I have 2 1/2 weeks in late December (2016) to travel Spain & Portugal. My thoughts have always been 'You can't go to Portugal without seeing Spain and you can't go to Spain without seeing Portugal'. After reading some threads on Portugal, I am wondering if I should make Portugal a separate trip and spend my 2 1/2 weeks just exploring Spain? (There is so much to see in both countries!!) Right now I plan on doing 1 week in Portugal and 10 days in Spain. I would love to hear anyone's insight and thoughts!!
Save Portugal for another trip & take time to enjoy Spain.
The upside of Portugal is that it's much, much smaller and more manageable than Spain, so you can see more of it (or at a slower pace) if you choose to spend your time there. I wouldn't try to see both in one trip.
Yes, you can visit both countries in the allotted time. Craft your itinerary with due consideration for travel times and connections. I have enjoyed Portugal more than Spain and it's a better value.
I was planning a trip to central & southern Spain for the Spring of 2017. We have traveled from Barcelona to Santiago de Compostela in the north already (2 weeks). We decided to add Portugal to the Spring trip since we missed it the first trip. One rule my wife asks is not be gone over two weeks. After planning for a month, I suggested we do Portugal in the Spring for two weeks and Spain in the Fall for two weeks. This has proved to be much more doable and giving both itineraries better coverage. I stick to the two weeks rule by not counting the days we fly! Whatever you decide, I'm sure it will be right for you.
Hi Bruce- Could you tell me why you preferred Portugal over Spain?
I'd absolutely split the trips. I spent 89 days in Europe this summer. 88 of them were in Spain, and I did not go to Andalucía or Valencia. There is that much to do in Spain--though I wouldn't necessarily recommend the Basque Country and Galicia in December. Portugal, while smaller, has plenty of sights to fill more than 2-1/2 weeks.
Another factor is that transportation links between the two countries are few in number and often inconvenient, so a Spain-Portugal trip often doesn't work out as well, logistically, as one might imagine.
Portugal just seemed a little less developed (in a good way) if you will, compared to Spain, and a slightly more relaxed vibe. Both are great to visit, with an edge to Portugal in my opinion.
"My thoughts have always been 'You can't go to Portugal without seeing Spain and you can't go to Spain without seeing Portugal'."
Those are almost everyone's thoughts - until they start investigating. They soon discover that there's plenty to see in each country, and that the transit links between them are poor. So, while you certainly can see both in 2 1/2 weeks, you can also just see one, and not feel you didn't have a fully satisfying trip.
I'd make my decision based on how much of Spain you want to see. For a first visit, the three main areas of interest for most people are Barcelona and around, Madrid and around, and Andalucia. If you want to see all three (or add other areas), 2 1/2 weeks is a good amount of time, and will allow you to do this without rushing. If you can skip one, you can apply that time to highlights of Portugal, but remember you may lose much of a day getting between them (since you will probably have to fly or take multiple buses).
I spent a week in Portugal earlier this spring and enjoyed it much more than the time I spent in Spain. I liked the people better, more spoke english, I liked the food better, whatever else. If you decide to do a week in Portugal, be sure to check out RS Portugal Tour to see where we went to give you some ideas.