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Porto, Compostela and Barcelona

On our last vacation, we visited Lisbon, headed to its beautiful Southern coast and went into Southern Spain. This time we are planning to fly to Porto for a couple of days. Is it worth to stay in Douro area also or we can enjoy it by staying in Porto and adding another extra day? From there, we want to go to Santiago de Compostela, Spain for a couple of days. Any suggestions on how to get there? Is it better to take a bus or go by train?

After Compostela, we are headed to Barcelona, either by plane or renting a car. Has anyone done this? We want to revisit Barcelona again, and this time head to the Costa Brava area.

Appreciate any suggestions or advise! Thanks in advance!

Posted by
17363 posts

On the Deutsche Bahn website I see an 8:05 AM train departing Porto Campanha Station with a change in Vigo, arriving in Pontevedra at 12:43 PM. You lose an hour crossing from Portugal to Spain, and by the standards of transportation between those two countries, that train trip is to be cherished.

Pontevedra has an interesting historic district, and the much smaller town of Tuy, right on the Spanish side of the border, is also worth a look. I found Vigo less attractive.

Once in Pontevedra you'll need to change trains again (or switch to a bus operated by [Monbus.], which runs rather frequently and takes about 60 to 90 minutes. The train is faster than the bus, especially if you catch a Media Distancia train rather than a regional. For some reason Renfe doesn't like to show itineraries for trips that mix main-line trains and local trains, so you'll probably need to search for this schedule in two parts, Porto-Pontevedra and Pontevedra-Santiago de Compostela.

If you have extra time in Galicia, I recommend visiting A Coruña and/or a coastal village or two.

There's much to see in northern Spain, but if you don't have time to linger, you may as well fly. ViaMichelin estimates the driving time at about 12 hours without stops, and in my view it's difficult to have too much time in Barcelona.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for your quick reply! How about the Porto and Douro area- how long of a stay do you recommend??

Posted by
1075 posts

Did almost the same itinerary in September 2016. Would suggest 3 days in Porto, with 1 day for a tour of the Douro-there are many to choose from. From there we had a private car to Santiago, spent 2 solid days and then flew to Barcelona on Vueling for about €120 each. Will be returning to Porto and Santiago in September of 2017 to do the Compestella from Portugal. From new research, planning on the train to Valenca from Porto, then walking from there.

Posted by
4401 posts

JerryG made some good points.

We did a Douro River cruise for a week and loved it. Those cruises are not cheap, so you may wish to do a shorter cruise out of Porto.

Three days is perfect for Porto. We stayed at a wonderful B&B in a great location. It is the InPatio Guesthouse. Book early, they only have five rooms.

We did a day tour to Santiago de Compostela that was great. Booked it through Viator.

I would not advise renting a car and driving from Porto to Barcelona. It is a long drive and the drop charges are huge due to dropping in another country. Air is the best way to go. If you haven't been to the Madrid area, I recommend it. I liked it even better than Barcelona. The Prado Museum is wonderful and there is a lot to see in Madrid as well as nearby Toledo and Segovia.

Posted by
68 posts

This is just a small piece of information, but I found the Santiago de Compostela airport well-connected to the city center by bus. The hotel staff was very helpful looking at the schedule and giving me directions to the bus stop. The city center is very walkable. I have a special place in my heart for Santiago after walking the Camino a few years ago. I hope you enjoy it, too! Not sure about Santiago to Barcelona, whether train, bus, or plane is best- maybe someone else can speak to that...