June/09/2016

This will be our 2nd 2016 summer vacation after beautiful Kuekenhof gardens ( covered in my blog ) with visit to Portugal for 2 weeks. Being an Indian; we do have a strong bonding with this country due to Vasco da Gama. Strangely till date I didn’t visit Goa but being in Europe making sure to visit one of the must see countries.


The best thing about Portugal is , it didn’t take part in WW 2 and saved from destruction of its cultural heritage from thousand of years. If you like fish then this country is heaven for you.


As usual we stayed in airbnb ( as it’s economical and get to know locals as well ). Also decided to visit places only which are accessible through public transport. Some part of country e.g. south most parts can only be visited by own transport.


Our trip itinerary was roughly as below 

Lisbon  ( 10 – days including day trips to Sao Jao Do Estoril , Cascais , Sintra , Costa Da Caparica , Obidos Village ) 


Porto   ( 4 – days )

Lisboa City

           One of the most beautiful cities of Europe. Not to be missed is Cristo Rai which is nearby city. Do Hop on – off bus and tram tour as city is hilly and you may end up loosing lots of time going from one place to another. Try out Pastel de Belem restaurant.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Tourism-g189158-Lisbon_Lisbon_District_Central_Portugal-Vacations.html

( refer to Things to do and pick up top 10 – 15 places based on ratings and your preference )

http://lisbon-portugal-guide.com/lisbon-transport/lisbon-to-christo-rei-statue-ferry-bus.html


What we liked other than city itself – nice public transport , food ,  cost to quality in stay + food , traditional shopping , people and most important is weather 


2 full days (excluding arrival & departure days) are sufficient to visit main attractions within city limits.


https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g189158-s303/Lisbon:Portugal:Public.Transportation.html

Day Trips from Lisboa

Sintra 1 Day 


This is pristine , heavenly hill station village well preserved but with lots of tourists. Make sure you reach there as early as possible by train from Lisboa. 


Bus 434 which takes to Pena Palace , Moorish Castle and National Palace. As most of people first goto National Place , you travel in reverse order to enjoy with less crowd.

               Either a day or max 2 days to cover all the other palaces or you want to enjoy Pena palace with its huge surrounding garden. Then I suggest stay 1 night in this place.


http://www.sintra-portugal.com/guides/Sintra-day-trip-from-Lisbon.html

Sao Joao do Estoril – 1 Day 


Stay here if you want to avoid Lisboa hustle bustle. This nice coastal town reachable within 35 mins of direct train ride from Lisboa. You can find little cheaper accommodation than Cascais.


Don’t miss fresh fish restaurant “O Retiro” https://www.zomato.com/pt/grande-lisboa/o-retiro-das-quatro-estradas-s%C3%A3o-jo%C3%A3o-do-estoril-lisboa , instead of costly beach side once.

Cascais1 Day


More touristic but heavenly beach. What I really liked it most of the coastal line has high cliffs and it has great view of ocean.   Rented bike can be good option than walk , as there is long beautiful route beside seashore cliffs. Also you can walk within natural rock formations but be very careful. 

      If you visit this place don’t spend time on beach but instead visit long route ( bike and walking ) consisting of magnificent cliffs and sea.


www.visitcascais.com

Obidos


1/2 day is sufficient , bus time is not good to reach from Lisboa . Check time table in advance. It’s convenient to start early and reach back Lisboa post noon.

       Most of the village is occupied by shops or hotels , only few old people are staying there.


http://www.obidosportugalguide.com/tourism-guide/Lisbon-to-Obidos-bus-car-train.html

The nicest thing is you can walk across fort wall surrounding the village.


There are plenty of shops selling hand made Embroidery , found shop by name “ARTESA” having lots of varieties and authentic.  The shop is located on one of the main streets of village.

Costa da Caparica 1 – 3 days


Take ferry from Lisboa and later bus to this place.  This is the most beautiful beach we have seen till date. 


The most attractive part about this beach are  really long ( felt like infinite ) beautiful beaches with nice golden sand.  Enjoy live fishing ( one can buy from fisherman as well )  , small train ride only in summer though . ( refer to below link ).


You will find people from different age group at these beaches. Some people are really friendly , during out visit a old man playing ball game with his friends invited us to join them for few games.

http://lisbon-portugal-guide.com/lisbon-transport/Cacilhas-ferry-metro-bus-station.html

There are lots of nice restaurants just beside beaches ; to try out fresh fish while having a nice view of sea. During out visit we met a local surfer who suggest us to visit below 2 most beautiful beaches of in that coastal line.

       

        Also you can find lots of shops renting instruments for water sports


-> Portinho da Arrábida, Portugal http://www.travel-in-portugal.com/beaches/portinho-da-arrabida.htm


-> http://www.playocean.net/en/portugal/sesimbra/beaches/praia-da-ribeira-do-cavalo-beach
 Ribeira do Cavalo Beach

I felt one should have minimum 2-3 days just to explore whole beach line

Porto City


Instead of taking flight from Lisboa to Porto , do travel in comfortable and high speed train namely “Alfa Pendular” . Journey time is around 3 hours and quite cheap compared to German high speed train ride . 


The best part of about this train is; at turnings it tilts a bit without losing the speed and you do feel and view as well. Make sure you’ve reservation on this train , as mostly it will be full.


In Porto buy “Andante tour ticket” from station or tourist info office l which covers all the public transports for multiple days.


https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Tourism-g189180-Porto_Porto_District_Northern_Portugal-Vacations.html

( refer to Things to do and pick up top 10 – 15 places based on ratings and your preference )

2 full days are sufficient to visit main attractions within city limits.

           Beware of pick picketers , mainly during getting in and out of train. I was almost got pick pocketed by a well dressed lady.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g189180-s302/Porto:Portugal:Getting.Around.html


Other Useful Links


https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g189100-i201-k7526963-10_Days_in_Portugal_Must_Visit_Places-Portugal.html

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