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Spain, Portugal (and Morocco) in Sept - Oct 08?

I'm thinking about a trip to Spain, Portugal and Morocco this fall. We'll have about 3 weeks, from mid-September through early October. Obviously, 3 weeks isn't enough to do justice to all 3 countries (not even close), but here's what I'm thinking...We're going to skip Barcelona (been there, loved it) and northern Spain/Portugal (we'll go another time). Rough proposed breakdown...

Spain: about 10 days, focused mostly on the major attractions in and around Castile & Andalucia (Madrid, Segovia, Toledo, Cordoba, Sevilla, Granada, etc.).

Morocco: about 5 days, skipping the day-trip/coastal towns, focused more on Marrakesh, Ouarzazate and the desert around it (ruins, gorge valleys, and the Atlas Mountains on the way), maybe a day in Essaouira (not sure if that's realistic, we'll see).

Portugal: about 5 days, Lisbon and points south (the Algarve, Sagres, Salema, etc.).

We are fairly typical Rick-style travelers: we like some comforts, but are trying to keep our costs within reason. We try to move fairly quickly to get as much into a trip as possible but also try not to overschedule too many things (we often use Rick's suggested itineraries as a starting point and then customize them to our own tastes).

We're also aiming for the proper timing of this trip: after the worst of the summer crowds, heat and high-season prices have started to abate, but before the weather starts to get wintery. I recognize the places we're contemplating going to are hot (the edge of the Sahara desert, for example...). Any opinions on how the weather should be in this period (mid-September to early October)? Ideally I'd like generally warm but not uncomfortably hot (although I expect some heat in Morocco), and preferably no/little rain (I guess that's a reasonable expectation in the Sahara at least...).

Opinions? Suggestions? Done a trip like this and have better ideas?


Posted by
632 posts

Sounds like a great trip...each of us has our own favorites...but I think your selection is pretty comprehensive...we did a similar trip...3 weeks but we spent 6 days in Barcelona to start, and we didn't do Morocco...I suggest that you spend at least 2 days in Salema Portugal before going to Lisbon...we had a very nice stay at the Romatik Villa there (RS recommended) Lisbon we stayed at Hotel Metropole. Great location in the old part of town.

Posted by
6621 posts

Thanks for the suggestions on the Portugal part. If everything works out as currently envisioned, we would fly into Madrid, do the southern Spain portion of the trip first, hop over to Morocco, then back to Spain and southern Portugal, ending the trip in Lisbon, and flying home from there. So we would be going to Salema and the Algarve before Lisbon, as you suggested. What time of year were you there? Is late September/early October a good time?

Posted by
655 posts

Hi David...We returned April 25 from four weeks of travel. We did not visit Barcelona or Morocco.

Beginning at the Madrid airport we traveled to Toledo, Cordoba (but not overnight), Granada, Nerja, Sevilla, Lagos, Evora, Sintra (with a side trip to Lisbon), Obidos, Segovia, Caceres, Cuenca, and finally, Madrid. We had a minimum of two nights in each with Sevilla and Segovia for three and Lagos for four.

For us, the highlights were Toledo, Sevilla and Segovia plus the coastal towns (we like beaches.) Also, Madrid. Madrid turned out to be a much more interesting and attractive city than we expected.

Spain and Portugal were places that we had not been in Europe. We waited too long. The trip with a ten even with the high cost of the Euro.

Posted by
233 posts

I spent a fabulous week in Lisbon and Sagres this past winter; it was one of my favorite trips to Europe. Costs were reasonable (especially in Sagres), public transportation was easy (trains, buses, trams, subway), and the weather was great (even in December).

Posted by
632 posts

David, we arrived in Barcelona on the 9th of September...left Lisbon on the 30th of September...ther weather was great...and the beaches were wonderful...(for seaside old time character, we liked Nerja in Spain and Salema in Portugal the most).

Posted by
632 posts

And the "end of the world" in Sagres is pretty awesome!