Just hoping for some advice on my itinerary! I am a 23 year old female solo traveler. Planning on do a variety of things from hiking, enjoying beaches, a little bit of partying and learning more about the history and cultures of the countries. And of course enjoying the amazing food.
Am I missing any big stops or hidden gems? Is this a realistic timetable? Any feedback would be much appreciated.
Your itinerary looks pretty well!!
I'm a 23 year old guy from Madrid and as I see you enjoy nature and sports and food just like me, so here are some advices you could use:
Madrid: enjoy the center, don't miss Prado Museum, Thyssen and Reina Sofia (those are the mainstream, but there is also this little gem: the Soroya Museum, Soroya is called the "Painter of Light" and the museum is small but wonderful to spend an hour or two), to eat: the best "Cocido Madrileño" is in "La Bola" you could also go to Plaza Mayor and Mercado de San Miguel or try the "tapas" in La Latina. In the countryside of Madrid you could visit El Escorial and Aranjuez.
Segovia: el Acueducto y el Alcazar those are the musts, you could also enjoy the pork ("cochinillo") and the lamb ("cordero") in one of the restaurants.
Toledo: the whole city is awesome, you have lots of churches and monuments to visit, famous painter "el Greco" lived there so you also have his museum there. Try to have a walk out of the city, to the Sefard Cemetery and up the hill to enjoy the views of the city from the outside, at dusk its amazing.
Sevilla and Granada: main monuments well known (including Alcazar de Sevilla, Plaza de España, Giralda, Torre del Oro, Alhambra, Palacio de Carlos V, in Granada you should visit the Albaycin and the Sacromonte, those are two neighbourhoods very authentic).
If I were you I would pick a bus from Sevilla to "Ayamonte" (I go there every summer on vacation, you have the best beaches and if you want to try Kite Surf you have nice schools to learn) and also the food is awesome, best beach: Punta del Moral and Isla Canela.
Then, if you have time, do not go just to "Lagos" the whole Algarve region is awesome, there is a little town called Carvoeiro whose little beaches in between cliffs will leave you breathless and to see a sunset from "Punta de San Vicente" is a must.
Lisbon and Oporto, not much to say, I just went there (to Lisbon) for the Final Match of the Champions League, last year between Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid, I was not thinking on visiting anything so I don't know the city enough to advice you.
Back to Spain: Asturias, last summer I went there for two weeks and it was not enough, that place is astonishing!! you have so many things to do and see: "Descenso del Sella", "Ruta del Cares", "Cangas de Onis", "Covadonga" (the sanctuary and the lakes, not to miss!!) then "Llanes", "Playa de Gulpiyuri" (its amazing, you have a beach 100 meters from the see, you should check it out), Oviedo (so beatiful city). And to eat: if you stay in Arriondas to do the Descenso del Sella (kayaking down the Sella river) you have to go to "El tonel de Gigi", OMG, I would eat there everyday if I could, if you like cheese they have a variety exclusive from "Picos de Europa" called "Gamoneu", amazing.
Bilbao: I LOVE this city, my grandparents lived there my whole childhood, so many things to say... the food is amazing, Guggenheim museum is a must but what you should enjoy is the old part of the city, the parks, the streets and the food. You will be leaving (as I see in your planning) just before the Aste Nagusia (the big Bilbao Feast) you could wait a bit or change the schedule to enjoy it!
Barcelona: you have it all in the guides, lots of things to do and see!!! but just like Madrid, no much sectrets untold (and those, I dont know them as I am from Madrid, I know the ones of my city!) hahaha.
Hope I hepled!!! If you need anything else write me down!!!
Have a great trip!!
Rafa is right, the itinerary is quite good, and you'll get a lot of diversity in between the two. And again, totally on the same page about Punta de San Vicente, make sure you try the seafood there!!
Thank you for the wonderfully thorough response Rafa! I wonder if you have any recommendations on where to stay in Asturias? I have been having some trouble finding many affordable hostels in Ovideo or Leon... suggestions? I just want to do some hiking and maybe surfing!
I am counting the days xx
[ Edit: Edited on 16-Jun-2015, at 19:18 by sashama1 ]
When I went there last summer I stayed in "Hotel el Quintanal" (not expensive) in Arriondas (it is 2km from the town, in the middle of the forest, a very charming rural hotel).
We stayed there for the "Descenso del Sella" and Arriondas was one of the best gastronomical experiences of our travel.
Then we also stayed in Mieres so we were close to Oviedo (The Hotel was called "Hotel Mieres del Camino" but as I told you, we had a car, maybe you should try to get something afordable in Oviedo City (try some hostel booking from Travellerspoint, they use to be cheap, or maybe Airbnb).
But if what you want is some adventure you should try to stay close to Picos de Europa, as I told you: Ruta del Cares is an amazing trekking route, and you will have many mountains to hike (the Naranjo de Bulnes is there, if you are brave and experienced enough!!)
For the surfing, Cantabria and Pais Vasco are better than Asturias, you have Mundaka, where the world championship has taken place many times.
[ Edit: Edited on 17-Jun-2015, at 04:08 by r.davilaponce ]