Posted January 24th, 2012, 10:39 AM
There are three cruise ship terminals in Lisbon, none have car rental on site. The terminals are (from west to east): Alcântara, Rocha Conde de Óbidos, Santa Apolónia
Alcântara and Rocha are the two old terminals. They very close to each other (about 800m, 1/2 mile, but you can't walk it due to the container depot between the terminals). From a practical point of view Rocha is very inconvenient (draw bridge pedestrian access only, no public transportation) and Alcântara is convenient (taxis portside, train adjacent).
Santa Apolónia is the new terminal, and far better and more convenient. It is the most commonly used terminal these days, with Alcântara and Rocha serving only as overflow. With some luck you will be at Santa Apolónia.
I have prepared a Google Map
for you. Here you can see the location of the cruise ship terminals and other relevant transportation.
Now on to your specific questions:
1) easy to reach car rentals from cruise terminal?
None are too bad, but it really depends on your cruise ship terminal.
If arriving at Santa Apolónia cruise ship terminal, you can rent from a low-cost car rental outfit (InterRent
) right there at the train station directly across from the cruise ship terminal. They advertise rates as low as €6.99 a day, but I have never rented from them and can't vouch for their quality or service. €6.99 seems too good to be true, though, so watch out.
The normal international rental car agencies are elsewhere. I marked on the map the Hertz station that Hlitner mentioned, which is best accessed by taxi. Avis and Sixt have offices at the Oriente station, which can easily be reached by train from either Santa Apolónia or Alcântara terminals.
If arriving at the Alcântara Terminal, you may want to consider picking up your car at the suburban locations of Hertz in Cascais or Avis in Estoril. Cascais and Estoril are going to be on most tourist itineraries anyway, and these rental offices are right outside train stations with a scenic direct service from the station adjacent to the Alcântara cruise ship terminal. For Avis, get off at the Estoril station and Avis is adjacent. For Hertz, get off at the Monte Estoril station and Hertz is just up a very short hill (100m) from the station.
Of course all these car rental companies and then some also have locations at the airport. But I would avoid the airport, because the airport imposes about 30 euros in extra fees. Only use the airport if you need a car when the city or suburban locations are closed. Check their hours.
2) ever been to Coimbra?
Yes. Check out the university. On your way up from Lisbon to Coimbra make sure you stop at Tomar (templars convent, a UNESCO site) and Batalha, and give those sites some time. If you are of the appropriate religion you may also find Fátima an interesting stop.
3) have experiences to share of your time in the Douro Valley?
We spend time there in the summer, cruising the Douro and all. In November it will be slow, quite slow, cold and very possibly wet. Try to get some vineyard tours in, plan ahead.
Not sure why you plan on driving back down to Lisbon. You can fly out of Porto (OPO). As far as I know, none of the majors (Avis, Hertz) change for one-way drop-offs within the country. There are nonstop flights from Porto to Newark and to many european airports where you can connect to home.
Let me know if you need anything else.