Spain and Portugal itinerary

Old Oct 28th, 2003, 04:48 PM
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mjs
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Spain and Portugal itinerary

We are going to Spain next month for 14 nights. Flying into Madrid and out of Barcelona. Tried flying into Lisbon and flying out of Barcelona or the opposite but could not make the air fares work. Tenatively staying 4 nights in Madrid, possibly using one day to do a day trip to Toledo. Ending with 4 nights in Barcelona. The middle of the trip is really the question. Considering taking the AVE to Seville for 1 or 2 nights. Rent car in Seville and drive to Lisbon, possibly stopping somewhere along the way such as Tavira or Evora, depending on weather. Lisbon for 3 nights (Cascais?) than fly to Barcelona. Staying at the Citadines Barcelona. Any thoughts for a family of four?
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Old Oct 28th, 2003, 07:38 PM
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IMO, with only 14 nights, I think you should save Portugal for another trip. There are so many wonderful places to go between Madrid and Barcelona in Spain alone, that you couldn't do those justice in that time, let alone going off the other direction to Lisbon. I'd suggest staying longer in Seville, stopping in Granada, and then taking some time in Alicante and perhaps Valencia on your way to Barcelona.
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Old Oct 28th, 2003, 10:54 PM
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Mjs
I think your trip can be very nice,
Madrid-seville-lisbon-Barcelona.
In 14 days you have time but concentrate in this four cities there are many things to do and places to see.
In lisbon I rather stay in Lisbon visiting Cascais than the other way round. Check you car rental dropping charges, between Seville and Lisbon.
I will not recomend the drive from Seville to Barcelona in Nov.
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Old Oct 29th, 2003, 05:59 AM
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topping
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Old Oct 29th, 2003, 06:45 AM
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On arrival in Madrid, you shoud go to one of SpanAir's offices (across from the Passenger check-in/ticket counter) and ask about current 'Ofertas' (i.e., discount roundtrip fare sales) to/from Lisbon. Spanair often has 'Ofertas,' especially in 'off-season.'

Driving definitely makes sense for 4-people travelling together but the price of petrol and the tolls on toll roads may be more than you expected. For solace, just think that the whole toll road concept started in the USA.

As car writes: You may be looking at an exorbitant 'drop off' charge if you rent your car in Spain and drop it off in Portugal.

Depending on the days of the week when you will be there, I think 4-nights in Barcelona may be 'overkill.' Many travellers don't plan their trip with this in mind: Yes, day(s) of the week matters: Many museums are closed on Mondays. everywhere! Sundays are great both in Madrid and Barcelona.

So, just saying: 4-nights in Madrid, 2-nights in Sevilla, 3-nights in Lisbon and 4-nights in Barcelona tells me you have done some planning; but you've got to keep working on it.
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Old Nov 1st, 2003, 11:09 PM
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Thanks for the comments. We were going to Thailand this month but my wife got cold feet about going to southeast asia during this time so I am doing a quick redirect to Europe. This will be my third trip to Spain but the first for my family. Considered just doing Madrid and Barcelona with day trips;or Madrid, Lisbon and Barcelona; or Madrid, Andalucia and Barcelona. I have moved towards the currrent itinerary because I have never been to Portugal and the only places I could get inexpensive airfare to Barcelona from the western part of Spain/Portugal was Madrid or Lisbon. It also turns out that flying from Madrid to Lisbon is expensive for 4 people and the train seems to be an overnight affair with no high speed line between the two cities. I do not wish to drive to Barcelona from Seville and no wish to revisit the Costa del Sol. I gave strong consideration to Madrid than down south than back up to Madrid than flying to Barcelona but I generally do not like to waste time back tracking. Driving through Andalucia would also require alot more planning and add alot of complexity to our trip. We generally do two week trips with perhaps 3 locations as our travel style tends more towards the Slowtravel mode than the Rick Steve quick mode. The AVE makes the trip from Madrid to Seville easy and it looks like we can drive from Seville to Lisbon in 5 to 6 hours. Car rental for three days with drop off in Lisbon is $400. You can cut the car rental costs by renting the car just over the border from Spain in Portugal but than you would have to train or bus it from Seville to the border. This would be more aggravation and not worth the cost to me. Flying from Seville to Lisbon saves very little time from driving and costs $1500+ for four people. The train from Seville to Lisbon takes a heck of alot more time and costs more than the car. Actually getting anywhere fast and in an inexpensive manner from the Seville area is not easy. Even flying to Barcelona requires a trip through Malaga or Madrid and costs $250+/person. I strive for a balance between just relaxing in one location for a long time and getting out to "see more". I also try to be efficient in my travel plans as I do not wish to spend all my vacation time in cars, trains, planes etc. I am sure I have not thought about all the possible permuations for this trip but so far it seems reasonable. I do however appreciate other thoughts for I am quite willing to change the itinerary.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2003, 06:06 AM
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Drop Lisbon from this trip--too far and too much to see in Spain.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2003, 06:47 AM
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You mention: "Flying from Seville to Lisbon saves very little time from driving and costs $1500+ for four people."

As far as I know, there are no direct flights Sevilla-Lisbon.

"The train from Seville to Lisbon takes a heck of alot more time and costs more than the car."

There is also no direct rail line between Sevilla & Lisbon. The westbound line from Sevilla terminates in Huelva. In Portugal, you can get a train from Faro to Lisbon. You were probably routed: AVE, Sevilla-Madrid and Lusitania Express (overnight) Madrid-Lisbon.

I don't know if Damas SA bus line operates its Sevilla-Faro service in November. You may be able to find out from their web site.

"Actually getting anywhere fast and in an inexpensive manner from the Seville area is not easy. Even flying to Barcelona requires a trip through Malaga or Madrid and costs $250+/person. ... I am sure I have not thought about all the possible permuations for this trip but so far it seems reasonable. "
I have flown direct, nonstop on Iberia airlines Sevilla-Barcelona.

I have also taken a Viajes Julia (DBA Eurolines) bus Sevilla-Lisbon. The latter took 9-hours (incl. a 1-hour lunch stop) but it was quite inexpensive. http://www.eurolines.es I made my reservation over the internet and purchased our tickets at Sevilla's Plaza de Armas bus station.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2003, 10:48 AM
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I've visited all places you mention in your plan. On our second trip to Spain, we did Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon and back to Madrid via air in 2 weeks. We felt so disappointed in Lisbon, we tried everything to change our airline tickets and return to Madrid early. We were there for 2 weeks around Xmas holidays, so leaving Lisbon for the beaches was not an option. After the beauty and cosmopolitan feel of Madrid and Barcelona, and the richness of their art, Lisbon seemed drab and we ran out of things we really wanted to do.
On our first trip to Spain, we saw Madrid for several days, took AVE to Sevilla and excellent bus system to get to Cordoba and Granada, then AVE back to Madrid.
Barcelona is one of my favorite places. I loved the architecture, could walk around just staring at beautiful buildings off the Paseeig Garcia (spelling wrong I'm sure). Museums are excellent, top restaurants, lots of variety. 5 days for me was not nearly enough. We never even made day trips out of Barcelona.
Madrid has much to offer, just people watching, museums, cafes and tapas fill your days. Great day trips on train, tours or car rental will get you to Toledo, the phenomenal Escorial, Avila, and Segovia and the experience of staying at the Avila parador.
Hope it helps.
Aleta
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Old Nov 2nd, 2003, 06:55 PM
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Hello, what a fun and challenging trip. I went to Portugal, spent a week in and loved Lisbon. We toured about in a car for 12 days and never got bored.
The next year was a flight into Barcelona where we spent 5 nights, overnight trained to Madrid (I'll never do that again!), spent 5 nights there, and then had a car for a couple more weeks. Don't miss Montserrat, if possible, and I have a wonderful inn outside the city of Toledo, on a hill, where Goya painted some of his masterpieces.
In all honesty, if you want to see Portugal, I would skip Seville. Drive from Madrid to Portugal and spend some quality time there. A daytrip to Sintra is magical.
All three of these cities differ so from each other. I think it would be a great combination.
One of the posters advised checking the fares once you arrive. You may just snag a good deal making it worthwhile to fly from Madrid to Lisbon.
Have a wonderful trip and let us know when you get back how it went for you!
PS. I usually get the best deals from autoeurope and they don't have a problem with changes before pickup. Go to the website www.wsmarterliving.com to check out the discounts for autoeurope. I just saved $50 for my rental next month in Sicily. Gotta love that!
Enjoy!
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 11:07 PM
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Thank you all for your kind advice. I have changed our itinerary abit as I have some business to attend to in Barcelona and it appears I may need to get there alittle earlier than I had previously thought. I am also changing it after looking at the weather information (Fodors World Weather Guide - my favorite Fodors book) for December for Lisbon and seeing about a 50% chance of rain. Sintra and Lisbon are probably better seen in the Spring. I have also decided that I can combine Lisbon/Portugal at a later date with another trip as there are many inexpensive connections from Lisbon to the rest of Europe with Europe by Air among others. I also found reasonable air fare from Seville, Malaga and Granada direct to Barcelona with Iberia as Nedsireland has pointed out.
So, as of now the itinerary is as follows:
1: Flying into Madrid, 4 nights at High Tech Avendia. One day trip to either Toldeo or Segovia.
2: Early AVE Train to Seville. Stay at La Casas de Los Mercaderes for 4 nights. Possible day trips to Granada, Pueblos Blancos, Rhonda, East Algarve, or Gilbaltar. (Some of these places, not all) Considered staying in Seville for 3 nights and moving to Grenada for one night before flying to Barcelona but in the end we have decided I think to minimize moves. If we get to Seville around noon and leave in the evening we will have 4 1/2 days in Seville which should give us time for 2, possibly 3 day trips.
3. Fly to Barcelona in evening and stay at Citadines, Barcelona for 6 nights. Day trips to Costa Brava, Montserrat, and possibly Girona.
4. Fly home.
I still like my original itinerary and if I did not have to get to Barcelona earlier, or if I had just a few days more I think I would have stuck with my original plan. However, constraints being what they are..... Any further thoughts appreciated.
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Old Nov 9th, 2003, 05:21 PM
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Designergigi

You mentioned you have a wonderful inn outside of Toledo, on a hill, where Goya painted some of his masterpieces. What's the name of this place? Thanks.
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Old Nov 10th, 2003, 06:12 AM
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mjs writes: "... Considered staying in Seville for 3 nights and moving to Grenada for one night before flying to Barcelona but in the end we have decided I think to minimize moves. If we get to Seville around noon and leave in the evening we will have 4 1/2 days in Seville which should give us time for 2, possibly 3 day trips. ..."

That's Granada, not 'Grenada' (an island in the Carribean)!

'Day trips' are nice but it's more than 2-hours drive from Sevilla to Ronda or Sevilla to Faro (Algarve). The latter is by autopista (as far as Huelva) but I don't think you have that luxury going east out of Sevilla. Arcos de la frontera might be a closer choice.

Also, don't 'shortchange' the Costa de la Luz (i.e., Cadiz, el Puerto de Santa Maria, Sanlucar de Barrameda or even Jerez de la frontera. That's where the Sherrys and some very good Cognacs including Domecq (Jerez) and Osborne (el Puerto de S.M.) and my favorite, Manzanilla (Sanlucar) come from. You can tour some of the Bodegas.

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Old Nov 10th, 2003, 07:34 AM
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It seems too far to go from Seville to Granada for a day trip - the train ride is about 3.25 hours each way, at 17 euro pp. You'll have to balance the drag of return travel to Seville against the nuisance of packing up and moving hotels. But if you stay in Granada, you can stay on Alhambra hill, which is worth more than a little inconvenience.
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Old Nov 11th, 2003, 10:02 PM
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I have considered staying just two nights in Seville than driving on to perhaps Ronda then Granada before flying off to Barcelona. The problem with this option is that we can never seem to find a reasonably priced car in Europe that has a trunk large enough ( 4 22 inch suitcases and 4 carryons)to hide our luggage so we can stop along the way to visit various places as we travel from town to town. We have only used station wagons and SUV's to travel hotel to hotel. We also tend to like to stay in one place and tour around that base. I know Granada is a long hike for a day trip but I look at it as something like our Queenstown to Milford sound trip in a day. Long but hopefully satistfying and something you try not do on consecutive days. Besides, if we moved to Granada we only really save the time taken to return to Seville which is probably balanced out by the time to find the new hotel, pack and unpack etc.
I did also find E86 airfares from Seville to Barcelona on Air Europa. Wonder if this is a reliable airline.
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