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Old 01-23-2018, 06:46 PM
Location: Cebu, Philippines
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Flip a three-sided coin. If you look at the result and then say "Let's go for two out of three", you'll know that you've already made up your mind.

You're going to enjoy the trip, wherever you go, and can then look forward to going to the other two on future trips.
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Old 01-23-2018, 06:58 PM
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I would do Barcelona - itís a great place for young people. A previous poster remarked on the many options there and with the sea added, itís just perfect.
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Old 01-24-2018, 11:44 AM
Location: New Mexico
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Originally Posted by evening sun View Post
six days is best spent, in one city, losing a day in travel is no fun.
I would agree -- get to know a place for a few days. Much of the culture of a place comes out from experiencing the people and the daily rhythm more than just looking at "stuff".

The World Cup starts in mid June for a month (in Russia) so try to be in one of those places during the World Cup competition because it will be great fun. I've been in Italy during the World Cup and the Euro Cup competitions and the soccer culture is fun to experience. Spain and Portugal should be much the same. This is your chance to see dancing in the street erupt spontaneously. Italy didn't qualify but they will easily support some other country. Portugal plays Spain June 15th and they are in the same group so pretty intense.

Having been there, I would not try Rome/Florence combined but happily spend six days in either given the right accommodations and access to transportation. Rome is very walkable once you get the hang of it. It has a good metro system. I had Italians asking me for directions and I could tell them where they needed to go after a day or two.

Florence is very touristy and they charge for that -- there's a McDonalds in the train station. I found the people in Rome to be a little friendlier. Don't eat where the tourists eat $$$. There will be long lines at the major museums...but that is where the good stuff is. From Florence you might be able to get to Pisa and/or Siena for a day or so.

Never been to Barcelona but would like to go -- might be OK for a family. It is big and on the coast and plenty to see.

Lisbon might be my choice if going as a couple. I would expect maybe a little more of a language issue. I know some former expats who lived there and loved it.

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Old 01-24-2018, 04:42 PM
Location: Henderson, NV
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I've been to all but Barcelona (on my bucket list for this year).

I guess I'd recommend 6 days in Rome -- there's so much to see and experience there. I don't think I'd try to do Florence in the same trip but I certainly enjoyed that ancient art-filled city too. I agree with the person who suggested buying as many tickets as you can ahead of time (before you leave the States) to avoid lines at places like the Vatican Galleries and the Colosseum (and the Uffizi in Florence if you make it there). I bought tickets to the Galleria Borghese ahead of time and was glad I did because they limit the number of people allowed in at any one time.

Lisbon, in fact all of Portugal, is a favorite. It will certainly be less crowded than Rome though I understand from a tour director friend that it's becoming more popular with tour groups. You can take the train to some of the smaller towns -- Cascais and Estoril for example -- and hang out on the beach or at the casino if you wish. I was there several years ago with my young 20s kids and we rented a car and had a marvelous time visiting Sintra, Batalha and other historic small towns, Moorish ruins, and bullfighting rings. Not my thing, but interesting for some. The people are incredibly friendly and grateful you've chosen to visit their lovely country. Fado music in the cafes and street festivals is great and the street markets are excellent -- some great deals on leather goods and the traditional blue and white Portuguese ceramics. Language shouldn't be a problem in Lisbon and some of the more popular tourist destinations.
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Old 01-25-2018, 09:51 AM
Location: Illinois
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I want to thank everyone for their thoughtful and civil posts. We have booked flights to Lisbon. Here is why:

1) Rome just sounds too hot. We seem to always go the cheap route and find ourselves in hot places on vacation (Arizona, New Orleans, Hilton Head Island) and vowed not to do that this time. Hopefully we can get to Rome later in our lives, not in the summer.

2) Barcelona was tough, as it was my wife’s and daughter’s first choice initially. The potential political unrest there spooked my wife a bit, and we know it would also be hot there, with long lines going into the major sites. Direct flights were not as favorable either. While Spain was really a top destination for many of us, there were a few negatives here. Maybe we can sneak into Spain briefly while in Portugal to say we’ve “been to Spain”.

3) Portugal seemed like an intriguing favorite of many people here and on other sites, with more favorable weather and perhaps fewer crowds. We also were very impressed with the day trip possibilities. For some reason, this felt more “pure” to us. My wife and I typically tend to travel or stay/dine in slightly non-mainstream ways; boutique hotels instead of the Marriott, authentic small restaurant instead of the touristy famous one, etc. Going to Portugal feels more like taking that approach. I’m also 50% Portuguese by heritage, although I have ZERO connection to the culture.

I am a bit concerned about the prices to get around in Portugal. Renting a car for 5 people appears very expensive, etc. Any tips about that or central/southern Portugal in general are welcome!

Thanks again!
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Old 01-25-2018, 11:10 AM
Location: Upland, CA
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Awesome!! We loved Portugal, you will have a great time.

We mostly were in Lisbon, with a side trip to Ericerra. We mostly walked or took public transportation, it was really easy to do there. To Ericerra, we took a bus, that was easy as well.

Our favorite thing in Lisbon was a restaurant called "Super Marios"... check it out!!
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Old 01-25-2018, 12:33 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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Check with rental car via Costco. Often they are least expensive in Europe.
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Old 01-25-2018, 02:29 PM
Location: NYC
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For only one week I wouldn't rent a car, most of your time will, I hope, be spent in Lisbon & environs. There is a very convenient subway system to get around the city plus the atmospheric trams (#28 a must) as well as a light rail to take you to Cascais & Sintra. There is also rail to Porto, this seems plenty for 1 week to me, to travel way down south, hours away, seems a bit much, Porto would definitely be my choice if I wanted a new city, although the Silver Coast could be a nice drive I guess. Lisbon & Porto would be anxiety inducing to me to drive with the narrow streets, parking, etc...

I really liked the neighborhood of Principe Real while in Lisbon last Sept & will choose it for this years stay. I stayed in a serviced apartment in Rato last year through bookingdotcom & it was nice not to be in the tourist zone but down the street from the subway for access to everything. The subway goes right to the airport, but with a large group perhaps a taxi/van is better?

Oh, bring comfortable walking shoes, not new shoes., lots of narrow & steep streets & hills, staircases really...

If you do drive south consider Alejento region, less touristed but has ancient sites, vineyards, Evora & less touristy seaside towns.
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Old 01-25-2018, 02:55 PM
Location: Upland, CA
3,664 posts, read 6,486,552 times
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Originally Posted by Hefe View Post

Oh, bring comfortable walking shoes, not new shoes., lots of narrow & steep streets & hills, staircases really...
Agreed.. Make sure they are "grippy".. lots of cobblestone streets that when wet become mighty slippery.
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Old 01-26-2018, 05:06 AM
1,175 posts, read 478,714 times
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Hope you have fun in Portugal. Haven't been, but have researched it a little and thought I'd share a possible five-day itinerary for Lisbon and the nearby area I've cobbled up. Feel free to use or adapt or ignore as you think best, and be sure to check museum times and days. I don't think you need a car for this:

-National Tile Museum (Museu Nacional do Azueljo)
-Se (Cathedral)
-Casa dos Bicos
-Fundacao Ricardo Espirito Santo
-Castelo Sao Jorge

-Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
-Naval Museum
-Museo dos Coche
-Monument of the Discoveries
-Torre de Belem

-Museo Calouste Gulbenkian
-Barrio Alto stroll
-National Museum of Ancient Art

-Day trip: Sintra (Palacio Nacional, Palacio de Pena, Castle of the Moors: possible guided day trip?)

-Day trip: Queluz (National Palace and Gardens)

It looks like there are organized day trips from Lisbon to Sintra. These might be useful because Google maps suggests the different palaces tend to be spread out.
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