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Lisbon, Porto and Barcelona Combination Trip

We are doing some preliminary planning for a September or October 15-16 day trip to Lisbon, Porto and Barcelona with 4-5 nights in each city and perhaps 1-2 nights in Sintra on the Lisbon leg. Have daily itineraries including day trips tentatively worked out for each major city. Will fly American from USA booking open jaw flights between USA and Lisbon/Barcelona with a European one-way flight such as Vueling or Ryanair between Porto and Barcelona. Plan to take the train or bus between Lisbon and Porto and prefer not to backtrack.
Any suggestions, tips, etc., as to whether to start or end in Lisbon or Barcelona?

Posted by
25548 posts

If the trip ends up being pushed into October, I'd tend to prefer starting in Portugal, because Porto will be quite a bit cooler at night and (more importantly, I think) wetter than Barcelona at that time of year. I think the earlier you get to Portugal, the better. You can see the monthly average weather statistics in the cities' Wikipedia entries.

Posted by
4079 posts

In the summer of 2019 I did 2 RS tours back-to-back. I did the Portugal one first and flew Ryanair nonstop from Porto to Barcelona for the start of the Spain one.

Be sure to check the flight schedule and note that Barcelona is an hour ahead of Porto, so you arrive an hour later than you might be expecting.

Also pay close attention to luggage rules for Ryanair. I hate checking a bag and much prefer carry-on only, but even with my little international bag, it was the easiest and best option. I paid for it when I made my reservation. That made it much cheaper because it will cost more if you do it at the airport.

And don't even think of trying to carry-on anything except a personal item. Those of us who had only our little personal items were put in a priority line and zoomed through the loading process.

There was a very long line for those who thought their (I kid you not) 26" plastic spinners could be carried on. That line took forever because every single one of them had to gate-check their bag and pay a premium price to do so.

It's annoying for those cheap airlines to charge for every little thing, but I also paid for my seat when I made my reservation. That trip I flew on 3 different intra-European airlines. Ryanair's seats were the least comfortable of them.

I think I didn't consider Vueling because of their scheduling. As it was, I arrived at about 23:00. I'd researched public transportation to our tour hotel. I walked out of BCN, easily found the right bus, paid the minimal fare in cash and off we went. I was the only person on the bus. It stopped literally around the corner from my hotel. Traveling solo, I was a little concerned about the late arrival, then I remembered I was in Spain. Silly me!

P.S. I think your spell check betrayed you. Flying into one city and back from a different one is called multi-city or open jaw.

Posted by
25548 posts

Although it may not do so for flights from Portugal, RyanAir does fly into the Girona airport as well as Barcelona-El Prat. RyanAir might advertise flights to Girona as being to "Barcelona". While Girona is a lovely place, very much worth visiting, its airport is about 55 miles from Barcelona, and I assume you want to fly into Barcelona itself. Be careful as you're buying your ticket.

Posted by
96 posts

I know want to avoid RyanAir. My remaining non-stop choice between Porto and Barcelona is Vueling . Can anyone share their experience with Vueling and this route?