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      our holidays > Journeys in SlowMotion > Portugal > On the Waterfront

On the Waterfront

Lisbon, Coimbra & Porto

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Mrs G Perkins  Cambridge November 2017

We loved Coimbra. Lisbon - there was too much to see in too short a space of time so you skate over everything and see very little of value. Porto was good, but there is not that much to see if you are not into port!

Anon   October 2017

We had a fabulous holiday. We loved our time in all the cities - each had its own character. Lisbon was a revelation: so much to see and do. We explored many different districts, all with their own unique character. The Hotel Solar do Castelo was fantastic - our favourite hotel and in a unique position within the castle walls. Sadly the streets around the castle were very busy (although the hotel was in a quiet little street). One problem was getting the taxi to and from the hotel - such tiny streets with so many people. One taxi driver said that it was almost impossible to get near the hotel during July/August time. When we explored other parts of Lisbon we managed to get away from the tourists a bit and had a sense of Lisbon as a working city. Some fabulous squares, monuments, parks, buildings and cafes. Don't miss the Gulbenkian Museum - fabulous collection beautifully displayed.

Coimbra was the least touristy of the cities. However it had some old and interesting buildings including those in the university, churches, cathedral etc. The Hotel Quinta das Lagrimas was a lovely retreat on the edge of the city (although the centre of the city could easily be reached by walking). We really appreciated the fantastic swimming pools and grounds. The food and service were excellent. 

The Hotel Pestana Porto definitely had the most stunning location of the three hotels. When we arrived we were amazed by the beautiful view across the river and our location couldn't have been more central and convenient. Our only issue was the crowds of people everywhere. Perhaps best to go in the winter months to have a quieter and less frenetic experience. 

Mrs D Walker  Chipping Norton October 2017

Restaurants are always going to come and go in and out of favour (or existence!) as we found with some of your recommendations. Our recommendation for Lisbon, near the Solar do Castelo was Farol de Santa Luzia which came recommended from the front desk. It was our first and actually best meal overall. We loved the honesty bar in the Lisbon hotel, and the open table to help yourself whenever you wanted (this included tea and coffee and cakes). And a lovely shady courtyard to recover in after a hot day.

We enjoyed free Fado everywhere. In Coimbra the Cafe Santa Cruz was a delight and had 2 Fado sessions each night at 6pm and 10pm. We had temperatures of 28 degrees, but the outdoor pool at the hotel in Coimbra was too cold to get in which was disappointing.

Porto had a delightful buzz all of its own with very nice restaurants literally around each corner from the hotel - the front desk gave us fab recommendations, but you do need to book. They also offered us the Red Bus hop on/hop off tickets to include a boat trip and a visit to a Lodge. We bought them - mistakenly as it turned out, and I definitely do not recommend this. The commentary on the bus was dreadful - very crackly so we could not hear a lot. It was a very repetitive route and took ages to get anywhere. The boat trip was fine. The visit to the Lodge was awful - it turned out to be just a tasting really, there was no cellar there or talk/video on wine production. And as we had left it till the last afternoon it was then too late to get into another Lodge, partly because we had waited for nearly an hour for our bus! And be warned that if you want to visit the Lello & Irmao Bookshop in Porto they charge 4 euros entrance fee; you have to buy a ticket and then join a queue. 

Anon   September 2017

This vacation was a wonderful experience. We enjoyed Lisbon and recommend the restaurant Farol de Santa Luzia at Largo Santa Luzia 5 across from Luzia viewpoint terrace. It is 10 minutes' walk from Hotel Solar do Castelo and serves excellent seafood. Coimbra was the highlight of the vacation and we wished we could have stayed a day longer. We enjoyed the  restaurant  at the hotel and also attended a Fado concert at the Fado ao Centro which was only 10 euros each and was at 5 p.m. We went to Taylor's in Porto and enjoyed a wonderful lunch in their restaurant on the patio with a stunnung view over Porto. We also found a great restaurant: Restaurante Adega Sao Nicolau at Rua Sao Nicolau 1 only 5 minutes' walk from the hotel which we highly recommend.

Mr J Steer  Sevenoaks August 2017

In Lisbon, eat upstairs at Chapito restaurant, super food and views. The Zambesi restaurant was advised but we were not impressed, it was African influenced food (Mozambique). I have been all over East/South Africa and have experience in that cuisine....perhaps we were unlucky with our choices, and the menu will lead to misunderstandings....which in my case led to a pretty verbal exchange with a very rude waitress!  Both restaurants are very close to the Hotel.

Mr R Poxton  Twickenham August 2017

We really enjoyed the whole holiday. The walking tours were an excellent means to discover and explore the three cities - despite our having some previous experience of Lisbon and Porto. All the walks inevitably had quite hilly sections - this didn't bother us but some guidance on the best ways to get from bottom to top may have helped. We probably should've taken taxis into the town centre in Coimbra - the fine dining option struck us as pricey and limited options. For Porto the options are numerous and nearby - it's easy enough to avoid the busy ones with the (wonderful) view of the bridge.

Mr M Lloyd  Ilkeston August 2017

The itinerary was, on the whole, excellent giving a lot of useful information. All the hotels used were of a very good class and the breakfast in each was of a high standard. My favourite was the Solar Do Castelo in Lisbon. The situation of the hotel, the staff, the room, the service and breakfast were excellent. I would, without any doubt, use Inntravel again and I would recommend them to all my family and friends.

Jane Ellis  Manchester July 2017
Our 2nd "Inntravel" holiday - it will certainly not be our last! We had a lovely 6 days exploring these 3 Portuguese cities, all distinctly different but all very interesting. Our highlights are the castle in Lisbon, the locations of the Solar do Castelo & the Pestana hotels in Lisbon & Porto respectively & the our visit to a port wine house. We really enjoy the flexibility offered by these holidays, where the need to book hotels & make travel plans is taken care of, leaving us to enjoy the fun of planning our days. Thank you to everyone at Inntravel for another lovely holiday experience.
Mrs L Hughes  Weston-super-mare April 2017

A superb insight to Portugal and 3 wonderful cities. Plenty to do in Lisbon and Porto and relax in Coimbra. Porto is stunning and was our favourite by far. 

Dr W Shatwell  Kenilworth March 2017

As usual the holiday was very well organised by Inn travel with their customary attention to detail and selection of comfortable hotels.  We splashed out and had dinner at the restaurant in the Hotel das Lagrimas in Coimbra - although it no longer has its Michelin star the dinner and the service were faultless.  We both really liked our visit to the university in Coimbra.

In Porto we particularly enjoyed a visit to the modern art museum (Serralves) set in beautifully kept grounds with impressive Eucalyptus trees  and interesting outdoor sculpture.  The art museum buildings are architecturally interesting in themselves.  We had an excellent buffet lunch at a reasonable price.

Anon   February 2017

After numerous walking holidays with Inntravel, this was our first Self-Guided Journey by Rail and we loved it.  As usual, your choice of hotels are varied and excellent, along with concise information on travel and local places to visit. We will definitely be back again.

Anon   January 2017

We like Lisbon a lot but the highlight for us was the beautiful waterfront at Porto and to be staying in a hotel right on it. There was so much to do and we were very glad we had booked two extra nights in Lisbon and one extra night in Porto. The accommodation and the breakfast in all three hotels was excellent. 

Ann and Lucy   October 2016

We loved the restaurant Clara's am Castelo. Fantastic value for money, Great food and lovely people. It is tiny so you must pre book.

Recommend trip to Sintra if you can cope with the public transport challenge! The most useful tip is that you can buy tickets for the train at the little shop in Rossio station diagonally opposite the ticket office thus avoiding the horrendous queue for tickets.

We loved being up at the castle in Lisbon at sunset. We couldn't get in the restaurant either day though. Been better to have booked before we travelled.

We visited Taylors in Porto. We thought well worth the walk and climb. It was very quiet and peaceful. The self guided tour was good. The restaurant looked lovely although we didn't try it. Lovely garden to sit and enjoy your free samples at the end. No high pressure selling at all.

Generally an an excellent holiday. Perfect mix of enough time to relax but plenty to see and do. The helpful notes and advice really make all the difference. We felt we saw everything and got to some more out of the way spots. Enjoyable to avoid driving as well and trains were very good. We especially enjoyed the perfect weather at this time of year and some amazing sunset views. Highly recommended.

 

 

Anon   September 2016

We were very pleased that we opted for an extra night in Lisbon as it gave us time to visit Sintra - well worth it.  Two nights in Coimbra was fine but, again, there was so much to see and do in Porto that we were pleased that we had booked an extra night there.

Anonymous  . April 2016
The Hotel Britannia in Lisbon is a delightful Art Deco Hotel and very near a metro. Travel around Lisbon very easy. 
The Hotel Quinta das Lagrimas had building work going on and it was a 20 to 30 minute walk (depending on mobility) into Coimbra. Lovely town but transport in town is not mapped at each bus stop so difficult to know which bus to get. 
The Hotel Britannia was a delight, great location, lovely modern bedroom and lovely view of river and surrounding area, all staff very helpful, breakfast was delicious and lots of choice.
Dr R Chamberlain Duerden   Sandbach April 2016
Finding the hotel in the first place - the map is OK but not altogether clear, and of course our taxi driver thought he knew better...!  I'd suggest mentioning the arch where it looks as though you are going into the castle - go through that and you're pretty much there.
The three places are each lovely in their own way, and the hotels all very good, although see above re the outstanding Solar do Castelo!  We did different things in each place, but in all of them we did a fair amount of wandering about the narrow streets, which really was delightful to do, and allowed us to find lovely little hidden restaurants.
The people are friendly and welcoming - and delighted if you manage to say 'Obrigada', if nothing else!
Mr JP Wroe  Carshalton February 2016
We would like to recommend the restaurant Ribera Square - on leaving the hotel it is diagonally across the square to the left by the old fountain.  Small, very friendly owner with excellent English, very good and reasonably priced food.  They offered us a tasting of several wines even though we were only ordering two glasses, and a complimentary port.  My steak in mushroom sauce was excellent.

Mr S Hayward  Middlesbrough January 2016
We particularly loved Porto.  The location of the hotel on the historic quayside, the warm welcome, stunning views, beautiful buildings, quirky, arty, individual shops and delicious food. Fabulous!

Mr Haffenden  Aylesford October 2015
Lisbon - A visit to the castle grounds at twilight is a must as is a meal at the Claras em Castelo restaurant.
 
Coimbra - Both the market and the university library are well worth a visit.
 
Porto - A personal tasting at Graham's in the library was a definite highlight.   The market wasn't worth the walk.
Anonymous  . October 2015
This was our first visit to Portugal but it won't be our last; we had a great time. Recommendations have to be personal but ours include:
* Buy a Lisboacard and a Portocard to get around the two cities - takes the hassle out of travel.
* The Museu Nacional do Azulejo in Lisbon is terrific; take a bus, it's a long walk otherwise.
* Portuguese beer doesn't have to be tasteless fizz; visit the Museum of Beer (it's a cafe) in the Praca do Comercio. (NB: The food is reputed to be mediocre.)
* Instead of pre-booking a visit to a port lodge in Porto, we just went down to the area mid-afternoon (on a Monday). We avoided the big names which were rammed with coach parties and went instead to Ramos Pinto. The last English-language tour of the day had 7 people in it and was very entertaining.
* For ludicrously cheap lunches in Porto, go to the Galeria de Paris cafe in the street of the same name. How can you not like a restaurant which has a 6-foot Sylvester and Tweety standing on the bar?
Mrs P Mole  Dundee September 2015
We combined two holidays into a 10-day trip. Lisbon and the Waterfront with Porto and the Douro valley. We flew into Lisbon and out from Porto, having 3 nights in Lisbon, 2 in Coimbra, 2 in Porto, 2 in Chanceleiros and 1 last night in Porto. We tried to fit in too much sightseeing on day 2 in Lisbon but then decided to take things in a more relaxed fashion. It made for an interesting, varied and enjoyable holiday staying in some lovely hotels and enjoying some superb views, wines and Portuguese food. The tiled fronts to so many of the buildings and the elaborate tiled railway stations (even small ones) were memorable features; also the view from Hotel Pestana Porto bedroom window.
Mrs Bowden  Kent September 2015
We went to three cities, all brilliant, but all completely different from one another. We also wished we had added an additional day in Porto (we had already added an additional day in Lisbon).

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