Suggest a side trip from Portugal/Southern Spain

My kids (15 and 16) and I will be spending 3 weeks in Portugal and Southern Spain in Late June/Early July. We will work in beach time in the Algarve and Andalucia, but also tour some of the great interior sights. We fly home out of Madrid and I was thinking of spending our last several days there, but its going to be so hot, I think the kids will not be happy. I'm thinking instead of flying from Granada to Mallorca for 4 or 5 days. Does anyone have any similar ideas of where we could head for something completely different where we can beat the heat (or at least enjoy it on the beach)? We prefer small towns over large resorts. I'm willing to fly, obviously. Thanks.

Posted by Marbleskies
763 posts

It will be hot, but there are great parks and many opportunities to be beat the heat w activities in and around madrid.
Beaches in mallorca are not that great and the area will be way hotter than madrid.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

How long/much are you willing to spend on a flight?

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

A couple hundred bucks won't move you ver far.

Think about an elevation changes. The Picos would be ideal, but they're a bit far. The Sierra Nevada are just south of Granada.

Alternatively, either Extremadura or Alto Alentejo will be cooler than where you've been. Spain has the better grub, Portugal the better scenery and little towns. Stay in Elvas and you can work in a bit of both.

You'd need a car for either alternative.

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
9953 posts

When I escaped Morocco's summer heat, I headed to Santiago and more of the north coast of Spain, where it happened to be nice and raining.

Posted by Wonderful
619 posts

Near Madrid.
Alcal√° de Henares
Sierra region of Cercedilla
San Lorenzo de El Escorial
Maybe you can find some piece and coolnest there.
Look them up.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
8198 posts

The northern coast of Spain is ideal that time of year. Higher elevations up north should also be comfortable. What are you interested in? There are great castles around Valladolid (Coca, La Mota, and Penafiel are all great castles). Vitoria is the center of the Rioja wine region and is between Burgos and San Sebastian (Donostia). You could do a loop in the area north of Madrid that includes the north coast. You can get back to Madrid from San Sebastian through Pamplona to Zaragosa and a fast train into Madrid. If you do, I love the castle at Olite (near Pamplona). It's not a ruin, but is mostly empty and the kids can wander, climb stairs and towers, at will with a good audio guide that describes what the castle was like when the King of Navarre lived there.