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Spain/Portugal

Need help putting together an itinerary.
My husband and myself (recent empty nesters) are spending 21 days in Spain & Portugal.
We fly into Madrid and out of Madrid.
Our first 10 days will be with some friends.
As of right now we have hotels in Seville, Barcelona and Madrid.
We land in Madrid (but not staying initially) and need to find our way to Seville (3 days), then Barcelona (3 days), & Madrid (3 days).
We'd like to then go on to Portugal at day 10 from Madrid - and be back in Madrid on day 20 for day 21 flight out of Madrid. SO yes Madrid is our start and stop with a stop in the middle to send off the friends before Portugal.
ANY advise on logical logistics and suggestions are appreciated. This will be the first long - seat of my pants- trip I have ever taken.

Posted by
4604 posts

Since this is your first trip to Spain, and you’ll be flying to/from Madrid, I’d urge you to consider spending your time in Spain.

Do consider adding Córdoba and Granada to your itinerary.

By spending your 21 days in Spain, you’ll have time to explore each of your destinations, and also have the opportunity to take day trips from Barcelona, Madrid, and Sevilla.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
2 posts

HA! I am spending time in Spain. I have plans already throughout Spain. My friends are leaving and my husband and I are staying on to explore Portugal. I am in need of a route and itinerary for Portugal AFTER our Spain.

Posted by
582 posts

Are you locked into 3 days each in Seville, Barcelona and Madrid because of your friends and when they depart? If not, I recommend spending more time, at least 5 full days, in Barcelona because it is a large city with many important sites that need to be pre-booked in advance. So I guess it depends on how badly your friends want to see Madrid because then they wouldn’t have time for Madrid.

Also, what time of year is your trip? I love Andalusia but this region is extremely hot, especially Seville, during the summer months. Think 90’s to over 100F. With that said about the weather, I do recommend seeing Córdoba and Granada. (Just not sure I would recommend it during the summer months.) The Alhambra (Granada) and the Mezquita (Córdoba) are beautiful and important historical sites. I would spend 2 nights in Córdoba and 3 nights in Granada. If you have your heart set on seeing Portugal, then you could fly from Seville to Lisbon on TAP Airlines and spend 4 to 5 nights in Lisbon. It’s too bad you have to return to Madrid for your flight home.

If you prefer to spend more time in Portugal on this trip, then you would skip Córdoba and Granada, and fly from Madrid to Lisbon. Spend 4 nights in Lisbon and 1 or 2 nights in Sintra. I haven’t been anywhere else in Portugal yet, but I know Porto and Douro Valley are very popular.

Posted by
1010 posts

If you will be in Madrid before coming to Portugal, the easiest way is to fly between the capital cities. It’s quickest, easiest and cheapest, as there are almost zero trains making the trip. There is a relatively new bus service called Flixbus, but I know very little about routes, prices, etc.

I’m counting 9 nights in Portugal, so limiting yourself to no more than two bases would be my suggestion. Either do some google research or read a good guide book or two. And , don’t limit yourself to RS, as he misses a lot of lovely places. Julie Dawn Fox also has a very good blog with lots of info about Portugal.

Posted by
4751 posts

Having nearly been run off the road twice by Flixbus drivers, I would avoid them like the plague.

You don’t say when you are travelling or what you want to see, so it’s difficult to advise. Connections between Spain and Portugal aren’t as good as you would expect.

The predictable answer is fly Madrid to Lisbon and stay for 5-6 nights including a day trip to Cascais or Sintra. Head to Evora for 1 night then to Porto for 3-4 nights including a visit to the Douro.

Alternatively, stay in Lisbon for 6 nights as before then hire a car and stay somewhere such as Caldas da Rainha for 4 nights and drive to traditional towns such as Obidos, Batalha, Tomar, Alcobaca etc. Head back to Lisbon and fly to Madrid.

Posted by
116 posts

Easy to fly between Madrid and Lisbon. Several airlines fly that route. The least expensive may be the Spanish budget carrier Vueling. You don't state your interests, so advice about how long in each city will be vague. In my opinion, Barcelona deserves at least a week. In the summer, all the places you mention in Spain will be hot.
For travel between Seville and Barcelona, I also recommend flying - that is quite a distance.

Posted by
18892 posts

The concern I have is that your 3 days in each of those Spanish cities is really 3 nights. Three nights somewhere only gives you two full days and a few hours after you get settled. That is short for Seville and seriously short for Barcelona.

I agree that flying from Madrid to Lisbon is your best bet if you must include Portugal in this trip.

Posted by
4873 posts

Don't miss Toledo on a day trip from Madrid.

For Portugal, Lisbon for 3-4 nights. Sintra and Evora are good day trips from Lisbon. Obidos, Bathila Cathedral and Cascais are options. Porto is wonderful if you have time, 2-3 days there is good (include a short cruise up the Douro River Valley.

Posted by
1250 posts

Leaving aside the itinerary issues raised already, so far as logistics go I would suggest:

  • Madrid to Sevilla by Renfe AVE train (you'll need to transfer from Madrid airport to Madrid central Atocha station)
  • Sevilla to Barcelona by aeroplane (try Vueling or Ryanair)
  • Barcelona to Madrid by Renfe AVE train
  • Madrid to Lisboa (and back) by the sleeper service train.
Posted by
154 posts

I’m looking at a Portugal/Spain trip too. I will fly btwn Spain and Portugal. I’ll stay in Lisbon with day trip to Sintra and train to Porto with day trip to Douro Valley. Ricks book has tips to make this possible.. you can fly from Porto to Madrid or train back to Lisbon and fly to Madrid. Spend the night in whatever city you are flying out of. You can do it!