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June itinerary for Rome, Portugal and Spain

Hi All,
This is my first question here. I really and truly miss Thorn Tree.
We are traveling to Rome, Portugal and Spain in June with our 8 year old girl. Honestly, we have been to Rome and Italy before but since our daughter is learning about artifacts and history and insists on seeing the Colosseum and Vatican city, we are complying her wishes as well.

our trip is from 7th june to 6th july

The tentative itinerary is that we will spend 5 days in Rome (colosseum, vatican city, pisa day trip)
and then fly to Portugal. We plan to spend a week exploring portugal and then fly to madrid and then the final stop being Barcelona. The flight home is from Barcelona on 6th July.

Since we are traveling with our 8 year old, I would love for her to enjoy the places as much as we do so looking at some kid friendly places to visit here too.

ROME: 7tH JUNE reaching evening, hotel, sleep, acclimatise

8th June: Colosseum, Trevi fountain,
9th June: Catacombs of St Callixtus, Spanish steps, Explora 2 (kids museum) or zoo
10th June: day trip to Pisa (3 hours)
11th June: day trip to Vatican City (12 minutes away)

12th June:
Flight to portugal, lisbon (11.10 am flight- 3 hours flight )

Lisbon: day 1: aflama street, castle de st Jorge, rossio square
Day 2: lisbon aquarium, Santa justa lift, ascensor di gloria funicular, electricity museum, science museum

Hippotrip in lisbon
Day 3: adventure park,

Day 4: day trip to sintra (27 mins)

Porto 2 days: 3,30 hours by train
Day 1: sight seeing bus
Day 2: river cruise to duro, chocolate store (wow museum)
Day 3: harry potter book shop livrario lello, fc porto museum for football tour

Algarve: 3 days
Day cruise,
Lagos zoo
Dolphin cruise, caves exploring

Fly to spain



Lisbon 3 days

Porto 2 days

Algarve (coast) dolphin watching, caves 2 days



Barcelona 3 days

Seville 2 days (GOT castle)

Granada 2 days

Madrid 2 days

Girona (GOT sites)

Valencia ?


is Ibiza worth going ? We love partying but this Europe trip is going to be different with our girl around.
Am i missing out on anything? Any suggestions and changes, welcome!


Posted by
131 posts

This looks like a great trip but a pretty fast-paced itinerary, especially with an 8 year old in tow. If it were my trip, I would try to add a day to Granada if you can- the Alhambra is a must see and will take the better part of a day- and I would definitely add at least a day (but two more would be better) to Sevilla. You may want to consider cutting out Madrid (it's a nice city but doesn't have as big of sights for the average tourist, outside of art museums) and Porto (which I love, but is very much a wine destination). Lagos has some really nice beaches so be sure to budget in time for that.

Posted by
3 posts

@christine! Appreciate your response. I intentionally chucked out Alhambra as we have seen such monuments in our earlier travels..been in the middle east for nearly twenty years now.
We are more in to fun adventurous places..I agree, spain and Italy are more about churches and historical places..but the places itself are so picturesque and gorgeous they definitely deserve more than the courtesy glance
We love Harry Potter and any suggestions on where we can see some site locations of that?
And also, any suggestions on airbnb stays in these places..

Sorry for the questions! I have just too many of them.

Posted by
6191 posts

Too fast paced for me. Reading the itinerary, especially the Spain part, seems like you’re just checking boxes to say you were in a place rather than really enjoying the places you’re stopping at. Even when you say two days in a place, there is travel time to get there and then on the the next place that will eat away at the time in a location.

This is a link to GOT filming locations in the Sevilla area. One place is the nearby Itálica amphitheater, the Osuna bullring, and the Castle of Almodóvar del Río that is a few miles outside of Córdoba. The other locations are fairly close to one another in the historic center. The last time I was in Sevilla, the shipyard (in the linked article) was blocked off by a fence so we couldn’t go in. I was able to glance through holes in the fence.

Posted by
4020 posts

I think you just need to flesh out the latter half as you did the start, then it never hurts to edit and cut some things out. Once it is all laid out it is easier to adjust for a good balance. Spain is so packed with things to see, you don’t have to go as hard.
I am unfamiliar with GoT, but I visited a fascinating park outside Caceres where it was filmed.
I have not traveled with a child, but more time in fewer places has always served me well (a lesson instilled by TonyB (RIP) from the Thorntree Spain forum).

Posted by
26433 posts

Travel time from Rome to Pisa is at least 2 hr. 41 min. each way. By the time you travel to and from the train stations on both ends of the trip, that's going to be about 7 hours of travel time. I can't imagine it will be worth it. Buying tickets late could cost you almost 100 euros roundtrip for the adults.

Posted by
6113 posts

The Portuguese element is far too much travelling versus time seeing places. I wouldn’t recommend the Porto area, Lisbon and the Algarve unless you had at least 2 full weeks there. Pick Porto or the Algarve. There are many good beaches near to Lisbon if you want to reduce the amount of travelling.

The Algarve cave trips will be exceedingly busy in the summer - you can wait for a long time to get into the cave then only have a few minutes in there. I have been on a couple of Algarve boat trips and have never seen dolphins.

You don’t have time for Ibiza unless some of your other destinations are deleted. Your Spanish portion is also rushed and southern Spain is going to be hot.

Posted by
464 posts

Couple of comments.

I would not day trip from Rome to Pisa. I'm not sure if you plan to train or drive, but either way you are looking at 6 hours of travel time. There is lots closer to Rome to do.

For Lisbon, you have a lot going on on Day 2. Line ups for both the elevator and the funicular can be very long, possibly hot and boring for an 8 year old. I'd try to do just one and go first thing, leave the aquarium to cool of in the afternoon.

Where are you flying from to get to Madrid. If you can fly from Faro then it may be worth the Algarve, but it is not worth it to go all the way there if you have to back track to Lisbon.

Posted by
3 posts

Appreciate all your responses.
So I will be flying in to Rome and flying out of Barcelona. Hence, we decided to fly from Rome to Lisbon, give a week in Portugal and then head to Spain.
The reason for the day trip to Pisa is that my daughter wants to see the Leaning Tower desperately. We have already been there before but she hasn't and I wanted to squeeze it in the Italian bit of our journey.

I agree, I am trying to cover a lot of places. The greed to see everything took over! So what should I skip in Spain- Madrid, Grenada, Seville and Barcelona? Are these places good enough.
Alternatively, we would love to just rent a big villa in a village, in Catalonia and Andalusia and chill there for a few days and just go to Madrid and Barcelona? Any suggestions?

Posted by
303 posts

Wow, this is a big trip. Three countries and hitting such a large area is Spain is a tad overwhelming for adults, much less a child. Your kiddo may not want to venture overseas again! I'll just comment on the Spain portion, though. Between Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Granada, I would skip Madrid. It's much less interesting and unique. Can you fly from Portugal to Seville possibly? Stay in Seville like 4 nights to really relax and see the city. Take a day trip to Cordoba which is only about an hour away. Then stay in Granada for 3 nights, the Alhambra is a major sight and is one exhausting day. Then maybe take a cheap flight to Barcelona for the final stay and then your flight home. Ideally I'd do 5 nights Seville, 3 Granada and 3 Barcelona but you only allocated 9 unless something shifts in your itinerary.

ps: I like how you add some kid friendly sites in like an adventure park and museums that appeal to kids. That's what we would do; balance a trip with some adult things and some things the kiddos loved.
pps: In Granada we visited a tea room with a belly dancer in the Albaycin. Just ran across it! It was family friendly and I think would be enjoyable for your daughter.