First draft of itinerary - thoughts?

Old Jun 12th, 2022, 08:24 PM
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First draft of itinerary - thoughts?

Below is the itinerary my friend and I have drafted for our 5 week trip across Spain, Portugal and France.

We will be traveling from each place by train or plane and scheduling our departure times for either the early morning or late afternoon/evening so that we get the most of the day to see everything.

It will definitely be a fast paced trip that is not for everyone but I’d love to hear from others whether we should shake up the time planned in each location (ie allocate one day from X location in favour of an extra day in Y) or keep it as is.

This is our itinerary (excluding flights from home and back):

Spain
- Barcelona (3 days)
- Pamplona (2 days) (maybe a trip to San Sebastián on the second day)
- Madrid (3 days) (possible day trip to Toledo)
- Granada (2 days)
- Seville (3 days) (incl a day trip to Cordoba)

Portugal
- 3 days Lisbon (incl day trip to Sintra)
- 3 days Porto (incl one day in Braga and a tour to the Douro Valley)

France
- Toulouse (3 days) (incl a day trip to Carcassonne)
- Avignon (3 days) (incl a day trip to Aix-en-Provence and a tour of Luberon and the lavender fields)
- Lyon (2 days)
- Strasbourg (2 days)
- Paris (4 days)
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Old Jun 12th, 2022, 09:31 PM
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What you have laid out is much more than a 5 week trip. To get 4 days in a place takes 5 nights, 2 days = 3 nights, etc.

Now IF you mean 'nights' and not days then what you have does fit into 5 weeks -- But you'll have less sightseeing time than you think in each place - yes -- even with early AM or late afternoon trains/planes.

So counting 'nights' instead of 'days' what you actually have is more like:

Spain
- Barcelona (3 nights/2 days/jet lag)
- Pamplona (2 nights/1 day and no time for side trip to San Sebastián on the second day cuz there isn't a 2nd day)
- Madrid (3 nights/2 days with no time for a day trip to Toledo)
- Granada (2 nights/1 day)
- Seville (3 nights/2 days with 'maybe' time for a day trip to Cordoba)

Portugal
- Lisbon (3 nights/2 days and no time for day trip to Sintra)
- Porto (3 nights/2 days days so very little/no time for Braga and the Douro Valley)

France
- Toulouse (3 nights/2 days so little time for a day trip to Carcassonne)
- Avignon (3 nights/2 days - no very little for a day trip to Aix-en-Provence and a tour of Luberon and the lavender fields)
- Lyon (2 nights/1 day)
- Strasbourg (2 nights/1 day)
- Paris (4 nights / 3 days)

Which totals 5 weeks/35 days including the two transatlantic days

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Old Jun 12th, 2022, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
What you have laid out is much more than a 5 week trip. To get 4 days in a place takes 5 nights, 2 days = 3 nights, etc.

Which totals 5 weeks/35 days including the two transatlantic days
How I wrote is is exactly how we have planned it and it works out to exactly 5 weeks with flights.

I’m well aware that it’s a lot though I’m looking for feedback in terms of if we should restructure how many days we stay in any of the places (ie if we should take a day from Pamplona in favour of Barcelona etc).

thanks

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Old Jun 12th, 2022, 10:34 PM
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Any particular interests in Pamplona? The city is small and you can see it all (nothing of much interest, really) in half a day. I would push in favour of Bilbao or Donostia-San Sebastián.
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Old Jun 12th, 2022, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by mikelg View Post
Any particular interests in Pamplona? The city is small and you can see it all (nothing of much interest, really) in half a day. I would push in favour of Bilbao or Donostia-San Sebastián.
I can’t say I particularly want to visit but my friend really does so that was the trade off for Strasbourg.

From what I googled I suspected it would be a prompt visit hence why I’m thinking to take a day trip to San Sebastián from there.
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Old Jun 12th, 2022, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by victoriainwanderland View Post
How I wrote is is exactly how we have planned it and it works out to exactly 5 weeks with flights.

I’m well aware that it’s a lot though I’m looking for feedback in terms of if we should restructure how many days we stay in any of the places (ie if we should take a day from Pamplona in favour of Barcelona etc).

thanks
Yes -- it is 5 weeks but with the reduced amount of free sightseeing time I posted. Its your trip but you will not have time for some of the day trip/tours. "Oh and we are using early morning flights/trains to maximize our time" doesn't resolve much of anything since 1) arriving at a new destination in the morning means your room won't be available for several hours, and 2) flying entails being at the airport well in advance and then having to travel into the the city center. I'm just saying -- yes, you can hit that many cities in 5 weeks -- but you won't have all the free time you listed.

So where to add/subtract days . . . I'd add nights to any of the destinations where you hope to take day trips and tours out of town . . .
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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by victoriainwanderland View Post
I can’t say I particularly want to visit but my friend really does so that was the trade off for Strasbourg.

From what I googled I suspected it would be a prompt visit hence why I’m thinking to take a day trip to San Sebastián from there.
If it´s a must, let it be. But I believe it´d be better to stay in Donostia-San Sebastián and take a day trip to Iruña-Pamplona. It´s a nice city with a nice old town and you´ll enjoy it, no doubt.
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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mikelg View Post
If it´s a must, let it be. But I believe it´d be better to stay in Donostia-San Sebastián and take a day trip to Iruña-Pamplona. It´s a nice city with a nice old town and you´ll enjoy it, no doubt.
love San Sebastián!

use Rome2Rio app to show journey times.
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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 04:42 AM
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My thoughts are the same as janisj's. You need to lay this out on a (large) calendar, showing actual travel times - pack, get from lodging to station/airport, wait (if airport), travel, get from station/airport to lodging, check in and unpack. For the "travel" part, use actual train/plane times - not just the length, but actual departures. You will have less time than you think, and on a five week trip you are going to need some down time.

I actually preferred Pamplona to San Sebastian, although admittedly SS was overrun with visitors when I was there: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...with-pamplona/
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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 04:43 AM
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Please clarify how many NIGHTS you have rather than days. Is it, as janisj says, 3 days = 3 nights? Or is it 3 days = 4 nights. It makes a big difference in planning.

It would be extremely helpful to understand this because many of your day trips would be unrealistic with the schedule as we seem to understand it.

As you say, it is very fast-paced. Although I understand the desire to see so many places, this level of fast-paced does seem faster than most. Is there a reason you’re trying to see so many places in that period of time? Personally, I’d consolidate into 2 countries at most and stay a little longer in many of the cities you’ve chosen.
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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 06:40 AM
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It would help if you laid out the sequence of you proposed trip as it could affect any recommendation. For instance, quite a few people expect they can get from Seville to Lisbon by train, and are dismayed to find out the fastest route involves a train and bus, takes 6:30 hours and is not that frequent. the bus trips, involving a "change/connection", take 8+ hours.

Do you plan to fly into Lisbon or Porto from another of your stops, and then fly home the other, or will you fly in and out of Portugal to other of your locations.

Will you do Toulouse, Avignon, Lyon, Strasbourg, and Paris by train, in that (or reverse) order? Does that mean you will fly into or out of Toulouse? To where? Or do you plane to take the 6:30 hour train to Barcelona, involving connections? Strasbourg is a bit of an outlier here for 2 days - it is about 4 hours from Lyon and 2 from Paris.

One quick comment I can make for you Spain cities is that Cordoba can be visited fairly easily as you travel between Madrid and Granada/Seville, or when you travel between Seville and Granada. This would save the need for a daytrip and could free up a day. Same for Carcassonne - it could be seen on the way from Toulouse to Avignon.


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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 07:16 AM
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When I do longer trips, over 2 weeks I schedule in washing/day dreaming/drinking coffee days but then I always travel light. If I travelled heavy I'd need to plan more time for travel.

You don't mention the time of year when you are traveling, it would help

Internal flights tend to be messy with very small luggage rules in place. Train and Train first class tend to be better for the over burdened.

seat61.com is a good place to read up
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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 08:02 AM
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Actually, with three nights in Madrid, you really could manage a day trip to Toledo. Toledo is a beautiful city, close to Madrid, and well worth the effort to see.

Madrid has some wonderful art museums, including the Prado and the Reina Sofia. If you're an art enthusiast, you could easily spend two full days, and more, in Madrid. If not, a side trip to Toledo could be an excellent idea.
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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 08:08 AM
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I agree with Bilboburglar that, on a five-week trip, you should really build in some "recharge, relax, and do nothing" days.

Also that on a five-week trip, you will either need Al lot of luggage, making your internal travel difficult, or you will need to build in time for laundry.or

You will not usually find porters in train stations, except in major cities.
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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 08:14 AM
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A five week trip can be done with the same amount of luggage as a five day trip. I traveled for months with a 22 inch two wheeler and a day bag, and earlier with a small convertible backpack and a day bag. I just washed my clothes in the bathroom sink, but people traveling in Europe should be able to drop them off at a laundromat.
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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 08:31 AM
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I think this is too busy of a trip and you will likely run out of steam after a week or two. What are your 5 star "must see" places? Are there any locations that are 4+ stars? Those I would cut to add more days to your top choices.

If this were my trip, my less than 5 star locations would include Pamplona, Toulouse, Lyon and Strasbourg although they all are worth visiting. I can't really comment about Portugal as I haven't been there for many years. If you were to cut one or two of the places you are less interested in, I think you will have a more enjoyable trip. Less time spent in train stations and airports equals more time for sight-seeing.
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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 09:06 AM
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I agree with Janisj about your schedule. I also think you can travel light as long as you don’t plan to buy much stuff to carry home. I too wash clothes in the bathroom sink but it’s not a complete wash and after awhile you are going to have to laundry clothes. Jeans on the other hand are difficult to wash properly in a bathroom and a real pain to dry even if you are using the hair dryer. Doubly difficult to dry jeans unless you stay in the same hotel room for a few nights. Staying in Airbnbs with a washer dryer or an aparthotel makes cleaning clothes much easier. I do not travel longer than two weeks now due to work but when I was in my 20’s I did multiple long trips and those saying you are going to take a day off every two weeks or so are correct. You will have a much better trip if you cut out at least two destinations
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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 09:13 AM
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I've never taken jeans on a trip precisely because they don't dry. My clothes don't get to travel unless they drip-dry without wrinkles overnight (aside from socks).
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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
It would help if you laid out the sequence of you proposed trip as it could affect any recommendation.

Do you plan to fly into Lisbon or Porto from another of your stops, and then fly home the other, or will you fly in and out of Portugal to other of your locations.

Will you do Toulouse, Avignon, Lyon, Strasbourg, and Paris by train, in that (or reverse) order? Does that mean you will fly into or out of Toulouse? To where?

One quick comment I can make for you Spain cities is that Cordoba can be visited fairly easily as you travel between Madrid and Granada/Seville, or when you travel between Seville and Granada. This would save the need for a daytrip and could free up a day. Same for Carcassonne - it could be seen on the way from Toulouse to Avignon.
Almost all the traveling will be by train, with the exception being that we will fly from Seville to Lisbon and then will fly from Porto to Toulouse.

It is all laid out in the order that we plan to go in.

I have thought about whether places like Cordoba and Carcassonne could be seen on the way to the next destination though we could only do this if we found secure luggage storage for the day. Will definitely look into it though.
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Old Jun 13th, 2022, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by bvlenci View Post
I agree with Bilboburglar that, on a five-week trip, you should really build in some "recharge, relax, and do nothing days”.
My last significant trip was 8 countries in 6 weeks so this by comparison is much less intensive and more relaxed.

We are in our mid 20s and both are high energy people - if we thought we couldn’t keep up with the pace of this trip we would have planned rest days but I can appreciate that no one knows all the circumstances and are taken aback by our travel style.
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