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portugal/spain itinerary and questions

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1. Posted by hellopanda (Budding Member 26 posts) 9y

Hi all,

I've got just over a month to spend in portugal and spain in aug-sept. I've made a rough plan, which i'd love some feedback on...

Also, right in the middle I have a problem- I'm struggling to find a way to get from porto (portugal) to salamanca (spain)... does anyone have any ideas? I was thinking either:

1) travel south to coimbra then across to spain by train?


2) travel along the duoro to pocinho, then....? (this is the option i'm really keen to take because i would love to see scenery along the duoro, but apparently RENFE have closed the train line between pocinho and salamanca.... ah!)

so anyway, here goes...

1: arrive lisbon
2: travel to lagos
3-5: lagos (with a day trip west to sagres)
6: return to lisbon, night in lisbon
7: day & night in cascais
8-10: lisbon (with a day trip to sintra)
11-13: porto
14: SOMEHOW.... travel from porto to salamanca??
15: salamanca
16: burgos
17-21 san sebastian (night train to madrid on the 21st)
22-23 madrid
24-26 valencia
27 tarragona
28-30 barcelona
31 girona
32 figueres (to see the dali museum
33 fly out of barcelona (to athens!)

we're very 'beachy' people, so for this trip we're trying to maximise our time near the ocean... especially at that time of year.

i'm worried that only 2 days in madrid is a bit short. I want to visit both the prado and sofia... will it be a bit rushed to see both and also have some spare time to experience the city?

also, is the whole thing going to be too rushed? funny how a month seems like enough time until you really start to plan!

any help would be greatly appreciated, (and sorry for the epic post!)

2. Posted by Eleritz (Full Member 55 posts) 9y

to get from porto to salamanca, you have to catch coimbra-bound train that departs from porto at 17.05, get off at pampilhosa, and then catch lisbon-hendaye train. arriaval at salamanca at midnight.

when you're in lisbon i would suggest you not to spend so much time in cascais. it is an overrated place, good for a short walk along the main pedestrian street and sipping coffee in one of its waterfront cafés. a 2-hour evening visit by train from lisbon is enough. why don´t you make another day trip from lisbon to tomar, évora or óbidos, which are all extremely interesting places.

3. Posted by S_Deisler (Respected Member 266 posts) 9y

If you want to see the Prado in Madrid then 2 days is definitely not enough, I mean if you want to see ir properly.

It's really good you've thought about Girona. You'll LOVE it, it's a lovely city it is on the same train line as Barcelona and Figueres, so you won't have any truble tog et from one place to another.

The Dalí museum in Figueres is something you won't regret, but I guess you already know that.

I can't give you any consistent opinions on the first bits of your itinerary, as I haven't been to burgos, Salamanca, etc, but from Madrid on seems pretty good to me.

4. Posted by eemarcos (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y

If I were you, I would reduce one day in San Sebastian and I would add it to Madrid.


[ Edit: sorry, no promos in the forum please. ]

5. Posted by Herr Bert (Moderator 1384 posts) 9y

I have to agree, increase the number of days in Madrid, and while you are there, at least make a daytrip to Toledo. (Maybe you can go to Segovia, when going to Madrid from the North, train to Avila, and then from Avila to Segovia?, or maybe a busconnection).

Personaly I am not that keen on Valencia (although some people state it's underrated). I would do one day less, here. Or skip it completely and replace it by Cuenca.

6. Posted by S_Deisler (Respected Member 266 posts) 9y

I think 4 days in san sebastian is too much.
Bear in mind san sebastian is one of the msot expensive cities as well, or at least thats the popular belief

7. Posted by aitor (Full Member 102 posts) 9y

Quoting S_Deisler

I think 4 days in san sebastian is too much.
Bear in mind san sebastian is one of the msot expensive cities as well, or at least thats the popular belief

Yes, it is expensive comparing with overall prices in Spain.

I agree with you that maybe there is two much to stay 4 days for just a city, but it depends on the traveller, a city it is not just to see the monuments, stay an afternoon at the beach and walk around the ways... I know a lot of people that have been here, in San Sebastian, for at least two weeks.

San Sebastian as a base, in my opinion, it is OK. For instance, there are a lot of people that come here during San Fermin instead of going to Pamplona (easier accommodation, beach, and just one hour drive to Pamplona), Bilbao is at 1h 10 minutes bus, Biarritz is 40 km far, and the Basque coast: fishing villages, landscape, etc.

8. Posted by aarantes (Respected Member 165 posts) 9y

In my opinion, it's a lot of places to see in the time you have.

When we see an itinerary like that we think we have enough time because it's not possible to calculate the amount of time we loose packing, finding our hotel, checking-in, discovering how to walk around one city. So by the time you get to understand a city it's time to leave. That's the way I see it.

Another thing to consider is it's going to be really hot at this time of the year. I went to Madri in August and I became really slow (and I'm from Brazil I'm supposed to be used to hot). So I would not cut out any time on the beach.

Cascais is a really cute small town but I agree with Eleritz. You don't need to spend two nights there, cause you can reach it from Lisbon in a pretty 40 minutes train ride. (less time comuting, packing, cheking in...) You can rent a bike for free in Cascais train station. I strongly recomend you do so you can cycle your way to Guincho Beach (vrey beautiful but sometimes too windy to just lay down on the sand). In the way to Guincho you'll pass the best hot dog in Lisbon, a hot dog stand with an amazing view just a little after "Boca do Inferno". You'll also pass a charming mall with restaurants and cafes called Casa da Guia. To the other side of Cascais there is a pretty sidewalk with the ocean to your right and a huge wall to your left. They call it "Paredão". One day will cover everything, specially if you are able to get that bike (arrive early or all the bikes will be gone).

If you like beach, Sintra also have some nice beaches at the bottom of the mountain. If I'm not wrong you can reach them by a small tourist train that only works in summer.

I have a friend that has just moved to Valencia cause she falled in love with the city. I don't know any of those small cities in Spain, but I'd definetly cut two of them to give you some more time in Barcelona and Madri. But that's me.

I hope you have the best time.


9. Posted by VagabondPT (Budding Member 11 posts) 9y

Quoting Eleritz

...a 2-hour evening visit by train from lisbon is enough. why don´t you make another day trip from lisbon to tomar, évora or óbidos, which are all extremely interesting places...

Don't forget aour Aussi friend is a "beachy" person ;) I think it's fine if you spend an entire day in Cascais. Morning in the beach, afternoon promenade and then a caipirinha/beer in some bar. Don't expect much though, Cascais is not Bondi Beach

However, as mentioned, Guincho is pretty much worth the bike trip. If you want to do some surfing or kitesurfing, it is one of the best places in Portugal. If you just wanna lay dow on the sand, nearby Praia do Abano (I think this is the name) is a great option.

[ Edit: Edited on Jun 5, 2007, at 11:07 AM by VagabondPT ]

10. Posted by hellopanda (Budding Member 26 posts) 9y

Thanks so much for all the great advice everyone! It's still a work in progress (and I imagine it will be until we actually leave! ).
I'll keep you all posted though...

I think we're now definitely taking a day from San Sebastian to add to Madrid. As for Cascais - I think we'll easily fill the day, thanks for the advice about the free bike rental Aarantes!

Thanks Eleritz for the info about the train, I was really struggling to work that out for myself!