Holiday House ::: Portugal - Directions

Alojamento Local Number 25719/AL - registered with Turismo de Portugal
Holiday House ::: Portugal
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Directions

Flights and Travel

Do consider, especially if you have as few as two or more people in a car, driving to the house. Budget (i.e. low quality) airlines are a nightmare with poor customer service, far more expensive than they claim, and all airlines have almost no chance of a refund once booked. It's really not that far by car, and it's a lovely and easy drive.

Alternatively, the house is within an hour and a half or so of Porto's Sá Carneiro airport. For those travelling in by air, normally this would be the best way to enter the country, then it's just a drive down the motorway (or the National road if you want to see more sights) to just north of Coimbra, then across some low hills on the IP3 to to Santa Comba Dão. If you have a Via Verde device it might be slightly better to go east on the A25 and approach Santa Comba Dão from the direction of Viseu. There's probably not much in it time or cost-wise.

In fact it is advisable to arrange for a Via Verde transmitter for your car with the car rental agency, or you may be spending time looking for a post office to pay your toll fees - it's a lot easier to have the gadget ready and set up, then you don't have to worry about anything and can go anywhere on the road network without stopping. Be aware that some roads in Portugal are ONLY for electronic tolls, and it can be an issue if you use one of them accidentally, with the possibility of a fine, though it's very unlikely you would be chased up with a foreign car registration.

If you want to come by train, that's good too. It's easy to get to Coimbra via the international rail network, or you can join the train in Porto by taking the metro from the airport to Porto's Campanhã station and joining the train there. You need to change at Coimbra, and there are trains into Santa Comba Dão, where the train station at Vimieiro is about 4 kilometres from the house (plenty of taxis are available).

Coming by road is easy too. The best way in is from Spain via Salamanca. If you intend to drive all the way from Calais you can save about €70 on toll charges by only using the toll roads that are really necessary, for maybe only a couple of hours extra driving. Allow three days if you want to take it really easy, but you can fairly easily do it in two days if you are prepared to be driving for 10-12 hours each day. Good temporary breakdown insurance is available from the AA, RAC and Green Flag, amongst others.

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Directions By Train

It's easy to get to Coimbra via the international rail network, or you can join the train in Porto by taking the excellent and regular metro from the airport to Porto's Campanhã station and joining the train there. You need to change at Coimbra, and there are trains from Coimbra into Santa Comba Dão, where the train station at Vimieiro is about 4 kilometres from the house (plenty of taxis are available).

Or if you prefer, it's easy to walk or cycle into Santa Comba Dão from the station at Vimieiro. Simply leave the station and take the right turn down Rua Calçada Romana, walk under the bridge, up the steps and onto the bridge. Cross the bridge (there is a wide path outside the crash barrier), go left up the steps to Rua José Maria de Matos, which will take you up the hill into the town. The house is about a 35 minute walk from the town centre, or you can get a taxi from opposite the Arcada Café

Holiday House ::: Portugal Station Walk

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Directions From The Airport

These directions are from PORTO airport, the closest to the house. They INCLUDE TOLL ROUTES, and INCLUDE ELECTRONIC-TOLL-ONLY routes. YOU NEED to PRE-PAY or have a VIA VERDE DEVICE for this route. Most car hire companies will offer to rent you one for about €15.00 (toll charges are extra).

Alternatively, you can drive to the house fairly easily (but somewhat more slowly and more interestingly) using an entirely toll-free route.

You could even drive from England, and that's not as difficult or expensive as it sounds, especially with two or more people in the car. I do it all the time.

Start at the AIRPORT - if necessary return there [Chegadas OR Saidas]
Take A3 south towards Porto and Matosinhos
Take VR1 south towards Porto and Leixões
Stay in right lane for Porto, Matosinhos and Leixões
Continue on VR1 south towards Porto and Leixões
Keep left for VR1 Porto
Don't take the Custoias exit
Keep left for A4 Vila Real and Valongo, A3 Porto and Braga (ELECTRONIC TOLL ONLY!)
Keep left and loop 270 degrees right under motorway bridge onto A4 east
Service Area on the right
Follow A4 Vila Real A3 Porto Braga (stay on motorway for a few miles) (ELECTRONIC TOLL ONLY!)
Exit on A3 for Porto and (A1) Lisboa
Keep left, on A3 E01 Porto (Lisboa) A1-SUL
Keep left, on IP1 Porto-Antas Gaia-Freixo A1 Lisboa
Loop 270 degrees right under motorway bridge onto A20 east
Keep left, on IC23 Ponte do Freixo, Gaia, A1 Lisboa
Stay on the motorway and cross the bridge (Ponte do Freixo) over the Rio Douro
Keep left on A1 Lisboa - portagem (toll) and Feira
Stay on the A1 for a long way south
(Expect to pay about 10 euros for all the tolls - it is generally worth it to avoid traffic jams)
Exit the A1 at SECOND exit at Junction 13 IC3 Viseu Coimbra Norte (NOT Figueira da Foz)
Head east on the IC3 for about 30 minutes
(It might be slightly better to go east on the A25 and approach Santa Comba Dão from the direction of Viseu. There's probably not much in it time or cost-wise.)
Exit the IP3 at the sign for Santa Comba Dão and Granjal
Almost immediately at the fork, bear right to Santa Comba Dão, under the motorway
Go up the hill, over the traffic lights, and bear right into the town
At the roundabout, take the first exit right
(From now on, watch for speed bumps at pedestrian crossings and maybe a few potholes)
The Arcada café on the right has free WiFi
Continue out of town past the Lidl and Intermarché Supermarkets
After about 1.5km, just past the ECOCENTRO sign, turn left into Pregoinho
Watch again for maybe a few potholes
The property is 750m on the right, at the junction of Rua Seixo and Rua Lavoiera, behind a long wall
Turn right up Rua Lavoiera and you will find the gate for cars - it's not very wide, so be careful
The gate motor does not work yet, so simply slide the gate open manually
Welcome to the house!

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Directions From The Airport (toll-free)

These directions are from PORTO airport, the closest to the house. At the time of writing (April 2014), these are all non-toll routes, but you are advised to make your own checks.

Alternatively, you can drive to the house more quickly (but somewhat more expensively and more boringly) using a route that has tolls.

You could even drive from England, and that's not as difficult or expensive as it sounds, especially with two or more people in the car. I do it all the time.

Start at AIRPORT - if necessary return there [Chegadas OR Saidas]
DO NOT follow the "Porto Braga saida" to "VR1 - Porto - A41 Maia - A3 - A4 - A28 - ESPANHA"...
Instead bear LEFT at the big blue sign (as if going back into Partidas and Chegadas)
Take the first exit right at the roundabout and head for EN107 (N107) Pedras Rubras and Crestins
(You may in fact be already starting on this road if you took a bus to the car hire company)
Continue towards the N107 past the "Ar e Sol" café on the left
Join the N107 by going straight over the large roundabout and over the metro tracks (careful!)
Continue on the N107 for about 2 km until the N13 roundabout
Take the first exit onto the N13 south
Filter onto the N13/N14 south
Bear left towards Pte Freixo A1 Lisboa A3 Braga A4 V. Real, Carvalhido and Prelada
Stay right towards Pte Freixo A1 Lisboa A3 Braga A4 V. Real
Loop 270 degrees right onto the IC23 and follow all signs to Pte Freixo and A1 Lisboa
Stay on the motorway for a few kilometres and and cross the bridge (Ponte do Freixo) over the Rio Douro
Keep left on A1 Lisboa - portagem (toll) and Feira
At junction 18B EXIT THE MOTORWAY to N1 Carvalhos Grijó - OR YOU WILL PAY A TOLL!
At the roundabout, take the THIRD exit (Rua Boavista) to go over the motorway
This begins to look a little industrial, but it is the correct route
Cross over the next roundabout
At the next roundabout after that, take the N1 south towards Lisboa and Picoto
Expect a variety of driving conditions as it changes from N1 to IC2 and back seemingly at random
Keep on this road for many kilometres and admire the sights all the way to Mealhada
Once you see the Restaurante Snack-Bar CHAFARIZ on the right, prepare to go left at the next roundabout
You will pass the Bar ESCORPIÃO to your right at the roundabout
Take the third exit east on the N234 through Luso, and Mortagua to Santa Comba Dão
(From now on, watch for speed bumps at pedestrian crossings and maybe a few potholes)
Go into Santa Comba Dão
At the roundabout, bear slightly left up into the town
(From now on, watch for speed bumps at pedestrian crossings and maybe a few potholes)
The Arcada café on the right has free WiFi - you can park in the next road on the right
Continue out of town past the Lidl and Intermarché Supermarkets
After about 1.5km, just past the ECOCENTRO sign, turn left into Pregoinho
Watch again for maybe a few potholes
The property is 750m on the right, at the junction of Rua Seixo and Rua Lavoiera, behind a long wall
Turn right up Rua Lavoiera and you will find the gate for cars - it's not very wide, so be careful
The gate motor does not work yet, so simply slide the gate open manually
Welcome to the house!

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Directions By Road (low toll, from England)

It's actually better to pay some of the tolls! But if you are not in a hurry, not all. From England this low-toll route could cost less than €25 in tolls, saving maybe €70 or more, and only taking two or three hours longer than the quickest full-toll route. It will also be much more scenic. Possibly the best way to get into Spain from England is to follow the latest advice from "minimum-toll routes through France". This also gives you the options for a completely no-toll route.

Then...
Once you are in Spain you will be on the AP-8.
Exit at Junction 24 towards N-1 Lasarte-Oria Toloda A-15 Iruña Pamplona
Stay on the A-1/N-1 towards Vitoria-Gasteiz, Miranda de Ebro and Burgos
Just before Miranda de Ebro, avoid the AP-1 exit at Jct 328 Burgos, but continue straight for N-1/A-1 Burgos

After leaving Vitoria if you are following the non-toll route you can follow the signs for AP-1 (toll) and take that toll road free as far as Ameyugo. You have to take a ticket but hand it in at the Ameyugo exit and there is no charge. This free section takes you round Miranda de Ebro centre. There are road signs telling you (in Spanish) about the free section.

Before Burgos the N-1 turns back into the A-1. Stay on this and bear right to A-1 Madrid Valladolid León
Follow A-62 Valladolid A-231 León
Stay on the A-62 Valladolid, Salamanca, and eventually to Ciudad Rodrigo and Portugal

In France and Spain there is always the opportunity to pay an operator at a toll booth, though it can be quicker to simply slide your credit card into the machines at the automated barriers appropriately marked with a credit card logo. The Spanish A-62 changes in Portugal into the A25 "electronic-only toll" motorway, therefore, to cope with this rather confusing piece of Portuguese insanity you WILL NEED to visit the "Welcome Point" in the Alto de Leomil Service Area (about 10km after the Portuguese border) to set up "electronic-only tolls". Here you associate your credit card with your vehicle number plate (EASYToll) - see here for a detailed description and map - there are also alternative toll payment schemes - also see Portugal Tolls (English). Note that if you don't arrange to pay the tolls beforehand, and subsequently use an "electronic-only" toll route, if they catch up with you (however unlikely that seems to be at the time of writing) you may be liable for a significant fine! The EASYToll system is probably the easiest to set up, but if you stay for a long time note that the ticket is valid for only 30 days. Once set up, you can use any "electronic-only toll" motorway in Portugal without worry for 30 days. Ensure you keep the machine receipt as evidence. However, also note that this is NOT the same as "Via Verde" so on non-electronic toll roads, you still need to pay the tolls manually. In fact, for very long stays and/or lots of varied motorway use you might want to consider renting or even buying a Via Verde transponder, which is valid on ALL Portuguese motorways without stopping.

Having said all that, it really isn't worth it unless you prefer the scenic route, but if you wish to avoid about €8.50 worth of tolls, you can plan your own route from Spain and follow the N16 round the north of the Serra da Estrela and then onto the N234 towards Santa Comba Dão... otherwise...
Stay on the A25 "electronic-only toll" motorway past Guarda all the way to Viseu and exit there at Junction 17 IP3 Coimbra Tondela
Follow the IP3 south past Tondela towards Coimbra and Figueira da Foz
Exit the IP3 at the Vila Pouca and Treixedo junction and turn right towards Vila Pouca
(From now on, watch for speed bumps at pedestrian crossings and maybe a few potholes)
After about 4 km, past the forest fire warning board, at the ECOCENTRO sign turn right into Pregoinho
Watch again for maybe a few potholes
The property is 750m on the right, at the junction of Rua Seixo and Rua Lavoiera, behind a long wall
Turn right up Rua Lavoiera and you will find the gate for cars - it's not very wide, so be careful
The gate motor does not work yet, so simply slide the gate open manually
Welcome to the house!

Minimum-toll routes through France

Minimum-toll routes through Spain - enter Portugal via Salamanca towards Guarda and Viseu.

How to pay the electronic tolls (former SCUTS)

Portugal Tolls (English)

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Directions By Road (low toll, back to England)

It's actually better to pay some of the tolls! But if you are not in a hurry, not all. To England this low-toll route could cost less than €25 in tolls, saving maybe €70 or more, and only taking two or three hours longer than the quickest full-toll route. It will also be much more scenic. The recommended route back to England is as follows. You will be familiar with how the toll routes operate now, so this is somewhat abbreviated. Just make sure you still have a valid way of using the electronic-only toll motorways!

Leave the house and turn left towards the main road, and past the ECOCENTRO
Turn left at the Café Cruz towards Tondela
After about 4km take the IP3 left towards Viseu
Do not exit at Viseu but instead join the A25 electronic-only toll motorway towards ESPANHA
Stay on the A25 all the way to the Spanish border
The A25 becomes the Spanish A-62 - follow it to Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca, Valladolid, Burgos
Keep left and take the A-1 N-1 lane towards Vitoria
Stay on the A-1 until exit at Junction 242 towards A-1 Vitoria - avoid AP-1
Loop 270 degrees right and stay on the A-1 Vitoria
At Junction 251 keep LEFT heading for N-1 Briviesca Vitoria - avoid AP-1 Vitoria
Stay on the N-1 Vitoria Bilbao - avoid AP-1 Burgos Vitoria
Skirt round Miranda de Ebro on the AP-1 for no toll (though you will need to take a ticket)
Exiting the N-1 at Ameyugo signposted E-5 E-80 AP-1 Miranda de Ebro Vitoria Logroño Bilbao.
Head for Vitoria.
At Junction 325 the N-1 turns back into the A-1 - head for Vitoria-Gasteiz
Stay on the A-1 past Vitoria all the way through the mountains towards San Sebastián
Stay left at Junction 452 and beyond to AP-1 AP-8 Pasaia Irun Baiona (Bayonne)
Stay on the AP-8 to the French border

From here it is simply a matter of reversing the route you took coming down - i.e. see "minimum-toll routes through France". This also gives you the options for a completely no-toll route.

Minimum-toll routes through France

Minimum-toll routes through Spain - leave Portugal towards Salamanca from Guarda.

Portugal Tolls (English)

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