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Spain for 1month

My wife and I are retired and have the time to spend on leisurely travel and are open to any time of the year. We’d like to go to Spain for around a month then on to Portugal for several more weeks. Well do a river cruise in Porto . We like 3-5 nights wherever we go. Where should we home base? Seville? Then day or overnight for 1-3 nights? Or move around each week? By train or car ( I’ve driven in U.K., Italy, France). Spring or fall?

Posted by
1514 posts

David - Since you plan on visiting Portugal on your trip after Spain then Staying near Portugal makes sense. Will you be using Airbnb for accommodation or apartment rental ? Will you be using a rental car to drive to the Andalusian cities? You can either go spring or fall.

Posted by
569 posts

A month is a good amount of time in Spain, and in particular Andalusia. Spring or fall is a good time for Andalusia because it is extremely hot during the summer months. Do keep in mind, though, that April is very busy, expensive, and crowded in Andalusia because of Easter celebrations, which can also be fun.

This is a rough itinerary I would recommend:

Seville - 4 to 6 nights, to include day trips to Cadiz and/or Jerez.
Granada - 3 nights
Córdoba - 2 or 3 nights
Malaga - 3 nights
White towns such as Ronda - not sure how many nights since I haven’t been there.
Madrid - 5 nights to include day trip to Segovia
Toledo - 2 or 3 nights
Barcelona - 6 nights
That’s a month right there.

Plan your trip so that you begin in Barcelona and end in either Madrid or Seville. I know that you can fly via TAP Airlines from Seville to Lisbon or Madrid to Lisbon.

Use train for most of the places. But I think a car is better for the white towns.

Posted by
569 posts

Just want to add that I know that Madrid and Barcelona are not in Andalusia but you have the time to visit those cities, so thought I would add those in, if you are interested.

Posted by
1508 posts

I think you are jumping the gun--have you flipped through a guide book yet? Spain is a big country and you won't see it all in a month--why not pick out the areas you find interesting and then post for itinerary advice and feedback?

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks to everyone so far. I chose to keep the itinerary open now to see what people find special and exciting. I do not now have any pre-conceptions. However I did read a blog regarding Barcelona Air B&B. It was frightening. To many people and to many inconsiderate people.

Posted by
4120 posts

Seville - 4 to 6 nights, to include day trips to Cadiz and/or Jerez.
Granada - 2 nights
Córdoba -1 or 2 nights
Malaga - 2 nights
White towns such as Ronda - not sure how many nights since I haven’t been there.
Madrid - 5 nights to include day trip to Segovia
Toledo -2 nights
Barcelona - 6 nights

Consider a trip to the Basque area near the French border.

Posted by
13930 posts

Andalucia is the warmest, driest part of Europe. I've been twice in February for about 3 weeks each and it's been great - low season prices, relatively few tourists (hardly ever a line to buy tickets) and mild weather - mostly sunny, 60s, a little rain, a few cloudy days. My last visit was in March and weather was a little warmer (even wished for sandals one day in Sevilla). Madrid and Barcelona were similar, just a tad cooler. I'm told April is likely to be warmer but also rainier. Portugal has mild weather then as well.

Andalucia has lots of festivals in spring. You may want to embrace one or more - with high season prices and lots of crowds, along with some very special experiences - or you can avoid them. The biggest overall is Semana Santa (Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday) throughout Andalucia. Another very different festival is Las Fallas in Valencia March 15-19.

If you have 8 weeks, I'd go with 5 in Spain and 3 in Portugal, though you could double the time in either place.

In Spain, much of the country is well served by high speed train. I've only rented a car (twice) to explore the hill towns of Andalucia, basing in Ronda for 3N. A week in Barcelona is a minimum, especially with all the day trips available. I've been once in February and twice in March (last time was in 2019), few crowds except at top sights, mostly Gaudi. I didn't find it at all unpleasant.

Posted by
1514 posts

Chani - I have to say Andalusia is the jewel of Spain. I fell in love with it on my first visit. It's a place I am really considering for retirement. It will be a wonderful experience living there. Glad you had a great time Chani.

Posted by
1127 posts

If I had a month in Spain and wanted to spend time in some "bases" rather then moving hotels regularly, then my first-trip "fantasy holiday" would be to see variety:

  • Start at Bilbao and SS with a few days in each, including hiring a car to see more of the Basque rural region and La Rioja;
  • If you ended in Lorgono, then drive to Barcelona (with an overnight in Zaragoza), drop the car and stay centrally in Barcelona for a week, using public transport to make a few day-trips outside the city such as Girona;
  • Fly to Granada and stop in a villa outside the city to the South East, hiring another car and drive to places in the sierras and also east to San Jose, north to Ubeda and south to Granada's coast, as well as Granada city itself for the Alhambra and Albaicin & centro;
  • Drop the car and then use a coach or train to Sevilla, staying for a week in Sevilla city centre, on a few days using public transport to make day-trips to Cordoba, Carmona, Cadiz (just the C's!); and,
  • fly onto Porto.
Posted by
2660 posts

A month is a lot of time, but time will fly by. I’ll assume you’ve never been there. I used to say that if someone was to only make one trip to Spain they should visit Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada, Toledo, Segovia, and Madrid. Other nice cities include Barcelona, Burgos, Leon, Santiago de Compostela, and Cuenca. I won’t recommend an amount of time for the locations because that is a personal choice and dependent on your interests. If driving, there are a plethora of small and very small towns worth visiting and are not on most people’s radar.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks again. I like the wheel and spokes ideas from Nick ( that’s a month right there) and the “must see towns from others. Looks like I have a month in Spain.. I’ll drop the cruise of the Douro ($10k) in favor of another month in Portugal and northwest Spain. Now I just have to sketch out Portugal.

Posted by
13930 posts

Northwest Spain (Basque, Galicia) is best by car, so is northern and eastern Portugal. You don't need a cruise through the Douro Valley. With a car you can base in one or two places and day trip. The hitch is that if you rent in one country and return in the other, the drop-off charges high - I've seen estimates here on the Forum of €300-500.

Posted by
3 posts

Brief details about the top-rated sites in Barcelona:

•’Grand Temple of Augustus’:- A most-visited ancient Roman shrine popular by the name ‘Polo’, lies in the wide Roman colony of ‘Barcino’, in the city’s Gothic Quarter. It’s dated approximately the 1st century BC and was raised during the imperial reign. In World-II the allied air-strike and frequent bombing demolished more than half portion of the temple which later in 1947 reconstructed and is still survive.

•‘Sagrada Familia (Giant Basilica)’:- An immense incomplete Roman Catholic Church with six tall spires. It has recently stepped into its final stage after long going construction, continues over 100 years since the time of architect ‘Antoni Gaudi’s’ death in the year 1926.

http://greatjourneyto.com/medieval-roman-town-barcelona-offers-lot-to-experience/

•’The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc’:- One of the most popular attractions, a beautiful and colorful ornamental fountain of Barcelona. It was constructed in 1929 by the engineer ‘Carles Buigas’ on the eve of the stunning international exhibition, offers the nice portray of melodious musical composition, water acrobats and lightening produces different shapes, shades and hues. The fountain has approximately over 3,630 nozzles is able to shoot water of nearly 4 or 5 meters tall. The show starts with soft classical and modern musical tune. The appropriate combination of color, water, music, and lightning delivers an unforgettable spectacular view of the fountain play.

•’Park Güell’:- Another wonderful creative contribution of the famous Spanish architect’s ‘Antoni Gaudi’. It is a beautiful large Public Park. ‘Güell’ contains a lush garden, attractive landscape, quirky old gingerbread-style buildings, classy artwork, open-air museum & wide amusement options. Its boundary walls and outer walls of the houses are finely decorated with colorful tiles setting.

Posted by
16746 posts

Barcelona has a lot of sights so popular you'll want to pre-purchase tickets to any you want to see. Most of the tickets are timed, and the ticket lines are very long. It would be a terrible waste of time to stand in line for an hour (or longer), then be told the first entry time available is many hours later--or even that the day's tickets are sold out. The problem sights are La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell (no tickets sold ar the park), Casa Mila/La Pedrera, Casa Batllo, Picasso Museum and Palau de la Musica Catalana (whose English tours can sell out).

Barcelona also has many interesting museums. Dig into a guidebook to see what you're interested in doing.

Posted by
2505 posts

@wiminay643

... Temple d'August..."polo"? sure? never heard that and it makes little sense because, I'm born and bred here, and the word has no link to what the temple actually is or meant. But again, one never ceases to learn, does he? I am curious to see where they got that from. However, I can categorically tell you there was no "allied bombing" during the WWII as Spain did not participate in that war!

Also, call me finicky, but the temple has never been "reconstructed" as such as it hasn't existed as a whole site for over a millennium. Mind me, what was done in the mid-1950's was to pick up two columns that had been moved in 1850 -when a nearby house building was demolished and damaged them- and placed them back to the original site. These had temporarily been moved to Plaça del Rei (King's Square) to be taken later on to a museum in Capella de Santa Àgata, but that never happened and they remained in that location, a few hundred yards from the original, for 100 years.

Catalan architect, archaeologist and politician Puig i Cadafalch (author of such masterpieces as Casa Martí, Casa Macaya, Casa Amatller or Palau del Baró de Quadras, among many other) promoted the restitution of the pieces of four columns to the original location, which was carried out in 1956. The original temple is thought to have had 66 columns, out of which 4 remain -that's why I pointed at the beginning it hadn't been "reconstructed", but rather a fragment had been "reassembled"

For those that had been in Barcelona and know Plaça del Rei in the Old City, this picture was taken in 1953 and you can still see the nicknamed "travelling column" that had been moved there in 1850 and that now is back in the site of the temple in Mount Tàber: https://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/museuhistoria/sites/default/files/03_columna_viatgera.jpg Also, this is a drawing of what is thought the temple once might have looked like: https://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/museuhistoria/sites/default/files/recuperacio%20monumental.jpg

Apologies for this amendment but your source seemed to have some inaccurate information... And on further reading of the blog you cited I can only say so they do several other paragraphs of that blog, which are full of inaccuracies and misleading statements. Sorry to say that's a very poorly researched article by the author. I wouldn't recommend it as a source.

Posted by
1127 posts

There is a (Grand) Temple of Augustus in Pula (not Polo) and it was accidentally bombed in the Second World War. But that's not the fragments of the temple of Augustus in Barcelona, which is about 1,000km away.

Posted by
2505 posts

Thanks Nick, indeed, in Croatia, that crossed my mind too. I didn't know though it had been bombed. The fact is there are a number of temples across Southern Europe dedicated to August. Anyway, the point is that the source blog is very inaccurate with this and plenty other statements (re Barcelona, which I know very well) which makes it totally unreliable.