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10 day itinerary for Portugal and Spain

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Mar 25th, 2012, 07:24 PM
  #1
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10 day itinerary for Portugal and Spain

My husband and I arrive in Lisbon on Sept. 23rd and fly out of Barcelona on Oct. 3rd. We love exploring towns, villages, and the countryside as well as the beaches and coastline much more than museums and art galleries. Food and wine tasting are a favourite of ours. A couple of questions for you!

1. Should we rent a car, travel north of Lisbon and explore northern Portugal and Spain and on to Barcelona? OR:
2. Should we venture south of Lisbon to Algarve by renting a car, then train to Seville and Andalusia, possibly rent another car in Seville and travel up the east coast to Barcelona?

We of course want to make good use of our time away. Any suggestions or other ideas would be appreciated!

Justjo
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Mar 25th, 2012, 07:33 PM
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You really have nine days for sightseeing and every time you move you lose time.

Please look at the miles that you want to cover.

If you drive north you could fly from Santiago to Barcelona with Vueling. But the roads are not super highways and it will take longer than you think.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 07:39 PM
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I have only been to Spain once, and I haven't been to Portugal, but it seems to me that you are including too many destinations for a 10-day trip. Have you actually made your airline reservations? To give you an example, we spent 5 days in Barcelona and then went on a 3 night/4 day roadtrip up the Costa Brava (north of Barcelona)& spent one night in Cadaques & 2 nights in Girona. Are you planning on sightseeing in Andalusia, too? If you rent your car in Lisbon & drop it off in Barcelona, I think you will pay a hefty drop-off charge, too.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 08:17 PM
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That is true, I forgot about the ridiculous drop off fees. There are Vueling flights between Lisboa and Barcelona.
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Mar 26th, 2012, 10:08 AM
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Your favorites are food and wine tasting. Well that leaves out much time on places with museums.
Rent a car in Lisbon, spent two nights there then drive down to the Algarve. Stop on the way in the Alentejo province, some of the best Portuguese wine comes from there. Enjoy the beaches of the West Algarve and the great food. If you make it to Aljezur, taste the sweet potato dishes.
When in Algarve, traveling by train to Seville is a pain. You need to take a bus, much faster. Drop the car in Faro, take the bus to Seville, around 3 1/2 hours. You might want to hire a car in Seville to explore Granada and see the Alhambra.
Fly from Seville to Barcelona (many budget flights) because the drive takes about 10 hours (Spain is one of the biggest European countries) You might want to look into an over night train to Barcelona. 10 days is a bit of a hassle for such a distance. Over night buses are available too, but a bit shaky.
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Mar 26th, 2012, 12:13 PM
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You need at least 4 or 5 full days to see Barcelona (more is even better, it's a great place). Lisbon is smaller and doesn't need as much time. Consider splitting your time between the 2 cities (maybe 6-7 days Barcelona and 3-4 Lisbon), and fly between the 2 of them. You can easily do day trips (having a car in either city is not necessary) from either city by train. If you really want to go on a car adventure, set aside 2 or 3 days to explore the area near one of the cities (kwoo has some good recs for near Barcelona).
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Mar 26th, 2012, 12:45 PM
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Greater Lisbon demands 5 days.
The Algarve deserves 5 days.
Seville and Andalusia require 10 days.
It takes a day just to get to BCE, and it demands 4 days.

I would stay in Portugal for your short time.
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Mar 26th, 2012, 09:29 PM
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Thank you all for your helpful suggestions. Unfortunately we only have the 10 days to tour around so will probably split our time between the two cities and take day trips by train and possibly car. What are the must-sees near each city? The area around Barcelona sounds very interesting so a car trip there might be fun. Any other ideas about that?

Also, could you please suggest hotels for Lisbon and Barcelona that are very nice and good locations. Not sure how much we will have to spend/night!

Thanks,
Justjo
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Mar 26th, 2012, 11:32 PM
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As noted above, a car in either city is not recommended. If you want to visit a town outside of Barcelona, the trains are very efficient. Same thing from Lisboa, if you want to visit Sintra, take the train.


As an aside, the Portguese have backed out of the planned high speed train between Madrid and Lisboa.
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Mar 27th, 2012, 06:40 AM
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We stayed in Hotel Inglaterra in Barcelona and Hotel Marques de Pombal in Lisbon. Both 3*s, good locations (walkable to much, and near public transportation), reasonable and very nice overall. The rooms in Inglaterra are a bit small, but it's manageable. They both also have very nice breakfasts included.
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Mar 27th, 2012, 07:54 AM
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You can take the train from Barcelona to Girona; it's only a one-hour ride, i belive. We stayed there for 2 nights because we rented a car & were on the roadtrip I mentioned earlier. But if you don't want to rent a car, it's very easy to take the train to Girona for a day. It's a lovely city with a very interesting medieval center, cathedral, art museum, old wall that circles the city that you can walk on. We loved it!

We stayed at Hotel Gran Via in Barcelona in the Eixample neighborhood. Excellent location & reasonably priced. We did have one problem, however. Because our flight arrived early in the morning, our room was not ready. We left our luggage at the front desk while we went out walking around. When we returned in the afternoon, we discovered that my husband's backpack was missing, and was never found. Hopefully, this sort of thing doesn't happen too often.
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Mar 27th, 2012, 08:56 AM
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Wherever you go my advise is to stay put and enjoy and absorb the place and culture you are in. It is so much more enjoyable than renting a car and driving from "must see" to "must see".
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Mar 27th, 2012, 05:08 PM
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You might look into any specials that the Pousadas are offering. We had a great 6night/5day car deal from them a couple of years ago an it worked out to a total of just over 600E..These are 4/5 star hotels and the breakfasts are worth every penny if the rest of the deal leaves anything to be desired..You are trying to cram alot in but it is doable as an appetizer for another trip..(www.pousadas.pt)Lisbon is great.Porto is special, Barcelona is outstanding and points in between WOW!!!Have a wonderful time. BTW take a rain poncho and/or an umbrella..When it rains it pours!!!
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Mar 29th, 2012, 07:54 AM
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Hi! As you might see my nickname is HiLisbon, so I will talk mostly about this city!


1. All of Portugal is beautiful yet very small, so it's very doable if you hire a car, so that will be a great option. To a fast sightseeing in Lisbon I would recommend you to check the city and the Great Lisbon area which will need to include Sintra, Óbidos, Cascais and Estoril in the coastline. That would take you 4 days at least. If you aren't much about the city then you wouldn't need more than a day in the city area, that will let you with plenty of time to check the other places. But doing also the north of Portugal could be challenging. So you could also decide see Lisbon and Cascais for example, and then head to Porto and check Aveiro's beaches which are less crowded than the Algarve ones. Barra,Costa Nova, Torreira, all of them great places to be. End of September is normally still warm at day so your timing is good.

2. If you like sandy beaches I don't see why not. But driving all the way there might be a bit too much. I would suggest you go from lisbon along Portugal's coast to Faro and the head to Sevilla. That might be a good plan.

Hope this helps a bit!

Regards,
Flavio
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