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

On the Waterfront

Lisbon, Coimbra & Porto

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We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, since 2 October 2015 we have included a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we now publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

Mike & Elaine   April 2018

The first time we have tried a 'Slow Motion' holiday and would certainly do so again. Peace and tranquility were found even in the large cities of Lisbon and Porto. The walking notes provided a good way to explore at one's own pace and were generally accurate in their timings. We especially liked the quiet and polite manner of the Portuguese.

Mrs M Barclay  Wantage April 2018

When booking the monastery in Lisbon, either book online or go to the place next door which will sell you a ticket for both places. The queue is much shorter next door. You then jump the queue for the monastery saving you potentially one and a half hours. That queue did seem to be less in the afternoon.

If you have a rail ticket, say from Lisbon to Porto, you can use that ticket to travel on the aboveground train into Sao Bento at no further cost. 

When returning from Porto to the airport using the Metro from Sao Bento be aware that you do have to change. It is not a direct line.

Mrs D Chamberlain  Faringdon April 2018

All the hotels were very comfortable and well appointed and the service was excellent. Sadly my husband and I were not very well on the holiday and we spent more time in the hotels than we normally would so our creature comforts were even more important than normal. The hotels you chose meant we managed to enjoy the holiday despite not always feeling our best - thank you! We will definitely be choosing Inntravel again.

 

 

Mr D Clark  Neston April 2018

Despite the appalling weather, this was a really good holiday with many highlights. In Lisbon, the castle is important because it sets the tone for the city. Our favourite in Lisbon was the secret behind the green door Casa Do Alentejo. When we were there. there was a soprano practising operatic arias in the top floor dining room, which was not being used, and it was magical. The cafe is rubbish but it is worth going up all floors on the stairs just to see it all. What a find!

In Coimbra, the Science Museum was interesting and fun and the tables in the Joanine Library were masterpieces. We loved the advice to keep your receipt, but it was so true! As stated before, the Sapientia is brilliant. The Monastery and Church of Santa Cruz justifies paying the little bit extra to go into the rooms behind the church.

In Porto, which we preferred to Lisbon as it is much less busy, we loved the Cafe Majestic, the Torre dos Clerigos (an essential climb), the Palacio do Bolsa, and being followed around the Casa Museu de Guerra Junqueiro (disconcerting, but a great museum!)

Dr A Strickson  Huddersfield April 2018

Personal highlights were the Britania Hotel in Lisbon with its exceptional art deco features, knowledgeable staff and history, especially if you have literary or historical interests. Lisbon, in general, we loved (especially walking through it from the beginning at the castle) and Coimbra was very atmospheric especially since we were lucky enough to be there for some of the student rituals in the streets involving giant spoons (very Harry Potter!) and of course the university library is extraordinary and not to be missed. The Botanical Garden is also very fine but has two entrances, and we took the one nearest the Sapienta hotel first and saw a lot of interesting trees... Porto is a rougher, less attractive city with a lot of building work and many rather grey churches. Jimao restaurant was outstanding here and the visit to Graham's Port Lodge was informative, elegant and relaxing - go to Graham's and avoid all the horrible, tacky developments around the other lodges along the river bank! And go to the puppet museum, which was such an unexpected pleasure and the famous bookshop with a wonderful ice cream cafe next door. All the food, without exception, was very good and reasonably priced, both when we followed the recommendations and took our own initiative. Inntravel staff were exceptionally helpful when we had to sort some of our travel arrangements out by phone and email while we were in Portugal. 

Mrs M Wright  Nuneaton March 2018

We thought it was an excellent holiday. Everywhere very steep so well worth finding the lifts which were free in Lisbon. Would particularly recommend Terreiro restaurant in Porto if you like fish, and Claras em Castello restaurant in Lisbon is excellent. It's in the corner just below the arch to the castle area. Must book.

 

Mr A MacRae  London November 2017

Another excellent short-break organised by Inntravel. All 3 locations had much to offer but Porto was our favourite. Having relatively cool (17C/7C) but very sunny weather was a bonus, especially for the city walks involved. Some points on the hotels in which we stayed - the basic room in the Hotel Sapienta is very minimalist and lacks even a chair to sit on although everything else was good. The rooms (even upgraded ones) in the Hotel Ribeira do Porto are extremely small but may be worth the compromise in terms of excellent location and reasonable price. The Hotel Britania is good but we were surprised at the very high rating provided by Tripadvisor (No 3 hotel in Lisbon) with numerous 5* reviews. Service in all three hotels was pleasant and efficient.

Mrs C Boughton  Colchester November 2017

We were very pleased with the hotels, especially Solar do Castelo and the grounds of Quinta das Lagrimas. There's so much to see and do in Lisbon - perhaps a condensed version of the notes would help. The restaurant tips were very helpful. Perhaps it's better not to arrive in Porto on a Sunday, as we did - the crowds and noise are a bit of a shock after the elegance of Lisbon and Coimbra. 

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!

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