Hi I'm starting to plan a 2 week road trip in 1st 3 weeks of Dec 2013 covering south of Spain to finish off in Lisbon
Proposed flights -
Fly in London/Granada
Fly out Lisbon/London
Route - Granada - Malaga - Nerja - Marbella - Gibraltar - Seville - Faro - Lisbon
How much time should I allocate at each stop? Should I be considering accommodation in the city centre?
I have 3 teens travelling in my group of 5
I can comment on the Portugal part of your trip. Unless you're just looking for sun and sand, I'd avoid Faro and go to Sagres instead for your beach part of the Portuguese trip. It's a really pretty and unspoiled little place on the West Coast. There's a lovely design hotel there. Nip into a supermarket and get the kids some bodyboards (ensure there's a lifeguard) and then drive around exploring the remote beaches. After that, drive up towards Lisbon. The actual city is beautiful (well known for design hostels if you're looking to save money) but I'd make time to spend a couple of days about 20k north in the small fishing village of Cascais and in the mountain area of Sintra. Rent a flat in Cascais and a hotel room in Sintra. If you're adventurous, a day trip to Obidos, a small walled medieval town just north of Lisbon (about an hours drive) is really worth the trip. Enjoy!
A few days in Granada, a few days in Malaga, when you could get a bus along to Nerja. Stay on the bus and it continues to the caves on the other side of town (at Maro). Not really a lot to Nerja itself. A day in Marbella and a day in Gibraltar. A few days in Seville, a day in Faro and maybe a day somewhere else along the Algarve and then maybe a bus to Lisbon for a few days.
It's a tight schedule with lots of travelling.
If you plan on seeing the Alhambra in Granada, it gets lots and lots of visitors so best to buy tickets online beforehand to save huge queues.
Just one point. You say "road trip". If you plan on hiring a car, I doubt that you can hire a car in Granada and drop it off in Lisbon as in two different countries. Even if you could the one way rental charge would be astronomical. It's a 320 mile trip as the crow flies taking it back to Granada.
In your place I would fly to Malaga and do all the Spain trips from there. Easily done.
Then a bus from Malaga to Faro and get a car there and drop that off at Lisbon with a one way charge, or maybe use public transport, buses and trains for the Algarve and then a bus to Lisbon and get a car there for a few days.
You could do the lot on public transport but you would need to do a lot of planning and check schedules.
Thank you so much for your input! I shall do more research on what you have mentioned :-)