My husband and I are planning our first trip to Spain and Portugal in May/June. I have read the warnings about trying to do both countries together but I can't give up Portugal. I've done a ton of research on train/bus times etc and feel good about the first and last portions of the itinerary I've designed, which include all my "must see" destinations.. These legs are pretty set due to flights purchased and home exchanges arranged but I want to provide some context.. We will start the trip in Madrid (3N) then take the train to Granada (2N). Eventually we need to make our way to Lisbon (4N) and from there will go to Porto (3N), night train to San Sebastián (3N), train to Barcelona (5N) and fly home.
My questions are about the middle section and working our way from Granada to Lisbon. I have 4 nights to work with (May 18 - 22) Here are the options I've come up with;
*All include traveling from Granada to Sevilla for a night or two then
Sevilla - Lisbon (6 hr by bus wth one transfer but minimizes travel days and could add add'l days elsewhere)
Sevilla - Évora - Lisbon (2 buses totaling 4 hours to get to Ėvora but an easy 1.5 hour train to Lisbon the next day)
Sevilla - Lagos - Lisbon (4 hours direct bus for each leg but no transfers and beach time is appealing)
I like the idea of stopping at a beach or small town in Portugal as well as avoiding a 6 hour bus ride with a transfer (I've traveled Europe at a similar pace by train but not bus). On the other hand, limiting travel days and additional hotel check in/outs has its appeal and none of the stops are on my "must see" list. Thus my dilemma 😊
I'd appreaciate any feedback on the proposed stop overs or alternative route suggestions. Also, what about leaving this section open and deciding as we go? Does anyone have a sense of how doable It would be to book transportation and lodging last minute in mid May at the above destinations?
A couple things to note,
We don't want to rent a car and would prefer not to fly.
As for our interests, we love to wonder places that feel like you've stepped back in time, pretty scenery, moderate hikes, bike rides, beach activities, live music. History and art but we only want to deal with the big crowded museums and other sights if they're over the top amazing.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts!