We would like to plan for an Europe tour this summer(July/august). We are thinking Spain and Portugal for 10-12 days. I would love some recommendations about location we should focus on. We have 2 boys with us 6 &8 yrs.
You have posted this in the reviews section, so you will get more responses if you put it in the general Europe section of the Destinations Q & A section.
More information about what you are interested in will get you more meaningful answers. Is that a total trip of 10-12 days or in each country? Spain and Portugal aren’t as easy to combine as you may think if using public transport. If the total trip length is 10-12 days, I suggest that you opt for just one country. There is plenty to see in both countries.
Are you happy with high temperatures? Are you going to rent a car? What style of holiday do you want - one or two bases or moving frequently? Cities, beaches or rural countryside?
You are travelling in peak summer season, so your choice of accommodation is going to be limited in some places.
Are your flights booked?
It can get rather hot in the summer. We did a trip in Portugal in August, but stayed close to the water and more North and didn't have an issue with it being too warm.
An option, fly in/out of Porto or can fly into Lisbon and take a train to Porto. Lots of day trips from Porto that you can take via train, and if willing to rent a car, can drive and spend time north of Porto in the Minho region. I really enjoy the small towns of the Minho. Generally this area is not covered in guide books, but is really lovely and not difficult to navigate via car. Just don't have a car in Porto.
The Silver Coast (area by water between Lisbon and Porto) can be pleasant too.
If you have a car, you can cross the border and spend time in northern Spain (Galicia region.) We had originally planned to enter Spain last year visiting Santigo do Compostela, but decided against it due to changing covid rules.
There's a bit of a rival between which city is best, Lisbon versus Porto. Both cities are great, but I favor Porto which you can probably tell from my post :)
A resource for the Silver Coast and Minho Region is Julie Dawn Fox.
Edit to add: If doing beach time, take a look at Sāo Martinho do Porto which is on the Silver Coast and more child friendly in regards to waves.
I'd edit that itinerary by a country. 10-12 days is barely enough for a quick survey of Portugal. It could serve for one region or two cities (with a few day/side trips).
Certainly not enough time to get anything out of trying to cross borders.
I have never read a request for itinerary help where somewhere did not say "cut and slow down". (And I don't always agree) However, in this case, I agree with Scudder. You would probably be better to pick one country. If that country is Spain, pick one or two areas of Spain. We took a 17 day trip to Spain in April-14 full days on the ground, 3 days getting there and back. We spent almost all our time in Andalusia (half day in Consuegra, one day in Toledo, and one day in Madrid were the exceptions). When we started planning, we thought we would see much more of Spain. But it is a larger country than our inexperienced minds thought. (While we have had 12 trips to Europe, this was our first time to Spain)
Which brings me to my overall itinerary advice: How do you travel here in the United States?
Do you prefer visiting cites, lots of museum and churches, or do you prefer country side with scenery and smaller attractions? We usually spend most of our time enjoying the quieter countryside with short trips into cities. On our first trip to Europe, we tried to see all the museums, churches and castles, etc. We burned out quickly. On our Spain trip, we visited the Cathedral in Seville, the Alhambra in Grenada, and the palace in Madrid. We also spent 4 days doing 5 hikes (our passion) and visited the Rock of Gibraltar and the horse exhibition in Jerez. That left some time to walk through cities and towns we were staying in, walks on the beach in Cadizl, etc. That is a reflection of what we enjoy when we travel and would not work for many others.
I have not been to Portugal. If you were to choose Spain, I would recommend you focus on either Northern Spain or Southern Spain .If it were me, I would visit Northern Spain. It has both beaches and mountains which is wonderful in July/August. Southern Spain is quite hot that time of year (which is why everyone is at the beach). Barcelona, Pyrenees, Basque region..I could easily fill 2 weeks in Northern Spain.
Thank you everyone. We will fly from USA. After reading the suggestions we are considering to stay in Spain only and in northern Spain. We like country side or small town, culture, architecture, little bit of beach time for the boys(6&8 yrs).
Any refined recommendations?