Summer travel Madrid to Lisboa
In the formative stages of a two week summer vacation (2010), and I am trying to find a good route taking a couple of days by car in-between Madrid and Lisboa. Looking for Interesting places and great food of course (but not Mich star, on budget). I have heard the west coast is a bit of a "concrete jungle", so maybe an interior route is better? Then we would visit coastal villages near Lisboa second week. I have seen great posts for Madrid, Lisboa, but not much specific in interior (other than Sevilla).
Any suggestions? many thanks!
We just came back from Lisbon & the Alentejo a few weeks ago. If you are driving thru central Portugal, try and stop for lunch at Monseraz, a spectacularly scenic hill town near the Spanish border. There is a small but quite famous restaurant there, the Casa do Forno. Very pleasant place with very good traditional Portuguese food (seafood & pork). Further west is Evora, an interesting small city with lots of good places to eat. We spent 5 nights here, and could have stayed longer. one night we dined at a tiny mom & pop place a few blocks for the town center called D.Miguel -quite inexpensive with good typical food. Lisbon is wonderful, with plenty of great places to eat. For a fun seaside spot, check out Sesimbra about an hour south of Lisbon. We loved this little town, with great seafood restaurants on every corner.
I don't get the "West coast" bit... There is no coast between Madrid and Lisbon that I know of. You want to take the A5 via Oropesa, Trujillo and Merida , Vila Viçosa, Estremoz and Evora (all historical towns, and well worth a visit!). Monsaraz, agreed, is also very nice if you have time, and there are plenty of wineries around there. The food is generally simple (black pig, kid or lamb stews, quite a lot of game) and best in the small restaurants (called tascas in Portugal). All the towns I mention have a Parador or a Pousada (the Portuguese equivalent) in a prominent castle / convent so check them first on the net as prices can be surprisingly cheap. Otherwise, go on www.booking.com they cover a lot of hotels in all categories, and have cheap prices!
Lots of good advice also on www.tripadvisor.com if oyu search for these towns.
I support Sesimbra, but you also want to take teh coast road from Lisbon to Cascais and beyond to Guincho. Avoid commuting hours unless you have a death wish, and beware of expensive restaurants in that area (but there are also some cheap ones...