Hello, all! We are going to Portugal in April and our main itinerary includes Lisbon, Porto, and Lagos. However, we have multiple days in each palce and we would like to do day trips from these main cities to some of the smaller cities - Braga from Porto, Sintra from Lisbon, and Sagres from Lagos. Does anyone have any information about these places? I'm planning to research some on here, but wanted to see how long we needed in each place and if anyone had any sight/restaurant recommendations. Thank you!!
Here are some pointers for Sintra which I am dividing into
(A) Enroute from Lisbon to Sintra
(B) At Sintra.
(A) Enroute from Lisbon to Sintra (we spent 1 day for this)
Numero uno is the Palácio Nacional de Queluz, the most brilliant example of the rococo style of architecture in Portugal. After spending an hour and a half exploring the royal palace, dine at the Cozinha Velha (The Old Kitchen), one of the most evocative in the area and the former kitchen of the old palace. Later that afternoon head for Guincho to take in the treacherous ocean scenery, some of the most dramatic in Europe. Arrive at Sintra & stay at Chalet Saudade. I cant recommend this enough. Look at Tripadvisor to read reviews about this place - its indeed a cute littel chalet with nice decor & quiet bedrooms.
(B) At Sintra.
* UNESCO World Heritage Site ~ Pena National Palace, Sintra, Portugal
* Palácio Nacional de Sintra
* Castle of Moors, Sintra - Moors' Castle (Castelo dos Mouros)
* Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra,
* Town of Sintra
* Monserrate Palace
Hi Mark867, sounds like a great trip.
Sintra is a great choice for a day trip from Lisbon. The palace overlooking Sintra (Palacio Nacional da Pena) is definitely worth it, take a shuttle bus from the town center to get up, the walk is really long and very steep. You will find many restaurants in the little alleys in the town center. Most of them are surprisingly good and reasonably priced (we liked Tasca do Xico Bar & Restaurante). Just go with the flow and sit down where you feel comfortable. Great atmosphere! Another trip for a couple of hours is Belem. You can actually take a tram outside the Lisbon's city gate (pedestrain area) to get there. Tram takes about 30 minutes or so.
If you are looking for a beach close to Lisbon, check out Praia do Meco and the restaurant "Restaurante Bar do Peixe" (miles of beaches and the restaurant has a terrace overlooking the beach, very popular and the best fish in the area, you pick, they grill for you).
In case you are still looking for accommodations in Lagos, I can highly recommend Casa Arte in Bensafrim (about 15 minutes outside the city in a beautiful setting). Great owners and a breakfast to die for. Plus the entire house is a real gem. Check them out online.
When you drive from Lagos to Sagres, Luz makes a great stop. Little town with a promenade along the beach. Expats love it. Of course you would have to see the lighthouse at Cabo Sao Vicente (past Sagres), the most southwestern part of Portugal (and maybe eat a Bratwurst from a German food stand that has a sign "last Bratwurst before you get to America").
Daytrips to the towns of Monchique and Silves are a great option, so is one to Arrifana (steep cliffs and beaches). Arrifana is home to a great restaurant named "Restaurante O Paulo" (fantastic fish and great views over the ocean).
Not sure how you get to Porto but if you drive, make a stop at Obidos (medivial town), you won't be disappointed, it is truly amazing.
A good addition to your day trip to Bragas is the city of Guimaraes (about halfway in between). The old town center is one big pedestrian area and very picturesque during evenings.
In Porto we liked the B&B "B the guest downtown", very artsy with a great breakfast.
Let me know if you need anything else. Enjoy Portugal!