Advice on Spain & Portugal

Old Mar 6th, 2002, 12:23 PM
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Advice on Spain & Portugal

I'd like to hear advice for places to visit for a first-timer trip to Spain and Portugal. If it helps, we will probably combine this with a visit to the French Riviera. What are your "best bets" in terms of cities, sites and stays...

Old Mar 6th, 2002, 12:49 PM
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It's a long way - - from Portgual to the French riviera, but if you allow enough time, quite do-able, and a nice spectrum of similarities mixed with contrasts.

The choices are so numerous, that it's almost like asking where should I go in Europe - - in miniature version. Boils to what you think you're going to get out of this trip - - and the all-important question - - WHY - - do you think you want to go to these places?

To get from Portugal to France, you have roughly three (or four) routes across Spain.

1. Up through Portugal, into Galicia, and then east (could be via France or parallel to the Pyrenees, staying within spain to go to Barcelona) - - this could allow the maximum Portugal time.

2. the Madrid route - - and various variations on it.

3. the southern route (and/or fourth, the extreme southern route) - - via Granada and Valencia - - or (and especially if starting from the Algarve), the coastal (or partially coastal) route.

Of all the places in spain, the strongest candidate in my book for best bet is Granada (and the Alhambra). But there will be many who will proclaim other places - - some of them perhaps far less well-known. I also like Barcelona - - and its (little) neighbor in the foothills of the Pyrenees, Seu d'Urgell - - on the way to Andorra (the "hard" way to get to Perpignan.

To get onward to the Riviera, I'll throw out some lesser known places - - Sete, Aigues Mortes, Montauroux and the Corniche de l'Esterel. I also like Antibes and Monaco. Would like to see Eze someday, and/or Menton.

You need 3 or 4 weeks to do all this traveling!

Best wishes,

Old Mar 6th, 2002, 12:54 PM
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Thanks, Rex.

Actually, my travel partner is the one who insists on re-visiting the French Riviera. We've already done Antibes, Monaco, Menton, etc., but he thinks we should plan to get back there after a tour of Spain/Portugal. Thanks for your suggestions.

Old Mar 6th, 2002, 01:07 PM
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It all depends how long you are planning to stay in each place. There is so much to see in both Spain and Portugal!!!! In Portugal, I would recommend to stay in Lisbon, and take day trips to Sintra, Nazare, Fatima, Obidos, Evora, Cascais, Mafra and Estoril. I just came back from Portugal, where my friend and I hired a chauffeur that took us all around. The cost was the same as if we had joined the available city tours, but only nicer. It is very difficult to drive in Lisbon, and if you don't have a lot of time, but want to see as much as possible, this is the way to do it.
Old Mar 11th, 2002, 10:43 AM
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Dear Rex, you seem to be quite familiar with the area on the whole so I am going to pose another question in an extension to the original question.
I have travelled from Lisbon to Sevilla and back to Lagos all in the space of 3 weeks taking time and spending a week in Lagos alone.. What I want to do this year is fly into Barcelona and travel down to Madrid then on to Lagos again where I hope to get home from Faro.. do you know if this sounds like a reasonable itinerary as I am unfamiliar with the Barcelona area and the worst for guising the distance between all three places..Any advice.
Old Mar 11th, 2002, 11:15 AM
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Corry, I'm not Rex but I did live in Spain and Portugal for several years. Your itinerary sounds quite do-able. You don't mention what mode of transportation you plan on taking from each location to the next, but you can travel from Barcelona to Madrid easily within 6-8 hours by car (I'm not sure of the exact distance between the two cities, but it's somewhere between 600-700 Km.) From Madrid it's about another 6 hours to Lagos/southern Portugal, depending again on your mode of transportation. If by plane, you should not expect flights longer than 2 hours, on average. Not sure how long it would take to travel by train. If you plan on spending about a week at each location (Madrid, Barcelona, Lagos), subtracting transit time, you should be okay and be able to see plenty. Can't guarantee you'll see it all, but that'll be a perfect excuse to go back at a later date! I always do!
Old Mar 12th, 2002, 05:56 PM
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to the top
Old Mar 12th, 2002, 07:14 PM
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Here is another question to all of you knowledgable in this area. I am planning on traveling to Spain in May-would you call Portugual also a "don't miss" since I am in the area? Is Portugual quite similiar to central Spain? I appreciate your advice.
Old Mar 13th, 2002, 12:53 AM
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hello Daniel ! you have already some good and valid answers here, and I don't know if this might help you, but I've been gathering questions here for a while and I'm answering them in a webpage, in

have a great time
Old Mar 13th, 2002, 12:51 PM
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Dear Sandra, sorry for the Rex thing.. goofy me, sometimes I don't know where to look for a name.. Anyhow, thank you very much for your advice. I think we are going to nix Madrid and maybe do the coast of Spain to Lagos.We plan on renting a car and driving.. I remember the toll highways being excellent but I am sure they are not so great along the coast.. Have you visited the coastal region at all in Spain, like Malaga, Gibraltar..??
For anyone questioning whether they should go to Portugal.. it is definitely a must see..with two different cultures appearing from the Algarve area to the interior.. quaint and reasonable
Old Apr 20th, 2002, 02:16 PM
John H
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Could you tell us the name of the driver/guide you used in Lisbon and any contact and cost information? Thanks.

John H
Old Apr 20th, 2002, 04:48 PM
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Went to Spain in September on honeymoon. The Alhambra in Granada is worth the trip. Ronda is great. Marbella is relaxing and worth the stop. Sevilla is a beautiful city. The people are fantastic. Very friendly.
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