Hello, I would really appreciate any advice or suggestions. Me and my partner are embarking on a backpacking trip to Spain and Portugal this May and June. We have a total of 5 weeks for our whole trip. We are first stopping over in Iceland and London (one week already gone) and are then off to Morocco (5-7 days we think) and then have the remainder of the time to soak up in Spain and Portugal. We'll be crossing the Strait of Gibraltar to enter Spain from Morocco. I've made a crude map that details what we hope to accomplish in our 3 weeks or so of travel.
there are some places that we cannot simply miss (Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Cadiz) but we are open to cutting out some of the cities if time is a limiting factor. I'm wondering if anyone knows about how long it would take to see everything we'd like to. We'd like to end up in Barcelona as to catch a flight back home. Also, I was wondering if taking the train or a bus is the way to travel in both Spain and Portugal.
Thanks to anyone who responds.
Also, here's a link to our earlier leg of our trip in Morocco:
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 27, 2008, at 5:54 PM by a_wanderer ]
not sure if this is much help but if you decide to go via majorca, apparently there are no campsites what so ever. I turned up couple of years back with tent etc and ended up shelling out for hostel lol!! asked tourist info and they said there were no campsites on whole of island due to fire risks!
Trains and busses work very well to get around in Spain. There are a couple of high speed route opened late 2007, and they will be expanded in the next couple of years. Another good way to get around is flying. There are a couple of budgetairlines operating in Spain (Vueling, Clickair, Spanair, Air Europa), that even force the major airline Iberia to sell cheap tickets.
There is a lot to see in Spain, and you can travel there for weeks, especialy if you want to leave the beaten track. If you have a visit of about two weeks than the cities you mentioned are very doable. From Madrid, take daytrips to Toledo and Segovia. And see if you can get room to also visit Granada.
For the cities you mentioned my estimate is this:
Cadiz - 2 days
Sevilla - 2-3 days
I would add another 2 days for Granada.
Madrid - 4 days (Toledo and Segovia as daytrips)
Barcelona - 3 days
You also mentioned going to Portugal.
If you want to cross over to Portugal in the south, than see if you can find a spot in or around Lagos, to relax and to enjoy the beaches for a few days. Then travel North to Lisbon for another 3 days. Ffrom here you could fly with Vueling to Madrid. If you take the train to Madrid, see if you can squeeze in a visit to Caceres.
I agree with Herr Bert that you should add in some time for Granada. It was my favourite city in Spain.
Also, the amount of time you spend in each place really depends on what kind of travel you like to do. I think spending at least 4 days in each city is nice, it gives you a little time to get to know the character of the city...the markets, the scenery, the parks, some museums, etc. If you don't have time to do that in all the cities, pick a few that you will spend longer amounts of time in. I think you'll really find a special bond with those places!
I was in Ronda (southern Spain) for a week, and we were given a guide by a local that was day hikes to take in the area. Some required taking a train to another town, some we could walk to from the center of the city. I really recommend finding something like that...just ask locals or at tourist information centres. We found an old road that was deteriorating but was part of the original Roman road! (thousands of years old! very incredibe)
I would also say Granada, my favourite city in Spain. Also Cordoba near Seville has the most beautiful mosque in the world. Shame it's now a cathedral, and don't be put off by the completely innaccurate and fascist information leaflet that you get when you walk in!
You have to go to the Alambra in Granada, and you will also need to book tickets to see it beforehand. Aparently the most visited tourist attraction in the world!
Although there are some high speed trains in spain called the AVE, they are stupidly expensive, and you don't get discounts and cheap fares like you do in the UK. There are however, cheaper options that are also pretty quick. For example there is an AVE from Sevile to Cordoba, which takes 47 minutes more or less and costs €23 each way, or the Avant which uses the same lines, takes 50 minutes and costs €15 each way. Oh plus the booking fee of a couple of Euros that you pay even when you buy the ticket at the station....don't ask!
Trains in Spain are not as regular as the coaches, but apart from the high speed ones take as long and cost the same. However they are more comfortable and you get to see more of the countryside. The train from Cadiz to Seville is however, pretty regular. The train from Malaga to Seville passes through one of the most dramatic gorges where there is a famous walking route, closed at the moment called El Camino del Rey, and is a journey in itself. If you are into rock climbing this is a must to visit.
As far as I know, Portugal's trains are not exactly fast, best to check out www.seat61.com which has info on all trains in the world!