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Advice on Portugal and Spain itinerary

Hi All, I'm looking for advice on the following itinerary, we are 4 young at heart, fit 50 - 60 yr olds who like architecture, a little art and people watching. Because of the tyranny of distance (coming from Australia) we are unlikely to revisit this part of Europe again.

We are traveling 24 or25/12/20 - mid January 2021

Is this itinerary feasible? Do we need to rejig? It is possible that we may fly into Lisbon first, will depend on the flights available,

  1. Porto 2n (early am incoming flight) train to Lisbon
  2. Lisbon 3n Night train to Madrid
  3. Madrid - 2n
  4. Toledo 1n (train to Cordoba fm Madrid)
  5. Cordoba 1n
  6. Seville 3n
  7. Granada 2n (plane to Barcelona)
  8. Barcelona 3n (train to Paris)
  9. Paris 6n

Thanks Shar

Posted by
745 posts

I recommend flying from Lisboa to Madrid rather than taking the train. It's a one hour 10 minute flight, and costs are often quite low. I suggest Skyscanner to begin your flight search.

Posted by
2291 posts

It would optimize travel times even more to fly from Lisbon to Sevilla, then Granada, Córdoba, Toledo, Madrid, Barcelona.
The overall schedule is tight, especially the three nights in Barcelona, but it is workable. I would add a night to Barcelona and take one away from Paris however.

Posted by
18920 posts

With the possible exception of Paris, those are all really minimal times. It's not what I would choose to do for stop after stop after stop, but they are all top-flight destinations, so I understand that cutting something would be difficult.

You said you didn't expect to get back to that part of Europe. As cheap as intra-European flights can be, it would be simple enough (aside from the vacation time required) some other year to add Portugal to time spent in another European country. That would be my choice. There's more to Portugal than Lisbon and Porto.

Even when I was younger I found night trains not restful; the last one I took (at an age of 64) was along rough rails in southern Italy and I literally got not one minute of sleep because of the constant jerking. It was a nightmare, and I accomplished no sightseeing the next day. You don't have time for a bad experience like that.

Although I hope the rails between Lisbon and Madrid are smoother than what I encountered between Rome and Sicily, the Lisbon-Madrid train makes ten stops between 11 PM and 6 AM. Every one of them will be accompanied by braking, station noise, and acceleration--very difficult to sleep through. I can't imagine you'll have a restful night. It's easiest to see the routing on the Deutsche Bahn website. Click on Show details, then on Show intermediate stops.

Posted by
1 posts

To fully enjoy your trip — avoid Vueling Airlines.

Flights booked through Iberia Airlines — in partnership with Vueling Airlines.

Four of us flew from Barcelona to Faro for a wedding. We arrived at the airport two and a half hours prior to boarding. Flight was on time. Arrived in Faro to discover two of the four checked bags did not arrive in Faro. Queue behind us at the lost luggage counter indicated at least 10 bags did not make the flight.

Vueling made no attempt to resolve the matter. All communications were redirected to their website. Website was useless with no change in status for six days. Status simply said: search for bags underway. We had no idea if they even knew where our bags were. We contacted Iberia Airlines, since we booked our flights through them, only to be referred back to Vueling.

In hindsight we believe our luggage just sat at the Barcelona airport until the next Vueling direct flight to Faro (they fly there twice a week). Rather than get our bags to us quickly, they let us go without clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc. for the rest of our trip (6 days), delivering our bags to Faro the day after we left for home.

Our luggage finally arrived at our final destination 11 days later and we had to go to the airport to pick them up because Vueling’s airline partner refused to deliver them.

To be clear, the only reason we have our luggage today is because of the helpful people in lost luggage at Faro Airport. Vueling has done little to nothing to communicate or help. They really don’t care.

We had to go out and buy things to wear to the wedding and for the balance of our trip. Vueling is now dodging reimbursement for these items.

It’s simple — If you don’t want to reimburse us Vueling, don’t take 11 days to return our possessions.

We understand lost luggage happens. What we do not understand is Vueling’s appalling apathy.

Vueling could have quickly put our bags on another carrier’s flight to Faro. They did not. Vueling could have sent our luggage (and the eight other customers’ bags) to Faro Airport via a courier such as DHL. They did not. Vueling could have hired a driver to transport the all of the missed suitcases to Faro. They did not. Vueling could have contacted us with options. They did not.

We are still awaiting reimbursement for our expenses and expect it to be a painful process. Vueling avoids contact with customers in order to sidestep accountability. It makes us question their attitudes toward all aspects of their business to include flight safety.

Our recommendation — Choose another airline.

Posted by
14 posts

Thank you Blue439, balso, acraven and Sandra, your replies are much appreciated.

I have taken your advice and have changed the itinerary, (depending on our initial arriving and departure dates we could have extra days to add to Spain, unknown until we book flights).

  1. Lisbon 3n
  2. Porto 2n Fly direct to Seville 3 Seville 3n
  3. Granada 2n
  4. Cordoba 1n
  5. Toledo 1n
  6. Madrid -2n
  7. Barcelona - 4n
  8. Paris 6n

Does anybody know if there is a 3 King parade in Toledo or are we better to view this in Madrid?


Posted by
2214 posts

Does anybody know if there is a 3 King parade in Toledo or are we better to view this in Madrid?

I'm sure Toledo will have one, albeit smaller and more intimate, but the most spectacular one will be in Madrid (Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos).

Posted by
18920 posts

When you get to Toledo, inquire about the timing and path of the procession. I had trouble getting across the route of a religious procession on the way back to my hotel to pick up my luggage for departure. I made it on time, but it was difficult. There are lots of narrow streets in Toledo (very picturesque), and I found small but dense crowds of people at every intersection because there's little if any room for them along the streets. It was very difficult to get up to the street in order to cross it, and then there was the issue of cutting across the procession itself.

Posted by
445 posts

Funny story re Madrid's Los Tres Reyes celebrations (Jan. 5), maybe ten yrs ago. We stayed near the airport that night, Clement Barajas.
There was a sweet little parade & fiesta in the neighborhood, toddlers & clowns & tapas, very satisfying. But then we turned on the TV, & there's live coverage of the 3 Kings arriving in downtown Madrid, by helicopter! Cheering throngs, breathless reporters, the mayor presents them with keys to the city, & the kings give a press conference! I'm taking photos of the TV screen, Melchior at the microphone in flowing brocades, crown, beard - surreal & wonderful.

Happy travels!

Posted by
14 posts

Thank you Carlos, acraven, Stewart and Vicki, your replies are much appreciated on Toledo.

Is there any further feedback on the updated itinerary please.

Thanks Sharon