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Plan your trip from Porto, Portugal to Lisbon, Portugal

Sights you can visit along the way
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Aveiro
Stop time: 1h

Roaming through Aveiro is the same as diving in the waters of Centro de Portugal. Known as the “Portuguese Venice”, the city is quietly… Read full description >>

Roaming through Aveiro is the same as diving in the waters of Centro de Portugal. Known as the “Portuguese Venice”, the city is quietly dominated by the Ria de Aveiro, described by Saramago as “a living body that connects the land to the sea like a huge heart.”

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Coimbra
Coimbra
Stop time: 2h

Old Coimbra sits on a hill on the right bank of the River Mondego, with the university crowding its summit. The main buildings of the Old University,… Read full description >>

Old Coimbra sits on a hill on the right bank of the River Mondego, with the university crowding its summit. The main buildings of the Old University, dating from the sixteenth century, are set around a courtyard dominated by a Baroque clock tower and a statue of Joao III that looks remarkably like Henry VIII. The chapel is covered with azulejos – traditional glazed and painted tiles – and intricate decoration, but takes second spot to the Library, a Baroque fantasy presented to the faculty by João V in the early eighteenth century.

Below the university, a good first stop is the Museu Machado de Castro, just down from the unprepossessing Se Nova (New Cathedral). Named after an eighteenth-century sculptor, the museum is housed in the former archbishop’s palace, which would be worth visiting in its own right even if it were empty. At present it’s filled with sculpture, paintings, furniture and ceramics. The Se Velha (Old Cathedral), halfway down the hill, is one of the most important Romanesque buildings in Portugal, little altered and seemingly unbowed by the years. Solid and square on the outside, it’s also stolid and simple within, with its decoration confined to a few giant conch shells and some unobtrusive azulejos. The Gothic tombs and low-arched cloister are equally restrained.

Restraint and simplicity certainly aren’t the chief qualities of the Igreja de Santa Cruz, at the bottom of the hill past the city gates. Although it was founded before the Old Cathedral, nothing remains that has not been substantially remodeled. In the early sixteenth century Coimbra was the site of a major sculptural school; the new tombs for Portugal’s first kings, Afonso Henriques and Sancho I, and the elaborately carved pulpit are among its very finest works. The Manueline theme is at its clearest in the airy arches of the Cloister of Silence, its walls decorated with bas-relief scenes from the life of Christ.

It was in Santa Cruz that Dom Pedro had his court pay homage to the corpse of Ines de Castro, which had lain in the now ruined Convento de Santa Clara-a-Velha across the river alongside the convent’s founder, Saint-Queen Isabel. The tombs have long since been moved away, Inês’s to Alcobaça and Isabel’s to the Convento de Santa Clara-a-Nova higher up the hill. Two features make the climb worthwhile: the silver tomb itself and the vast cloister financed by João V, whose devotion to nuns went beyond the bounds of spiritual comfort.

The University

The university, founded in 1290 and finally established here in 1537 after a series of moves back and forth to Lisbon, was the only one existing in Portugal until the beginning of this century. For a provincial town it has remarkable riches, and it’s an enjoyable place to be, too – lively when the students are in town, sleepy during the holidays. The best time of all to be here is in May, when the students celebrate the end of the academic year in the Queima das Fitas, tearing or burning their gowns and faculty ribbons. This is when you’re most likely to hear the Coimbra fado, distinguished from the Lisbon version by its mournful pace and complex lyrics.

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Batalha - A City Built on Victory
Batalha
Stop time: 1h30min

In 1385, King João I vowed that if his outnumbered army defeated the Castilians at the important Battle of Aljubarrota, he would build a magnificent… Read full description >>

In 1385, King João I vowed that if his outnumbered army defeated the Castilians at the important Battle of Aljubarrota, he would build a magnificent monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The king was victorious, resulting in the independence of Portugal from Spain and the great Batalha (“Battle”) Monastery, as well as the founding of the town of Batalha itself. João's monument is a masterpiece of Portuguese Gothic architecture, combining Gothic and Manueline styles from its 200 year construction period. Its most dramatic feature is right in the centre of the chapel: the enormous tomb of Dom João I and his wife, Queen Philippa of Lancaster. On the site of the battle itself stands the humble Capela de Sao Jorge. With its Romanesque architecture and austere decoration, it is the yin to the Batalha Monastery's yang.

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Fátima
Fátima
Stop time: 1h

Fatima is a town and Parish located 142 km (88 miles) North of Lisbon. Fatima is one of the most important catholic shrines in the world dedicated… Read full description >>

Fatima is a town and Parish located 142 km (88 miles) North of Lisbon. Fatima is one of the most important catholic shrines in the world dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Fatima’s Sanctuary welcomes millions of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. Fatima’s fame is due to the Apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary that appeared to three shepherd children; Lucia dos Santos and her two younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta. Between May and October of 1917, the three children witnessed several apparitions. The last one, on October 13th, was confirmed by a miracle witnessed by 60,000 people known in the catholic world as “the day the sun danced”.

Fatima now attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world, particularly on the pilgrimage days in May and October. The large torch-light processions in the evening are particularly impressive, often lead by Cardinals and Bishops. The pilgrims gather in Cova de Iria an enormous plaza where a little chapel was built and where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared to the children. Around the plaza are a considerable number of shops and stalls selling various religious articles. On the far side of the plaza rises the great basilica, built in the in neo-classical style, with a central tower 65 meters high, the construction of which was begun on 13 of May 1928. It is flanked by colonnades linking it with the extensive convent and hospital buildings. In the basilica are the tombs of two of the three visionaries, siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who died in 1919 and 1920 respectively, and were beatified in 1970. The third seer, Lucia dos Santos, died in 2005.

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Óbidos
Óbidos
Stop time: 1h

“The Wedding Town” was the traditional bridal gift of the kings of Portugal to their queens, a custom begun in 1282 by Dom Dinis. The town… Read full description >>

“The Wedding Town” was the traditional bridal gift of the kings of Portugal to their queens, a custom begun in 1282 by Dom Dinis. The town (a couple of hours from Lisbon by train) has hardly changed in appearance since then: its cobbled streets and steep staircases wind up to the ramparts, from where you can gaze across a countryside of windmills and vineyards. The parish church, Igreja de Santa Maria (in the central Praça), was chosen for the wedding of the ten-year-old child-king Afonso V and his eight-year-old cousin, Isabel, in 1444. It dates mainly from the Renaissance, though the interior is lined with seventeenth-century blue azulejos (or painted tiles) in a homely manner typical of Portuguese churches. The retable in a side chapel on the right-hand side was painted by Josefa de Obidos, one of the finest Portuguese painters and one of the few female artists afforded any reputation by art historians. One corner of the triangular fortifications is occupied by a massively towered Castle built by Dom Dinis which has been converted into a Pousada.

Also worth mentioning is the Casa d’Óbidos, built in 1889 and located about 1km south of the town walls, it has beautiful gardens and an air of faded grandeur. It’s worth staying around since, as is so often the case, the town reverts to its own life after the daytime tourists disperse. One of the better budget places to eat is the Café 1 de Dezembro, next to the church of São Pedro.

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Pena Palace Sintra
Sintra
Stop time: 2h

The Pena Palace (Portuguese: Palácio da Pena) is a Romanticist castle in São Pedro de Penaferrim, in the municipality of Sintra, on the… Read full description >>

The Pena Palace (Portuguese: Palácio da Pena) is a Romanticist castle in São Pedro de Penaferrim, in the municipality of Sintra, on the Portuguese Riviera. The castle stands on the top of a hill in the Sintra Mountains above the town of Sintra, and on a clear day it can be easily seen from Lisbon and much of its metropolitan area. It is a national monument and constitutes one of the major expressions of 19th-century Romanticism in the world. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It is also used for state occasions by the President of the Portuguese Republic and other government officials.


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Trip Summary

Lisbon, Portugal
Departure:
Porto to

estimated arrival:

Lisbon
2x passengers