Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? - portugal

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dundee
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Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? - portugal

Post by dundee »

Dear Bogleheads,

I am going to be visiting a place near Porto, Portugal on business in April. I have just found that I will have 3 free days April 14-16. I can fly into Lisbon and fly out of Porto. Or I can fly in and out of Porto. Ticket is the same.

I like to visit historic places, museums, walk around European towns. I am in relatively good shape, so, walking or climbing hills is no problem. I also like to just sit at the outdoor cafe's and watch the life go by. Given all that, if you have been to Porto or Lisbon, I would love to get your advice on following:

1. Is there enough to do in Porto for 3 full days?
2. Is it better to arrive in Lisbon on the 14th, spend 2 days in Lisbon and fly (or train) to Porto on the 16th morning? Or would that be a hectic visit?
3. Where would you recommend a hotel (<$150) in Porto? I prefer close to historic downtown. Any hotel recommendations would be much appreciated. I prefer local hotels rather than any chains.
4. Any hotel recommendations (<$150) near historic downtown in Lisbon?
5. How is the weather in Portugal in mid April?
6. Any foods you recommend? - I eat everything and like anything I eat. But, prefer fish to meat.

I am based in the US and its my first time to Portugal. I want to visit both places if I can, but, if there is enough to do just in Porto, I will be happy to visit just Porto.

Thank you all.
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sperry8
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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? - portugal

Post by sperry8 »

I've been to both. Porto is smaller than Lisbon obviously. But it is also cuter. Depending on how busy you want to be - you surely could spend 3 days in Porto... although 2 is plenty. Lisbon is huge... definitely needs more time.

I stayed at the Intercontinental Porto right on the plaza. Great location. In Lisbon I stayed at the Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade. Liberdade is a big busy main street although walkable to a lot of sights. Again, Lisbon is huge (and on a hill) so locale is important if you intend to walk. I'd recommend the IC in Porto over the Sofitel in Lisbon.

I don't eat meat and fish was quite available all around Portugal. It's delicious! Explore :)
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Shallowpockets
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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? - portugal

Post by Shallowpockets »

was in Porto April 2016. bring an umbrella and your sunglasses. It is the place in the world for Port wine. Across the river from the main town is where all the port wine company warehouses are located. They all have tasting rooms. Nominal fee but pleasantly appointed tasting rooms with good value for your tasting. Quite unlike wine tastings in US. They will leave you alone and you can drink at your leisure.
On the main town side near where the hop on hop off bus stops there is a government tasting room. This one has display of port wine which shows you how it is made and the difference between tawny and ruby. Informative.
If you like or want to try port wine Porto is the place to go. And, you should.
Might want to google free walking tours. Another good thing to do. Find time and place and meet there and off you go, learning history and culture and have a nice walk through neighborhoods. You should do this when you arrive and you will get an overview of the city and can set your agenda based on that info.
Plenty of food around for you to taste.
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BeBH65
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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? - portugal

Post by BeBH65 »

Both Porto and Lisbon could keep you busy for a few days.
In each city there are also a couple of excursions just outside of town that might be worthwhile.
If you would travel from one to the other maybe consider stopping in Coimbra.
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eddot98
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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? - portugal

Post by eddot98 »

We haven’t been to Porto, wanted to get there when we were in Portugal last May, but we ran out of time. We were in southern Portugal for just shy of two weeks, spending three nights in Lisbon, five nights in the Sintra area, two nights in the Algarve, and two nights back in Lisbon. We had a car and drove to a lot of different sites in southern Portugal. While three days in Porto might be a little too much, unless you want to be constantly on the move, we would recommend staying there. You will have more time to relax, cafe sit, and soak up the ambience of a different culture. Portugal was the last Western European country that we visited and we shouldn’t have waited so long. It’s great. Regarding food, we were not too happy with the salted cod that’s served everywhere there. We also had goat that we weren’t too fond of. Lisbon would have more to do than Porto, but save it for another time. Just in case you decide to go there, we stayed at the Fonte Cruz Autograph hotel there, yes it’s part of the Marriott group, but it’s smaller and well located. My wife is Marriott Platinum for life and they treated us very well there.
Iliketoridemybike
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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? - portugal

Post by Iliketoridemybike »

I’ve been to both and prefer Porto. Smaller, older, a little grittier. As others have said, every major Port house is there. Food is great. You can go out to the ocean or hang in town. If you can, try and book an excursion up the Douro River into the terraced hill Douro Valley vineyards. It is an Enesco World Heritage site. Remote and beautiful.
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Peculiar_Investor
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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? - portugal

Post by Peculiar_Investor »

dundee wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:09 pm Is there enough to do in Porto for 3 full days?
Yes, we thought so. We stayed for three days. Rented a car for one day and travelled to Braga, Bom Jesus do Monte and Guimarães then back into Porto. It was tight but doable.
sperry8 wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:14 pm I stayed at the Intercontinental Porto right on the plaza.
We stayed there also. Very nice hotel and centrally located so you can explore the centre of the city.
Iliketoridemybike wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:39 pm I’ve been to both and prefer Porto. Smaller, older, a little grittier. As others have said, every major Port house is there. Food is great. You can go out to the ocean or hang in town. If you can, try and book an excursion up the Douro River into the terraced hill Douro Valley vineyards. It is an Enesco World Heritage site. Remote and beautiful.
I've also been to both Porto (3 nights) and Lisbon (4 nights) , plus stayed in the Douro Valley in Pinhão (3 nights). The Douro Valley red's are wonderful.
dundee wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:09 pm I also like to just sit at the outdoor cafe's and watch the life go by.
Praia Bar in Pinhão fits the bill perfectly. Watch the tourist boats float by on the Douro River while enjoying grilled octopus and a white port and tonic spritzer. We spend 2 1/2 hours for lunch.

From Lisbon, make sure you visit Sintra.
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radiowave
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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? - portugal

Post by radiowave »

The Old Town in Lisbon is well worth the visit. Hike up the hill to the Castle overlooking the city and the plaza is also worthy. There are some old Roman ruins you can see underground. There is a lot of petty crime especially pick pocking in touristy areas so just be aware and be secure. I use a small zippered pouch that attaches to my belt loop and keep it inside my pants and have a throw away wallet with just a few dollars on my back pocket - if they take it, no big deal. But enjoy Portugal!
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FraggleRock
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Porto

Post by FraggleRock »

You have only a few days.
Stay in Porto.
Eat at https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_ ... tugal.html. Get the “meatloaf”.
Stay at https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1168784 (there are 7 units in the building). We loved Orange.
Take a tour with Sarah https://portoalities.com/en/
Walk. A lot.
Ride the Electrico http://www.stcp.pt/pt/turismo/porto-tram-city-tour/ . We rode all 3 lines.
Eat the best hot dogs of your life https://www.yelp.com/biz/gazela-porto
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sperry8
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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? - portugal

Post by sperry8 »

Peculiar_Investor wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:15 pm
dundee wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:09 pm Is there enough to do in Porto for 3 full days?
Yes, we thought so. We stayed for three days. Rented a car for one day and travelled to Braga, Bom Jesus do Monte and Guimarães then back into Porto. It was tight but doable.
sperry8 wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:14 pm I stayed at the Intercontinental Porto right on the plaza.
We stayed there also. Very nice hotel and centrally located so you can explore the centre of the city.
Iliketoridemybike wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:39 pm I’ve been to both and prefer Porto. Smaller, older, a little grittier. As others have said, every major Port house is there. Food is great. You can go out to the ocean or hang in town. If you can, try and book an excursion up the Douro River into the terraced hill Douro Valley vineyards. It is an Enesco World Heritage site. Remote and beautiful.
I've also been to both Porto (3 nights) and Lisbon (4 nights) , plus stayed in the Douro Valley in Pinhão (3 nights). The Douro Valley red's are wonderful.
dundee wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:09 pm I also like to just sit at the outdoor cafe's and watch the life go by.
Praia Bar in Pinhão fits the bill perfectly. Watch the tourist boats float by on the Douro River while enjoying grilled octopus and a white port and tonic spritzer. We spend 2 1/2 hours for lunch.

From Lisbon, make sure you visit Sintra.
+1 on Sintra. Also, like another poster mentioned, I did the train to/from with a stop in Coimbra. Worth it if you have the time. In fact the best fish meal I had was in Coimbra in some small side restaurant in the old town.
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SWBoarder
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Re: Porto

Post by SWBoarder »

FraggleRock wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:48 pm Stay at https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1168784 (there are 7 units in the building).
Always something useful when I visit the forums! Biking Lisbon to Santiago next month and booked the brown unit for our layover days. Will explore all your recommendations. Sara's page had some helpful vegetarian options.
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hand
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Re: Porto

Post by hand »

FraggleRock wrote: Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:48 pm
Take a tour with Sarah https://portoalities.com/en/
Thanks for the recommendation - we just returned and found great value from two day tours outside Porto with Portoalities.
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