Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

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Ryan A
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Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#1 Post by Ryan A »

Hi we are doing a Bordeaux and Lisbon/Algarve trip in July. We have 7 nights in Portugal and working through the must do’s. Having read other posts, not sure what is best during COVID.

Thinking of 3 Lisbon & 3 Algarve (one misc travel).

What are the must do activities and restaurants as this is our first time and only having such a short visit? Priority is awesome food (can be inexpensive or expensive) and any must see or do activities.

We very much appreciate any and everything as we have already done a fair amount of research but are a bit overwhelmed with so few days.

Thank you in advance!
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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#2 Post by Eric Ifune »

In Lisbon,
BA wine bar in the Bairro Alto. Can get a comprehensive look at Portuguese wines. Only open at night. Need a reservation.
Jeronimos Monestary in Belem. Go next door to Pasteis de Belem for the original custard tart. There are two lines, one for takeout and one to sit down. The sit down line is usually shorter.
If you like natural history, the Oceanario. One of the best aquariums in Europe.
If you like a funky and esoteric vib, the shops and restaurants at LX factory.
The Gulbenkian museum is the best in Lisbon.
If you have an entire day, Sintra.

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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#3 Post by Ryan A »

Wow Eric thank you so very much, this is great info/suggestions!!
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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#4 Post by Barry L i p t o n »

pileon Eric pretty much nailed it. Here are the ones I was going to say:
"BA wine bar in the Bairro Alto. Can get a comprehensive look at Portuguese wines. Only open at night. Need a reservation. "(I couldn't remember the name, thanks Eric)!
"Jeronimos Monestary in Belem. Go next door to Pasteis de Belem for the original custard tart. There are two lines, one for takeout and one to sit down. The sit down line is usually shorter."
"The Gulbenkian museum is the best in Lisbon. " It's really world class; renowned for their Lalique collection among other items.
"If you have an entire day, Sintra." We loved Sintra so much, we will be spending a couple of nights there (or nearby Estoril/Cascais) as well as Lisbon next time.
My contributions:
I loved Fado even though I couldn't speak Portuguese. You can hear some of the best in the Bairro Alto, could do it after the wine tasting.
And if you are a jamon iberico fan, there is a Portuguese version you can get, while not up to the best of the Spanish, it's much cheaper and excellent.
Last edited by Barry L i p t o n on June 11th, 2021, 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#5 Post by Ryan A »

Thank you Barry, yes I love me some yummy Iberico - even ordered some during BD which was really tasty. Appreciate the added suggestions.
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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#6 Post by bradkaplan »

If you do a day trip to Sintra, we combo'd that with a visit to Viuva Gomes winery - must do if you ask me. We hired a private driver/guide who was happy to accommodate. Just enjoyed a bottle of 1969 from them a couple weeks ago that I brought back. Stunning wines.

For tinned fish, visit Conserveiras de Lisboa and stock up - you will be happy when you get home with all kinds of goodies. Amazing old shop.

Highly recommend Tabernas de las Ruas Flores for dinner in Lisbon. Arrive early to get in line. No reservations.

Random awesome out of the way delight between Lisbon and Algarve - lunch at Bar Praia in Odeceixe overlooking the beach.

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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#7 Post by bradkaplan »

I should add, we loved exploring Lisbon - you can basically walk around the various neighborhoods all day - and the Algarve is beautiful. Infinite options of things to see/do.

Here are some more notes I sent a friend a while back:

Algarve – the cliff top hikes and/or ½ hour grotto boat rides around both Piedade and Benagil are great.
Making the trek out to Cape St Vincent is nice, but it’s pretty far out of the way. We combo’d it with a drive up the western coast towards Sines – a highlight was a lunch overlooking the beach in the tiny town of Odeicexe at Bar Praia. We did dinner at a place called Evaristo that you just pick out fish and they grill it for you – it’s on a beautiful little beach all by itself, slightly pricy (and nice), but worth it I think. The grilled calamari (lula) was amazing. The hiking trails around Bordeira are also very cool. That coast from there north is much more rugged and unpopulated, which is nice. On the way down from Evora to the southern coast, we did the detour through the hills to Monchique just to have lunch with a gorgeous view at Luar da Foia (great lunch). Oh, if they still have oranges by the roadside and you happen to have a juicer where you are staying, buy some! Super cheap ($2.50 for a big bag) and delicious.

Evora has some cool old buildings and streets in the walled town, and an old aqueduct you can walk or bike along for a few miles. If you go, a place called Tabua do Naldo was one of our favorite lunches of the trip. And the bones chapel is very cool (though creepy). If you’re interested in the megaliths around the area, check out Ebora Megolithica for tours. The guy who runs them is super knowledgable and interesting.

Lisbon is fantastic – if you can swing another day there, I would, and the trip up to Sintra is definitely worthwhile (we used Sintra Magik Tours, which was pricey but worth it). Just exploring the streets is great, we did miles and miles of walking each day. You can spend most of a day just around the Belem neighborhood, with the monastery, tower, and many museums there (plus beautiful views). In Lisbon - we went to a fantastic one star Michelin restaurant called Alma, reserve well in advance (I think they open up 2 to 3 months out from the date).

On our Sintra day trip, our private guide was from Sintra Magik (they were great, highly recommend).

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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#8 Post by Ryan A »

Wow Brad- awesome! Thank you!!
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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#9 Post by patrick c albright »

Caniço in Alvor.

If you wander north to Porto, both Ô Gaveto and Pedro Lemos are very, very good.
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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#10 Post by Ryan A »

Thank you Patrick.

Question for everyone I guess- if in Lisbon for 3 nights is it worth Sintra and/or Porto (yes I have a wine buying and drinking problem but assume below average Port drinker).

Thanks!
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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#11 Post by Barry L i p t o n »

How many nights do yo have?

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#12 Post by Ryan A »

Barry- I have 6 total. I was planning 3 Lisbon area and 3 Algarve area. Flying in from Bordeaux which my wife is not thrilled with (not a Bordeaux wine fan) so trying to win back half the points I lost on adding that to the trip :)
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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#13 Post by patrick c albright »

Ryan A wrote: June 13th, 2021, 5:35 pm Thank you Patrick.

Question for everyone I guess- if in Lisbon for 3 nights is it worth Sintra and/or Porto (yes I have a wine buying and drinking problem but assume below average Port drinker).

Thanks!
Personally I prefer Porto to Lisbon.

There is plenty of great wine coming out of the Douro, Port is just one piece of the puzzle.
Be sure and try the white wines from Bussaco.
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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#14 Post by Eric Ifune »

Great wines from all over Portugal. The Douro is the best known, along with Vinho Verde, but my favorite regions are Bairrada, Dao, and Alentejo.
If you've never been to Portugal before, I'd vote for Lisbon. That said, I love Porto. If you have multiple days, then yes on Sintra.

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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#15 Post by Ryan A »

patrick c albright wrote: June 13th, 2021, 9:01 pm
Ryan A wrote: June 13th, 2021, 5:35 pm Thank you Patrick.

Question for everyone I guess- if in Lisbon for 3 nights is it worth Sintra and/or Porto (yes I have a wine buying and drinking problem but assume below average Port drinker).

Thanks!
Personally I prefer Porto to Lisbon.

There is plenty of great wine coming out of the Douro, Port is just one piece of the puzzle.
Be sure and try the white wines from Bussaco.
Patrick- if you didn’t drink wine, would you still like Porto over Lisbon?
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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#16 Post by Ryan A »

Eric Ifune wrote: June 14th, 2021, 3:07 pm Great wines from all over Portugal. The Douro is the best known, along with Vinho Verde, but my favorite regions are Bairrada, Dao, and Alentejo.
If you've never been to Portugal before, I'd vote for Lisbon. That said, I love Porto. If you have multiple days, then yes on Sintra.
Thanks Eric. Yes we have 6 days total, planning on 3 in the Lisbon area and 3 in Algarve.
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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#17 Post by patrick c albright »

Ryan A wrote: June 15th, 2021, 11:58 am
patrick c albright wrote: June 13th, 2021, 9:01 pm
Ryan A wrote: June 13th, 2021, 5:35 pm Thank you Patrick.

Question for everyone I guess- if in Lisbon for 3 nights is it worth Sintra and/or Porto (yes I have a wine buying and drinking problem but assume below average Port drinker).

Thanks!
Personally I prefer Porto to Lisbon.

There is plenty of great wine coming out of the Douro, Port is just one piece of the puzzle.
Be sure and try the white wines from Bussaco.
Patrick- if you didn’t drink wine, would you still like Porto over Lisbon?
Not sure, it is pretty wine centric.
That said, it is a beautiful city and much more compact than Lisbon.

Also, a great hotel in Bordeaux is Yndō.
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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#18 Post by David K o l i n »

It’s just a little over a week until the annual Festa de São João do Porto. About the most fun that I’ve ever had on vacation, but you have to like crowds and getting constantly hit by strangers with squeaky plastic mallets and garlic flowers.

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#19 Post by Barry L i p t o n »

Just know that Porto is hillier than average, and a challenge for someone with bad knees or something similar.

Don’t know if they go still but Ferreira had a lovely boat ride up the Douro, and their tawny port (Duque Brancaga ) is good even if the vintage ports aren’t as good as top places.

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#20 Post by Ryan A »

Thank you all!

I think we will do a day in Sintra, day in Lisbon and play by ear the third day Lisbon/Porto.

Patrick- thank you for the hotel suggestion. Depending on final itinerary, we have 80% booked already, we may do 1-2 nights in Bordeaux and the other 2 in St Emilion. The way I book visits are a bit nuts so we never really have time to enjoy the hotel/area as we should. I have wine ADHD and am on a mission which adds to the wife not so happy. The best line from my wife from our last trip was in Haut Brion “how much longer do we need to be here- I don’t like the wine either”… and with that, being an idiot male, I am doing a similar trip vs learning from my mistakes…so in the dog house I go hence trying to rectify that via Portugal 🤣
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#21 Post by Eric Ifune »

It’s just a little over a week until the annual Festa de São João do Porto. About the most fun that I’ve ever had on vacation, but you have to like crowds and getting constantly hit by strangers with squeaky plastic mallets and garlic flowers.
And eat lots of grilled sardines. [cheers.gif]
Don’t know if they go still but Ferreira had a lovely boat ride up the Douro, and their tawny port (Duque Brancaga ) is good even if the vintage ports aren’t as good as top places.
They've changed the name of their 20 year old to "Dona Antonio 20 year old."
Their vintage Ports are very, very underrated. They don't show as impressively as the British houses young, but they age just as well. A very pure, beautiful, elegant style.

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#22 Post by Barry L i p t o n »

Interesting, thanks Eric.

Many places still selling the Brancaga, must have been a recent change.

Sardine stands in Lisbon are like Hot Dog carts in NYC, only better becaue it's a sardine and not a hot dog.

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#23 Post by Ryan A »

Wow I have to admit I am ignorant to all of the sardine info... and admittedly only eat them in sauces when its an ingredient plus have them removed from salad... am I really missing out or are the ones here in US not the same standard? Are they just smoked or S&P and on a plate? Sorry newbie here.
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#24 Post by Barry L i p t o n »

If you aren't a big sardine fan, then it's not an attraction.

They are bigger, grilled an served on a bun. I would say that for me, the baby sardines are better than the regular, and the regular as good as the big ones.

It's not that you go out of your way, it's that they are ubiquitous, and tasty for sardine lovers.

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Re: Portugal, Lisbon & Algarve Restaurant & Activities no kids Rec

#25 Post by Eric Ifune »

Many places still selling the Brancaga, must have been a recent change.
Last year.
Wow I have to admit I am ignorant to all of the sardine info... and admittedly only eat them in sauces when its an ingredient plus have them removed from salad... am I really missing out or are the ones here in US not the same standard? Are they just smoked or S&P and on a plate? Sorry newbie here.
Much different than the sardines in the States. These are large, fresh, and locally caught. More akin to fresh mackerel. Delicious.

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#26 Post by David K o l i n »

Amazingly delicious

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#27 Post by David K o l i n »

Amazingly delicious

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#28 Post by Ryan A »

Ok very cool!
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#29 Post by Scott C Sorenson »

In making your plans please be vigilant as the pandemic is worsening daily, particularly in Lisbon and the Algarve. There is significant community spread of the Delta variant. Restrictions on weekend travel have been imposed in Lisbon as of yesterday and things could change quickly.

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#30 Post by Nicolas G. »

Belcanto in Lisbon was excellent if you are looking for a special occasion dinner.
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