Lisbon and Spain

We are traveling to Lisbon & Spain in October on our own, no tour. Would you recommend driving from Lisbon (3 nights) to Spain (9 nights) if so, what route, what cities. we plan on two nights or three nights in Madrid and then eventually driving back to Lisbon for flight back to US. The current plan is Lisbon to Seville (2 nights). We really don't want to pack and unpack every day or two....any help would be appreciated.

Posted by Susan
Manchester, NJ, United States
75 posts

Yes, flights are locked in. After leaving Madrid, planning on going to other cities before heading back to Lisbon. The route will hopefully head is back into that direction in order to not lose a whole day. Will spend last night in Lisbon in order to take flight back to US.

Posted by David
Seattle, WA, USA
1414 posts

Yes, flights are locked in. Reconsider. And think this through completely before deciding "what's done is done." You will lose at least one day (maybe two) if you have to circle back to Lisbon from pretty much anywhere in Spain. Connections to Lisbon from almost all of Spain are surprisingly poor. Consider all of the following before you conclude that your flights are etched in stone: - How much $$$ it would cost you to change your ticket to open jaws - How much $$$ it will cost you to circle back to Lisbon (transportation and lodging) to make your flight home and be confident you don't miss it
- How much $$$ your vacation time is worth to you, and what experiences you will have to forego if you don't fly open jaws - you will be effectively losing 1 or possibly 2 days of your vacation by circling back to depart (maybe more, depending on how you are forced to arrange your return to Lisbon). How much would you be willing to spend to get an extra 1 or 2 more usable days on your trip? In many cases, you actually save money by changing your flight (even if paying a stiff "change fee" or resulting in a more expensive flight). And in those cases where you would have a net loss (cost-wise), it's often still worthwhile to pay that price in $$$ and gain more time in Europe. All that said, if renting a car, also be aware of the steep fees to drop the car in a different country than the one you rented it in. There are ways to mitigate (or beat) this, but you need to factor this in to your plans.

Posted by Susan
Manchester, NJ, United States
75 posts

Thank you....I really appreciate your comments but the flight is locked in. If we train to Madrid and back ( spending last night in Lisbon in order to catch early flight back to US), we know we will lose a day so the question is this: if we rent a car in Madrid, we still have 9 days....is it a good starting point to see other points of interest in Spain? We will spend two and a half days in Madrid and use the rest of the time touring other points. The other option is to drive from Lisbon seeing points of interest, two nights in Madrid and then drive to other points of interest as we head back to Lisbon. The later still seems the best way to go as we will drive to Sevilla before going to Madrid. Thanks for any help....we are quite confused as to what places we SHOULD see on our route??

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

I believe there is a night train between Madrid and Lison, which might help you make the most of this tough schedule. Good luck!

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

I realized my advice about the night train is no good if you are renting the car in Portugal. If you don't also return it in Portugal, you will pay a huge fee. But if you decide to rent the car in Spain only, then the night train is a good option.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3511 posts

I highly recommend your using either google or michelin route/map websites to get an idea of driving times. I think Michelin gives better information but Google is easier to use. Then bear in mind that those are driving times assuming you are at the speed limit all the way, not including city traffic, packing and unpacking, checking in and out of hotels, pit stops.

Posted by Susan
Manchester, NJ, United States
75 posts

Thank you! Any idea of the best route, leaving and returning to Lisbon with Madrid as a stop? Also, the recommended time at each or any stop. I would love to find one spot for a few days and then make day trips but I know that is probably impossible. Thanks again to everyone for your help!