nights at Hotel Borges Chiado
While in Lisbon we will want to explore history, art, music, restaurants, recommendations? Food tour, bike tour?
Wed 9/14 Lisbon
Thur 9/15 Lisbon --day trip to Sintra in morning
Fri 9/16 Fly home
Many thanks for any advice or recommendatons,
Sherri
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Old Jun 23rd, 2022, 07:01 PM
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I think I'll make one tweak to the proposed itinerary:
On 9/7, it appears that all flight from Lisbon to Porto are full between 10am and 3pm. Therefore, I think it makes more sense for us to drive from Evora to the Douro Valley via A23/802 and A24/801. If we leave early, I looks like it will be a scenic drive and if we leave early we can arrive at our destination by mid-afternoon. Thoughts?
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Old Jun 24th, 2022, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by trigoddess View Post
I think I'll make one tweak to the proposed itinerary:
On 9/7, it appears that all flight from Lisbon to Porto are full between 10am and 3pm. Therefore, I think it makes more sense for us to drive from Evora to the Douro Valley via A23/802 and A24/801. If we leave early, I looks like it will be a scenic drive and if we leave early we can arrive at our destination by mid-afternoon. Thoughts?
This sounds a lot more logical to me.
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Old Jun 28th, 2022, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by HelenaFatima View Post
This sounds a lot more logical to me.
Thank you for your response, HelenaFatima. I apologize for the delay in thanking you, as I was having computer problems for several days. I do think it makes so much more sense to do it that way. I believe you live in Porto. Do you have any other suggestions for our time there?
Muito obrigado!
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Old Jun 28th, 2022, 05:40 PM
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We loved the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon! Also enjoyed the Coach Museum in Belem. While in Belem, take the elevator to the top of the Discoveries Monument. There typically aren't any lines, like there are at the Belem Tower, and the views are spectacular!

For restaurants in Lisbon, we loved the Cerverjaria Ramiro, frequented by the late Anthony Bourdain. Very fresh and very delicious fish and seafood!
www.cervejariaramiro.com
We also enjoyed eating at the Time Out Market.
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Old Jun 28th, 2022, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by KarenWoo View Post
We loved the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon! Also enjoyed the Coach Museum in Belem. While in Belem, take the elevator to the top of the Discoveries Monument. There typically aren't any lines, like there are at the Belem Tower, and the views are spectacular!

For restaurants in Lisbon, we loved the Cerverjaria Ramiro, frequented by the late Anthony Bourdain. Very fresh and very delicious fish and seafood!
www.cervejariaramiro.com
We also enjoyed eating at the Time Out Market.
Thank you very much, KarenWoo. I have made notes of your recommendation. I just finished Progol's TR, so I feel like I know some of you. Wow, what a wonderful trip report -- and her photos!!
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Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by trigoddess View Post
Sat 9/10 --Drive to Porto, 3 nights at Torel Avantgarde, which I believe is on the far westside of Baixa.
The Torel looks like a beautiful place to stay, has anyone stayed there? My one concern is whether we can go running from the hotel? While in Porto we will want to explore history, art, music, restaurants, recommendations? Food tour, bike tour?
Sun 9/11 Porto
Mon 9/12 Porto
Torel Avantgarde is in fact in west city center. In my opinion, a lovely hotel althoug I never stayed there. It's on a hill (wherelse?) close to many things, and yet in a very quiet location, and I believe the concept of the Hotel is very interesting and the views are very good. Early September you can benefit from the pool.

Running: I assume you mean running. Sorry, English is not my language, so sometimes I got lost in translation, but I think there is no other meaning for running, so you want to run! Well, lot's of Porto people are running these days, I don't know what happened in the last decade that so many people decided that running is very good. If you want to run, you will find many others doing the same, and from your location it's really easy, just go down the hill, and then along the river, right (West) or left (East). East: you will pass Alfandega (the old customs house), Ribeira, D. Luis bridge, and then you run and run and run till the end of Porto (where is the Marina, "Pousada do Freixo" and a new 5stars Hotel from Pestana Group), and you can continue running along the river where it is not Porto but Gondomar. It's nice, many small restaurants/coffee shops.

If you choose West, you will pass the museum of trams, Arrábida bridge (you can climb the bridge), and you will be at Ouro, where probably in September the boat that unites the 2 margins will be working, from Cais do Ouro to Afurada (Afurada is a small fishing village). If you continue running you will find yourself at Passeio Alegre, a nice garden with 2 columns really beautifull (designed by the same person that designed Torre dos Clérigos, Nicolau Nasoni). The garden has ducks and parrots, and nice artificial lakes. And a very nice toillet, if you want to visit, the price is 2 euros (not to use, just to visit. There are also toillets you can use and the price is just 20 cents, but they are modern and ugly). After that you will find the Fort and also the lighthouses. Here you have two options: continue by the ocean (the river ended) or through the inner street. If you go through this one, maybe you can turn right, up the hill, and visit the market. Anyway, continuing by the ocean, you will find yourself in the posh part of the city, commonly named Foz, nice stores, nice coffee shops on the beach, large sidewalk, forget about the Pizza Hut in there it was a mistake, nice garden, nice views (of the ocean and the boats waitting in a queue to go inside the harbour at the next city, Matosinhos). If you are still running at this point, you will find another Fort, and then an uggly building on the beach side: the city park is on the other side. And that's the end of Porto (when you see a big net, huge, hanging) beggining of Matosinhos.

I will be back for Art, History, etc.

Helena

If you run all this... please remember you have to get back to Torel. There are buses. And táxis, uber, etc.
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Old Jul 5th, 2022, 05:51 PM
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HelenaFatima,
Yes, running! I started running with my father at age 14, and I have been running for 40 years now. The information you provided is extremely helpful. I mapped the distance from the Torel Avantegarde east to the new Pousado do Freixo hotel (wow, it looks beautiful) and it is about 10k round trip. I also mapped going west and it's about 10k roundtrip to the Passeio Allegre. That distance is a perfect.
Thanks very much!
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Old Jul 6th, 2022, 02:21 PM
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So I got it right. Running meaning that. Good! I think you understand now that you choosed one of the best located hotels for that! And if you fell tires you can always catch the tram, that goes just at your door.

Continuing: Art!

Art is kind of vague, you know, I don't know what you mean, so many things are considered art! Anyway, I will do my best. You are really near the art neighbourhood, marked at any map like that. It consists of Rua do Breyner and mainly Rua Miguel Bombarda, lot's of Art Galleries. Also, the Soares dos Reis National Museum is 10 minutes walking (easy walk) from you Hotel. Painting and sculpture, mainly. From that Museum (at the back side) you see the old velodrome, no longer used, but that was a Hit in the 19th century.

You also have Casa de Serralves. The main building is hosting "Miro", and there is the museum, with several exhibitions. (if you want to go to Serralves, take an uber or a taxi. Or at least a Bus).

On the east side of the city, at Casa de São Roque, is Andy Warhol. And at the old customs House, Alfandega, is Banksy, but it will go before you arrive (4th September). But if you like street art, we have a magnificent cat at Rua Afonso Martins Alho (you can see the cat at Progols report) and a ovely rabbit at Rua Guilherme Gomes Fernandes in Gaia (across the city), among many others. You can find these "others" at Melqn report.

I believe the fountains of Porto are some kind of art! You can visit them, after visiting "the water coffret" at metro station at Campo 24 de Agosto, at Rua Barão Nova Sintra, in the gardens of the government building/offices of water.

In a complete different aproach, I don't know if we can still call it art, but two (or maybe 3) steps from your hotel, there is "Casa dos Materiais", part of Porto Museum. It's located at Praça Carlos Alberto. It's a big white house, entrance is free, and it stores the old materials. It's a place that hold spare materials you are not going to use if you are rebuilding something, and also it is a place where you can go if you lack some old things, and if they have it, you get it. Like old tiles, no longer produced.

Speacking of tiles, I believe they can be considered art, too. So you have the beautifull facade of Igreja do Carmo just near you, the São Bento train station a bit further away, and Igreja das Almas. Not so near, this one. It's at the pedestrian comercial street Santa Catarina.

By the way, if stain glass is art to you, visit the Mac Donald's at Praça da Liberdade.

Helena

(I will come back with History)

Last edited by HelenaFatima; Jul 6th, 2022 at 02:25 PM.
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Old Jul 11th, 2022, 10:18 AM
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History:

That's a difficult one!

The obvious: World of Discoveries, facing Alfândega. It was in a bad shape when I went there, 2019. It's focus is the discovery period of Portugal, and it might be interesting, but a lot to read and an appeal to children, as it ends with a boat ride in some sort of channel inside the museum.

Concerning History, I will just leave here some tips. I don't know what interests you.

Our almost only enemies were the Spanish, never accepting we were independent (even now Spain is trying hard to get our "Savage" Islands).

So, History is just almost portuguese history. The discoveries were what they were, building an Empire. Portuguese is spoken in Brasil, São Tomé e Principe, Cabo Verde, Angola, Moçambique, Timor, Macau, Goa, Damão and Diu, Guiné Bissau, Guiné Equatorial,... I think that's all.

History in Porto: we had a civil war, in the 19th century, marks from bullets can still be seen at the view point "Bataria" - at the end of Rua São Bento da Vitória.

A few years earlier we also had the french invasions (Napoleonic invasions). When the french were arriving from North, people try to escape South. There were only the boats bridge, that collapsed, 2000 souls died. There is a memorial in "Ribeira" (last arch aproaching Luis I bridge, with flower and candles, we still feel the pain), the bust of Lord Wellington, that come to save us, near the museum "Soares dos Reis", and the obelisc at Rotunda da Boavista (Praça Mousinho de Albuquerque).

The old wall, around the city historic center, was built to protect us from Spain (or others, who knows), and can still be visited through Santa Clara church.

The ancient wall, built by the romans when the roman empire reach this lands, exists but it's hard to be seen. But you can have a perception in the oldest "bairro", Sé.

Rua de São Miguel, at neiborhood Vitória, has a lot of symbols from jewhish people. They, the jews, were invited to live inside the wall, for their own protection. There were also muslims in the same neighbourhood, as well as christians, of course. All living togheter in peace and harmony, untill our King decided to marry the daughter of the Chatolic kings from Spain. Where is is now the church "Igreja de São Bento da Vitória" at the end of Rua de São Bento da Vitória, was once a sinagogue. The stairs from there are still called (by us, locals) "escadas da esnoga", means stairs from the synagogue.

Azulejos (tiles): they represent a lot of History, and you can find them allover the city.

Sorry, concerning History, there is not much I can tell.

Last edited by HelenaFatima; Jul 11th, 2022 at 10:33 AM.
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Old Jul 11th, 2022, 08:12 PM
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HelenaFatima,
You are the "Rick Steves" of Porto! I'm very grateful for all the time you have spent telling me about the art and history in your city. It makes me very excited to see the city. I know 3 days will not be enough, but that means we'll have to return on a second trip someday in the future
The cat -- I remember it from Progols' trip report because she took the photo from an angle that made cat look very intriguing. I will have to look up Melqn's report, thank you for mentioning it.
Now, if I can impose on your for one more question . . . what are your favorite restaurants?
Boa noite por enquanto (Good night for now)
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