Author Topic: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? Portugal  (Read 2539 times)


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Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? Portugal
« on: March 06, 2018, 11:13:12 AM »
Dear Mustachians,

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.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 11:15:06 AM by dundee »


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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? Portugal
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2018, 11:51:02 AM »
I haven't been to Porto, but heard good things, and I have been to Lisbon, and loved it.
I went in August, so can't really comment on the weather in April, but it's a great city for walking around and the food is incredible. Lots and lots of fresh delicious fish and seafood and it's not very expensive.
I recommend eating pastel de nata (delicious egg pastry), and travel to Belem to get the original ones. There's also a nice tower there, Torre de Belem.
Sintra is pretty close to Lisbon, Quinta Regaleira is a palace surrounded by a fairytale garden with some amazing features.
The old castle in Lisbon, Sao Jorge, is pretty cool and has great views of the city.
Just wandering around Lisbon and looking at the tiles and plants and architecture could occupy me for hours. The main plaza often has events and I saw a really neat light show there. Alfama is a nice neighborhood to wander though, and barrio alto is the place to party.
I stayed in a hostel so can't recommend hotels, but if you're into hostels it was called Home Lisbon Hostel and they had home cooked traditional meals every night, highly recommend.


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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? Portugal
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2018, 12:04:14 PM »
First off, congratulations for getting a free trip to a great country.  I had the good fortune to live in Cascais, Portugal for 2 years on a work project.  I loved it.  I have been to Porto, but not enough to be super familiar with the area.  I lived in a suburb of Lisbon, so I am more familiar with that area.  Unfortunately it has been almost 17 years since I left, so my information is probably out of date. 

Will you have a company rental car?  Because it is only a 3 hour drive between Porto and Lisbon, or you can also take a train, but I do not know how long that takes.  Also if you have a car, there are a lot more places you can see.  I will write more later, I am on my lunch break and need to go. 


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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? Portugal
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2018, 08:28:08 AM »
I've never been, so don't have anything first hand to add. However, the few people I've known that have traveled extensively through Europe, have told me that Portugal is pretty much the best place to go.


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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? Portugal
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2018, 02:05:46 AM »
I have not yet been to Porto but I have been to Lisbon and will reiterate the first response, it's great!  Portugal is very friendly and very cheap.  There is fresh seafood everywhere, and wonderful cultural dishes and traditions to experience.  I don't have any particular recommendations as this was just a weekend and some time ago but I would definitely hit up Lisbon for a couple of days.  There is a great prominent castle in the city, which is fun to explore, and definitely try to go to Fado (Portuguese Jazz with some tapas usually, good fun) though I am sure they have this in Porto as well.  Enjoy your trip, it will be a blast!


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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? Portugal
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2018, 12:52:38 PM »
I went to both cities about 3 years ago. Unfortunately I can't answer many of your questions specifically (we visited in mid-summer and used Airbnb instead of hotels), but I can say it was a really fun and worthwhile trip. I remember Portugal being on the cheaper side of European destinations. Lisbon was great if you're into historical things as they have a museum and some monuments to the golden age of explorers. Also some really cool old castles and hilltop forts in the area to explore, and the Fado is worth checking out. A fun city to just walk all day and explore, discovering interesting things as you go.

Porto is smaller and was a little more run down at least at the time we went there. It was fun to go up and down the riverfront and visit port cellars. You can also do day trips or multi day trips up the Duoro river valley into the port vineards, which was really cool. Virtually all of the valley been terraced top to bottom with grape vines. I'd never seen anything like it. If you go far enough up the river there are also some petroglyphs IIRC but we opted not to do that. If you combine 1 or 2 days for a trip up the Duoro, plus 1 or 2 days in Porto itself, then you've easily got a 3 day trip on your hands.

I was a little underwhelmed at the food though. Not bad, just meh, which was surprising to me. We didn't specifically seek out well reviewed spots so we may have just had bad luck with the places we picked. Its a great place to be if you like fish though!


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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? Portugal
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2018, 06:59:21 PM »
My husband and I went to Portugal 4 years ago and loved it. We never made it to Porto, but spent several days in Lisbon. There's plenty to keep you occupied in Lisbon for 3 days. We wanted to make it up to northern Portugal since it's supposed to be fairly different from the south, but only had time to pick one, so we chose the south. I believe northern Portugal around Porto is known for its vineyards.

Not sure what the weather is like in April, but I'm sure it's decently warm and pleasant. We went in June after reading it's typically cooler than many other areas of southern Europe, and it just so happened we were in Lisbon during a heat wave - over 95 F every day (and I was 7 months pregnant).

Wherever you end up, I'm sure you'll have a great time! Portugal is a beautiful (and relatively inexpensive) country.


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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? Portugal
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2018, 02:42:01 PM »
I am from the area in Spain just north of Porto so I can answer a few things. The weather in that area in April is typically rainy and mild but unpredictable in a fairly broad range. The food is excellent particularly if you like fish and seafood. Cod is a local specialty and is well worth trying in several different preparations. The city is a great for rambling around and people watching. If you have access to a car, there are also multiple smaller places close by that can be well worth a visit.

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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? Portugal
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2018, 03:23:29 PM »
Try some codfish cakes while you're in Portugal. And stay away from salmon. The salmon in Portugal is frozen and gross; all of the other fish I ate there was really good. Just be aware that most times when you order fish it will have bones in it, so you will need to debone it yourself.

Porto has a special sandwich called the francesinha and I've been told it's a must-have. Most of them are made with meat, but there are some versions that are vegetarian and I think some are also made with fish.

one piece at a time

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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? Portugal
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2018, 03:31:33 PM »
I was able to spend a month in Portugal for my work. I was in a remote town and just enjoyed the vibe of the place, so I can't answer many of your questions. The "black pork" is worth a try. Very nice food that is black due to the higher fat content. The pigs eat acorns in the fields and have a lot of flavor.  Another highlight for me was cheap espresso shots to be drunk standing up at the bar.

There is a lot less English than in other European countries, but more than Spain. "Cafe Negro, solo" is common to both countries.


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Re: Anybody been to Porto? Lisbon? Portugal
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2018, 07:32:54 AM »
I hope you made time for Lisbon, as it's a lovely city. The Pastis de Belen custard tarts are amazing at the cafe that uses the original secret recipe ( Also, the Time Out food market is fun and has lot's of tasty options for a lunch mid-exploring!