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Pelos caminhos de Portugal - pt1

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hi!!!

Before I get started, just a little side note on this new series called "Pelos caminhos de Portugal" which, for non-Portuguese speaking people, means "Through Portugal's roads".
Do you see where I am heading to?! Yep!! This will be about my/our summer vacation in Portugal.

Our vacation lasted for 1.5 weeks, but then I stayed 1 week longer in PT since Mr.A had business to take care of.

If you follow me through FB/Instagram, you may already know in a very broad view where did we go. What you do not know is all the other amazing sites/places we visied, where did we eat (or what we ate), how did we do this trip, why we did this kind of summer vacation, and many other things.

In this post, I will give you an overview of our trip. In future posts, I will talk about each location separately; it is easier this way since there is a LOT of info to share. 
Are you planning on visiting Portugal on your next holiday?! If so, come check out the blog in the future days/weeks! 

For now, let's get started!

Places we visited: A - Lisbon > B - Braga > C - Guimarães > D - Vila Real > E - Coimbra > F - Sesimbra.
Click to enlarge.

As you can see, we traveled a long distance but there is still soooooo much more to see/visit; perhaps in the future?! ;-)

How we traveled:
We landed in Lisbon for logistic and family/friends reasons, but if you don't need to and want to check out just the North side of the country, it is possible to fly directly to Porto.
There are several Low Cost/Fare airlines travelling to Lisbon/Porto. Of course, if you plan on doing such trip to Portugal and are on a budget, do not do it during Summer... Cheap flights is something very difficult to find, as Portugal is a touristic destination during summer time. 
An advice (and reminder for myself): book your flights ASAP!!
Now, on to the other small trips! :-) 

  • Lisbon > Braga (364km)
Took the fastest train available in Portugal called Alfa Pendular. This is a service provided by CP (Portuguese railway services) that connects some of the major cities in the country without many stops. Not a TGV kind of train, but faster than a regular Intercity.
Alfa train tickets are more expensive than Intercity ones, but if you buy them in advance, you can get a very nice discount! Travel with more comfort for a decent price.
The trip from Lisbon to Braga lasts about 3h15min. Unless you've got some delays like we had, and end up with a 4hr trip....

  • Braga > Guimarães (~25km):
With the express bus service provided by Rede Expressos, we got to Guimarães within 30min, on a sunny and warm day. These buses are equipped with Air Condition, free WiFi (slow most of the times...), seat belts (which are mandatory but hardly anyone uses them.... don't complain/blame anyone in case of an accident if you do not follow the rules) and very comfortable seats. 
They mainly drive on motorways, which means that the trip will be as fast as possible, and again, only stop a few times. Luckily for us, there were no stops between Braga and Guimarães! :-)
Oh, worth to mention that these buses are quite cheap for the service/comfort you get.

  • Guimarães > Vila Real (~94km):
We had once again a bus ride with Rede Expressos. The trip itself took about 1hr but it felt like forever. If you check the map, to go from Guimarães to Vila Real, we had to drive through a mountain called Serra do Marão, and lucky me, I had taken a stomach pill... If not, I don't know what would have happened in that bus!
So, a little tip: check in advance where you are travelling through and if necessary take some action to prevent getting sick in a bus! If I had to drive myself, I'm 200% sure I would have not felt sick.

  • Vila Real > Coimbra (~185km):
A long bus ride with Rede Expressos once again. This time, we did not have a direct connection and had to switch buses in beautiful Viseu. In total, it took us about 3h45min to complete our journey.

  • Coimbra > Lisboa (~203km):
We took Alfa train once again but the same bus service is available. The train was just more convenient for us (arrival location wise). Travel time was a bit over 2hrs.
The tickets were bought once again in advance so the trip did not cost us that much; equivalent to a bus ticket.


I totally recommend both services if you do not feel like renting a car; I didn't! As someone who drives so much, I appreciated the freedom of not being behind the steering wheel. Not to say that this way, you can really enjoy the marvelous views/landscapes that Portugal has to offer. 

For more info about prices and schedules, please check out CP's and Rede Expressos websites.

Don't forget to come and check out this blog in the upcoming days/weeks, as I will be posting more detailed information about each city we visited!
What we did on each of them, where we ate and so on....

Hope you find this interesting and helpful!

See you on pt2!
xo
Miss B.

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