Porto to Faro in Portugal

Jchan11hk

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Hi all,

My wife and I are going to Portugal for 10 days in October. Planning to fly to London -> Lisbon -> Porto -> Lagos -> Faro -> London.

From Porto to Lagos and Faro, we will hire a car. Which car hire companies are good in Portugal? And how does the toll road works in Portugal? Does anyone have experience in it?

In general, anything that you guys can recommend in those cities?
 

scudsucker

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I'd take the train from Porto & hire a car in Lagos.

Cheap car hire places tend to require that you return the car in the same city/town, but you should be able to find one in Lagos that lets you return it in Faro. They are reasonably close to each other.

The south coast has a LOT of things to do, you won't have time for everything. 10 days is not long for 4 places, so an overnight/very early morning train might be the best way to get from Porto to Lagos (not sure about schedules) as it is a 5hr drive
 

Sepeng

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just as an aside, why via London? Spending some time there?
I ask as you'll need a UK visa regardless won't you?
 

Kosmik

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Car hires not cheap, I'd look at using trains between major cities unless you plan on sight seeing on the way. Portugal is also pretty small driving wise. Tolls are heavily automated, hire vehicles should have a tag.
 

scudsucker

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I have not been to Porto.

I spent a week in Lisbon, that was enough to see everything I wanted to see, but I'd happily stay for a couple more. "Time Out" magazine was a great help in suggesting things to do & see.

We were given SIM cards at the airport for free (3GB data), there's a fair amount of competition so the cell companies are very eager to get you on their network. We actually went with someone else though, something like 18GB for €10 (not sure about the details). Just look out for the deals.

The #28 tram goes past most of the "popular" tourist attractions - but it gets very full & has a reputation for pickpockets. Still, a good hop-on/hop-off option. You can take other trams that are not nearly so crowded. Buy a day pass in the Metro station, it covers Trams, buses and the underground, for about €6. Everything runs on time.

The best restaurants are the hidden ones with more Portuguese than tourists; walk up some side streets away from the tourist attractions and you'll find better quality and a cheaper price.

If you plan to visit ANY major building, eg the Castle, go early. Like really early. The queues are crazy. Spend the saved time relaxing in the afternoon.

In the south... I stayed in Luz, just outside Lagos (of Madeleine McCann infamy). I didn't think too highly of Lagos itself, but the beaches just to the south are very beautiful - worth the short drive. Again, they can get very crowded. Lagos Zoo is surprisingly decent (and I am not a believer in keeping animals in captivity)

West of Lagos - probably not worth going to the lighthouse or Sagres, given your time limits.

East of Lagos, Carvoeiro beach, Benagil beach and Marinha beach are pretty - Benagil has boat tours that take you into the caves in the cliffs. I'd recommend you make the trip between Lagos & Faro pretty slow - there is a lot to see, so you'll want to stop often. The Church of Sao Lourenco was amazing - assuming you like tiles - but its hard to find, just off the N125



I only went to Faro for a day-trip, so can't recommend much there. The Cathedral is pretty cool, as is walking through the old town ( Cidade Velha)
 
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Kosmik

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If you are driving around Portugal , try see:

Evora
Batalha
Bom Jesus
Hobidos

The naval museum in Lisbon is a great look see, and if you are eating out: stick to chicken, fish and pork. Red meat is very very expensive.
 

ISP cash cow

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just as an aside, why via London? Spending some time there?
I ask as you'll need a UK visa regardless won't you?
if you are just transiting through the UK, you don't need a visa. You will only need a visa if you are entering the UK.
 

ISP cash cow

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I never had an urge to go to Portugal but my wife had a business meeting there and so decided to tag along for sh!ts and giggles. so glad I did, We only stayed in Lisbon but I absolutely loved it and found getting around was awesome.

Places I enjoyed was
Jeronimos cathedral (near the naval museum Kosmik is talking about)
Praca de Commercio
Castelo de Jorge
Carmo convent

We also took a day trip on the train to the beaches of Cascais and had a day out there.

Would also consider taking the train to Porto and then just hire a car down South but I have not hired a car in portugal so not sure what that is like.

Enjoy it!!
 

The_MAC

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Toll gates are basically E-Tolls.

Rentals will have an E-Tag and you pay afterwards
 

Snyper564

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ISP cash cow

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Incorrect dear sir... You need what is referred to as a direct airside transit visa. This is specifically if you are connecting via the UK and not leaving the airport.

The are exceptions but I don't believe any apply here.


http://uk-visas-for-south-africans.co.za/direct-air-side-transit-visa/
I thought though that if you are travelling to Europe (Schengen country) and you had a Schengen Visa in your passport (which you would need going to Portugal on a South African Passport) you would be exempt from having to get a transit visa?

https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/south-africa/transit/somewhere_else/no

look under exemptions.

I may be wrong as I have never had to do it myself as I have a UK passport
 

Naks

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Why go through the UK? You can get to Lisboa fairly cheaply on TAAG via Luanda.

We kind of did almost the same trip in February, I would recommend the drive from Lisboa to Porto - you can stop at the Obidos Castle, the Batalha Monastery, and Aveiro along the way. It took us about 7 hours with a lot of stops, very relaxed drive, especially on a Sunday.

We then got back to Lisboa via the AP train: +-3 hours, very fast (227kmh peak), comfortable, free Wifi, cost was €78 for both of us IIRC.

but I see Faro is on the south coast, so you could fly to save some time.
 

Snyper564

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I thought though that if you are travelling to Europe (Schengen country) and you had a Schengen Visa in your passport (which you would need going to Portugal on a South African Passport) you would be exempt from having to get a transit visa?

https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/south-africa/transit/somewhere_else/no

look under exemptions.

I may be wrong as I have never had to do it myself as I have a UK passport
Unfortunately not, if you part of a tour group there is that exemption otherwise you must get it... ITs such a pain tho.
 

Sukkafool

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Im going to Lisbon for a week in June, then a week in France and then back to Porto for a week before coming back to CT. That being said if anyone has absolute must see suggestions for either Lisbon or Porto I would appreciate the info. Am flying via Luanda, price was ridiculously cheap, some thing like R5680 return.... Already some good info in here i will be making use of.
 

Snyper564

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Make sure you are not hungry or thirsty when you stop and get off the plane in Luanda. Prices of everything in the pretty kak terminal are outrageous.
Not surprised....

Luanda, the capital of Angola, has regained top spot as the world's most expensive city for expats, pushing Hong Kong back into second place. The claim is made in the 23rd annual cost-of-living survey carried out by the advisory firm Mercer. Tokyo, Zurich and Singapore comprise the rest of the top five.
 

HeftyCrab

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I only went to Faro for a day-trip, so can't recommend much there. The Cathedral is pretty cool, as is walking through the old town ( Cidade Velha)

We went about two years ago. Porto was lovely. Coimbra is just stairs (small uni town). Lisbon is massive, with awesome day trip to Sintra.

Faro wasnt great. Not much to see or do, but we didnt have a car and just used a train to get there. Just a note. The beach isnt at Faro. You take a bus/car trip to it. We back packed so couldnt do the beach thing. Thats also why we didnt enjoy it to its fullest.

Crossed over to Sevilla via bus thereafter, which we loved.

Also, @Jchan11hk . Porto is in the top part of the country. Why dont you fly directly there, then travel downwards? As it stands, you will fly to the centre, travel up, then travel down which can cost you time you could have spent doing something else.
 

marco

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I only came to Portugal because it is cheap. Far overrated as a holiday destination. British expats only come here for the sun but soon complain about the severe heat in June.

The south coast area called the "silver coast" due to its proximity to the African climate and sparse vegetation is the most popular. Only problem is that to get to the sea in most of it you would need a boat due to the large and long lagoon going parallel with the coast.
There are some exquisite beaches especially in the Lagos area but you would need to repel down to them or catch a tram. Those that are accessible by foot are so crowded. When I was there, if the chick in front of me did not have her ear pierced I would not have seen the sea.

I have not even gotten to the Gold Coast and the Green Coast.
 

Jchan11hk

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just as an aside, why via London? Spending some time there?
I ask as you'll need a UK visa regardless won't you?
I will be in London for 1 night during the 1st leg and then 2 nights going to Southampton during the 2nd leg. This is for my cousin's wedding.

Also I have a UK passport, so it shouldnt be a problem for me.
 
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