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Travel to Spain from Lisbon mid Oct-mid Nov

This is my first trip to Portugal/Spain and I'm going solo, on a budget of two star hotels (airbnb's and hostels) I Will be starting by attending a week long yoga retreat Mid October in Sentra, Portugal.
Then planning four days in Lisbon and time in Evora, Porto, Coimbra and Nazare, in no particular order ( yet)
After reading feedback on this RS site it appears getting to Spain is a bit tricky. I had so hoped to visit, but now wondering if I should. I realize that comparing Barcelona to Madrid to Seville is like comparing apples to oranges to peaches, but.....I would still love your feedback as to where I might fly to and spend, maybe 10 days exploring Spain. No return ticket yet.
It seems affordable to fly, but I wonder (since I have time) if the train would be more interesting.
Thanks so much for your feedback.

Posted by
21305 posts

I have not trained from Portugal to Spain, but I can tell you that there is a great deal of very unexciting scenery around Madrid. I usually avoid flying, but there are so many great destinations in Spain, and you won't have a huge amount of time left after you hit your Portuguese destinations. I recommend flying unless you decide to spend part of your time in the area around Santiago de Compostela.

I spent 10 nights in Barcelona (love the modernista architecture and the art museums), and I think 5 is a reasonable minimum. A lot of the city's top sights pretty much require pre-purchased (timed) tickets to avoid long lines, so cramming a lot of sights into a few days is a real challenge there. Plus there are a bunch of good side-trips. I spent a few nights in Girona and loved it.

Time needed in Madrid will depend to a considerable degree on your level of interest in its art museums and the Palacio Real, but the city has 3 magnificent day-trips: Toledo (also could be a 2-night stop), Segovia and Cuenca.

I haven't been to Andalucia recently so won't speculate on a time allowance there, but at least a day-trip to Cordoba is highly recommended, and most visitors put the Alhambra (not a day-trip from Seville) at the top of their lists. You should think about the Alhambra right away, because those tickets sell out months in advance. If you decide to go, you'll want to figure out your timing and buy that ticket as soon as they go on sale.

I hope you're planning to fly back home from Spain so you don't need to return to Lisbon. It may be cheaper to return from Madrid or Barcelona than from Andalucia.

Posted by
5706 posts

After Lisbon, it would make sense to head to Evora for a couple of nights, then to Coimbra. Nazare (popular with RS for some reason) is just a beach resort and at that time of year, you will be lucky if it’s beach weather. Fly from Porto to Spain, as train services between the countries are limited.

At that time of year, I would head south and visit Seville, Cadiz, Jerez and Granada which would fit into a 10 day trip, although this may have to be a combination of flights and trains in Spain. Check the Porto airport website for Spanish destinations that are available for your travel date.

For accommodation, look at Trip Advisor rentals and Booking.com, which tend to be better value than Airbnb.

Posted by
5648 posts

Just checking -- is there a typo in your original message and is your yoga retreat in Sintra, not Sentra, unless everyone's doing yoga inside a small Nissan sedan? :) Sintra's a great place to visit, as is Evora. I'm guessing you won't be renting a car during you time in Portugal, but try to find a way to visit the stone-age dolmen outside of town - really cool, and unique in that part of Europe.

Years ago, we did it in reverse. After visiting southern Spain (Malaga, Ronda, Granada), we took a cheap flight to Portugal. Check out Vueling Air, Easy Jet, etc. for possible flights to Spain from Portugal. Fast & cheap. We rented a car once we reached Lisbon, but there were 3 of us to split the cost.

Posted by
7991 posts

We loved Nazare and it is not just a beach resort. Older women still wear traditional clothing. Wonderful seafood meals.

Posted by
700 posts

We're going in the opposite direction from you in October, first in Spain then ending in Lisbon. Our last stop in Spain will be Seville, and we're flying to Lisbon from there as train and bus travel would take a long time. I think our one-way flight is around Euro80. Like you, we have 10 days and nights starting in Barcelona, to Zaragoza, to Madrid/Toledo, to Seville. If you just want to take a train while in Spain, you likely already know this, but just in case you don't the high speed train runs from Seville to Madrid and from Madrid to Barcelona (and vice versa of course). If you decide on visiting Barcelona, give yourself 4 full days and nights. We're only in Barcelona 2 days and nights this trip but we've been there 3 times before.

Posted by
16883 posts

The easiest connection options are: 1) flying; 2) overnight train from either Lisbon or Coimbra to Madrid; or 3) direct buses between Lisbon-Seville, Lisbon-Madrid, Coimbra-Madrid, or overnight bus Porto-Madrid.

Posted by
4955 posts

Suki:

We loved Nazare and it is not just a beach resort. Older women still wear traditional clothing. Wonderful seafood meals.

Me too - loved Nazare! I wish I'd stayed longer.

Posted by
4955 posts

Direct flights between Lisbon or Porto and several big Spanish cities are dirt cheap - sometimes as low as 20 euros on budget carriers like Ryan Air. So I'd just fly.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks everyone for your helpful replies. If I go to Spain it will be via air travel and if that happens I will fly home to the US from Spain.
The more I read, the more I’m leaning towards staying put in Portugal for the three weeks following my retreat in Sintra.

With great appreciation for all of your thoughtful replies.
Ciao!
Amy

Posted by
21305 posts

I think spending all the time in Portugal is a great idea.