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Sergey
New York City

Sergey from New York City asked

4 day trip to Portugal

Hi everyone. I'm planning a 4 day trip to Portugal for my birthday. This is going to be a trip with my wife for the first time without kids in awhile, so would love it to be romantic and memorable. I was thinking about visiting Lisbon, Porto and Sintra. Looking forward for some advise as to how to build this trip and maybe places, things to do/visit and make it the most beautiful! Thanks in advance!

Portugal   Lisbon (Portugal)   Porto (Portugal)   Sintra (Portugal)

3 Answers
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answered first by
John
4 Day trip? That is not enough time for Lisbon and Porto. You can do Lisbon and Sintra in four days. You can do Porto and surrounding area in four days. You can't do both. It will take half a day to travel between the two, be it on a fast train, plane, or car. 
If you go to Porto, I would recommend you stay across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia. If you stay on the hill overlooking porto, the sunsets and view are spectacular and the heart of porto is a short walk across the bridge or a short train ride.
As for Lisbon, it is VERY hilly. Sort of like San Francisco. An insider trick is to use the subway stations to get from top and bottom of hills. You don't actually get on the subway. You just use the escalators inside the station. One entrance will be at the bottom of the hill and the other will be at the top of the hill. Baixa-Chiado and Rossio Railway Station are two stations that definitely come to mind.
The subway is great in Lisbon but if you are coming from the airport during rush hour, luggage can be an issue. You might be better off getting an uber, which works in Lisbon.
We did a sunset cruise on a sailing catamaran in Lisbon and really enjoyed that. There is a really nice restaurant called Latitude 38 we really like and always go to. The food is authentic.

Comments (6)

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Sergey
Thank you very much! So we will stick to Lisbon and Sintra. What neighborhood should I stay in? What suggestions do you have in terms of 4 days well spent in Lisbon?
 

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John
I always stay in Bairro Alto or Alfama. I have been to Lisbon seven times. I have yet to see the entire city, and there are some huge tourists sites I have never done. For example, I have never been on that elevator thing. There are all kinds of itineraries that hit the tourist sites. The only recommendation I have is for the palace to purchase a skip the line pass. The lines are so huge you can easily waste a lot of time there.
 

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John
One thing we did that was fun was a cooking class. There were like 20 people and two chefs led us through a meal preparation. Then we all had dinner together.
 

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Sergey
I found an Airbnb in Mouraria quarter. As far as i understood its pretty central and walkable to any attraction. What do you think? I want to boil down the stay first and then play smaller details as to what to see and what to visit. Cooking class sounds very cool!
 

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John
Mouraria quarter would be a nice place to stay. We went to Cooking Lisbon, which is close to Mouraria. Another restaurant we went to was called Cervejaria Sem Vergonha. It was recommended by a local lady we met. It is not a tourist place and a bit away from the usual tourist areas. The seafood was excellent, as was the Sangria. Plus the view was pretty at sunset. Latitude 38 is down by the market in the main tourist area. The husband runs the front and is hilarious. The wife and her mother do the authentic cooking in back. I highly recommend that place.
 

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John
Another restaurant we liked was Photos for Restaurante Fogo do Chão. It is a Brazilian Steakhouse. Where we are from, these types of restaurants are expensive. This one in Lisbon is very reasonable. People in Lisbon generally eat dinner later in the evening. We eat early like 530 or 6. You don’t usually need reservations at that time, but if you eat later you will at most restaurants. This Brazilian Steakhouse is different. You should always make reservations no matter what time you go. It fills up quick.
 
 
 

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  1. Vila Nova de Gaia (city)
  2. Baixa-Chiado (attraction)
  3. Rossio Railway Station (attraction)
  4. Latitude 38 (restaurant)
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answered by
claus
If you rent a car then I would say that it's doable, but you need a little speed. Make your visit to Sintra on the way from Lisbon to Porto. Sintra is small and in my opinion not worth more than half a day anyway. Lisbon and Sintra are places where you can easily spend several days though. But the drive between the two cisites is nice. So you can combine the two places if you like. In Lisbon you should concentrate around the city center. This is an area that is best explored by foot, as you have almost no places to park your car in the city. a few places that I like to eat in Lisbon are The Decadente Restaurante & Bar and Cervejaria Ramiro. The first place serves really good meat and the second really good seafood. In Porto I would recommend that you try the local fast food called Francesinha. Super unhealthy, but really yum. I have a few photos of it on this link. It's a supartoast with several types of meat soaked in beer sauce. https://travellingclaus.com/francesinha/

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Sergey
yes, thats what i figured about Sintra. Leave super early in the morning from Lisbon, and come back later in the day. Im inclining to skip Porto and focus on Lisbon for this trip. Cervejaria Ramiro is on my list already :)
 
 
 

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  1. Sintra (city)
  2. Lisbon (city)
  3. Porto (city)
  4. The Decadente Restaurante & Bar (restaurant)
  5. Cervejaria Ramiro (restaurant)
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answered by
Kim from Birmingham (England)
I haven't been to Porto. I've been to Lisbon, we had six nights there. We stayed in Bairro Alto, in a small B&B called A Casa das Janelas Com Vista. Highly recommend. 
We did Sintra as a day trip from Lisbon. There is no need to go on an organised tour, it's a simple train journey. When you get to Sintra, there are circular buses that visit all the main palaces. We managed to visit three out of of the five. There's a lot to see there, make an early start.
We also visited Belém as a day trip. Again it's an easy journey - we took the tram. The Jerónimos Monastery and Torre de Belém are both very worth visiting, and make time for a visit to the most famous café in town, Pastéis de Belém. There's a huge monument called Padrão dos Descobrimentos - it was enclosed in scaffolding when we visited in 2017, but I imagine that will be all gone now. It has a viewing platform with panoramic views. In Lisbon itself there is much to see. We certainly only scratched the surface. We visited Castelo de São Jorge (worth paying extra to visit the Camera Obscura, but only if the weather is good). We had one rainy day when we were there, and we visited the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian. I can honestly say it's one of the best museums I have ever visited. We also enjoyed the Museu Nacional do Azulejo. We enjoyed spending some time just wandering the streets, especially in Alfama. It's also nice to walk around Alfama in the evening, when it's possible to enjoy hearing snatches of Fado, the traditional music of Lisbon. The Elevador de Santa Justa is worth visiting for the amazing views. There are several beautiful viewpoints in Lisbon, great for photos. 
We took a train to Cascais. The receptionist at the B&B booked a couple of pushbikes for us, and we cycled along the cycle route to Praia do Guincho, which was lovely. About 20km round trip. Finally - a lot of websites recommend a trip on Tram 28. We did that trip, you get great views of the city. When we were there, it was very busy. In particular, the return tram was absolutely packed. I'm guessing that the pandemic effect will mean the trams are currently far less crowded. However - be aware, we knew all about the risk from pick pockets in Lisbon and especially on tram 28, and despite that knowledge, my husband still had his wallet taken. These people know their business. They can have your valuables in no time, and without you knowing a thing about it. Take precautions, keep your valuables securely under your clothing would be my recommendation. My husband had a bum bag under his shirt, but they managed to get into it without him realising. Next time, we would use neck purses concealed right under our clothing. Pickpockets are a thing in most big cities, but Lisbon does seem to have a particularly severe problem. Fair warning! Despite this, we would still visit Lisbon again, it's an amazing city. Enjoy your trip, I hope this info is helpful.

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Sergey
Thank you very much, Kim! Im still penciling in things what i read but the list just got bigger thanks to you! :) Definitely Sintra, Belem. Whats in Cascais? Is it just a beach?
 

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Kim
Hi Sergey - yes Cascais is a pretty small town with a very nice beach. We went there because we wanted to do the bike ride to Guincho for the views of the ocean. If you definitely only have four nights, that will mean only three full days. Sintra will be one of those, and Belem most of another, so you should give Cascais a miss in that case. We had more time so it was nice to escape the city for a day.
 
 
 

Mentioned in this answer:

map
VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Lisbon (city)
  2. Bairro Alto (neighborhood)
  3. A Casa das Janelas Com Vista (hotel)
  4. Sintra (city)
  5. Belém (city)
  6. Jerónimos Monastery (attraction)
  7. Torre de Belém (attraction)
  8. Pastéis de Belém (restaurant)
  9. Padrão dos Descobrimentos (attraction)
  10. Castelo de São Jorge (attraction)
  11. Museu Calouste Gulbenkian (attraction)
  12. Museu Nacional do Azulejo (attraction)
  13. Alfama (attraction)
  14. Elevador de Santa Justa (attraction)
  15. Cascais (city)
  16. Praia do Guincho (attraction)
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