Family Vacation Spain and Portugal

Old Oct 29th, 2014, 08:05 AM
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Family Vacation Spain and Portugal

My family 2 adults/4 teens (16 and 18) will have 23 days (22 nights) to travel to Spain and possibly Portugal this summer (mid June arrival). I am looking for advice on the best itinerary for teenagers. We want to see the major attractions, but really like to focus on activities and getting off the main path more than just looking at sites day after day.

I would appreciate insight and suggestions as nothing is confirmed at this point. I would also like thoughts on whether we should spend 4-5 days in Portugal and the beginning or end or our trip or add in the Galicia region of Spain for those extra days. Which area would be more interesting to teenagers.

Proposed Itineraries:

Madrid (with day trips to Toledo and possibly Segovia) (4 nights)
San Sebastian (with day trip to Pamplona) (3 nights)
Barcelona (with a day trip) (3 nights)
Valencia area (Javea has been suggested but I am not sure about it) (2 nights)
Granada or Nerja (with day trips) (3 nights)
Seville (with day trips) (3 nights)
* Portugal (fly home from here) (4 nights)
(we could also reverse this order so we are in Southern Spain at the beginning of our trip)

If we did the Galicia region instead of Portugal we would go there straight from Madrid.

- Should we take the extra travel time to visit the Valencia area?

- Is there one area in Andalusia where we could rent a villa/apt close to a village and do the area by day trips to eliminate one of our moves?

- Any area I am missing that would be of particular interest to teens?

Thank you
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Old Oct 29th, 2014, 08:18 AM
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I haven't been to Valencia so can't answer that one from experience, but given how much you want to do, I'd have to say no, I can't believe it is so incredible that you have to cram it into this trip given everything else you have on your wish list.

As for Andalucia, no, there is no great place you could stay and easily do day trips to Seville and Granada and Nerja from it. Seville is about a 3 hr drive from Granada (250 km).

I suppose you could stay in Antequera (which isn't a village, but a city, I suppose there are some villages in that general area) but don't think it would be worth it and not stay in a place you woudl enjoy more, just because it is equidistant from some of these places. It would still be about a 2 hr drive to Seville from it, although Granada and Nerja would be less than a 2 hr drive from it (about 1:15 each). I would not stay there and then do a day trip to Seville where you spend 4 hours of that day driving, wouldn't be the same experience as staying in Seville. But you could do it.
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Old Oct 29th, 2014, 08:41 AM
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You also need to take inot account that Andalusia is VERY hot in the summer - and many people retire to the AC house or the pool in the afternoon to avoid the heat (100 is a normal high in the summer and it can get to 120).

I know you will be there in June/July - but we have been twice in April and the highs were already well into the 80s.

If you want to see Seville you will need to stay there - for at least 3 nights - driving to and fro other places makes little sense.

As for your teens I would have them check out the Let's Go student guide and the Thorn Tree section of the Lonely PLanet web site to identify activities they will want to take part in - I mean they're young adults, not luggage, and should have major input on the itinerary.
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Old Oct 29th, 2014, 08:44 AM
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Valencia is a very pretty city. Great architecture from Santiago Calatrava, but I agree with the previous poster: too much is too much!
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Old Oct 29th, 2014, 09:20 AM
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Here are some thoughts about what to do with your 22 nights in Spain and Portugal. You'll find it's difficult to include everything you want to see and do with only 3 weeks to spare.

Option One: 22 nights
Fly into Lisbon - 3 nights
Train to Porto - 2 nights
Train to Santiago de Compostilla - 3 nights. Pick up a rental car to explore the region and do a little surfing along the coast.
Drive to Bilbao through Asturias and Cantabria - 2 days on the road would work.
Bilbao - 2 nights
Drive to San Sebastian-Donostia - 4 ngihts, with a day trip to Pamplona (the fiesta beings on the 6th of July and ends on the 14th).
Drive to Barcelona - 3 ngihts
Train to Valencia - 1 night
Train to Madrid - 2 nights
Fly home from Madrid

Option Two: 22 nights
Fly into Lisbon - 4 nights
Private transfer to Sevilla - 4 nights
Train or bus to Granada - 2 nights
Train to Cordoba - 1 night
Train to Madrid - 4 nights, with day trips to Toledo and Segovia
Train to Valencia - 2 nights
Train to Barcleona - 5 nights, with day trips and beach time.
Fly home from Barcelona
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Old Oct 29th, 2014, 10:26 AM
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Thanks for the input. It sounds like the general consensus might be to skip Valencia. We do want some beach time, but not days on end. It would actually be better to break up beach days in different areas.

I know Andalucia will be hot in summer so I was thinking of going to that area first (I like Option Two from Robert2533) thinking mid June might be better than early July? This is an area my kids really want to explore. They love history and all the food this area offers. The kids(teens) have given a ton of input into what they want to see/do in different areas. I just need figure out what makes the most sense logistically and then let them know what we can make happen from their lists.

We prefer not to move more than every 3-4 days if possible with the exception of once or twice during the trip to possibly stay in a unique property or location.

Any thoughts on Lisbon area vs Santiago de Compostilla for teens?
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Old Oct 29th, 2014, 11:01 AM
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I think Lisbon would be more interesting, but if you choose Santiago over Lisbon, you would then have to fly from there to Sevilla. There is no direct train. Everything goes through Madrid.

There are beaches to the west and northeast of Lisbon, should you want a beach day, but you'll find that you will be busy trying to see everything in the area worth seeing.
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 11:41 AM
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Hi again-

I have been rethinking our itinerary and have decided to save Portugal for another trip. Right now we have 22 nights with 2 adults and 4 teens. I am thinking about an itinerary that has 7 overnights (only 1 is a one night stop).

I am interested in getting feedback on the itinerary choices, but also on the flow.Lots of people suggest staying in Seville, Cordoba, Rhonda and Granada. While I would like to visit all of these places, I would like a few nights in a town less well known. One of the places I am thinking of is Jimena de la Frontera.

Option 1:
4 nights Madrid (day trip to Toledo)
(4th day drive to San Sebastian with a stop in Segovia)
4 nights San Sebastian (one day trip)
Fly to Seville
3 nights Seville (day trip to Cordoba)
Drive to Jimena de la Frontera
4 nights Jimena de la Frontera
1 night Cave hotel
2 nights Granada
Fly to Barcelona
4 nights Barcelona (one day trip)

Option 2:
4 nights Madrid (day trips to Toldeo and Segovia)
train to Seville
4 nights Seville (day trip to Cordoba)
4 nights Jimena de la Frontera
1 night cave hotel
2 nights Granada
Fly to Bilbao
3 nights San Sebastian
4 nights Barcelona (one day trip)

We will arrive in Spain on June 18th and depart July 10th. I am flexible on arrival/departure cities. My issue is that the house I want to rent in Jimena de la Frontera is not available for June 24-29th which proves difficult to schedule around. I might have to find a different house or location.

Another thought - would teenagers prefer the Valencia area over San Sebastian?

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old Nov 11th, 2014, 12:42 AM
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I haven't been to Jimena de la Frontera but I think it's a bit far out if you come from Sevilla and drive to Granada.
Check out Comares. It's a small hilltop village almost on the road to Granada.
Unless you prefer a few days at the beach between Sevilla and Granada. I can heartily recommend Conil de la Frontera or Vejer de la Frontera. You could easily visit Cádiz from there, or Jerez de la Frontera (which I found less interesting).

I'd go for option 2 and I would take one night off Sevilla and add it to Granada, to drive the beautiful Alpujarras mountains (part of the Sierra Nevada) and visit small hilltop villages such as Trevélez, Pampaneira, Bubión, Capileira, ... Or, somewhat further away, lovely Comares.
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