Advice for 3 days in Portugal

foxtail1

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Greetings. I'm going to France (Toulouse) for 10 days in early March and, since I'm flying TAP, decided to do a 3-night stopover in Lisbon on the way back. (I'll arrive on a Monday afternoon and fly out Thursday morning). As I see it, my two choices are: 1) find a place to stay in Lisbon and just walk/Uber around the city for the whole time, or 2) rent a car and drive around for a couple of days (probably excluding Lisbon). My primary interest is photography, and I'll shoot anything of interest: nature, scenery, architecture. I am interested in wildlife too. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions?

I've not been to Toulouse either, but plan to drag my friend (who is living there on sabbatical) on a 4-5 day road trip—I'm thinking (or dreaming) of a loop from Toulouse to Narbonne, south to Barcelona, then to Andorra and back to Toulouse. The Barcelona part is a long shot, but I definitely want to see the Pyrenees.
 

MarcioK

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For 3 nights, I should stay in Lisbon. Was there 3 years ago; even with the short road distances inside Portugal, you would spend a good amount of time driving / parking (remember that the downtown of the most portuguese cities are very old and not car friendly), and Lisbon have enough photo interesting places to fulfill 3 days (stayed in Lisbon for 5 nights).

Use public transport (to get the streetcat line 28 is almost mandatory) or uber, or just walk - most of the attractions on the city are in walking distances, and the old houses are very beautiful, lots of interesting points to photograph. You could get some river / seaside scenery in the Tejo river, the MAAT museum (amazing in the sunset) and the Belem Tower (eat the "pastel de Belém" is also mandatory :) ).

The city also have a lot of high points where you can get great landscape views.

Believe me: you will thinks that 3 nights will be too short. :) it is a VERY beautiful city - and a amazing place if you like food too.
 
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I'd probably stay in Lisbon - there is plenty to see there and I found it an interesting city to just wander around, walk up and down hills and hop on a tram now and then, visit the Jeronimos monastery just outside the city. Maybe take a local train to Sintra if you want to get out of the city for a bit.

Having said that, there is also plenty to see in the surrounding region if you prefer to drive around and concentrate on smaller towns, villages, and monasteries (e.g. Tomar, Alcobaça, Mafra), or visit the coast. With a bit more time I'd suggest combining the city of Porto with the Douro Valley which has some of Portugal's best natural scenery, but that is the northern half of Portugal so maybe a bit of a stretch to get there and back with just two days.

So a bit of an "on the one hand, on the other hand" answer.... but personally I would go for the first option, you won't run out of things to see and do.
 

mumu

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I'd definitely stay in Lisbon and walk around...but I love street photography.
 

foxtail1

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Thanks! I was leaning that way too. It's too short a time too really explore the countryside. Actually, it's a short time to explore the city, but I'm a good walker. There are a bunch of nice Airbnbs available for a very reasonable price.
 
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the near far nord, eh!
After 11 days on the Douro River (would do it again - beautiful country!) we took a high speed train to Lisbon where we stayed for 3 nights. We stayed within a five minute walk of the main harbour area... and I would advise that for sure. No sense, imo, wasting time commuting from the outskirts with only 3 days available.

The best thing we did was to get the three day hop on hop off pass. It allowed us to go anywhere the trams, harbour boats and even a furnicular went. This proved invaluable as Lisbon, like Porto in the North, has hills everywhere. We would take the tram up to a spot above where we wanted to get to and start the walk down. Saved a whack of energy that was put to better use hitting other spots.

it also allowed us to take the an evening harbour cruise... offering up some photo ops of the city and adjoining areas that you would otherwise not be able to view from land. The hop on pass also gets you out to Belem... To see Henry the Explorer of course 😊... and on the way back to Lisbon, why not get off a few stops early and drop into the market place... perfect for a culinary adventure!

After Lisbon we rented a vehicle, stopping in at Boca D’Inferno (sadly, on a calm day), and then stayed two nights near Sintra before driving back up to Porto for 3 more wonderful days. Boca and a sintra can both be reached by train, or other transport... in a reasonably short period of time. Take your comfortable hiking shoes to Sintra though, especially if you want to do both the Palace and the Moorish Castle.

Three days will give you a taste of Portugal that I can assure you will have you begging for more. Of all the places we have visited in the last 4 or 5 years (30+ countries) Portugal is at the top of the list of countries we will be returning to visit.

btw... if you love Port, you’re going to love Portugal... if you don’t have a hankering for Port, then you have to try it out once in Portugal... 😂 it is the best imo. Once we returned to Canada we thought we’d never savour such a wonderful beverage again... until we found, in our local liquor store the very Port from a cellar we visited in Porto... Taylor Fladgate, Tawny..... mmmm, mmmm, good! Either the 10 yr or 20 yr versions take care of the “Port Talks” we reward ourselves with on occasion.
 

foxtail1

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Kristi
After 11 days on the Douro River (would do it again - beautiful country!) we took a high speed train to Lisbon where we stayed for 3 nights. We stayed within a five minute walk of the main harbour area... and I would advise that for sure. No sense, imo, wasting time commuting from the outskirts with only 3 days available.

The best thing we did was to get the three day hop on hop off pass. It allowed us to go anywhere the trams, harbour boats and even a furnicular went. This proved invaluable as Lisbon, like Porto in the North, has hills everywhere. We would take the tram up to a spot above where we wanted to get to and start the walk down. Saved a whack of energy that was put to better use hitting other spots.

it also allowed us to take the an evening harbour cruise... offering up some photo ops of the city and adjoining areas that you would otherwise not be able to view from land. The hop on pass also gets you out to Belem... To see Henry the Explorer of course 😊... and on the way back to Lisbon, why not get off a few stops early and drop into the market place... perfect for a culinary adventure!

After Lisbon we rented a vehicle, stopping in at Boca D’Inferno (sadly, on a calm day), and then stayed two nights near Sintra before driving back up to Porto for 3 more wonderful days. Boca and a sintra can both be reached by train, or other transport... in a reasonably short period of time. Take your comfortable hiking shoes to Sintra though, especially if you want to do both the Palace and the Moorish Castle.

Three days will give you a taste of Portugal that I can assure you will have you begging for more. Of all the places we have visited in the last 4 or 5 years (30+ countries) Portugal is at the top of the list of countries we will be returning to visit.

btw... if you love Port, you’re going to love Portugal... if you don’t have a hankering for Port, then you have to try it out once in Portugal... 😂 it is the best imo. Once we returned to Canada we thought we’d never savour such a wonderful beverage again... until we found, in our local liquor store the very Port from a cellar we visited in Porto... Taylor Fladgate, Tawny..... mmmm, mmmm, good! Either the 10 yr or 20 yr versions take care of the “Port Talks” we reward ourselves with on occasion.
Thank you! I know that this trip is just going to whet my appetite for Portugal. That hop on hop off pass sounds perfect. And I love marketplaces! I need to start a list. I just booked an Airbnb that is really close to both tram and metro—I think the area is Principe Real. I'm counting the days, and it's still 5 weeks till I fly to Toulouse!
 

Mike Wingate

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Whilst in Toulouse, visit Carcassonne, a terrific castle. It is a bit of a drive, but get there for lunch and eat. In one of the cafes inside the castle. Cassoulet would be appropriate.
 

MarcioK

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After 11 days on the Douro River (would do it again - beautiful country!) we took a high speed train to Lisbon where we stayed for 3 nights. We stayed within a five minute walk of the main harbour area... and I would advise that for sure. No sense, imo, wasting time commuting from the outskirts with only 3 days available.
Stayed 3 days in Douro in the same trip (using Peso da Regua as base), it is amazing. One of the most underrated locations for a vacations that I know.

In fact, love Portugal so much that I'm considering to move to Port in the next years (having the same language - I'm Brazilian - helps to make the things easier).
 
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