I am in the beginning stages of planning a 6-8 week trip through the Iberian peninsula. This will be my first time in Spain and Portugal. I'm looking at next April and May.
I will fly in and out of Madrid (because that is the only direct flight from my home airport of Guadalajara). I'd like to rely mainly on public transportation, but I am okay with renting a car for portions of the trip, but absolutely want to avoid having a car in larger cities. I'll be traveling solo, which I do frequently. I'm happy to hire a private guide here and there or to join a group tour for a day trip.
My basic idea is to spend some time in and around Madrid at the beginning, then head south to Granada and gradually make my way toward Seville. From there I'd go toward the Algarve, then work my way north through Portugal. Then back into Spain, I'd visit Santiago de Compostela and work my way east to Bilbao and San Sebastian. Then I'd probably fly Bilbao to Barcelona, and then fly or take AVE back to Madrid for my flight home.
How doable is this by train and bus? Are there areas where you'd recommend renting a car? Any other suggestions are welcome.
As I move forward in my planning, I know I'll have other more specific questions, but for now I'm just looking for a basic sense of whether my plan is a good one. Thanks!