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Portugal & W. Spain in October

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Aug 5th, 2015, 04:10 PM
  #1
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Portugal & W. Spain in October

My husband and I are spending 3 weeks in Portugal and Spain in October 2015. We fly in and out of Lisbon and have rented a car. We prefer to stay in towns and small cities for 3 or 4 nights and do day trips from there before moving on. Our loosely planned route, in no particular direction is -
Evora - visiting Cromeleque dos Almendres, Elvas, Monsaraz
Merida - or is highway thru Beja into Spain more picturesque?
Ronda and the White Towns
north thru Toledo, west to Salamanca,
into Portugal towards Gaurda
and back to Lisbon via the coast
We will spend our first 2 and last 2 nights in Lisbon and plan to visit Sintra and Cascais
Now, what I am hoping to get from you experts are suggestions of towns to use as bases and what to go see while based there. We are hoping to visit cork plantations, wineries; travel on some scenic roads; experience great sea food, wine and traditional dishes; take in flamenco dancing and markets. We like quant, upscale hotels with character in town centers so we are able to wander off to pubs or restaurants.
I have been reading this Forum for months and have a plethora of notes but cannot get it together enough to make concrete decisions and plans. All suggestions, tips, advice will help me immensely.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 05:55 PM
  #2
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 17,199
Ronda and the White Towns seem far afield given the rest of your itinerary. I enjoyed Ronda, but wonder if you have considered deferring that area until you plan to visit Andalusia?

"We will spend our first 2 and last 2 nights in Lisbon"

Have you already booked your flights? If not, try for an open jaw flight, into Lisbon and out of Madrid (or...) or vice versa. If you have already booked, consider putting all of your time in Lisbon at the end of your trip -- but only if you can delay renting a car until you have recovered from jet lag.

"cannot get it together enough to make concrete decisions and plans"

Have you tried marking up a calendar? Identify the things you want to see, check their opening and closing hours, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from your lodging, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together.

Also mark things up on a map to see the most efficient routing for the places you are considering, and to see which places our outliers.

Hope that helps!
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Aug 5th, 2015, 06:23 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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It does seem unusual to visit Ronda and Toledo and not see Seville and Cordoba.
Seville is so close to Ronda and Cordoba is right on your way to Toledo. Also, Toledo is only about 25 minutes from Madrid.

If those are the only sights you plan to see in that part of Spain, they are pretty far out of your way on the rest of your itinerary. I would also suggest waiting on those until you have time for Andalusia and Madrid. The other option is too spend less time in Portugal and more time in Spain.

That big loop is also very time consuming. You could fly from one country to the other, renting a car in each, or do a "multi-city" flight, into Lisbon and out of Madrid or Seville.

Distances can be further than they seem at first. I know. We made that mistake the first trip to Spain, renting a car and driving to places far apart. We were exhausted.

One other place in the Andalusia loop is Granada.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 07:16 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 38
I agree on the other comments. Andalusia is an experience by itself. But since you have three weeks you can break it down into two parts and fly in Lisbon but fly out of Madrid. One way car rental thru kemwel.com is easy to get. This way you can spend more time at destinations rather then driving all the way back. We did this thrip from Barcelona to Malaga one way.
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Aug 5th, 2015, 07:18 PM
  #5
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Sorry, should have mentioned that, yes, our flights and rental car are already booked. We thought to have the two nights in Lisbon to deal with jet lag at the start, before picking up the car, and the airline changed our return flight by a day which means we have an extra day then as well.
As for Ronda, the White Towns, Cordoba, Seville,, etc.....we would like to stay in one or two base towns and do day trips, not stay in each town as I realize that would be too much. We both like driving so 4 or 5 hour drives between base towns is fine, preferable to packing up and moving to new hotels every day.
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Aug 6th, 2015, 03:58 AM
  #6
 
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I think Sevilla would be the perfect base in that section of your trip. Plenty of options for great daytrips to for example Ronda, Cordoba (once the most advanced city in the western world), Jerez de la Frontera (famous for sherry (Jerez), flamenco and horses), Cádiz (3000 year old Gadir by the sea and fabulous seafood), Antequera (the first of the Granada emirate towns to fall to the Christians in 1410 and as genuinly Andalucia as it gets. Plaza de los Escribanos is my favourite spot in all of Spain.) and Carmona just outside Sevilla (the Roman gates still stand).

Cordoba (40 mins with the high speed AVE train): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyfGdpF55Uk
Antequera (80-90 mins by car): http://www.andaluciacoastandcountry....era-spain.html
http://wild-about-travel.com/2011/07...ing-antequera/
Carmona (25 min by car): http://www.andalucia.com/province/se...rmona/home.htm
http://www.sanpedrocarmona.es/

And Sevilla itself is the undisputed queen of the cities in the South. That is Sevilla!

If you want to see great flamenco dance, I recommend to go to either Casa de La Memória or La Casa del Flamenco. Performances every night. Changing artists all the time, but they all perform as soloists in the major festivals. Popular with tourists, but this is the real deal. No food, no drinks, just flamenco for about an hour.

Casa de la Memória: http://www.casadelamemoria.es/
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio...Andalucia.html

La Casa del Flamenco: http://www.lacasadelflamencosevilla.com/
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio...Andalucia.html

Pastora Galván, voted best female flamenco dancer 2010 by Spanish critics, has danced almost once a week in Casa de la Memoria for many years. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2SBUcrJgeQ

The greatest flamencos in the world perform in Sevilla theaters all the time. The schedule is updated here: http://www.deflamenco.com/conciertos...n-sevilla.html

This is also an excellent guide to top quality concerts in anything from small flamenco clubs (peñas) to the largest theaters. Great and totally untouristy flamenco events are on almost every day of the year in Sevilla: http://www.guiaflama.com/flamenco-en-sevilla/
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Aug 6th, 2015, 05:40 PM
  #7
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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"As for Ronda, the White Towns, Cordoba, Seville,, etc.....we would like to stay in one or two base towns and do day trips" In that case, I wholeheartedly second kimhe's recommendation to make Sevilla your base for Andalusia.
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