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6+ weeks in Portugal and Spain - itinerary suggestions pls

6+ weeks in Portugal and Spain - itinerary suggestions pls

Old Oct 17th, 2014, 01:01 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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6+ weeks in Portugal and Spain - itinerary suggestions pls

We leave Toronto for the winter and have usually booked our plans earlier than this but circumstances required we wait until now. I just booked our air for 7 weeks departing mid January for Lisbon and returning from Madrid the first week of March (with 4 days in Amsterdam at the end thanks to a great KLM deal)

We've done similar European winter trips before so are well aware of the weather issues - it's always better than Toronto!

We like a combo of staying in apartments and a driving holiday - I'm thinking the following rough itinerary - haven't been to any of these destinations before except Amsterdam

- 3 weeks Lisbon (explore/markets/cook/day trips)
- pick up rental car and take 2 weeks to get to Madrid - via Seville, Gibraltar, Granada (and other, less touristy spots?)
- 1 week in Madrid
- 4 nights in Amsterdam - have to see the museums since they reopened

The timing is fluid - less time in Lisbon/more somewhere else is possible.

Appreciate ideas for our time between Lisbon and Madrid -- just starting to look at options now.

Also any 1 bedroom apartment suggestions in Lisbon or Madrid - thanks!
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2014, 01:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Well you can drive to Seville via Evora, a neat town in Portugal's cork growing region - then drive down to the Algarve - Tavira there I found to be a very very neat place near the Spanish border.

Cross the newish bridge here to Spain and head for Seville.

Near Seville don't miss Jerez-de-la-Frontera - a so-so city but known for two stellar things - Sherry Wine Houses and tours and the Andalusian Horse Practices where these behemoth equines are put thru the paces at frequent rehearsals.

This and Cadiz could be on the way to Gibralter, which many will see is nothing but I found it very unique - would not spend very long there either. Then head up the coast vis Malage then inland to Granada and Ronda, really neat looking town - then hit Cordoba, a fascinating place known of course for its great cathedral that once was a Moorish mosque.

Hit Toledo on the way into Madrid.

check on drop-off charges for renting a car in Portugal and dropping it off in Spain.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2014, 01:42 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Personally I think 3 weeks in Lisbon is too much when there is so much to see in Spain. Since you mentioned several places in Andalucia, I can recommend several places that are not touristy. They are small places but one can drive to the bigger spots. Setenil de las Bodegas, Benalauría (fantastic place, great apartment, not far from Ronda and Gilbralter), Alhama de Granada (another great apartment), Lanjarón, Bubion and the Alpajarra mountains. On the way to Madrid, Segura de la Sierra, still in Andalucia, but at the north end and about 3.5 hrs to Madrid's airport. Another place to stop going to Madrid that is about 1.5 hrs from the airport, is Consuegra La Mancha, famous for its windmills and a fantastic restaurant! Surf for photos, or visit our blog from spring '14. http://14spain.wordpress.com IMPORTANT: When we visited both countries a few years ago we could not rent a car in Lisbon and drop it in Madrid or the drop off fee was astronomical; just be sure to check.
Mati is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2014, 01:44 PM
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Porto is a lovely old city - I liked it even more than Lisbon - take a week or so and drive to Porto maybe - lots of neat sights en route, like fabulous Obidos, one of the primo walled old towns in Europe.
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Old Oct 17th, 2014, 01:47 PM
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En route to Madrid, see if you can pass through parts of Extremadura, especially the university city of Caceres, which has stunning archhitecture. Jarandilla la Vera could be on the route; this is the center for the production of pimenton, smoked Spanish paprika. The town has a good parador. AS does Caceres. There is a lot of good advice on the planning thread that I began before my own trip through these regions but I cannot seem to find it yet. Take a look at this one and pay attention to Maribel's comments:


I would skip Ronda if it meant you could not fit it in with Extremadura. It's a nice, very touristy town, but nothing all that special in my opinion, although I have only been there on daytrips.

If you like lamb, under no circumstances should you miss the section of the roast lamb heartland that includes the towns of Sepulveda and Pedraza, both north of Madrid and both a possible last stop beforeo heading to MAD for flight home.

Here is the report that resulted; this was a truly memorable trip, even though far too rushed, as partner then had only one week to travel:


I would skip Gibraltar unless you have a burning desire.

I've spent two full weeks in Sevilla on two different trips since joining Fodors; I cannot get enough of that city. See if these are of any help:



Maybe of interest if you want to discover the joys of Iberian ham:


Spain Select was a good agency..several Madrid apts of theirs are discussed here on this forum. I used them for both Madrid (apt too large for you, as it was for us!) and Sevilla (fabulous apt; highly recommended but 2 bedrooms.)

When you have the itinerary done, we can discuss food, and restaurants….you will be in for a treat beyond your dreams.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2014, 01:49 PM
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Hey, Liz! I'm sorry we will miss you by a month as we won't be in Nerja until mid April.

Personally, I think three weeks is a long time to be in Lisbon. Pal has some good ideas (although I am one who thinks Gibraltar is a waste of time). If you have never been to Sevilla, Cordoba, Malaga, Granada, etc., they are worth a visit.

We were in southern Spain last January and February and the weather was good. As you noted, it will be warmer than Canada! Lots of Northern Europeans spend their winters on the southern coast.

Happy travels.
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Old Oct 17th, 2014, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Forgot: this is a great apartment in Lisbon. Chiado Apartments Camoes Square 3A. We could walk to the ferry dock to cross to Almada for a great lunch at Punto Final Restaurant. Also, the tram stops right in front of the apartment building. Very nice apartment.
Mati is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2014, 03:03 PM
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PalenQ, would you say more about Obidos, please? I'm thinking about Portugal and some smaller places (and maybe we'll be safe here from the ankle biter following us elsewhere).
MmePerdu is online now  
Old Oct 17th, 2014, 05:42 PM
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Mme Perdu: I'm sure Pal would agree that Obidos is a very walkable and colorful walled town. We enjoyed two nights there and then drove on to interesting Nazare'(and Sitio)..we had already started in Lisbon, through Arraiolos, Evora and points north to Estremoz, Marvao, Castelo de Vide and finally to Belmonte in the Sierras. Pleasant ride from Belmonte to Obidos (Obee-doosh)with stops enroute. Just Portugal alone...nearly 30 days, most rewarding. I'll post some sample familiarization pics of both Portugal and Spain from a prior trip, for both the OP and The Mme.
tower is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2014, 05:43 PM
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I too would cut back on your time in Lisbon (IMHO not SO much to see/do) and add time to Andalusia, which IMHO is the most fascinating part of Spain - and could easily use more time to see the entire area. We have been twice - one for 10 days and once for 12 days - and there is still a ton that we want to see and do.
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Old Oct 17th, 2014, 05:47 PM
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Elizabeth and Mme Perdu:


If I can dig up Sevilla I'll post below...
tower is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2014, 05:49 PM
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Holy Week in Sevilla:

tower is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2014, 06:08 PM
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Thanks for those, tower. I'm definitely a more-time-in-fewer-places traveler so Lisbon and Porto and maybe 2 smaller places. After your month in Portugal which 2 smaller would you suggest?

The Mme.
MmePerdu is online now  
Old Oct 17th, 2014, 06:17 PM
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"pick up rental car and take 2 weeks to get to Madrid - via Seville, Gibraltar, Granada (and other, less touristy spots?)"

Even though well touristed, I would not skip Cordoba -- the Mezquita is, IMO, among the magnificent sites anywhere. And I found more than enough in Cordoba to keep me happily busy for 2 full days.

And I really enjoyed my time in Ronda, another place that gets a lot of tourists, but for good reason IMO, and much nicer after day-trippers leave.
kja is offline  
Old Oct 17th, 2014, 11:54 PM
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We spent one month in Portugal this past May/June and lived it. With the exception of Belmont we were in all the places mentioned above. It's such a small country with a good road infrastructure that it really is easy to zip around the country. Obidos is a lovely town, but not much there. We were there late afternoon into the evening in june and it was pretty much deserted and not much open. Coimbra and the surrounding area is worth exploring. We drove from Evora thru the Alentjo and loved it with it's desert like environment. This was our second trip to Evora. First time I loved it, but this trip I was a touch disappointed, but worth seeing perhaps as a day trip from Lisbon. Don't miss Tomar, Batahla and Alcobaca. Lots of small towns that are fun to visit all over the country.

Agree with Kja that Cordoba is a definite must see and also enjoyed Ronda. It's been awhile since we were there, but I would definitely visit again.
yestravel is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2014, 03:33 AM
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When in Andalucia:

Wonderful Antequera is off the beaten track and right in the middle of the Malaga, Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada rectangle. Known as "the heart of Andalucía" or "the crossroads of Andalucía". Here you'll find dolmens (some 5000 years old burial chambers), Roman baths, a Moorish Castle, Gothic churches, Renaissance fountains and baroque bell towers. Antequera was the first of the Granada emirate towns to fall to the Christians in 1410.
"A tapas tour of Antequera": http://www.andaluciacoastandcountry.com/tapaspain.html

And in genuine and laid-back Malaga city by the Med (30 mins driving from Antequera), you'll find some of the best winter climate in Europe.
"Picasso's city of hidden treasures": http://www.theguardian.com/travel/20...-breaks-travel
"Málaga, Spain: Secret Spanish pleasures": http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalis...pleasures.html
"The emerging fine food scene in Málaga and around":

Weather statistics for first half of February in Malaga says average highs at 64F, one day with rainfall/week and average 7 hours sun/day.
kimhe is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2014, 04:37 AM
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I will be in Lisbon for what will be a third week in December, so I think there is plenty to see there. (Click on my name for a Lisbon TR.) However, since you will be in Portugal anyway, I would not miss Coimbra and Porto. Obidos is super cute but I wouldn't bother with an overnight. Several other worthwhile sights on the way north, listed in any guidebook. I rate the Alhambra as the single must-see sight in southern Spain, but would also recommend a couple of nights in Toledo.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2014, 05:34 AM
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Thanks so much for all the great suggestions - I'll mash around a new itinerary and post it. Judi I was so hoping we could get together!
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2014, 06:01 AM
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I just came back from Lisbon...liked it very much, but I would follow other posters'suggestion and
cut it to two weeks . Spend more time in Spain.
danon is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2014, 12:16 PM
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Mme: A matter of taste...but for two small towns, I would select Evora and nearby Arraiolos(h), handsome Pousada, pool, etc (see pics).Next, I would take in both Obidos and Nazare'. Close to one another.
tower is offline  

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