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Spain + Porgugal 14-day itinerary - please provide feedback

Spain + Porgugal 14-day itinerary - please provide feedback

Old Feb 7th, 2023, 11:14 AM
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Spain + Porgugal 14-day itinerary - please provide feedback

Hi everyone!

After postponing our Spain trip by a year, my wife and I are finally getting the opportunity to visit in the third week of May. We have 2 weeks available for the trip so are thinking of Portugal as well. I would greatly appreciate your feedback on the following itinerary we have come up with:
  • Arrive in Barcelona at 9 am. Spend 3 nights in the city.
  • 2 nights in Granada (travel by train from Barcelona)
  • 2 nights in Seville
    • Day trip to Cordoba
  • 2 nights in Madrid
    • Potential day trip to Toledo
  • Fly to Porto in the evening - 1 night in the city
  • 2 nights in Lisbon
  • Fly outwards from Lisbon on the 14th day in the evening
We both want to experience the local culture, sightseeing, visit museums and historic buildings and some activities like hiking/nature would be great.

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by keegan2022; Feb 7th, 2023 at 11:22 AM.
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Old Feb 7th, 2023, 11:59 AM
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Two weeks is really not a lot of time. If it were my trip, I would either spend the 2 weeks in Spain or 2 weeks in Portugal. Spain is a huge country. There is so much to see and do. Three nights is very, very little time for Barcelona. Are you coming from the US? If so, you will have jetlag when you arrive in Barcelona so you won't be able to do that much. Also, remember that 3 nights essentially gives you 2 full days and perhaps half of another day. If you are interested in all the quirky and wonderful Gaudi sites, the churches and cathedrals, the wonderful art museums, strolling around neighborhoods, I think you really need a minimum of 5 nights in Barcelona. Certainly no less than 4 nights.

Two nights in Seville with a daytrip to Cordoba and 2 nights in Madrid with a daytrip to Toledo gives you one day in Seville and one day in Madrid. I would find that way too rushed and too frustrating. You could easily spend 4 nights in Seville without daytrips and 4 nights in Madrid without daytrips.

And it doesn't make sense to leave Spain for only 3 nights in Portugal. You will be spending most of your time on planes and trains, and in airports and train stations. I know this sounds like a cliche but stop and smell the roses! You won't regret it.

You only have 13 nights on the ground. Here is a sample itinerary:
Fly into Barcelona
Barcelona - 4 nights
Granada - 2 nights
Seville - 3 or 4 nights (with a daytrip to Cordoba, although I prefer spending a night or two in Cordoba, but you don't have the time)
Madrid - 3 or 4 nights (with a daytrip to Toledo; an overnight is better in Toledo but you don't have the time)
Fly home from Madrid

OR you could drop Barcelona (which is an outlier) from your itinerary, and spend all 13 nights in Madrid, Toledo, Granada, Cordoba and Seville. This way you could spend a couple nights each in Toledo and Cordoba. Trust me. You won't be bored and you will find this a more leisurely and enjoyable trip.

Last edited by KarenWoo; Feb 7th, 2023 at 12:07 PM.
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Old Feb 7th, 2023, 12:18 PM
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Ditto--most of those destinations could easily warrant four nights--two night stays are a major drag, you spend more money for less experience.
And if you want nature and hiking, it would be better to cut even more and perhaps rent a car for a portion. It would be a very different trip, but equally rewarding, as there are some gorgeous areas. May is a great time to visit, but slow down--you will absolutely not regret it!
I attempted to plan a similarly rushed trip before my first trip to Spain, and I was so grateful I was warned off it. I have been four times now and still have barely scratched the surface.
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Old Feb 7th, 2023, 12:20 PM
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Everything KarenWoo said! She is giving you an excellent itinerary and if I were you, Iíd stick to Spain. Her revision will give you a chance to experience the things you say you want. Your itinerary will give you a good taste of train stations and airports but not much else.

In general, the rule of thumb is that 2 nights in a city gives you one day to tour, so you will barely have enough time to see any of these cities, much less do a day trip.

Give yourself time in these cities! Youíll need time to adjust to the jet lag in Barcelona. So much to see there - 4 nights wonít be too much.

The fast train from Barcelona to Granada is a long one, so youíll really have a short time in the city. 2 nights there will be one full day.

Seville is a stunning city (my favorite in the region) and 3 nights is a bare minimum. 4 nights if you want to do a day trip to Cordoba.

Leaving you with 3 nights in Madrid. Youíll barely scratch the surface especially if you decide to do a day trip to Toledo.

Save Portugal for another trip.





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Old Feb 7th, 2023, 01:15 PM
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If you need another one to tell you the same things, I would be that one.
I like KarenWoo's revised itinerary, but for 2 weeks only I'd go with her last option, and skip Barcelona and save it for another trip. Unless you travel fast and you don't need to spend time to see in depth a place. It all depends on how you travel, but with your original itinerary I don't see any time for local culture or hiking/nature.
Plus, what progol said: 2 nights is technically 1 day, with maybe a couple of hours the day before or the day after, depending on when your travel starts/ends. 2 nights in Madrid with a day trip to Toledo...by the time you come back from Toledo all sites in Madrid will be closed, so even if you have a few extra hours that day in Madrid, you won't be able to see more beyond the exterior of some buildings, the streets, but not the inside of churches or museums.
Look at the opening hours of the sites you want to visit, train schedules, put on paper travel times including the time you need to get to/from train station to/from hotel/apt, the time you need to check-in/check-out, etc. and see how much time you can really use you have. Happy planning!
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Old Feb 7th, 2023, 08:49 PM
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Thanks all for the great feedback and thanks KarenWoo for the sample itinerary. This totally makes sense and we will definitely adjust our itinerary to make our trip less rushed.

Do you think it's worthwhile dropping something from the Spain itinerary to fit in 3 nights of Lisbon instead? We both would love to get a glimpse of Portugal in this trip as we don't think we'll be able to travel to Europe again in a very long time. We could perhaps considering adding another night or two at most if needed.
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Old Feb 7th, 2023, 10:39 PM
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Like the others I'd recommend staying in just the one country, but remember Spain is, in many ways, more than one country. For example there are 5 official languages, with a different feel in each region and the infrastructure is very much set up to get you out and about in each region.

I like the idea of 3 or 4 days in each stop, but don't be fooled into just staying in the city where you are staying, get out and about to the regional areas

If I was doing Portugal only once in my life I might consider including the Azores and Madeira in the trip. Each of these is a special place and very unlike the old country
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Old Feb 8th, 2023, 05:00 AM
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It depends on what you hope to get from a couple of days in Lisbon. If your goal is to see Lisbon, then do it. But Portugal, even small, has a lot of variety and diversity. Each part of Portugal is different, and Lisbon is not (in my opinion) representative of Portugal. I don't think you'll get "a glimpse of Portugal", you'll just get to see Lisbon.

For the time and money it takes to move from Spain to Lisbon, I'd stay in Spain and save Portugal for another trip. There's a lot more to see in Spain than what you have time for, anyway.
In the end, no matter what you decide, you'll have a wonderful trip, it's up to you how fast you want to move.
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Old Feb 8th, 2023, 05:23 AM
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I understand the desire to visit Lisbon especially since you don't think you will return to Europe for a long time. When we visited Portugal, we only had time to see Lisbon and Sintra, which I don't regret at all. I would love to return and see more of Portugal, but I don't know if that will happen so I am happy to have at least seen Lisbon. I love Lisbon, and it is one of the smaller capital cities so it's easy to get around. I think 3 nights could be worthwhile. But I would definitely eliminate a destination in Spain, and it makes sense to omit Barcelona since it is the outlier. So, if you can add 2 nights to your trip, a possible itinerary could be:

Fly into Madrid
Madrid - 4 nights including a daytrip to Toledo
Cordoba - 2 nights
Granada - 2 nights
Seville - 4 nights
Lisbon - 3 nights
Fly home from Lisbon

I know for sure you can fly from Seville to Lisbon on TAP Airlines. You should check out some of the low-cost airlines, such as Ryan Air, Vueling, etc.
If you can't add the extra 2 nights to your trip and still really want to see Lisbon, then do not overnight in Cordoba. Visit Cordoba as a daytrip from Seville. It's a 45-minute train ride. While I generally like to stay overnight in places because you get a better feel for the place and appreciate it more, I also believe that seeing a place as a daytrip is better than not seeing it at all.
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Old Feb 12th, 2023, 03:58 AM
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Thank all once again for the great feedback. Based on most of your recommendations, my wife and I decided to skip Portugal and only base in Spain (although with a heavy heart ). Here is the revised itinerary, mostly based on KarenWoo 's initial itinerary suggestion:
  • Fly to Barcelona. Stay 4 nights.
  • Train to Granada. Stay 2 nights
  • Seville 3 nights with day trip to Cordoba
  • Madrid 3 nights with potential day trip to Toledo
  • Fly outwards from Madrid
I know some of you suggested to skip Barcelona altogether but since we are leaving out Portugal, we'd love to visit both Barcelona and Madrid instead. We have a night to spare in either Madrid or Andalucia. Where do you think we should spend the extra night - Madrid, Seville or Granada (or somewhere else)?

Please let us know how you find this itinerary and where we should spend the extra night. Thanks so much!

Last edited by keegan2022; Feb 12th, 2023 at 04:10 AM. Reason: Adding more details
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Old Feb 12th, 2023, 05:22 AM
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Keegan2022, this is personal preference, of course, but I would spend the extra night in Seville. I think you are smart in seeing Cordoba as a day trip from Seville. This way you get to see the magnificent Mezquita and explore some of lovely Cordoba. However, because of your planned daytrip to Cordoba, with only 3 nights in Seville, you will have only 1.5 days in Seville. And Seville has many important historical and cultural sites. Seville is larger than Granada so I wouldn't add that extra night to Granada. And as much as I like Madrid, I think that architecturally Seville is a prettier city than Madrid. Seville is filled with plazas, fountains, parks, interesting neighborhoods, and gorgeous architecture.

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Old Feb 12th, 2023, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by KarenWoo View Post
Keegan2022, this is personal preference, of course, but I would spend the extra night in Seville. I think you are smart in seeing Cordoba as a day trip from Seville. This way you get to see the magnificent Mezquita and explore some of lovely Cordoba. However, because of your planned daytrip to Cordoba, with only 3 nights in Seville, you will have only 1.5 days in Seville. And Seville has many important historical and cultural sites. Seville is larger than Granada so I wouldn't add that extra night to Granada. And as much as I like Madrid, I think that architecturally Seville is a prettier city than Madrid. Seville is filled with plazas, fountains, parks, interesting neighborhoods, and gorgeous architecture.
Thanks KarenWoo for your suggestion which totally makes sense. Only issue is our international flight from Madrid is at 3:00pm which means we will start going to the airport at noon and lose almost the entire fourth day. Do you think 2.5 days will be enough for Madrid?
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Old Feb 12th, 2023, 06:37 AM
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This is the trip I would do, too. And I agree 100% with KarenWoo and Iíd add the extra day to Seville. You wonít regret it. Itís a beautiful city and just walking it is a joy in itself.



Street flamenco in Seville
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Old Feb 12th, 2023, 09:02 AM
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I agree with Progol. Just walking around Seville is a joy in itself. When I was planning my trip, I used Progol's trip report for guidance.

Whether or not 2.5 days is enough for Madrid depends on how much you like art museums. For me, the big draw to Madrid is its outstanding art museums. We had 3 full days in Madrid. We spent close to 5 hours at the Prado including lunch, and 3 hours at the Reina Sofia. We also visited the Royal Palace, Temple of Debod, and Retiro Park where we had sangria by the lake and walked around this beautiful park. We also took a slow walk through Plaza del Angel and Plaza Santa Ana and would stop for drinks. And visited the San Miguel market. There are other markets, too, that we didn't see. We didn't have time for the Thyssen Art Museum, although maybe we could have squeezed in a quick visit. We are probably older than you so we move a bit more slower.

I think you will find that you never have enough time and you will always wish you had an extra day. At least that's the way I am.


Plaza de Espagna in Seville
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Old Feb 12th, 2023, 09:04 AM
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Keegan2022, you may already know this. You should reserve your Alhambra tickets ASAP.
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Old Feb 12th, 2023, 10:00 AM
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I would opt for Seville as well. When we went, I fell in love with Seville and wished we had more time there.
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Old Feb 12th, 2023, 03:24 PM
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Thought I would add a few more photos if this helps in your decision.

another photo of Plaza de Espagna in Seville - it's so photogenic

Retiro Park in Madrid
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Old Feb 12th, 2023, 03:30 PM
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Seville

Mezquita in Cordoba
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Old Feb 13th, 2023, 08:07 PM
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Thanks for the lovely pictures KarenWoo and thanks all for the feedback. We will spend 4 nights in Seville and 3 nights in Madrid then
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Old Feb 13th, 2023, 11:09 PM
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I spent 5 days in Seville, and we did a day trip to Cordoba. It was OK. But I would not do it again. While it was great to see Mezquita, it made for a really tiring day and I really did not appreciate Cordoba as much as I could have. The train on the way back stopped in the middle of nowhere, and we were on the tracks for nearly 2 hours.
Would I do it again..No I would not. If you only have 3 nights in Seville, I would not be day tripping to Cordoba.

your extra night if you have one I would spend in either Seville (and then day trip to Cordoba is more a possibllity) or Granada. I loved Grandada and wish I had an extra day there.
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