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Portugal/Spain trip next October - suggestions? (1 Viewer)

Judge Smails

Footballguy
Only place I have been in either country is Barcelona.  2 couples, 1st 2 weeks of October.  Likely 14-16 days total including travel.  Likes include good food, wine, golf, beaches, historic sites/museums.  Original thought was to fly in to Lisbon and fly out out of Barcelona or Madrid.

Portugal cities we're initially interested include Lisbon, Porto, Sintra and the Algarve region (have a Hilton Grand Vacation Club option in Vilamoura my daughter stayed at and she said it was spectacular).  May want to go there first to unwind for 3 days or so, then back up to Lisbon, then Porto etc before flying to Spain (no overnight trains or long drives)

Spain definitely Madrid, Barcelona, Seville.  Would love to see a soccer game if schedule works out.

Trying to figure out what's realistic to tackle.  Suggestions from my fellow FBGs? Great cities, things to do, restaurants, etc? What's can't miss, what should we pass on?

 

comfortably numb

Footballguy
Is the plan to fly into x drive everywhere and fly out of y 2 weeks later? Is taking a short flight from say porto to Barcelona an option?

Where are you flying out of?

Been to portugal dozens of times. Only did Sevilla once and haven't made any other major spain city.

Anyone in your group speak any spanush at all?

Soccer will be easy to do. Even if the clubs teams are on an international break you would probably have a shot to watch the national team.

 

The Dreaded Marco

Footballguy
I’d highly recommend spending a day in Granada. 

See the fine art museum in Seville. It’s not as famous as some in Madrid and Barca but it’s gorgeous. 

Our favorite tapas was Ovejas Negras in Seville. 

If you’ve never seen one, try to get to a bullfight in Seville. 

Plan an entire day to see the Prado. 

 

tri-man 47

Footballguy
I’d highly recommend spending a day in Granada. 

See the fine art museum in Seville. It’s not as famous as some in Madrid and Barca but it’s gorgeous. 

Our favorite tapas was Ovejas Negras in Seville. 

If you’ve never seen one, try to get to a bullfight in Seville. 

Plan an entire day to see the Prado. 
My wife and I made it to the Barcelona region two years ago.  I had hoped to get south to Granada, Seville, etc. but the distance seemed too far.  Given your desire not to have long travel routes, I'd suggest sticking with Portugal and then mid/southern Spain.  You've seen Barcelona, and that would effectively add a day of travel.

 

wikkidpissah

Footballguy
Honestly, if you're gonna do Portugal, i'd stick with that and the SW of Spain. More to see in Iberia than most of the continent combined and it's simply a mistake to try & see too much. Lisbon (w Estoril & Sintra), the Algarve (useta to be my favorite Euro chill spot W of Rhodes, if it hasnt been too built up), the hill country between there & Seville, Seville's a wksworth on its own, Jerez (grrrreat food & wine town), Frontera & Ronda, couple days out to Cordoba & Granada, circle back the Costa del Sol, Gibraltar, Cadiz (maybe a hydrofoil to Tangier) - that's a vac & a half right there. Since you seem to be a 1st-class type, be sure to check out some of the Paradores, Though they may be overwrought by now (my Spain trips were all 20th C) staying in castles & monasteries is a cool way of going in Europe and Espana does it best.

 
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Beef Ravioli

Footballguy
What is a state comparison of Portugal weather? Northern Florida? Carolina’s?? 

We have friends that moved back to Portugal and the wife and I have talked about going someday.

Excited to learn some good stuff from this thread. 

 

jon_mx

Footballguy
Lisbon and Seville are awesome.   You can fly out of Madrid, but I would only spend a couple days there.  I only had one day in Seville, but wish it was more like 5.   

 

Soulfly3

Footballguy
if you go to porto, my wife did a spectacular blog post about our trip there, w a TON of info. 

some portuguese company uses it, i forget which.

let me know.

 

Ilov80s

Footballguy
Judge Smails said:
Only place I have been in either country is Barcelona.  2 couples, 1st 2 weeks of October.  Likely 14-16 days total including travel.  Likes include good food, wine, golf, beaches, historic sites/museums.  Original thought was to fly in to Lisbon and fly out out of Barcelona or Madrid.

Portugal cities we're initially interested include Lisbon, Porto, Sintra and the Algarve region (have a Hilton Grand Vacation Club option in Vilamoura my daughter stayed at and she said it was spectacular).  May want to go there first to unwind for 3 days or so, then back up to Lisbon, then Porto etc before flying to Spain (no overnight trains or long drives)

Spain definitely Madrid, Barcelona, Seville.  Would love to see a soccer game if schedule works out.

Trying to figure out what's realistic to tackle.  Suggestions from my fellow FBGs? Great cities, things to do, restaurants, etc? What's can't miss, what should we pass on?
That is pretty much what I was going to recommend. If you make it to the east coast (Costa Blanca) it will still be in the 70s and you can enjoy some the beautiful seaside beaches, restaurants, etc. 

 

Scoresman

Footballguy
My wife and I are planning a Spain trip for next year.  This is our tentative itinerary by day as of now.  We're saving Madrid and northern Spain for another trip.  The day in Girona is because we landed reservations at El Celler de Can Roca.  

Arrive in Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona/Girona
Barcelona
Fly to Granada
Alhambra
Ronda
Ronda
Seville
Seville
Seville
Seville
Train to Madrid
Fly home

 

Scoresman

Footballguy
Anyone have any flight tips?  I'm seeing fares on each end of the spectrum.  The discount airlines start at $300 per person.  I know they nickel and dime you for stuff, but the opposite end of the spectrum are all of the major airlines where flights start at $2,600.   The discount airlines scare me when I look at reviews of how often flights are delayed or cancelled.  I also looked for Black Friday sales, and nada.

 
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Scoresman

Footballguy
Sorry for the post spam, but my wife is an expert at finding restaurants and we have the following lined up for Barcelona already.  Tickets, Bodega 1900, Enigma, Nino Viejo.  Most or all of these are run by one of the brothers from El Bulli.  

 

comfortably numb

Footballguy
Anyone have any flight tips?  I'm seeing fares on each end of the spectrum.  The discount airlines start at $300 per person.  I know they nickel and dime you for stuff, but the opposite end of the spectrum are all of the major airlines where flights start at $2,600.   The discount airlines scare me when I look at reviews of how often flights are delayed or cancelled.  I also looked for Black Friday sales, and nada.
I find that checking expedia or the likes often and playing with dates works well.

When i last went to Portugal in May i kept checking prices and scooped up tix for 700.

If you are travelling in july or August you may be SOL as those are prime travel dates from the US.

Im in NJ and have 4 major airports i could choose from that had savings options. If you are willing to make a stop or 2 you could save some more. I was traveling with my 82 year old mom to sell her home in portugal so non stop was the only consideration. 

When do you plan to go?

What area are you departing from?

 

Scoresman

Footballguy
I find that checking expedia or the likes often and playing with dates works well.

When i last went to Portugal in May i kept checking prices and scooped up tix for 700.

If you are travelling in july or August you may be SOL as those are prime travel dates from the US.

Im in NJ and have 4 major airports i could choose from that had savings options. If you are willing to make a stop or 2 you could save some more. I was traveling with my 82 year old mom to sell her home in portugal so non stop was the only consideration. 

When do you plan to go?

What area are you departing from?
Departing from SFO/Oakland in Mid May.  There are super cheap flights, but as I said I will worry about delays and cancellations. 

Can't really play with dates too much since we're tied to the date of our reservation in Girona on the 15th.   

I also checked and it looks like they charge a ton more for a one way flight than a round trip.  That messes with our plan of flying in and out of different cities.  

 

comfortably numb

Footballguy
Departing from SFO/Oakland in Mid May.  There are super cheap flights, but as I said I will worry about delays and cancellations. 

Can't really play with dates too much since we're tied to the date of our reservation in Girona on the 15th.   

I also checked and it looks like they charge a ton more for a one way flight than a round trip.  That messes with our plan of flying in and out of different cities.  
Hmm

I don't have experience with flying west coast to europe. Are there direct flights?

 

Scoresman

Footballguy
Hmm

I don't have experience with flying west coast to europe. Are there direct flights?
There are but funny enough, it's the budget airlines that do most of the direct flights.  Most others stop off in Atlanta, NY, or DC.  I may just bite the bullet on a cheapo airline.  Even with markups for baggage and food, they are amazing prices.  

 

waiver wire

Footballguy
Sorry for the post spam, but my wife is an expert at finding restaurants and we have the following lined up for Barcelona already.  Tickets, Bodega 1900, Enigma, Nino Viejo.  Most or all of these are run by one of the brothers from El Bulli.  
I never look for restaurants before a trip
what websites does she use and how much time does she spend doing this for a trip 

 

Scoresman

Footballguy
I never look for restaurants before a trip
what websites does she use and how much time does she spend doing this for a trip 
She works in the food innovation industry, so she just knows these things. A lot of it comes from social media and stuff like that. I just asked her though and she says TripAdvisor, Eater (if they have a site for that city) or Condi Nast. 

 

waiver wire

Footballguy
She works in the food innovation industry, so she just knows these things. A lot of it comes from social media and stuff like that. I just asked her though and she says TripAdvisor, Eater (if they have a site for that city) or Condi Nast. 
thanks for asking her 

 

Judge Smails

Footballguy
Great stuff. This is why I love the FFA. No lie it would take me a week at Trip Advisor to get half the quality responses I got here in a day. I’m completely open to the itin. I’ll come back with a tentative trip using a lot of your recommendations. Thanks all

 

The Kansas Comet

Footballguy
My wife and I are planning a Spain trip for next year.  This is our tentative itinerary by day as of now.  We're saving Madrid and northern Spain for another trip.  The day in Girona is because we landed reservations at El Celler de Can Roca.  

Arrive in Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona/Girona
Barcelona
Fly to Granada
Alhambra
Ronda
Ronda
Seville
Seville
Seville
Seville
Train to Madrid
Fly home
You should plan to take one of your Sevilla days and make a day trip to Cordoba.  It's a short train ride and the Mezquita alone is worth it.

 

Major

Footballguy
Yeah, I'd definitely hit Lagos for a day if you're in the Algavre region.  About equal distance from Lisbon and Seville so worth hitting in between.   Really enjoyed Portugal even more so than Spain.  San Sebastian and Bilbao are also worth considering during your Barcelona leg.  

 

Judge Smails

Footballguy
comfortably numb said:
Is the plan to fly into x drive everywhere and fly out of y 2 weeks later? Is taking a short flight from say porto to Barcelona an option?

Where are you flying out of?

Been to portugal dozens of times. Only did Sevilla once and haven't made any other major spain city.

Anyone in your group speak any spanush at all?

Soccer will be easy to do. Even if the clubs teams are on an international break you would probably have a shot to watch the national team.
I can fly into/out Lisbon, Madrid or Barcelona. Completely open to taking flights if it saves time (say Lisbon to Barcelona) vs driving or rail.  I speak California spanish (enough to get by)

 

gianmarco

Footballguy
Anyone have any flight tips?  I'm seeing fares on each end of the spectrum.  The discount airlines start at $300 per person.  I know they nickel and dime you for stuff, but the opposite end of the spectrum are all of the major airlines where flights start at $2,600.   The discount airlines scare me when I look at reviews of how often flights are delayed or cancelled.  I also looked for Black Friday sales, and nada.
Google Flights for sure. 

It's better than any of Expedia, Kayak, etc.

Much better search and easy to use, track fares, and get lower prices. 

I booked a flight to Italy a few months ago. The flight was on American Airlines. I saved $250 per person by booking it through British Airways instead of American. Google Flights was the only engine that showed that.

 
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Sand

Footballguy
Google Flights for sure. 

It's better than any of Expedia, Kayak, etc.

Much better search and easy to use, track fares, and get lower prices. 

I booked a flight to Italy a few months ago. The flight was on American Airlines. I saved $250 per person by booking it through British Airways instead of American. Google Flights was the only engine that showed that.
Did you try Momondo?  Another great engine.

I'd be interested in a PM here.  Definitely want to visit Portugal one day.  (Also happens to be a hot spot for folks retiring overseas).

 

comfortably numb

Footballguy
The logistical ocd in me says fly into porto, drive down to lisbon, algarve across to Seville up to Madrid and then out to Barcelona and fly home...or backwards. I just dont think you can get a direct flight into or out of porto from anywhere other than Boston area or newark area.

 

comfortably numb

Footballguy
The algarve is great but also very touristy. Won't be as bad in October although Portugal tourism is booming. I was there last May and last October and saw many tourists even so some in small towns you typically wouldn't in those dates.

If you stay in Villamoura, Albufeira is a big beach town that is nice but very....Americanized...for me at least.

https://www.travel-in-portugal.com/sites/default/files/photos/albufeira-nightlife.jpg

I go to Lagos as mentioned above

http://gnewmanphotos.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/untitled-16-1.jpg

And then over to dona ana beach

https://www.algarveprimeiro.com/files/resizes/detalhes/-files-images-img_552ee70028982.jpg

https://cdn1.newsplex.pt/fotos/2016/7/31/536116.jpg?type=Artigo

Alentejo area has some great beaches and beach town minus a lot of the tourists. 

We had a house in vila nova de milfontes. 

https://i1.wp.com/www.vortexmag.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/36084970552_13a4b20a8e_k-e1518364299384.jpg?resize=640%2C421&ssl=1

The alentejo region beaches is like avoiding miami/ft Lauderdale (algarve) and hitting beaches further north for less craziness. 

You do have a lot of time in 2 weeks but you are looking to hit several areas typically 2-6 hours apart each way.

 

Judge Smails

Footballguy
The logistical ocd in me says fly into porto, drive down to lisbon, algarve across to Seville up to Madrid and then out to Barcelona and fly home...or backwards. I just dont think you can get a direct flight into or out of porto from anywhere other than Boston area or newark area.
Brilliant! Didn't even know this was an option. Just looked and getting to Porto is just as easy as Lisbon.  So from LAX on United can go to Newark and then overnight to Porto.  Your itin is much more logical vs the way I was going north and south out of Lisbon.  Also like getting Barcelona in, as my friends have never been.  Would you drive that route or take trains.  How friendly of a drive is it? from Porto all the way through to Madrid?

 

comfortably numb

Footballguy
Judge Smails said:
Brilliant! Didn't even know this was an option. Just looked and getting to Porto is just as easy as Lisbon.  So from LAX on United can go to Newark and then overnight to Porto.  Your itin is much more logical vs the way I was going north and south out of Lisbon.  Also like getting Barcelona in, as my friends have never been.  Would you drive that route or take trains.  How friendly of a drive is it? from Porto all the way through to Madrid?
Trains are great there but gonna be tricky to get to certain areas especially in algarve by train.

I would do the car and have the freedom to go where you want when you want. 

The roads and that drive is fine. At least in Portugal the highways are pretty empty. Locals prefer not to pay the toll roads so many, especially lisbon to algarve can be pretty empty. I would comfortably be doing 80-90mph with not many cars in site. 

Another thought

Fly to Madrid and then take train to Barcelona.

Then you can take a flight to faro (algarve) or seville and do the algarve and Sevilla region.

Drive up to porto and then back down to lisbon to end the trip and fly out of lisbon.

 

tri-man 47

Footballguy
Catching up on the Sunday papers and came across a recent article by Rick Steves about southern Spain.  He mentioned the recognizable Seville, Cordoba, and Granada and the value of visiting them.  He also mention Ronda, which a few have mentioned here.  He talked about Ronda and, then, the mountain drive west to Arcos with stops along the way in wonderful little towns like Zahara.  That could be a great loop - Seville NE to Cordoba and on down to Granada, then a return from further south through these towns in the mountains.

And @Scoresman, you'd mentioned Girona (north of Barcelona).  We'd been there for a quick two days on our trip to the Barcelona region.  Loved that town!  The old and impressive Cathedral of Girona is the site of some GoT scenes.  If you have the chance to catch dinner, we had incredible experience at Arros i Peix.  After entering, you sip on champagne while picking the courses you'd like from the array of fresh seafood spread on ice.  Tell them what you'd like, how much, and even how to prepare it.  Then relax and enjoy while they get it ready.

 

Atomic Punk

Footballguy
Spent a month in Portugal a few years ago. Flew into Porto, rented a car and then drove the country. We booked mostly the monasteries, etc. And it was worth it for awhile but would not recommend doing that exclusively. Starts to get old driving up a mountain every place you go. I definitely receommend drafing the country if you can. Highways are amazing with virtually no speed limit.

My Dad is from Portugal and there were quite a few stops we made between Porto and the Algarve that he hadn't been to or even heard of. I agree with others that Lagos is awesome if you have options in the Algarve. We did a couple of day trips there from our home base and wished we would have just stayed their for a week. It has a really chill vibe.

Lisbon is fantastic but think you are good with a 3 day stop there. Lots to see but for some reason I just enjoyed the smaller towns that much more.

Learn a little Portuguese and don't think you can get by with Spanish. Most Portuguese hate when you try and speak Spanish to them.

Have fun!

 

msommer

Footballguy
Thanks gents. Booked! Outbound to Porto on 9/28 and fly back from Barcelona to LAX 10/13. Will work on itin and weave in great suggestions here. 
You are going to have a great time. Remember less is more, don't be the typical American tourist "Today is Tuesday so this must be Paris" - There is so much to see.

If it were me (and I've been to Portugal and Spain oodles of time) I might limit myself more or less to the seaside. Follow the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Skip Madrid and Seville for next trip ('cause there will be a next trip) - do Porto, Lisbon, Lagos, Tarifa/Gibraltar (side trips (or main trip) to Ronda, Jerez and later Granada (for Alhambra - remember to buy tickets min 30 days in advance otherwise you won't get in)), Alicante, Barcelona. That's more than enough for two weeks.

 
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mr. furley

Footballguy
I go to Lagos as mentioned above
fantastic. i've been there.

we took a bus from Seville. what a beautiful ride. 

we pulled in to.... some town or other... and had to wind through streets so narrow that people were stepping back in to the doorways of their businesses & homes to give the bus enough room to get through.

then we got to Lagos, stepped off the bus and got rushed by some middle-aged woman offering us a place to stay. thought it was a scam but next thing i know we're piling in to a 2-door jalopy and speeding to a mostly empty house with 2 chicks crashing in separate rooms.

i don't know how the #### we communicated the arrangement or cost but it was insanely, ridiculously, preopsterously cheap.  then, i was.......... 22? and would have slept on top of a bus for the right price.

 

comfortably numb

Footballguy
Judge Smails said:
Thanks gents. Booked! Outbound to Porto on 9/28 and fly back from Barcelona to LAX 10/13. Will work on itin and weave in great suggestions here. 
Awesome!

I'm contemplating going to Porto the 1st week of March for a classico of benfica/porto and a porto/roma champions league game with my cousin for a 4-5 day getaway and see some family from the north.

On your schedule...the 19/20 soccer season will be underway and maybe in line with xhampions league.

Check back around August when the schedules are out to see if you wanna catch a soccer match in Spain or Portugal. 

 

comfortably numb

Footballguy
I'm leaving Friday night to Lisbon. Driving up to Porto to catch the classico; Benfica/Porto. Then Sunday drive up to Chaves and catch the Chaves match and see some aunts and uncles. Drive back down to Lisbon on Monday and depart Tue.

The Porto Champions league match is on Wed. Would basically turn into a week long endeavor at that point. So we nixed it.

@Judge Smails

I thought of you as i scrolled through my fb feed. In case you were interested in running off the beaten path on your trip. I have a cousin who operates a small house rental and horse riding gig. He posts weekly vids of him chaperoning his guests on rocky beach horse back riding. 

https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Local-Business/Passeios-a-cavalo-no-Cabo-Sardão-Horse-riding-Cabo-Sardão-403609250099277/

If you map it out, it would be a stop between Lisbon and Algarve. 

If interested this would be the part of the trip where you completely avoid the big cities and dive into authentic slowed down lifestyles of small town Portugal. 

 

eoMMan

Footballguy
There's some big castle/museum/sculpture thingy they are still working on in Barcelona that's supposed to be amazing. Can't think of the name at the moment but I heard it's a must see.

 

msommer

Footballguy
There's some big castle/museum/sculpture thingy they are still working on in Barcelona that's supposed to be amazing. Can't think of the name at the moment but I heard it's a must see.
La Sagrade Familia? Gaudi's cathedral that was begun in 1882 and still not finished?

 

Judge Smails

Footballguy
I'm leaving Friday night to Lisbon. Driving up to Porto to catch the classico; Benfica/Porto. Then Sunday drive up to Chaves and catch the Chaves match and see some aunts and uncles. Drive back down to Lisbon on Monday and depart Tue.

The Porto Champions league match is on Wed. Would basically turn into a week long endeavor at that point. So we nixed it.

@Judge Smails

I thought of you as i scrolled through my fb feed. In case you were interested in running off the beaten path on your trip. I have a cousin who operates a small house rental and horse riding gig. He posts weekly vids of him chaperoning his guests on rocky beach horse back riding. 

https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Local-Business/Passeios-a-cavalo-no-Cabo-Sardão-Horse-riding-Cabo-Sardão-403609250099277/

If you map it out, it would be a stop between Lisbon and Algarve. 

If interested this would be the part of the trip where you completely avoid the big cities and dive into authentic slowed down lifestyles of small town Portugal. 
Thank you. Might take you up on it. So far trip is taking shape. 

3 days 2 nights in Porto. Train to Lisbon

3 nights in Lisbon including day trip to Sinta  drive to Algarve 

2 nights Algarve. Drive to Seville. Trying to find right number of nights to do Seville, Córdoba, Granada. Have about 4-5 nights.   Fly to Barcelona 

4 nights in Barcelona then fly home. 

We may drive the entire way from Lisbon through Granada so we can stop wherever we want? Nothing looks more than 2-3 hours. 

Look good? Any major mistakes with this thinking? Suggested improvement? Have only booked Airbnb in Porto so far

 

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