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March Travel to Portugal Tips and lodging

25 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi TT members,

my husband is off for 10 days the last week of March and we are interested in flying for 7-8 days to Portugal. We are thinking about Lisbon or Madeira, but if anyone has a better tip, go for it. :)

Anyone who has a vacation home or other housing for a week there?

Any tips about going there?

Are there any specific airlines to choose over another one?

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Posted

Look at the Canary islands - probably warmer. We were there early March last year & it was most pleasent.

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Posted

Thank you HEM! My husband and I don't know anything about European travel destinations and/or islands. We just really need to get at least a full week of husband and wife time out in, plus we would like to be able to enjoy at least some mild, sunny weather while doing so.

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Posted

If you are city people, both Lisbon and Porto are fabulous destinations for a trip! You could easily spend a week in each, wandering around the different districts, people watching in cafés and restaurants, cultural and historical visits, and day-trips. Beautiful, beautiful cities!

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Posted

Madeira is as warm as the Canarias, as it is located close enough to have territorial issues. I can recommend it all year round (last time I visited was in November, and couldn't convince a soon to be proven silly German woman that no, taking a jacket was not a sensible precaution), they don't call it the Atlantic Pearl for nothing.

Lisbon around that time of the year is probably going to be quite pleasant, and you have the advantages of low season prices and a great all around cultural experience. You can be unlucky and get a week of miserable rain, though.

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Posted

A couple of years ago my wife and I spent a week in Portugal and we loved it.

We started in Porto and spent a few days their, then rented a car and drove down to Coimbra, stopping at a couple of places on the way. Then down to Sintra, just west of Lisbon, before finishing in Lisbon for a few days.

Porto does tend to be wetter than the rest of Portugal however, so I don't know how it is in March.

To help in our planning I found a couple of websites offering driving tours of Portugal. They were very over priced, but they had lots of places to visit outside of the cities which gave us some inspiration. So this convinced us that we should go and we bought a Lonely Planet book, investigated more and decided on our route and priorities.

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Posted

That's great advice. It's a bit silly for non-handicapped, english speaking people to enrol on a driving tour of Portugal. It's one of the most peaceful places in Europe and it gets over 5 million tourists a year. The usual sensible precautions against petty theft at touristic locations, a guide book and a rental car/train and bus schedule is everything you need.

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Posted

Thanks guys,

flying into Lisbon, spending a night there and then let's say rent a car and go down to Porto and back to Lisbon sounds great, but the lodging would have to take place in various locations. It's probably more expensive to rent a couple different hotel rooms then a week at a little vacation apt.

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Posted

I wouldn't worry too much about it. The hotels and BBs are way under capacity around that time of the year and even normal prices are normally already cheap in comparison to Germany. Last year I did a similar trip in April and would drive to the city and only start looking for an hotel when already there, with the help of a couple smartphone apps (of course, if you have children with you, you may not want to risk the eventual added stress).

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Posted

Thanks, mtbiking! I didn't know that lodging space was that easy to get, you would think that if it is cold here in Germany more tourists would go there...no? We are just 2 adults, so I guess we just do a "as you go" one week trip and wherever we end up in the evening that's where we are trying to get a hotel/room.

Still researching flights going there.

I just found an offer in Portugal through a local travel agency for 8 Euros a night!!!

http://www.reisebuero-dickbauer.de/hotelangebote

That has to be an error, right? 8 Euros a person. Under Hotels I put in the travel dates of between March 23. and 25. to the Lisbon area and received a couple offers for that price. But it was a different location though. Algarve-Albufeira. :lol:

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Posted

No problem! Your link doesn't work for me, but a quick search in the website returns prices around 15€/person/night, which is normal for low cost options. You need to realise that there is a massive number of tourists that visit Portugal between the end of June and early September. This means that it is actually profitable to run a large number of hotels and BBs, even with a massive over-capacity the rest of the year when many operate at a loss, and make big discounts to attract the relatively few tourists. This is double true in traditional summer resorts as Algarve - I've stayed at 5 star hotels that in Summer run up to 300€/night for a fifth of the price.

Downside is, as I said, if you're unlucky you can get a week of rain. Plan your trip accordingly, i.e. have a plan B - if it's rainy in the north and it doesn't seem to be stopping, drive to the South or the interior. There are jewels to be found everywhere, and in the smaller cities of the interior you'll find extremelly cheap prices for lodging and food - deliciously typical, full restaurant meals for less than 20 eur together is a given.

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Posted

Thanks again, and it sounds good to be able to lodge for 20-30 Euros a night for two.

I just noticed that you are from Portugal. Any tip what we HAVE to eat and drink while there and what we should NOT eat/drink or do? :lol:

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Posted

Lots of tips, but you'll do well in following dj_jay_smith's recomendation - get the lonely planet or another guide book. It's always been very useful to me :)

Anyway, eat: fish, lots of fresh fish when you're in any city close to the coast (Lisbon, Porto, etc etc). Codfish is the traditional dish, and there are many variations to try. Enjoy the many Café's and cheap, good coffee (much better than what they call coffee around here) with a pastry. Go to Belem in Lisbon and get Pasteis de Belem. Meat dishes are also typical, specially in the north and interior. Just check the guide. Get a soup before the main dish, it's the typical thing to do and the soups will also surprise you.

If you're in Lisbon, don't focus only on the restaurants by the river side, wander into Bairro Alto or Alfama instead and find a nice, reclusive place with local live music (Fado).

Drink: There's a huge selection of Portuguese wine for all occasions and dishes. The price/quality ratio is excellent and it's difficult to go wrong. If you're visiting Porto you may like to go on a guided day Tour of the Douro river/valley and visit famous Port wine locations with tasting included, if that's your thing. Schnapps are popular as well, try Ginginha..

not do: accept "Hashish" from passersby at touristical locations like downtown Lisbon. It's actually not criminal to buy it (drug use in not criminalized), but it's not really "Hashish" ;) And more importantly be aware of the pickpocketers at those locations. They love tourists, they think you're rich..

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Posted

Thanks again everyone! I will get a hold of the lonely planet guide.

After checking out different airlines, it looks like it easily costs 700 plus Euros for 2 people round trip when I pick Munich - Lissabon, Portugal for March. April seems to be much cheaper, but we can't go then. Bummer!

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Posted

Hi,

as Panda suggests, try Skyscanner to give you a quick idea of what routes and companies are worth checking out (most likely Lufthansa and TAP, or one of the budget ones depending on what airports you use).

Considering you are quite flexible there must be something you can find cheaper than 350 per person. The period you are looking for coincides with Easter which is why the prices are a bit higher than usual perhaps. But you could fly into Porto, Lisbon, Madeira, maybe Faro, or one of the Azorean islands even.

Even if you are really set on seeing Lisbon, you could take a flight to Porto and then train to Lisbon (2 way trip between would be about 40 Eur per person, so 80 Eur for you two; duration of about 3 hours). This is the opposite of what you mentioned in one of the threads, but I think it may make more sense (if the flights are cheaper at least although there may not be direct ones).

When and if you decide on one (or more) location(s) you can ask for more specific info as well, there is already some good generic info on the thread.

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Posted

Thanks IvoMV! Thanks Pandamunich...that link/toll you sent is awesome, thank you!

And here comes the but!!! Nuernberg is closer to me, but if I search from there it takes me all the way to Amsterdam and the flying time looks like 16 hours.

Munich is a better choice, it goes straight there, but still shows 6 hours with one stop. Cheapest I found was approx. 320 Euros per person. <_<

Maybe I should give that a rest until another time? The problem is that we cannot go on vacation anywhere until my husband is done with school and his test in Aug. I don't know if September would be just as good to go there?

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Posted

I recently did Portugal from Faro in the south to Porto in the north, calling in Lisbon on the way. I had a fantastic time. Given your time constraint, I would go to Lisbon. There is enough to do for several days and there are also some great day trips for Lisbon, e.g Sintra. Also, try at some stage to get to the rugged and beautiful coast. Just bear in mind one small problem. When sitting down to eat you may well be given a small snack e.g ham slices. These are not free even if they appear to be and you will be charged for these at the end of the meal.

Colin

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Posted

Does it have to be Portugal?

If you are only after a change, there are plenty of offers to choose from.

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Posted

My tips are:

1) check the airline directly (to do this, if you don't know which airlines fly, I always check the airport website first for direct connections, as the special offers seem not to be directed onto the flight-search sites like momondo or skyscanner)

2) play around with the dates. On the whole, beginning your trip on Fri/Sat is the most expensive.

As an example, I checked for tap-airlines, 1 adult, MUC-Lis:

Sat 23.3-Sun 1.4. was approx. 371 p.P.

Sun 26-Sun 1.4. ca. 270 p.P.

Mon 27-Sun 1.4., ca. 200 p.P.

So, if you're prepared to have a couple of days less altogether, you'll find a much better deal.

You could also try the same with Nürnberg flights, with any other airlines who go (Air Berlin? German Wings?), with Porto as destination, etc.. Playing around with the variables brings up an amazing range.

Good luck with finding something that suits!

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Posted

Thanks IvoMV! Thanks Pandamunich...that link/toll you sent is awesome, thank you!

And here comes the but!!! Nuernberg is closer to me, but if I search from there it takes me all the way to Amsterdam and the flying time looks like 16 hours.

Munich is a better choice, it goes straight there, but still shows 6 hours with one stop. Cheapest I found was approx. 320 Euros per person.

Maybe I should give that a rest until another time? The problem is that we cannot go on vacation anywhere until my husband is done with school and his test in Aug. I don't know if September would be just as good to go there?

September is fine to go to Portugal, and if you book in advance you may get flights for 100 or 150 per person (don't know from Munich, but from Dusseldorf around 100 was possible). Many people go in August I think.

The summer will be trailing and you will probably get warmer weather and less rain on average in September than in March (but possibly less flowers, although in March it may be a bit early for many flowers anyway? Not sure about that).

If you still want to go now though, the route through Amsterdam with 16 hours total must have a long wait in Amsterdam. Depending on how adventurous you are, you could use it to leave the airport and quickly visit Amsterdam (although you will be quite tired when you finally arrive in Portugal, I suppose).

Also, airline prices are very variable. If you don't mind deciding on top of the event, check closer to the flight dates for a route and if they have many seats free they may well lower the prices significantly. Only way to know is to check again at a later date. This means you will need to reserve the hotel with short notice, but as you have seen getting a cheap place to stay is probably not going to be a problem.

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Posted

Thank you for all the helpful info!

My husband and I decided now to either wait until shortly before we can go and see if we can catch a 5-7 day flight to Portugal the end of March. Everything else, regardless if booking just a flight or go with a flight/lodging is just too expensive in this Easter week.

If we can't find anything then, we will just try to go longer in Sept/October of this year.

@Panda - we were thinking about going to Bulgaria, prices are much better there, but the weather is not much different from here in March.

Happy and safe travels everyone!

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Posted

Update! :)

Well, I did find a flight after all! Thanks to a German lady who told me to try flying out of Memmingen (Muenchen Sued)to Faro and go on the ryanair.com website.

Found a flight for 150 Euros including taxes, luggage, seat reservation etc. for one person. So if anyone lives in the Regensburg, Muenchen, Ulm area, try that. There is of course another expense getting there unless you go in your car. A Bavarian group ticket will do for getting there.

Some of these flights from Memmingen run 70 Euros one-way...much better then the 350 - 500 Euros average for all kind of sites I checked flying from Muenchen there.

:lol: Now here is my next dilemma: We almost had a 25 Euro a night vacation apartment in Carvoeiro, but now that one is booked by someone else. Still looking for 4 nights in either Portomao, Carvoeiro or Monchique. Other alternative: first night in Faro, the other 3 in the mentioned towns/areas. Travel times are 26th. of March to 30th. of March 2013.

Anyone knows of/or has simple lodging for 2 adults?

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Now here is my next dilemma: We almost had a 25 Euro a night vacation apartment in Carvoeiro, but now that one is booked by someone else. Still looking for 4 nights in either Portomao, Carvoeiro or Monchique. Other alternative: first night in Faro, the other 3 in the mentioned towns/areas. Travel times are 26th. of March to 30th. of March 2013.

Anyone knows of/or has simple lodging for 2 adults?

I don't know the Algarve very well, anyway the only thing I can suggest for accommodation is checking the usual websites like Booking.com.

I know that it has water parks with slides, if you are into that, but I'm not even sure they are open in March.

In the end of March you may want to check out the flowering almond trees, it is very beautiful.

You can still go visit Lisbon if you want. The train connection is not as good as Lisbon-Porto, but you can get return tickets Faro-Lisbon for a bit over 40 Eur (per person) and the trip will take between 3 hours and 3:20.

Alternatively there are also coaches, with prices under 35 (if you buy online there is a discount I think), similar duration of 3:15 or so.

Given that you will be flying into (and out of) the South you may want to check out the Alentejo region instead of going all the way to Lisbon, in which case you may like Evora.

I wouldn't suggest going all the way to Porto if you start in the Algarve (unless you really fancy train trips or being on the road), there is plenty to see for the time you are going to be in Portugal so probably better not to spend even more time in transports.

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Posted

Thanks! There is a God!!! The lady at the Carveiro vacation apt. at the beach called me and told me that the other people who "booked" the place never responded back regarding exact dates/flight. So WE got a place to stay! :P

We will check the place out and if we are happy we will recommend it on here. So far, the owner who rents the vacation apt. already went above and beyond to do things (like pick us up from the airport and rent a car for us through a company she has used for a long time)so this is fantastic. Luxury customer service for 28.50 a night.

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