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Need some help figuring out a Portugal to Spain trip

Need some help figuring out a Portugal to Spain trip

Old Dec 15th, 2018, 05:10 PM
  #1  
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Need some help figuring out a Portugal to Spain trip

Hi all... This coming April I have to be in Lisbon for work, and then about 9 days later I need to be in Madrid. Having been in Spain previously (hitting Barcelona and much of Southern Spain), I'm trying to have my family join me for a quick vacation and see some of the northern Spain.

My current plan:
- Meet up in Lisbon and head north to Porto as I've been told it's a must see in Portugal
- From there, I want to head into Spain to the San Sebastian/Bilbao area. In lieu of renting a car- which is 1) far and 2) would require a huge drop-off fee leaving the car in Spain, I'm looking at the Coimbra-San Sebastian overnight train
- Then, rent a car in San Sebastian and head back West along the coast, likely turning south around Gijon, and drive down to Salamanca
- Finally, would head back East to Segovia and then end up in Madrid

Does this seem like a reasonable plan? Looking for a mix of small towns, some outdoor activities, historical areas, and of course, great food.
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Old Dec 15th, 2018, 05:39 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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Have you checked the weather? In general, April is not the best time for the north coast of Spain. You can get climate information from weatherbase.com or timeanddate.com

If you do go to the north of Spain, you don't need a car for much of the coast itself. You can check your transportation options on rome2rio.com

And if you do pursue this plan, are you sure you can see and do what you want in the time you have? It seems very ambitious to me. For example, Salamanca easily merits 2 or 3 nights; Segovia can take a full day (and hence an overnight), etc.

I didn't write a trip report that covers my time in Salamanca, Segovia, or Madrid, but you might find some useful comments in this report covering much of the north of Spain:
Four Awesome Weeks in the North of Spain and Catalunya

Hope that helps!
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Old Dec 16th, 2018, 12:55 AM
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9 days doesn't give you much time, so I would save Porto for another time and fly from Lisbon to Madrid to meet your family. From there you can take the train north to Bilbao, pick up a car and drive to San Sebastián-Donostia, and then head south to Salamanca and Segovia before returning to Madrid.
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Old Dec 17th, 2018, 11:49 AM
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Book that overnight train at Renfe as early as possible to get cheaper rates at least with some accommodations - if not knowing much about night trains check www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts. Get a private compartment and bring any wine and food aboard.
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Old Dec 17th, 2018, 12:41 PM
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We turned our Lisbon rental car in in Porto. Then our hotel arranged for a taxi to take us the to Vigo, Spain to pick up our rental car. The taxi was 150Euros and drop off in Barcelona, 1000Euros.Look at AutoEurope's websites to see exactly where car rental agencies are located.
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Old Dec 17th, 2018, 01:08 PM
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Porto has direct trains to Vigo too, taking just over 2 hours.
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Old Dec 17th, 2018, 01:29 PM
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Yes, if you would have enough time for such a trip, you should do it the other way round:
Lisboa - Coimbra - Porto (may be with daytrip to Douro Valley) - Vigo - Santiago de Compostela - La Corunha - Santander - Bilbao - Donostia - Burgos - Valladolid - Salamanca - Avila or Segovia - Madrid.
Can all be done by public transport.
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Old Dec 21st, 2018, 01:29 PM
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Thanks for the feedback!

I'm liking the overnight train idea since it'll cut down on a lot of driving and avoid the Portugal-to-Spain drop off fees.

Just concerned that since the train makes a dozen stops overnight that it'll be impossible to sleep!

Last edited by dave_261; Dec 21st, 2018 at 01:31 PM.
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Old Dec 21st, 2018, 03:36 PM
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I've taken literally a zillion overnight trains and I always slept fine - with help of some vino - but if you are disturbed by any noise at night night trains aren't for you as there always is a modicum of noise from outside the train - yes station stops with PA announcements - but these are not usually that loud. Be sure to get a private compartment as in couchettes (4 or 6 people in one compartment - mixed sex often and then you may have to deal with loud snorers, folks going in and out to the loo at night, etc.)

I took that train years ago and even then it was, for an overnight train quite nice.

So unless really sensitive to noise you should have little problem sleeping - again some wine and a few Benadryls may help.
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Old Dec 21st, 2018, 04:20 PM
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*some wine and a few Benadryls*

Please do not follow that advice!!
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Old Dec 21st, 2018, 09:40 PM
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No, I'd do wine and a few Ativans! You could also fly from Lisbon to Bilbao.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2018, 08:10 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by ekscrunchy View Post
You could also fly from Lisbon to Bilbao.
I did look at flying, trying to do the most efficient thing w/ time and Money.

Plan would be to start in Lisbon and head up to Porto, and then have a full day there before the hour trek south to Coimbra and the 11pm train. Wake up the next morning at 10am in San Sebastian.

Seems like a better use of time than driving back down to Lisbon, catching one of the 2 daily non-stop flights. With the drive back and time for airport security, would add several hours.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2018, 12:50 PM
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Why not? No dangerous in any way. Look at any OTC sleeping pill and their main ingredient is the same as in Benadryl - yes taking a lot of those and wine could be dangerous but a few - maw not at all - maybe suze can cite some evidence for what she says.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2018, 01:08 PM
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kja
 
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
Why not? No dangerous in any way. Look at any OTC sleeping pill and their main ingredient is the same as in Benadryl - yes taking a lot of those and wine could be dangerous but a few - maw not at all - maybe suze can cite some evidence for what she says.
Unless you are a physian, I would encourage you to avoid providing medical advice. Just my non-medical advice.
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Old Dec 24th, 2018, 01:20 PM
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Yes of course - what's been good for me many times may not be for everyone. Do not mix any sleep aid with the active ingredient of Benadryl in it - everyone is different - kja is right on about that. Mea culpa.
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