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Spain, Portugal and Morocco Itinerary

Hello. My husband and I will be spending 3 weeks in shoulder season. I'd like thoughts and suggestions on the tentative plan below. We plan to use a combination of trains, local flights and a rental car to get around. I know it's somewhat ambitious, but we are very active and have always traveled this way. Other questions: Rental car, is it best to book from the US or in Spain? Local flights same question to get around. I heard Vueling has good prices. Do we need to buy our Alhambra tickets in advance or will be ok in early November? Day 1: Arrive in Barcelona 9:30 am local time. 2: Barcelona 3: Barcelona 4: Train to Madrid 5: Madrid 6: Day trip to Toledo 7: Madrid 8: Fly to Marrakech 9: Marrakech 10: Day trip to Essaouira 11: Atlas Mountains 12: Marrakech, fly to Seville 13: Seville 14: Seville 15: Drive to Cordoba 16: Drive to Jaen? not sure how much there is to see here 17: Granada 18: Granada 19: Fly to Lisbon 20: Lisbon 21: Lisbon 22: Fly to Paris Muchas gracias!

Posted by
9110 posts

Skip Jaen unless you're nuts about olive oil. Give the time to Cordova or the Atlas portion of Morocco. Study up on Fez vs Marakech, you might change or you might not.

Posted by
11294 posts

Flight prices go up the closer you get to travel, so you'll want to book these as soon as you are sure of your routes and dates. Use Skyscanner: to find all your options. I'm not knowledgeable about rental cars, but everything I've read says that it is almost always much cheaper booked from the US in advance. Your train from Barcelona to Madrid is MUCH cheaper booked in advance. The RENFE (Spanish rail) site is apparently hard to use, but here's an extensive tutorial from TripAdvisor: I don't know how crowded the Alhambra is in November, but if you are sure of your dates, it makes sense to prebook your tickets for your second day in Granada (that way, even if your arrival the first day is delayed, you won't miss out). Also, if you're skipping Jaen and only seeing Seville, Cordoba, and Granada, you don't need a car unless you want one. Between Seville and Cordoba you can take the train (the AVANT is much cheaper than the AVE and almost as fast), and between Cordoba and Granada you can take the bus (don't worry; you get a reserved seat, and it's much nicer than Greyhound).

Posted by
5 posts

I second the comments on skipping Jaen. However, if you're looking for a small town for a break from the big cities, Ubeda is a quite nice town with some older buildings and pottery shops with the most gorgeous work. Ronda is a nice stop between Granada and Sevilla (if you take the back roads), has some really cool sites including a bridge over a steep gorge. I think we just did like a meal here while traveling, worth a couple of hours of walking around. When we went to Lisbon, we stayed in Cascais, only spent one day in Lisbon proper, and did a lot of fun day trips. There are tons of really nice castles in (that part of) Portugal, among other things. I can't recall any of the names off the top of my head but I can look 'em up if you're interested. Portugal is a pain in the butt to drive in (and $$$$ with the tolls), though my experienced uncle managed fine. I don't know how easy it is to get around WITHOUT driving, though. Unless you're just in Lisbon the whole time.

Posted by
410 posts

Although I have not been there myself, I have yet to hear a good report of Jaen. Ubeda is lovely but you could consider staying in Cordoba. For me it would be too much moving around - 3 countries, one of them very large by European standards, in 3 weeks.But only you know your travelling style.