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Free time?

Now that my March trip to Jerusalem and Jordan has been cancelled by Tauck, my next scheduled trip is Tauck's "Week in Portugal." I'm going at least one day early and will definitely book something to do the morning of the day that the tour begins. Is it worth going a day earlier to take a day trip to Braga and Guimaraes?

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    MCD,

    Without reviewing your itinerary and being that this is a relatively short tour, I would stay in Porto. There is so much to do and see there. I don't know if any of the following repeats what you will see with Tauck, but here are some suggestions:

    The train station for its beautiful blue tiles (azulejos).
    A boat ride on the river.
    The gondola ride affords breathtaking views of Porto and its neighboring city.
    The Ribeira district along the riverbank is great for strolling. If you do this, be sure to tuck in and out of the side streets.

    No matter what you decide, have a wonderful time!

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    Thanks, kfnknfzk. Our Porto portion of the tour includes a boat ride on the river, a guided tour of the city's historic district, including the train station and azulejos, and a tour and tasting at a port wine cellar. I definitely plan to wander the Ribeira district. I hadn't heard about the gondola. (This short trip is a "prequel" to a longer trip in Spain.)

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    MCD,

    It sounds great! I will look forward to your review. Which Spain tour are you doing?

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    I just booked this tour for October 2024. Does anyone have any restaurant suggestions for Porto and Lisbon? Thank you in advance.

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    For authentic cuisine in Porto, stroll through the Ribiera section.

    Lisbon - You will find many "mom and pop" cafes/restaurants in the Alfama section (the old Jewish quarter). Avenida da Liberdade (close to the InterContinental and Four Seasons Ritz) is Lisbon's main boulevard. This is a lovely tree-lined street. You can walk all the way down to the water if you so desire. Weave your way in and out of the side streets for quaint cafes offering classic Portuguese cuisine.

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    I just saw that your hotel in Lisbon is located on Liberdade. I believe it is the same one that I took a peek inside its lobby. Seemed quite quaint with a most perfect location.

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    Hello! MCD, did you wind up taking the week in Portugal trip? Like you, I am wondering if anyone could offer any insight into the day trip to Guimaraes and Braga. Looking at this fall.

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    MCDMCD
    edited July 2023

    Yes, I did take the week in Portugal trip, and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, our itinerary (May 2022) did not include Guimaraes and Braga. We stayed overnight in Porto, Evora, Obidos and Lisbon. We stopped in Coimbra and Tomar, and had a day trip out of Lisbon to Sintra and Cascais. I took kfnknfzk's advice and decided not to venture out of Porto before the tour began. It's a good thing, because I had to start my vacation by walking to a mall (uphill both ways!) to buy a new suitcase to replace the one that Air France completely destroyed on my way over. The rest of that day, I went to Livraria Lello (using the ticket that I had bought on line before leaving the US) and just walked around.

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    Our Douro cruise last year spent a few hours one morning in Guimaraes and it was a pleasant little town with a nice pedestrian shopping and restaurant area. We saw the outside of the castle but didn't go into it. Not sure it's worth a sidetrip. I regret not getting to Sintra. Much more to see there.

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    MCD - I'm glad you decided to remain in Porto, but I'm sorry about your damaged suitcase.

    Susan_Hodne - Unless you really have your heart set on seeing Guimaraes and Braga, I think you will experience so much more by exploring Porto. This is merely my opinion. Have a wonderful tour.

    And just to clarify the geography, Sintra is over 300 kilometers (~200 miles) south of Porto and outside of Lisbon...a very nice excursion but certainly something you probably do not wish to do in a day, or less.

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    MCD, thanks for your response and sorry also about the suitcase!
    Claudia Sails, thanks also, we are still mulling over the full day trip with the two cities. We will arrive 2 days before the Week in Portugal, but not sure we want to spend one full day out of Porto.
    And kfnknfzk thanks also for replying!
    Happy travels to all and all feedback on this trip would be very much appreciated!

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    No matter what you decide to do, you are bound to have a wonderful time. Enjoy and please report back afterwards.

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    I’m happy to report that my tour that began October 7th was absolutely terrific! The tour director, Laura Nunez, was wonderful. We flew in to Porto 2 days prior to the start and we did decide to take to take a day trip to Braga and Guimaraes through Viator. It was a very pleasant day and the towns were well worth visiting in my opinion. To anyone considering this trip, I will say that just about every street in every town was steep, hilly, and mostly cobblestones. So leave your heels at home! Also, it was unusually hot the beginning of October which sealed my determination not to travel to this region in the summer if possible. The hotels were fabulous, itinerary and food excellent. Highly recommend!

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    Hi again, everyone! We booked this trip for September 2024 and are so excited. In looking at the summarized itinerary, it is not clear if the tour goes to the Chapel of Bones in Evora. If you recently did this trip, could you let us know if you saw that chapel? We hear that it is not to be missed!

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    I was on this trip 2 years ago. We did go into the Chapel of Bones and, like Susan_Hodne, had the wonderful Laura Nunez as Tour Director.

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