Oh wow, way ahead of me knowing the countries. I watched a lot of Spain Revealed videos with James Blick. Many are about food and tourism but he also focuses on helping people move there.
Claudia - I will check out the James Blick videos if it happens that I decide to move.
Claudia, based on your comments and recommendation for longer in Lisbon, we were able to add another day at the start of our trip. We are doing our air with Tauck so thankfully, it is easy to change the flights, add a hotel night and the airfare stayed the same. I read about Sintra and will try to find the best tour...feedback is welcome. We go the end of August. The forum is so helpful...thank you all.
Nancy, I went back and forth about visiting Sintra on our own or booking a tour. There are different companies that offer tours but it's also supposed to be pretty easy to do it yourself. I recommend buying Rick Steves Snapshot Lisbon guidebook. I got his Portugal guidebook but really the snapshot has the bulk of what you need for this tour. The 2021 version is on sale now but the next updated version is out in April. There are people on his travel forum who have taken tours there or gone on their own who would have recommendations. Good luck.
Our "Week in Portugal" tour last May spent a morning in Sintra. We were at the palace before it opened. When we came out after our tour, there was a HUGE line waiting to get in. So maybe a tour would be better at avoiding the line. I'd check out the various tour offerings and see whether there are any that say that they skip the line. And if you wanted to spend more time in the town, you could always leave the tour and take the train back to Lisbon.
We did a small group Viator tour. Just 8 of us in a SUV. The driver emailed us the day before telling us what time to purchase our tickets for the palace for 9:00 - the opening time. He dropped us off close enough to walk up to the palace. Another option is when you buy your entry tickets you can purchase bus tickets. It’s an uphill hike. We walked it, but wished we had taken the bus. It’s a long walk We were worried we would miss our entry time. We didn’t.
After the palace we had time for the town - not a lot. Then we went to Cabo da Roca. We had been there earlier, but this day was clearer. So we we were glad we went there again. Last stop was Cascais for about 2 hours. We had lunch in Cascais and a pastry in Sintra.
It was a full day 8-5. Pick up spot was the Hard Rock Cafe
Our Sintra and Cascais tours were included in Tauck's Spain and Portugal tour. I highly recommend doing both. I also suggest sending an e-mail to the concierge at Tauck's Lisbon hotel in advance and inquiring about day tours that they either offer or can assist in securing for you. We have done that several times on other tours and/or independent travel and have always been pleased.
Best of luck to you.
We used Your Friend in Lisbon. Great company, great tour. Unfortunately I do not see that they offer the Sintra and Cascais tour we took. As for Viator: I know a lot of people use them, just know they are not a tour company per se. They are a consolidator. All the vendors they offer pay Viator a hefty fee. I tend to look to book directly. Without too much looking I found this company https://nomaptours.com/. I have no first hand knowledge of them but the tours fit the bill, IMHO. We enjoyed Sintra, less impressed with Cascais. It’s a town popular with Brits and British ex-pats so many pubs and the like. We dined along the coast in a restaurant on a cliff above the ocean. Great seafood. Can’t find the name, darn it!
I visited Lisbon independently - I used Lisbon Explorer for all of my private tours including Sintra. I was extremely impressed with the tours and their guides. I highly recommend!