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Spain and Portugal 12 April Trip


My two friends and I are planning a trip to Spain and Portugal this April 2015. We are going to be there 12 days. I know it is a lot to pack in but we are going to try. We are in our late 20s and have all been to Europe before but never to these countries.
Any suggestions on which cities we have to go to? Or whether is it better to fly, rent car, take the bus, or the train? We are all very active and want to explore, eat, drink, and have a good time.


Posted by
9363 posts

We need a few more specifics before we can be very effective in advising you. Are your 12 days "on the ground", or do you fly out on Day 1 (arriving in Europe on Day 2) and return on Day 12? What kind of budget do you have? What are you interested in - museums, shopping, historical sites, nature? Train and bus service are extensive in Spain, and a lot of times it's just less hassle if you go by high-speed train to some of the major cities (and you can get significant discounts by booking train tickets ahead of time). Driving causes parking, which can be hard to find and/or expensive. Flying between cities on a budget carrier might be an option if the distance was great enough. In short, the more you can tell us, the better options we can give you. You might want to look at the following cities in a guide book, though, just to get an idea of what is where: Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba, Malaga. Check to see driving times/distances between cities just to give you some idea of how far one place is from another.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks Nancy!

We are leaving Wed April 8th (night flight) and returning Tues April 21st. So 12 whole days and two flying days. Our budget is in the mid range. We don't mind spending to make the trip great but also are not made of money and would try to get as many deals as possible.We would like to plan some things beforehand to save money and not waste time while we are there. I read that the trains in Spain are not that good and really expensive so that is why I was asking about other modes of transportation.

We are interested in - museums, shopping, historical sites, nature. We want to see and learn as much as we can.

Posted by
552 posts

The train from Sevilla to Madrid is great! AVE and TGV prices are pretty comparable, so I don't know how you got the idea that Spanish trains are expensive for what you get.

Sevilla, Cordoba, Toledo, and Madrid is a classic train itinerary that would be thoroughly explored in 12 days.

Taking the train between Spain and Portugal is not convenient though.

If you'd rather spend 6 or so hours in a car each day, you could pick one up in Sevilla, wander through 'La Frontera', into the Algarve coast, on to Lisboa, back through Evora, and drop it off in Cordoba, even Granada, Toledo or Madrid.

Posted by
9363 posts

The high-speed train from Barcelona to Madrid is wonderful! Seating in second class is comparable to business class on a plane - comfortable seats, large tray tables, footrests, power ports, lots of legroom and room to move around, and they show a movie (they pass out earbuds). My fare by booking ahead was 39 euro, while the walk-up fare was 125 euro.

As for accommodation, look for hostals (not hostels) in Spain. They are small, sometimes family-run hotels, often on the second floor and above in the town center. They usually have wifi available (sometimes in the lobby only, but mostly free). They are kind of basic but very affordable.