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2 week trip planning - Lisbon, Madrid, Istanbul, Stockholm

2 week trip planning - Lisbon, Madrid, Istanbul, Stockholm

Old Feb 21st, 2024, 03:50 AM
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2 week trip planning - Lisbon, Madrid, Istanbul, Stockholm

Hi,

I would like some suggestions for my trip to Europe which will be in the first 2 weeks of September. I normally book business class reward tickets and I let the reward availability determine where I am going lol; as long as I actually am interested in the destination. My outbound flight is into Lisbon and my return flight is from Stockholm.

The current plan is 4 nights in Lisbon, 4 nights in Madrid, 5 nights in Istanbul and 2 nights in Stockholm. I will be flying between all cities. I like old towns, nice sights/architecture, museums and food. I am open to all suggestions as I said my trips are usually driven by award availability so I am not married to much of it. The only thing I am married to is 5 nights in Istanbul. I am open to changing the rest of the trip.

I have wanted to visit Lisbon for a while and everyone I know who has been there loved it. Most people I know have been there 2-3 nights. Is 4 too many?

Madrid I am open to changing as long as it's a city with direct flight or train of less than 4 hours and is on the way to Istanbul. Is 4 nights too long?

The other option I was thinking was 3 nights in Lisbon and 5 nights in Rome.
My only real requirement is whatever city I choose next must have a direct flight to Istanbul.

Istanbul is a must and so is 5 nights enough? Been wanting to visit it for a long time. Stockholm I am indifferent to. It looks nice in the pictures but really only chose it because it had the cheapest outbound business class ticket for my dates and looks interesting enough. It also has direct flights from Istanbul. So I am only staying 2 nights.

I already have my hotels picked out for Istanbul and Stockholm. Any suggestions for Lisbon and Madrid?

Thank you!
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Old Feb 21st, 2024, 05:43 AM
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4 nights is not too long for Lisbon or Madrid. We spent 5 nights in Lisbon and that included a daytrip to Sintra. We actually could have used an extra night in Lisbon.

We spent 4 nights in Madrid and I wish we had an extra night there, too. Are you interested in visiting Toledo? We spent a night in Toledo. Many people visit Toledo as a daytrip from Madrid. If you plan on visiting Toledo as a daytrip from Madrid, then I would recommend adding an extra night to Madrid.

Haven’t been to Istanbul or Stockholm so I can’t comment on those cities. Do you think it’s worth it to fly to Stockholm for 2 nights? Maybe spend those 2 nights in Toledo instead? Less traveling around means more time at your destinations.
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Old Feb 21st, 2024, 07:19 AM
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I agree with KarenWoo; 4 nights is not too long for Lisbon or Madrid. And 5 nights in Istanbul will give you a really good taste of the city. It sounds like a good, yet diverse, sampling of cities. If you can't take any more time and this gets you the best route for your mileage, you'll have a great trip!
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Old Feb 21st, 2024, 08:45 AM
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Four nights each in Lisbon and Madrid would be the minimum IMO, especially since youíre probably going to be jet lagged in the former.

Five nights in Istanbul will be great, a city Iím always happy to go back to. Apart from the usual Sultanahmet sights, do visit the Chora or Kariye Church and spend at least half a day on one of the Princes islands in the Bosphorus. I enjoyed climbing up the Galata Tower, and the views from there, though I believe itís one of the lesser attractions in town. And of course half a day at the hammam!

We spent only 3 days in Stockholm and hence missed some things. I particularly liked the Vasa museum, walking around Gamla Stan which was the ancient citadel and the City Hall where the Nobel banquet is held every year. And of course the Abba museum, probably one of the most fav groups of my generation!

BTW, I love your way of getting award tickets, unusual, but to be explored nonetheless!

Last edited by geetika; Feb 21st, 2024 at 08:48 AM.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2024, 01:46 AM
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You are not spending too long in any of those cities, though, if you enjoy modern and contemporary art and photography, you might want to add another day in Stockholm, to see Moderna Museet and Fotografiska. You also might enjoy taking a ferry ride into the archipelago. Like geetika, I also enjoy walking around Gamla Stan, and visiting the Stockholm City Hall. The open air museum of Skansen is another popular attraction worth mentioning. Stockholm is beautiful.

When in Lisbon, definitely try to get to Sintra. It's easy to get to by train.

I agree with KarenWoo's suggestion to see Toledo while in Madrid. It's also easy to get to by train.

Last edited by Diamantina; Feb 22nd, 2024 at 01:49 AM.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2024, 02:09 AM
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I would skip Stockholm and redistribute those nights elsewhere. As one example, can you extend Madrid by spending a couple of night in Toledo? Or any number of other choices?

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Old Feb 22nd, 2024, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by shelemm
I would skip Stockholm and redistribute those nights elsewhere. As one example, can you extend Madrid by spending a couple of night in Toledo? Or any number of other choices?
The OP can't really delete Stockholm unless he can find an equally cheap awards flight from somewhere else. That might be a unicorn so the current flights are likely set in stone.

Travel_To_Eat: As much a 5 nights in Istanbul would be great, I do think something has to give. 4 nights nets you 3 days, so especially very little for Lisbon. Being your arrival city and with jet lag and such you won't have very much for seeing/doing. I'd take a night from Istanbul and add it to Lisbon. I'd actually want another in Madrid too but then that would cut Istanbul too short. so 5 nights Lisbon, 4 - Madrid, 4 - Istanbul, 2 - Stockholm.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2024, 01:11 PM
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Travel_to_Eat, a really great thing about being a museum-lover in Madrid, is that some of the museums, such as Reina Sofia and the Prado, stay open late most nights, so if you don't get around to visiting them during the day, you can get around to them at night. Though during free hours these museums might get a little crowded, especially around popular artworks like Picasso's Guenica. If going at night, I'd try to get in at least an hour before free hours begin (that's what I did last time and it worked out great).

Also, because people start only going out to dinner at 9 p.m.and often much later, you can make the most of your days and nights.

Don't miss Madrid's Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. The permanent collection and temporary exhibitions are outstanding.

It's also worth checking the exhibition schedule for Caixa Forum.

The aforermentioned museums are not far from one another.

Last edited by Diamantina; Feb 22nd, 2024 at 01:25 PM.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2024, 03:01 PM
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Difference of opinion here. I have been to all the places you mention and think Stockholm is deserving of at least three days (we recently spend five nights there and loved it). I think time in Madrid could easily be reduced--the museums are very good (and the evenings are fun), but you won't, in my opinion, miss anything important if you cut the time there back. Frankly, in three trips to Spain, I found Madrid one of the least interesting places. And I hated Toledo (too many knife shops and over-touristed). I think you should stick to the large cities you want to see, and leave a more in depth trip for another time. If you are not set on Madrid, consider Barcelona which I loved, or your other suggestion, Rome. You'll need to look into flights from Lisbon to see what works best.

For Istanbul, I think you could reduce that to four days to make more time for Stockholm. Some of the things suggested above may not be open. I know that the Chora Church has been closed for some time (it still was last October; I haven't heard it reopened).

Best of luck.
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Old Mar 5th, 2024, 11:36 AM
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Thanks for all the replies on this. It was helpful. The wife squashed the Istanbul idea, so back to the drawing board.

Now thinking of making it a Spain trip with the arrival and departure destinations remaining the same.

Another option I will consider is maybe take a plane to Morocco for a few nights as her highness always wanted to visit that country.
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Old Mar 5th, 2024, 02:39 PM
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Visit what the wife wants to visit (speaking as a wife). I have always wanted to go to Morocco, but for at least a week.
Istanbul is one of our favorite cities, and even a week would not be too much, but I would definitely want to see more of Turkey because Cappadocia is amazing as are sites like Ephesus. Turkey was high on my wish list for years. It met every expectation.
Spain may still be hot, but if you sight-see in the mornings and see cool museums, nap or relax by a pool in the mid-afternoon and stay out late, it is so much fun, plus a beautiful country. Allot as much time as possible there.
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Old Mar 7th, 2024, 12:56 PM
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Four nights in Lisbon would be the minimum, especially with some side trips.
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Old Mar 8th, 2024, 05:04 PM
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I hope you can convince your wife to visit Istanbul with you one day, preferably for a longer visit during which you can visit other areas of the country.
But, Istanbul, in and of itself, is fascinating, where East and West come together and where ancient traditions and cultural institutions exist alongside modern life.
I don't think you can go wrong with Spain.
Whatever you decide, have a wonderful time.
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