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Portugal in April?

by CesVT Online Now Feb 12, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Hi! I'm (still vaguely) thinking of going to Portugal for 8 to 10 days in the Spring but have no real choice of dates and would probably be going around early to mid-April... I am wondering if the weather's not too rainy that time of year...

Also, I would have to be traveling on a budget (no car rental or fancy hotels), so is there really "must sees" I can get to by public transportation in that amount of time (given I have no intention of rushing around and would like to take my time, so 2 or 3 spots would do, one of them obviously being Lisbon)?

I DO intent to check on all the great tips and info you people have taken the pain to write, but my boss is just about to kill me if I don't give her my dates for this holiday, and I need this wee bit of info to figure out costs and see if I can make it! Also, any recommendation of budget, friendly accommodation is welcome (veggie-friendly even better!)! :)

Thanks!
Cécile

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16 Answers
  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by cachaseiro Online Now Feb 12, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    In the northern part of Portugal you can never really be sure that the weather is not rainy as it is a very rainy part of the world but it's also a very interesting part of the world and i would happily go there any time of year.
    Towns like Porto, Guimaraes and Coimbra are all really interesting places that are easy to reach with public transport and public transport in Portugal is cheap.

    In the south of Portugal you will have better chances of sunny weather but you also have less scenic towns.
    But a town like Lagos is really a cultural gem in my opinion even if it's also quite touristy.
    And towns like Silves, Faro and Olhao are also nice.

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  • TooTallFinn24's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by TooTallFinn24 Online Now Feb 12, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    I agree with Cash and about the likelihood of better weather in the south. Aside from Lagos, the other area with some real historical charm is the town of Tavira. The area around Sagres and the point is also worth seeing. If you are interested in staying in the town of Tavira I would recommend the Residencial Hotel Por do Sol. It's a small b & b with clean rooms and a great terrace for breakfast. What's best is that the rate including breakfast for two people staying there last April was 45 euros a night!

    http://www.tavirasol.com/

    There is a great grocery store for veggies less than 50 meters away also.

    For more information on Algrarve I have recent VT pages on Tavira and Sagres. Lagos coming soon.

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  • CesVT's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by CesVT Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    Thanks a lot for all the tips, Claus & Steven! :) I'll check it all out when I'm not in a rush (!)... It's great to get info from people who've been there (okay, I know it's the whole idea here!), even though I'm not too excited about the rain (we get a lot of it in Paris, and we haven't been spared this winter)... Is it already very touristy in April? In any case, you enthusiasm is motivating! :)

    I'm looking forward to checking your pages, Steven!
    That little hotel sounds nice. :) Don't you need a car to get to Sagres and the "cabo"?

    Have a great day!

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by gwened Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 2:29 AM

    yes I agree with others the south is always more sunny, but the north is nice too if rain is not a problem lol!!! Weather is always difficult to predict anyway, just go.

    the train is at
    cp.pt/cp/displayPage.do?vgne...
    for schedules

    the bus is at
    http://www.rede-expressos.pt/
    for buses

    then you have metro in Lisbon for example here
    http://www.metrolisboa.pt/

    I have taken the metro in Lisbon but alll the other places just flew in and had a car. The above will help you plan as well as destinations in VT ::) or the pages of posters like us ::)

    Lisbon, Porto,and Coimbra are nice, then in the south Faro
    also Braga, Guimaraes, Evora, Portimao,Sagre,Tavira, all nice, just get the ideas on destinations and for the ones you like come back to the forum for update details

    HOpe it helps your planning

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  • CesVT's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by CesVT Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    Hey there Pedro! How are you doing? :) Thanks for all the additional tips-now I have work on my hands! :) I hear the airport is not too far from the city center in Lisbon, I'll check the subway line & thanks also for the bus link (I'll check easy destinations!)!

    Have to be off to work, will get back to it all tonight! :) Beautiful weather in Brittany too? ;)

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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by cachaseiro Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    April is not very touristy unless easter falls in april.
    During easter you will see a lot of spanish tourists in the algarve but otherwise april is very quiet.

    And if you ask me then there is no great need to visit Sagres.
    It's a wind swept little town with few things to see and not really that interesting.
    And most historians agree that all the stories about Henry the navigator having a school out there are false.
    Henry the navigator was based in Lagos and that is why the historical monuments are all there.
    The Sagres thing was myth build up by Salazar who tried to wind up nationalism in order to stay in power when he was the dictator.

    Of course you can go and see the south western most point, Cabo da Roca and that is nice, but here we are talking a place where the weather is usually pretty damn crab and very windy.

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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by cachaseiro Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 2:39 AM

    Transport to and from the airport is really easy in Lisbon after they extended the metroline to the airport recently.
    It's so close to the city center that i actually walk to and from the airport if i am on my own.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by gwened Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 2:49 AM

    all the towns in Portugal have a bit of history and they are all very interesting to visit. The airport in Lisbon is very close,direct metro line expressvely for it.
    Enjoy Portugal,and glad you are going out Ces...I am leaving now for Romania
    cheers

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  • cubsur's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by cubsur Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    You can get to Sagres and Cabo São Vicente (it's not Cabo da Roca, but that's near Sintra and is the most westerly point of mainland Europe) by bus from Lagos. There are several buses each day to Sagres but there is only one bus a day to and from Cabo São Vicente, it's especially for tourists allowing a few hours there.

    www.algarvebus.info/012.htm for the timetable.

    Most people drive, from the major tourist resorts. Some take organised excursions,

    For general information about trains and buses in the Algarve region please visit www.algarvebus.info

    Cabo da Roca is near Sintra. Scotturb bus 403 (www.scotturb.com) runs about once each hour from Sintra railway station or Cascais Bus station, passing Cabo da Roca on the way. An hour or two there is sufficient and can easily be combined with a visit to either Sintra or Cascais assuming you leave from Lisbon, 40 minutes from either by train.

    You will often find public transport rather sparse away from the main urban areas. Many rural areas have no service at all at weekends and there are few if any buses after around 730pm on weekdays. You may need to plan carefully and for some areas the information is hard to find. Some bus companies don't have websites and in many areas the only place to get information is the local bus station or tourist office.

    As for the weather, early April down here is usually pretty good, with daytime temperatures in the mid 60's F, 18 or 19C but we do still get showery days and sometimes the showers are quite heavy and thundery. Towards the end of April, beginning of May, the weather starts to settle down and from then it won't normally rain again until late September. Sagres and the Cape can be very windy at any time. I have been to Lagos twice in the past week and on both days it has been very windy indeed.

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  • SOLODANCER's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by SOLODANCER Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    April in Portugal especially up north tends to be rainy still. This is mostly true even in the milder and sunnier Algarve. But then again, hard to acurately predict really especially these days actual weather outcome for any given day...which means you could have brilliant sunny days in between rainy spells.

    If you can make it, you'd be better off going anytime in May when there's chance of better weather and also much warmer already definitely. Also, as far as public transport is concerned, by this time their schedule especially to the well-visited places should at least offer more choices. You'll do just fine making your way around. Besides, with just a little over a week you'd most likely spend most of it in and around Lisbon by which far more practical to base yourself in the city to do day trips.

    Have fun.

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  • TooTallFinn24's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by TooTallFinn24 Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Cecilla- Yes the downside is that you would definitely need a car to easily visit Sagres, Lagos and Tavira in a short time. Making it slightly worse is that there is a new toll road in the Algarve and gas in Portugal when I was there in April was $1.80 a litre. However the beauty of the area makes it worthwhile.

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  • Richard.GVA's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by Richard.GVA Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Again tzhis weather question...LOL. For the first half of April, you can say that the chance of overcast and rainy weather is just about the same allover Europe: around 50 percent in my opinion. It can be quite chilly, just as it can be already very warm. even meteo professionals often have difficulties in forecasting weather in April for more than 2-3 days ahead. I suggest that you just go ahead, possibly skipping the peak Easter period.

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  • CesVT's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by CesVT Online Now Feb 18, 2013 at 4:42 AM

    Hello, thanks again, you all, & sorry for so late! I really appreciate the time you all took to answer me-turns out I could change my dates (had to be a little pushy there) and will finally be on holidays by early May. A better period, even though it will be school holidays in France, so the fares are likely to be more expensive (but Easter Monday is in early April anyway)... It's still all for the better if both transportation and weather (although, right, you never know these days...) are better at that time... There is something interesting to do in the mountains not too far from Pombal... but now I'm also invited to visit friends in Brazil... mmmmmmm...

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by gwened Online Now Feb 18, 2013 at 6:28 AM

    no problems changing dates, May still nice. I am dealing with airline strikes in Spain lol!!! Iberia. A+

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  • smonteiromota's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by smonteiromota Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 7:10 AM

    Brazil and Portugal... same language but two very different countries. Well, you can easily spend 3-4 days in lisbon. Then, count one day to Cascais, one day to Sintra, and one day to Setúbal. You can get to this three destinations by train. The tickets are cheap. A Serra de Mira D'Aire near Pombal (what you describe as mountains), have the most interesting natural caves of limestone to visit in Portugal but to get there i just know 3 ways: rent a car, by a tourist trip, or by taxi (this one is for very rich people) but it's a good place to spend a day. If you can, visit the Monastery of Batalha (Mosteiro da Batalha - in portuguese) it's pure stone art.

    Further information, send an e-mail.

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  • CesVT's Profile Photo

    Re: Portugal in April?

    by CesVT Online Now Feb 20, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Yes, Brazil and Portugal... Guess I can't complain about being given such a choice (cross my fingers, hopefully things will be better in May family-wise), but I always have such a hard time deciding... It's so tempting to go where you have friends, yet I've been meaning to discover Portugal for years... Thanks a lot for your tips-have to go and check these places in my guidebook (and around here)... As for the "mountain" thing, it's some sort of retreat, so I would be picked up in Pombal and probably would only be able to take walks from there. I'm still going to check about those caves and the monastery-see the distances, who knows? ;) Ok, I'll get back to you if needed-thanks!!:)

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