Italy or Portugal?

DH and I are planning a trip for October to celebrate my bday and our 30 th anniversary. We were in Italy about 15 years ago...Tuscany, Umbria, Florence. We were thinking of another trip to Italy...Rome and north or Rome and south. Then a friend just returned from Lisbon and the Azores and said it was great (and cheap). This got us to thinking maybe Portugal is in our future? Thoughts?

I am in Italy in May to try to put some finishing touches on starting up group trips to Italy, maybe as early as the fall...I am happy to share some ideas with you since Tuscany and Umbria are the center of my contacts there and where the trips are likely to take place. You cant go wrong with a trip to Portugal and Spain either. The economy in Europe has created a lot of very good opportunities for travel. One thing I am finding in piecing together possible itineraries is not finding things to do and places to visit, but limiting it. You can contact me directly through the other channels we are connected by. oh oh

judy3x said:

We were thinking of another trip to Italy

Whenever someone posts "I was thinking of X," my usual reaction is, well, just do that. oh oh I know people who go to the same area of Tuscany virtually every year and never tire of it.

6 million people visit Portugal every year. 40 million travel to Italy. There is a reason for that. I've been to both and IMHO there is no contest. Portugal was lovely. I've been once and I enjoyed it but I don't need to go back. Italy on the other hand is someplace I could go to every year and never get tired of.

Since this is a big anniversary I would combine incredible sightseeing with fabulous romance.

Start in Rome and depending on how much time you have, spend 3 - 5 days.

Take a guided tour of the coliseum/forum , visit the Vatican Museums, take an evening walking tour of the incredibly beautiful piazzas including Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, Visit the Borghese galleries and gardens.

Then spend a 3 to 7 days at the Amalfi Coast. Stay here - even if it is for just one night. ( actually in Sorrento) . I promise it will be the trip of a lifetime.

While staying at the Amalfi Coast you can spend a day in Pompeii, a day in Capri, a day touring the beautiful villages of the Amalfi coast, Amalfi , Positano and Ravella. Except if you stay at the Bellevue you will never ever want to leave it.

Have a wonderful trip.

We honeymooned in Italy so I'm extremely biased, but I would go back in a heartbeat. Our 10-year anniversary is coming up and I used to have grand plans that we would go back to celebrate but it's not in the cards right now. We were there in June but I hear it's glorious in the fall!

If you haven't done Rome it is a must see, and there's nothing bad in my opinion in the rest of Italy, either. Venice is spouse's personal favorite (has a general fantasy about spending retirement sitting in any little town in Italy drinking wine with the old, Italian men). Adored Positano. GO!!

What sarahzm said. We did a Context tour of the Vatican and a Walks of Italy (or something like that) of the Coliseum. We preferred the latter but that may have been a function of the guide and the other members of the tour as well as the material itself. In any case, both merit a guided tour to punctuate the inevitable wandering and getting lost in Rome when you explore on your own. If you are going north, consider Venice (not sure how weather is in October though). I thought it was magical, in a way that Florence for all its massive art history classes brought to life was not (though obviously glad we also went to Florence).

I've only been to Portugal once (and enjoyed it, except for the food poisoning in Porto) but I've returned to Italy several times since my first visit there - that will tell you which one I prefer!

My husband is from Italy so we visit his parents every year year (sometimes twice in a year) and I never tire of visiting Italy. There are just so many places, cultures and cuisine to explore. I'm spending the month there this July! YIPPEE!

Now, I'm also visiting Portugal for the first time in about a week. I hear wonderful things about Portugal and I can't wait to visit, but I doubt it can top my bella Italia....

Italy is the most beautiful country on earth. It's a no brainer.

I spent two weeks in Italy 16 years ago. We started in Rome, went South, and spent a few nights on the island of Capri (Blue Grotto), then a few nights in Positano on the Amalfi coast. From there we went on the train North to Florence and on to Cinque Terre (sp?) which is the Italian Riviera. We ended the trip spending three nights in Rome. It was amazing. I am still upset I missed Pompei and Sienna though. The food was the best.
The biggest challenge is alternating between touring and relaxing.
Sounds like a happy problem...

My vote would be for Portugal but this is just a matter of personal preference. I'm guessing that you will enjoy whichever you pick.

@mcgoey it's so true. For our honeymoon we intentionally erred on the side of relaxing. We did 3 days in Florence and then parked in Montepulciano for a week. It was so heavenly to just "live" in the hilltown for a week and really absorb it. We went to every restaurant, visited all of the wineries, and pretty much explored every inch of the little town. Other than a hike a few miles over to Pienza, we didn't tour other towns. So while it was perfect and I wouldn't change it, there's so much more in the country that I'm aching to see!!

I spent about 2/3 weeks in Portugal when I got out of college - many MANY years ago - and have been to Italy several times, most recently exactly a year ago. I think it depends on how often you go to Europe. If this is the kind of trip you expect to take only 1 or 2 more times in your life, then Id say Italy. It is just so beautiful, fascinating, delicious, etc etc etc. If you travel regularly then I'd say Portugal is a nice change. The food is very good, the people are nice, the sites are pleasant and interesting. It's a nice and much less expensive trip. But I wouldn't go unless you know that you'll have several more opportunities to go to Europe.

If you are looking for hotels check out these hotels.

Italy, unless you're on a budget.


You don't have to stay there but you do have to visit.

This is all great information. We get to Europe every 5 or so years...maybe we'll go more now that we are empty nesters (one can hope, right?). I'm inclined to go back to Italy, when we were there last, we loved just driving around the countryside and taking in all the small towns. We didn't do Rome, but I feel like we can't not do it again.

My vote is Italy as we have gone twice a year for 17 years. I loved Portugal but all of places I have lived or travelled to, Italy is my hands down favorite. Great food, scenery, language, people, romance and plenty of diverse options from country, beaches, small cities and large cities. Don't skip a visit to Rome, while not as "beautiful" as Paris, it has a grit and vibrancy all its own.

If you have firm travel dates, I highly recommend contacting the Vatican and seeing the Scavi. It's underneath St. Peter's and access is limited, but a remarkable place. Go to and make reservations, the Vatican will contact you and you will meet at the Swiss guards and see things very few people have seen and many don't know exists. Also make reservations at the Borghese Gallery, fabulous Bernini sculptures and you have two hours at the museum and won't be disappointed in the art or the villa. Go to for reservations.

Buon Viaggio

Both places are great; it depends on what you want. A friend says Portugal reminds him of Italy of thirty years ago. I'm not a beach person, and have spent a bit of time in Portugal, from Lisbon north to the Spanish border. I'll gladly avoid the beer swilling English in the Algarve. Porto is very atmospheric, and the Douro wine region is spectacular:

Love, love, love Rome but do NOT stay in the shopping touristy area near Spanish steps etc.

Just saw this on NYTimes website. I didn't actually watch the video, but it does seem timely.

Thirty-Six Hours in Lisbon:

@soresident Thank you for posting that. Loved the 2 photos of Verona. I lived there for 4 years growing up. The next to the last photo in the series, was very much like the view from the balcony off my bedroom growing up.

I wish they'd let someone else take a stab at post-production of these photos.
They're all oversaturated.

But...I still want to go.

We went to Portugal once and don't need to do it again, although it was lovely. Italy, however, we could go back to again and again and again and not see the same places twice, although many areas are well worth doing repeatedly. Similarly, we would both go back to Spain again and again and again. We have even considered moving to Spain. But not Portugal. Which is not to say it isn't nice, but there are places we like a LOT more.

Wow! Such great advice...I think we are really leaning towards Italy...thanks all. I'll be back for more suggestions when we begin to nail down the areas.

we leave in 6.5 weeks! counting down (italia)

In order to add a comment – you must Join this community – Click here to do so.

Sponsored Business

Find Business


Advertise here!