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Slow Travel Google Map: Portugal

Author: DavidX
Notes: This is a joint effort by Andrew and Davidx. It is set so that it shows the whole of Portugal but you can get a clearer picture of any area by raising the zoom level. For example, it takes a very high zoom level to really appreciate Andrew's numerous markers in Coimbra or my suggested itineraries from Lisbon and Porto.

Accommodations

Coimbra: Hotel Astória

Hotel with a nice restaurant.

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Coimbra: Hotel Ibis

Functional modern hotel on riverfront.

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Ancient Monuments

Conimbriga Roman Ruins

This is a huge site but there is not a great deal above foundation level. In September 08 it was badly spoiled by the absence of information. I suggest you might like to print off the page in the 'read more' below.

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Historical Buildings

Coimbra: Bib. Joanina tickets

Get tickets here for the Old University sights, mainly the Biblioteca Joanina. There is a discount if you work at a university.

Coimbra: Biblioteca Joanina

Spectacular gilt library rooms.

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Torre de Belem

Castles

Castle of St George

The views of and from the castle are magnificent.

Churches

Bravaes

There is a wonderful little Romanesque church in the village. I only saw it from the bus but it has to be worth a proper look.

Coimbra: Santa Clara a-Nova

Interesting church and cloister.

Monasterio dos Jeronimos, Belem

This is a building in the Manueline style. It's not a style I generally go for (davidx) because I usually find it too ornate but this building is big enough to take it and it's great. A short way back along the main road to the centre on your left is the Antiga Confeiteria de Belem, where you can buy the magnificent pasteis de Belem. Indescribably good - try a few - but they don't keep well.

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Large Towns

Coimbra

The major university town. This marks the main tourist office on Largo da Portagem.

Evora

Don't get the wrong impression from Evora being shown as a large town. It's the capital of Alentejo and the largest in the east of Portugal but it remains easy to walk between most of the sights. The top of the town with the cathedral, the pousada and two ducal palaces, to say nothing of the Roman temple of Diana is the best to see. The public part and the nearby Chapel of Bones call for a visit and it's worth seeing the aqueduct, totally different from that of Elvas (q.v.) but interesting with houses built to occupy the space between the arches.

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Lisbon/Lisboa

Lisbon is a great city to visit and well justifies a week's stay. As well as its individual sights it is an excellent centre.

Porto

Portugal's second city is worth a few days stay - both for itself and as a centre.
Thee is a great two level bridge across the Douro, constructed by a pupil of Eiffel.

Driving Route

Rail/bus tour from Porto

This highly recommended tour from Porto takes in a large part of the 'main' Douro Line as well as the branch lines to Amarante and from Vila Real. Transport from Amarante to Vila Real is by coach. Unless the timetables have changed, you may need to move fairly fast in Vila Real - check before leaving.

Each transport stage is shown [falsely] as a straight line. The first marker [clockwise] after Porto is Livraçao, where you change from the Douro line to the branch line to Amarante. Don't blink or you may miss it! The last marker before Porto is Peso de Regua, where you change back onto the Douro line from the branch line from Vila Real.

View at a large scale.

Restaurants/Cafes

Coimbra: Café Brazil

Upstairs eating place with live music.

Coimbra: A Cozinha

Nice restaurant.

Gardens

Estufas (SV)

In the top left corner of the Parque Eduardo VII (the English one, great-grandfather of the Queen) are two very large glasshouses, where tropical plants and birds make for a wonderful show.

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Monuments

Monument to the Discoverers

Well seen from the train when floodlit (Cascais Line).

Museums

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

This beautiful small museum houses the personal collection of a very wealthy man who gave it to Portugal as a mark of gratitude for sanctuary during war. In the same attractive grounds is the modern art gallery.

Centro de Artes Visuais

Photography and video exhibitions.

Coach museum

A real treat for the children.

Coimbra: Museu Académico

A museum with azulejos and traditions of the university.

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Public Services

Coimbra Covered Market

Adjacent to the market is the Elevadore do Mercado: for a bus ticket, this is an elevator-walkway-funicular combination to the university area.

Sights

Bucaçao

Given both a splendid forest with numerous walks, a fairytale type palace hotel and a war memorial with a striking view, I have compromised and called it a 'sight.'

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Ponte de Lima

The sight here is the huge bridge over the Lima.

Towns

A beautiful rail journey from the Parque station in Coimbra. There is a walk of roughly two kilometers to a castle on the edge of the mountain area of Serra de Lousa

Amarante

A delightful town, where you need to change from the branch rail line to the bus to do the blue marked circuit. It's a real treat to have a picnic lunch near the river.

Bragança

A pleasant city easily accessed by car from Zamora in Spain. What makes it very special is the cidadela, virtually a separate village on a hill which contains an old castle, an amazing pentagonal Gothic council chamber and a preaching cross rising from a prehistoric pig.

Caminha

Most northerly coastal town with a ferry to A Guardia in Spain. A good place to enjoy an evening meal if you are taking the late train to Spain.

Elvas

Being very close to Badajoz and to the Spanish frontier, Elvas has fortifications dating from many different periods, the only problem about this being there is nowhere other than a helicopter for gaining a general appreciation. Perhaps the most spectacular sight of all is just outside the gates, the mighty aqueduct, five stories high in parts. Try not to concentrate on the pathetically small water channel it carried but on the structure that carried it.

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Estremoz

Estremoz is known as one of the three 'marble towns,' Borba and Vila Vicosa being the others. It is an impressive town with a fine castle and highly reputed posada at the top. On Saturday mornings there is a fascinating market that takes over a part of the massive car parking square called Rossio.

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Guimaraes

Guimaraes is a delightful town and was the first capital of Portugal.

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Melgaço

A beautiful riverside trip from Valenca. Best done on a Friday when there is a bus at about mid-day into the National Park - and a market.

Obidos

A wonderful walled town with various historical attractions including its stocks and the pousada/castle.

Portalegre

Major transport centre for Alto Alentejo - useful for buses to charming villages such as Marvão and Castleo de Vide.

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Sesimbra

A very pleasant seaside town with striking scenery all around. It's worth seeing the fishing port (local bus).

Sintra

Sintra should be visited, even if you only have a short time in Lisbon. Trains are frequent and cheap. From outside Sintra station you can get a Rover bus ticket that enables you to get on and off for the grand National Palace Museum in the little town, the Castelo dos Mouros, A ruined skyline castle with a sumptuous view and the Pena Palace, surely one of the most astonishing pieces of kitsch anywhere.

Tavira

An unspoiled place on a much spoiled coast - strongly recommended for a night before or after a flight to or from Faro.

Tui

A bit of a cheat - because Tui is actually in Spain but the hotel near its station is the best place to stay if you want to see north Portugal and Galicia by public transport.

Valenca do Minho

The fort here looks across the Minho to Spanish Tui, to which the river is crossed by a rail bridge built by Eiffel.

Viana do Castelo

The nearest thing to a resort north of Porto but not unbearably so. It's a great little town with historical trails and a starting point for some fabulous bus tours into the interior.

Vila do Conde

An unspoiled seaside town with a terrific aqueduct just to feed a tiny fountain in the former monastery, which should be regarded as a must-visit. It is a great place to stroll and imbibe the atmosphere - and there is a huge Friday market.

Transportation

Belem station

On the line to Estoril and Cascais.

Coimbra Central Station

This train station is shown on the timetables just as Coimbra, it's also known as Coimbra A, and locally as Estacao Nova (New Station). A shuttle train connects this to Coimbra B, which is the only Coimbra stop for most of the fast trains. The Google map is wrong in labeling it Coimbra B.

Coimbra bus stop line 1 to Univ.

This is the bus stop for line 1 going uphill to the university.

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Faro airport

Lisboa/Lisbon Airport

Villages

Arcos de Valdevez

A very pleasant village by the river Vez. There's a bus from Ponte de Lima.

Castelo de Vide

A fascinating old village, reached by bus from Portalegre. As well as the castle and the oldest Arab area, there is a Jewish area with a synagogue from the period after 1492, when the Jews were expelled from Spain.

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Marvão

Perfectly walled village with a fairy tale type castle. Superb views. Try to visit, even if you are short of time.

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Walking Route 1

Circuit south of river at Lisbon

This route starts and finishes by different ferries and uses three buses between them. It makes a good day out from Lisbon but a trip to Sintra [q.v.] should have the top priority.
1. Ferry from Lisbon to Motijo.
2. Bus to Setubal.
3. Bus to Sesimbra.
4.Bus to Cacilhas - and if it is rush hour rejoice at missing the traffic queuing for the bridge!
5. Ferry back to your starting point.

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