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20 days Trip to Spain Portugal & Morocco

Hey All,

My husband and I are planning a trip with our 5 yr old daughter to SPAIN PORTUGAL & MOROCCO in April 2014 summer break.

This are the places we kinda shortlisted on back and forth from London. Any additions subtractions suggestions will be highly appreciated.
((London))
Barcelona
Valencia
Granada
Fez
Seville
Lisbon
Porto
Madrid
San Sabestian
Cordoba
Arcos de Frontera
Marrakech
Casablanca
Madrid
((London))

Thanks in advance!
Mansi

Posted by
9110 posts

An average of a day and a half in each place including the time to get there?

I hope the sequence is a bit different.

Knock off Morocco and Portugal and it isn't half-bad.

Posted by
14409 posts

As Ken and Neil have pointedly pointed out, you need to look at transportation schedules. Use the official Spanish train website renfe.com. I suggest you first read the Trip Advisor Spain Forum instructions for using the site, which will explain the symbols and types of trains, etc., and also has clear, detailed instructions on purchasing. To determine how long it will take you to get from Hotel A in city A to Hotel B in city B, add: packing time, travel to station allowing for traffic, travel from station, check-in and unpacking. If you are flying, add extra time for security, baggage check and baggage claim. If you are thinking of renting a car, reconsider. With a small child, train travel is often better because she won't be confined to a car seat and can walk around freely and you will both be able to interact with her.

There are no rail connections between Portugal and Spain, so it's either fliying or buses. Unless you want to waste many, many hours getting to the ferry from Spain to Morocco and back, you'll have to fly there too. Once you are in Morocco, it takes hours to get from place to place by train or bus. This is why you should drop both Portugal and Morocco. Anyway, Spain has enough to keep you happy for weeks on end.

Most Spanish cities are well-connected by train and the train stations are usually no more than a few minutes by taxi from the historic centers, where you will want to be.

You said you are going in April 2014 (which is just 2 months away) and during summer break. Which is it? If April, are you going to be in Spain over Holy Week, April 13-21? If so, there will be lots of crowds in some places and it may be too late to get good accommodations already. If it's summer, do you want to be in Andalusia with a tot? The heat is often extreme, with temperatures in the high 90's (36 celsius and more).

Posted by
1130 posts

Barcelona - 5 days
Granada - 3 days
Seville - 5 days
Toledo - 2 days
Madrid - 5 days

I write wondering if you have prior experience traveling with a young child?
We found traveling with a child requires additional time due to provision of naps, etc. a small child needs.
Suggest you rent apts. due to better cost, additional space, kitchen.

Posted by
985 posts

You can't do it all. Try to stay 2-3 nights in each location or you'll wear yourselves out. We took a cheap flight from Madrid to Marrakech and then took the overnight back to Tangier before crossing the straight by ferry and working our way back to Madrid. Morocco is different than Spain and I'm glad we took a taste.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you everyone for suggestions. Sorry, I've been sick since a while so haven't been able to quite plan the trip. We realize we are late on bookings but kindly share in your ideas on the itin incase if we still manage on last minute.

London - Barcelona (flight)

Barcelona - 4 nights.
Barcelona - Valencia

Valencia -- Overnight needed??

Valencia to Granada

Granada to Seville
Seville - 1 night

Seville - Cordoba
Cordoba - overnight needed?

Cordoba - Lisbon
Lisbon - 3 nights

Lisbon - Porto
Porto - 2 nights
Porto - Madrid
Madrid - 4 nights

Alternatively ----

London to Paris to Barcelona by TRAIN (1N in Paris) - high speed SNFC
Valencia
Granada
Seville
Cordoba
Lisbon
Porto
Porto to London (flight)

Any destination additionally recommended for a 5 yr old? In that case, I'll minus form this and add that. San Sebastian Oceanarium was one attraction. But then doesn't seem wise to club it with southern Spain.

TIME - We were thinking after 21st April. before it's gets too hot in May.

CHILD - Yes, we have traveled quite a few places with our daughter before. So far, she has been an angel in traveling but certainly we don't mean to make it exhaustive for her so we are flexible on cutting down destinations if it doesn't fit in time schedule.

First question places mentioned were just of interest. Not finalized stops. Morocco is dropped.

Thank you everyone!

Posted by
7 posts

Salamanca and Figueres looks great too! Should I swao this with Valencia and Granada over our first trip? Which one makes the top if visiting the first time?

17 - 19 dayz max with travel time is what we are looking at.

Thanks!

Posted by
1437 posts

Mansi, drop Cordoba and don't add anything else!!

With a 5 year-old, I would try to avoid any stay of less than 2 nights.

I'm assuming that you will be visiting the aquarium in Valencia? The whole complex there is quite interesting, so yes, overnight in Valencia - allocating it 2 nights.

Sevilla has a nice large park that your daughter might enjoy. Sevilla definitely needs at least 2 nights!

In Barcelona, allocate several hours to Parc Guell and for your daughter to play in the sand at the Barcelonetta beach.

4 nights - Barcelona ( 3 sightseeing days)
2 nights - Valencia ( 1 sightseeing day)
2 nights - Granada ( 1 sightseeing day)
3 nights - Sevilla ( 2 sightseeing days)
3 nights - Lisbon ( 2 sightseeing days)
2 nights - Porto ( 1 sightseeing day)
3 nights - Madrid ( 2 sightseeing days)

That's a very tight schedule, with * long & heavy * travel days - using 19 nights.

If all you have is 17 nights, or you want to actually enjoy the trip a bit more, then eliminate Portugal.

Figueres can be visited as a full day trip from Barcelona - the Museo Teatro Dali might just engage the 5 year-old, as well as her parents! Just add a night to Barcelona if you'd like to go there.

Posted by
4524 posts

A few things you may need to consider. Spain and Portugal are not well connected even though they share an extensive border and seem so close. There is one overnight train that connects Madrid and Lisbon - those have to be booked well in advance to get a private cabin or even a shared couchette. So the only other feasible option is to fly, which can be done from several major cities in Spain. But consider the hassle with a 5 year old and cost (discount carriers will charge you extra for luggage) versus whether it is worth it to you.

Alternatively, Morocco is pretty easy to get to via ferry from Spain. And it's not far from Sevilla, which is on your list. So if you are doing one or the other, it might make more sense to pick Morocco. I haven't been there but I'd venture a guess that it'd be more interesting to a 5 year old than Portugal (ie - the main thing to do in Porto is visit the Port warehouses).

Cordoba is an easy 45 minute train ride from Sevilla. Most people see it as a daytrip from there or as a stop between Sevilla and Madrid. Sevilla and Madrid are only 2.5 hours by AVE as is Barcelona and Madrid. The other cities in Spain you mention have much slower train or bus connections. Figure at least a half day or more to travel between them.

I would certainly fly from London into Barcelona. And get an open-jaw (multi-city) ticket departing from your last destination. If you did go to Portugal, I certainly wouldn't backtrack to Spain.

Posted by
7 posts

HI Diane,

I so appreciate this! Yes, Im goin to cut out Portugal. I keep feeling it is too busy already.

So, yea If lisbon and porto are scraped off, would you design the same route and places? We could do 19 days max.

-M

Posted by
1437 posts

Hi Mansi,

I'm very glad that you decided to cut out Portugal from your plan. To finalize your itinerary, here are my suggestions:

Do the math for time in terms of nights, not days.

Count 2 nights for each day of sightseeing. For each day trip, add one night.

Add the extra nights to Barcelona, Sevilla and Madrid. Keep the 2 nights minimum for Valencia and Granada.

Day trip from Barcelona: Figueres
Day trips from Sevilla: Cordoba or Jerez de la Frontera

Your daughter would love the dancing horses of the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, in Jerez de la Frontera. It's just a little over an hour by train from Sevilla. The shows are scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays in April, with an additional show on Easter Saturday. You must buy your tickets well in advance! So it would be worthwhile to plan accordingly, if this interests you.

Towns like Granada, Sevilla, Cordoba, etc. have little tourist trains that take you around - your daughter would enjoy these. Sevilla has horse-drawn carriages. Barcelona and Madrid have HOHO buses. Finally, Barcelona and Valencia have a zoo and, as you know, Valencia has the biggest aquarium in Europe.

Finally, do take into account the fact that Easter might complicate your plans a bit - busy trains & buses, booked accommodations, maybe even some closures. Research the opening dates & times for all the attractions that you would like to visit. Even in normal times, attractions may not be open 7 days a week...

Posted by
1437 posts

So, here's what 18 nights could look like:

5 nights - Barcelona ( 3 sightseeing days + 1 day trip to Figueres)
2 nights - Valencia ( 1 sightseeing day)
2 nights - Granada ( 1 sightseeing day)
5 nights - Sevilla ( 2 sightseeing days + 1 day trip to Cordoba + 1 day trip to Jerez de la Frontera)
4 nights - Madrid ( 2 sightseeing days)

If you have one more night, I'd add it to Sevilla.

In addition, if you could schedule the entire Easter week-end in one spot, i.e. Sevilla, from the Thursday to the Tuesday - that would also be ideal.