Lisbon / Southern Spain Trip & Questions

Aug 10th, 2011, 06:29 AM
  #1  
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Lisbon / Southern Spain Trip & Questions

Hi All,

A couple of friends and I are going to Lisbon (briefly) and Spain for about 11 days at the beginning of September (9/1 to 9/12). We’ve got a basic itinerary laid out and we’d love some advice and opinions on our plan (there are also a good number of questions interspersed). I’ll preface this with, yes, I know we’re trying to see a lot in a short time, but that’s kind of a fact of life with the schedules we live. Anyway, here’s what we’re looking at:

Fly into Lisbon, spend 2 days/1 night.
Overnight train from Lisbon to Madrid, transfer and train to Seville
2 nights in Seville
4 days in Southern Spain
Train to Madrid
2 nights in Madrid
Fly out of Madrid

The “4 days in Southern Spain” part of the trip is our most up in the air plan... we’re not sure exactly what we are going to see, and how we’re going to do it, but our current thinking is to rent a car in Seville and drive around to see the sites we want… we’re considering Gibraltar, Grenada, Malaga, and …? If we did that, we’d probably try and rent the car one way, drop it off somewhere convenient to a train station for the trip back to Madrid.

Anyway, so here’s a long list of questions… feel free to tackle any and all of them!
1) Any major flaws with our plan?
2) Is seeing Seville, Gibraltar, Grenada, and Malaga in our timeframe reasonable? (I noticed in other threads there is a flamenco festival going on while we’re down there… we could be enticed to fit that in.
3) How much of a hassle is Gibraltar? We’re all US citizens, if it matters. If we go the rental car route, can we park it on the Spain side, walk across to see Gibraltar, and then pick up and continue on to another destination?
4) Is have a car a real hassle to deal with if we’re staying in hostels? I.e., is it so much of a hassle that it’s not worth renting a car and just training/busing to places? (We like the flexibility and spontaneity that comes with the car…)
5) Any recommendations of car rental agency?

Thanks everyone!
SidewinderX is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 07:30 AM
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It looks OK, but do you have to go all the way back to Madrid just to get to Seville? There must be a more direct train or even a flight from Lisbon?

Gibraltar is not a hassle, except if it's really busy you might have to queue to get across the runway. You can take a Spanish hire car into Gib, I've done it several times.

That leaves Malaga and Granada and are both perfectly do-able if you stay somewhere like Malaga itself.

Try www.doyouspain.com for cars.
Lifeman is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 07:49 AM
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For your four days in Southern Spain, perhaps get under the skin of things at the local flamenco festival in Móron de la Frontera, 60km south-west of Sevilla and on the way to beautiful Ronda and genuine Málaga city. Takes place from the 7th to the 10th of September.

Morón is rich in flamenco history, and the festival attracts only top artists. I've seen several of them live. Strangely enough predominantly male artists, strangely because much, if not most, of the cutting edge flamenco these days is female. But having said that, this is top notch and the real deal. "And the very setting itself plays a main role, since the offer includes visits to enclaves rich in history and monuments, natural reserves, oil mills, wineries, country estates, ranches and meadows.": http://www.flamenco-world.com/notici...a21072011.html
http://www.flamencoenlafrontera.com/index.php?lang=en

About Morón de la Frontera: http://www.andalucia.com/province/sevilla/moron.htm

The heat might make Málaga city on the coast a very welcome destination. Vibrant Andalusian atmosphere, excellent tapas bars, cafés, shopping and perhaps the most easy-going people in all of Andalucía. Within three hundred metres in the center, you'll find the recently excavated Roman theater, the 8-11th century Moorish Alcazaba, the great 16th century Cathedral and both Picasso's birth-place and the new Picasso museum (2003).
"Málaga: Authentic charm of an overlooked treasure".
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ci...-treasure.html
http://www.andalucia.com/cities/malaga/home.htm

In Málaga, I always live in Hostal Victoria, as central as it gets and excellent value.
http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/victoria.en.html

Nezt door Don Curro is a bit more up-scale and gets great reviews: http://www.booking.com/hotel/es/mala...ncurro.en.html

In Pedregalejo, just east of the city center, you find both beaches and affordable waterfront seafood restaurants very popular with locals.
kimhe is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 08:11 AM
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With only 11 days I'd probably cut out Madrid especially if you only have 2 days. You're trying to cover alot of geography in a short time. 11 days is barely enought for Madrid & Andalucia.
CathyM is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 08:24 AM
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I think you should take the train from Lisbon to Sevilla-you will waste alot of time doing overnight to Madrid and then a train to Sevilla.
I think you should skip the car-bus travel in Spain is great and cheaper than train.Parking is a hassle especially in Sevilla and Granada.
You can take a bus from Malaga to get to Algeciras and then walk over to the rock!
chapla is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 08:53 AM
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kimhe: thanks for your advice! We'll definitely look at spending time in Malaga after that description.

CathyM: I'd probably be OK with cutting out Madrid, as I know I'll be back in Spain at some point, but I'm not sure how my traveling companions would feel about that.

Lifeman/chapla: In my (amatuer) searching, I didn't find a more direct train route to Seville. There are always buses, but I'm not sure if the shorter (7-8 hour?) bus ride is any more convinent or comfortable than the overnight sleeper train followed by the high speed train. Anyone have experience taking a bus between Lisbon and Seville? Is there an overnight bus?
SidewinderX is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 09:16 AM
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I know I am beginning to sound like a shill for Vueling but they fly from Lisbon to Sevilla.

If you can live with their restrictions, that you should consider it. Over the past few years I have flown Vueling, Ryan, and Pegasus in Turkey and they are fine once you understand their punitive penalties for violating their narrow rules.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 10:22 AM
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Aduchamp1: I checked their website and it looked like the only fly to Sevilla via Barcelona.
SidewinderX is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 11:57 AM
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Train from Lisbon to Seville is somewhat problematic. You can take train to Faro and bus (3 hrs) to Seville from there http://www.eva-bus.com Trenhotel train from Lisbon to Madrid is slow but comfortable in sleeper cabin.

There is also daily overnight bus (7.5 hrs) from Lisbon Sete Rios or Oriente to Seville (20:45 - 05:15) http://www.alsa.es
hkto is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 01:19 PM
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You're much better off on the night train to Madrid. But can you fly home from somewhere in southern Spain? Barcelona? Even if you have to connect through Madrid, then you could see Madrid before you head south. I didn't care that much for Madrid myself (much prefer Lisbon), but thought Toledo worth seeing.

Whatever you do, don't miss the Alhambra. I enjoyed Ronda as well.
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 04:16 PM
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I just checked my notes from a couple of years ago-I took the overnight bus(Alsa)a from Lisbon to Sevilla for about 40 euros.The bus/coach was very comfortable - reclining seats.
chapla is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 06:25 PM
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TAP has direct flights that are not cheap. The TAP website is hard to navigate but go to Expedia be sure to enter non-stop and then when you get your flight info try TAP. I have flown TAP transatlantic and to Madeira and they are fine.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2011, 02:05 AM
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In January 2010 our family of four took the bus from Lisbon to Seville. It departed about 9pm and we arrived in Seville at 5:30am the following morning - it was a relatively comfortable ride with one stop to stretch the legs and get something to eat.
four_maccas is offline  
Aug 11th, 2011, 04:28 AM
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I spoke with my companions, and I think we're convinced to save the money and time with the overnight bus from Lisbon to Seville; thanks!

As for the Southern Spain transport... we were really digging the idea of having a car and going to places on our own schedule. We would pick it up in Seville and drop it off in whereever we ended our trip, probably either Granada or Malaga. Does that seem like a reasonable way to do it? Or is the car just so much hassle it's not worth it?
SidewinderX is offline  
Aug 11th, 2011, 05:31 AM
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Go for the hire car. I've never found the traffic so bad there that I'd wished I hadn't hired it and parking is not a problem.

Although it will be busy, the freedom that the car gives you is well worth it--providing you know what the drop off fee is (if there is one) in advance.
Lifeman is offline  
Aug 11th, 2011, 06:59 AM
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If you find a good deal renting a car and there are three of you, then I would just drive back to Madrid-easy drive and experience more of Spain!
chapla is offline  
Aug 11th, 2011, 09:27 AM
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IMHO Gibralter is a c omplte wate of time. It's just a big rock with some nasty monkeys. Yes, you cna see the coast of Africa (hazy) and get stuck in a town with way too many souvenir shops and poor food. Not worth the time at all.

If it were me I would also drop Mardid - but I've been there several times and don't really like it - greatly prefer southern Spain - although not at that time of year - which is likely to be extremely hot. We've gone in late April, which has highs in the mid 80s, hotels with pools open and plenty warm enough to swim in the sea
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 11th, 2011, 10:11 AM
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Skip Gibraltar & add Cordoba to Sevilla & Granada if you have time. Malaga can also be skipped. If you don't buy online from http//www.alsa.es try to buy the bus ticket to Seville as soon as you get to Lisbon. Sete Rios bus station is a red building acroos the road from Sete Rios rail station (Jardim Zoologico metro stop)
hkto is offline  
Aug 11th, 2011, 10:39 AM
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hkto-Malaga is wonderful especially the old section and Gibraltar has a fascinating history!
chapla is offline  
Aug 11th, 2011, 11:24 AM
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True on both but Sevilla/Granada/Cordoba would be my 1-2-3 choice. I've been in all of the above mentioned places. Gibraltar would be the last; rock is interesting but the overall experience is not.
hkto is offline  

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