Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Does this Spain - Portugal Itinerary sound reasonable? (

Larry_M Mar 12th, 2005 06:05 AM

Does this Spain - Portugal Itinerary sound reasonable?
Two couples (early - mid fifties) have 16 days in late May. We are fairly experienced travelers, and this will be our 5th European vacation together, but it's our first time to the Iberian Peninsula, and none of us are experts on the area.

We had one possible plan that would have been 100% Spain, and could have included Barcelona and the Basque Country - I actually preferred this idea, but the others want to visit Portugal, so we decided to leave these areas off the list this time.

So here is what we're looking at::

May 17 - Arrive Madrid, spend 2 nights
May 19 - fly on Portugalia to Lisbon, spend 3 nights
May 22 - train to the Algarve (exact location still a mystery), spend 3 nights
May 25 - train to Seville, pick up car, spend 3 nights. Possible day trip to Granada.
May 28 - drive to Valencia, spend 3 nights
May 31 - drive to Madrid, dump car, fly home on June 1.

No hotels yet (Yeah, I know it's only 2 months away - we are late planners this year).

Any experienced viewpoints on this plan would be appreciated.

Any favorite spots in Algarve? We want a few days to just kick back and enjoy a nice beach.

Lastly, I'd be interested in hotel recommendations for any of the abocve cities, preferably in the 125 to 150 Euro/night range.


bobthenavigator Mar 12th, 2005 06:24 AM

Why Valencia--that is a long way. I would spend that time in Andalusia--Ronda, Nerja, Granada etc. You may want Lagos on the Algarve, but I am not sure about train connections. And, I would start in Lisbon and end in Madrid--why fly between them?

Larry_M Mar 12th, 2005 06:46 AM

Thanks, Bob
We're starting and ending in Madrid because we're flying out of Philadelphia using FF miles ... we really have no other options for getting to Lisbon.

Viajero2 Mar 12th, 2005 07:03 AM

The itinerary looks OK. For first timers to the Iberian peninsula, I always recommend Andalucia and you are doing that, so not much to recomend, other than tips. First, you will be in Madrid towards the end of the Festivities of San Isidro, the Saint Patron of Bullfighting, tons of fun events at Plaza Mayor every night, major party time in Madrid (take your earplugs!). Second, don't drive in Seville, pick your car towards the end of your stay in Seville (Auto Europe at Estacion Santa Justa), head out to Granada (the earlier the better) and then continue on to Valencia. In Seville I loved the Hosteria del Laurel. Located in the heart of Barrio de Santa Cruz, it was as Seville as it gets, five minute walk to the Cathedral, their restaurant is tops as well. One of those three days in Seville, see if you could get to Cordova (fabulous Moorish city) or Merida (impressive Roman Ruins). It will be hot, start your drives the earlier the better. Have a great time, Spain and Portugal are beautiful and fascinating travel destinations!

lincasanova Mar 12th, 2005 07:30 AM

from granada go to guadix for quick stop to see cave houses.
then onto orihuela, lorca, just to see small towns. palacio tudemir in orihuela is charming palatial home turned hotel.rooms modernized, but lobby and staircase beautiful (usually 50 euros/bancotel coupons).

or.. divert from granada area to jaen/Ubeda/baeza/bailen..great paradors there.

up coast area .. eat at Rincon de pepe in murcia next to NH hotel/casino right smack downtown near cathedral. a little hard to find so park (at corte ingles?) and take taxi.
eat at tavern/bar area or in more expensive dining room.

just browse through alicante.. if you want to stay there.. at port is the spa port maris.. also usually inexpensive but great location. more upscale, but out of town, is the hotel sidi san juan at san juan beach north of alicante.

up the coast.. guadalest.. in mountains near benidorm..( which BTW do NOT even go INTO ).. then continue on to altea.. artist's village beach town with nice promenade.

denia/javea nice coast full of ex-pats towns.

now my home town VALENCIA!!!

enjoy the old quarters. go to SEU XEREA, on calle conde de almodovar for well priced interesting food , chef is japanese/british .. nice fellow... and does a nice variety of cuisine.

valencia hotels.. hotel astoria, melia plaza, hotel melia inglés (in front of the ceramics museum.. which i suggest you take the time to browse through.)for downtown hotels. AC hotel chain is near science center as is the TRYP hotel.

if you like museums.. the bellas artes is very nice.
also, centro cultural bancaja has good temp. exhibits.

for architecture go towards science center and new opera house by santiago calatrava.
especially to be seen at night.

now we have the chinese warriors X'IAN on display FREE there for the next few weeks!!!!

if you want to be south at beach.. also you have hotel sidi saler.. with free transport into valencia city every hour. great place and very relaxing. has a small spa.
rooms are not 5 star but the location is. great breakfast buffet.

old town valencia.. eat some mussels and tapas at bar "el PILAR". "throw the servillets on the floor" type place.. hardly anywhere to sit.. but enjoy it. everything is good there! wander around calle caballeros, barrio del carmen at night.

it upsets me when people say "why valencia"?.

then on way to madrid, try to sleep at ALARCON, one of the most wonderful paradors in this part of spain.
only has about 8 rooms.
2 hours from here.
at least do a coffee there on way to madrid. best stopping off place.

still have time? alcala de henares outside madrid.. is a fab town most people don't bother going to.
cervantes' birth place and more storks on steeples than you can count. good museums.. lots of old buildings and porticoed shopping area old main streets for walking around .

Larry_M Mar 12th, 2005 02:35 PM

Thanks so much for your reply Viajero. And lincasanova, it is easy to see that you are very proud of your hometown, thanks for the many ideas you shared.

Any more thoughts would be welcome as well. Any Portugal enthusiasts care to check in?

tangwah Mar 12th, 2005 02:40 PM

Hi, I have been to Spain 4 times (about 2-3 weeks each time) and visited Portugal for the first time last Oct for 3 weeks, and wished I had spent that time exploring more of Spain instead. There is really so much of Spain to explore, and since you only have 16 days, I would spend them all in Spain, and you couldn't do all of Spain in that time.

lincasanova Mar 12th, 2005 04:59 PM

i was in portugal years ago, and you can definitely combine some of it without upsetting the geographic logics of your stay.
try to find some nice "pousadas" to stay in to make it special.
they are like the spanish "paradors".

should be able to fnd lots of info on a search.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:15 AM.