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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Require itinerary help with Spain and beyond

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Hello again fellow Fodorites.
I have come up against some planning difficulties with our next European holiday.

Our plan is to see Spain and Portugal - for the first time - and combine this with visiting selected places in two of our favourite countries. Switzerland and Italy!

I usually begin the planning process by selecting an entry/exit city; jot down the places we would like to visit in between those two cities and finally work out how long in each place to stay.
Unfortunately, I am having a lot of trouble working out the entry city AND the basic itinerary leading up to the exit city of Rome due solely to the geographic difficulties of logically navigating to the next stop and need your help :-)

To outline the trip:

* The start of our trip is not until around April, 2016
* Entry city must be either Barcelona or Madrid (using SIA or EMIRATES)
* Exit city will be Rome
* We plan to visit the following countries/bases:

SPAIN:
Barcelona (Girona, Tarragona day trips?)
Madrid (Toledo, Segovia and El Escorial day trips?)
Grenada (Malaga, Ronda, Marbella day trips?)
Seville (Cordoba, Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz day trips?)
San Sebastian

PORTUGAL:
Lisbon (Sintra, Fatima day trip?)
Porto

SWITZERLAND:
Brienz

ITALY:
Bologna
Cinque Terre
Florence
Rome

FRANCE:
Sete
Lyon

* We plan to catch a train from Barcelona to Sete and visit friends for a few days. Then train again to Brienz in Switzerland via Lyon (which we would like to see for a few hours if possible) and whatever other Swiss city is required as a change station.
*From Brienz we wish to travel to Italy and our first stay will probably be Bologna.

I know it sounds like a lot of places to see, but we have allowed NINE weeks for the trip - my wife will be retired by then and I have owed leave :-)

I found the biggest hurdle trying to figure out how to get around Spain and Portugal with San Sebastian thrown in the mix - my wife is extremely keen to visit SS.
Spain on its own is a bit of a doddle with their AVE high-speed rail system. However, adding in Portugal and SS is an itinerary nightmare.

Also, because we plan to leave for Switzerland (via France) from Barcelona, we ideally would like that city to be the final Spanish destination.

In addition, it seems that Sete to Brienz AND Brienz to Bologna is a bit of a marathon train event.

Any and all suggestions will be most welcome.

Thank you in advance and warm regards,

Steve

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