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Two weeks in Spain and Portugal, suggestions?

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  • Nov 4th, 2018 8:33 am
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Two weeks in Spain and Portugal, suggestions?

Hello Everyone.

There will be two couples, reasonably fit for 60 year olds travelling together. Here is our schedule of cities. All transportation and accommodations have been booked. I'm just looking for suggestions on how or where to spend time in our travels.


Early May 4 nights – Madrid – VRBO

Train to Barcelona – Rail Europe (Renfe – 9:00 a.m. departure; first class)

3 nights – Barcelona – VRBO

Fly Barcelona to Lisbon

3 nights – Lisbon – VRBO

Rent car for 5 days; drive to the Algarve

5 nights – The Algarve – VRBO

Return to Lisbon; drop off car and head home.

Thanks for your time and suggestions.
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Apr 26, 2004
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You didn't say what your interests are.
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Talamasca wrote:
Mar 18th, 2018 1:33 pm
You didn't say what your interests are.
Historic sites, Architecture, Food and wine, Views, not into club scenes or partying.
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One thing I love about Madrid are the numerous day trips you can do, such as:
Toledo, a well-preserved medieval town with a world-famous alcazar
Segovia, another well-preserved medieval town with a Roman aqueduct nearby and it's own famous alcazar and cathedral
Avila, another well-preserved medieval town and one of the few remaining towns in the world with an intact medieval city wall.
El Escorial, which has a monastery and the former residence of the royal family (I'm not sure if it is still being used as one). This is to Madrid what Versailles Palace is to Paris and what Windsor Castle (or Hampton Court Palace) is to London.
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The first time I visited Spain, I preferred Madrid over Barcelona since Madrid felt "more Spanish", and I never understood why most people preferred the other. After my second or third visit to Barcelona though, I finally understood why lol. It just felt more cosmopolitan with more things to do. I love the neighborhoods, particularly the medieval center of Barri Gotic and El Born with their winding alleys. Casa Batllo is worth a visit if you have an interest in art nouveau architecture. Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, and Montjuic are other popular sights. The beaches in Barceloneta are artificial (they were converted into public beaches as part of their urban renewal strategy during the Olympics), so the quality isn't as good as the beach in nearby Sitges for example. Nevertheless, it's decent.
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sam123 wrote:
Mar 18th, 2018 4:10 pm
Historic sites, Architecture, Food and wine, Views, not into club scenes or partying.
For Lisbon, exploring the Alfama, Baixa and Bairro Alto districts are pretty awesome, especially the Alfama. It's a fascinating neighbourhood to explore. It is quite the cardio workout, but there are great views of the city. Belem is a small town about twenty minutes west of the centre, easily accessible by tram that makes for a great half day visit to see the Tower of Belem, Jeronimos Monastery and of course Pasteis de Belem to have some of their incredible egg tarts. Sintra, although very popular, makes a great day trip. Numerous palaces to explore there. If you want to hit the beach, Cascais is a great little town on the coast that is also a fun day trip.

In Madrid, aside from the major sights (the Royal Palace, the museums, etc.), my favourite neighbourhood to explore is Malasana. Great street life, lots of cool shops and restaurants, and it seems to be mostly locals who hang out there despite its relative proximity to Sol.

Haven't been to the Algarve, but a lot of people I met totally fell in love with Lagos.
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Vancouver
Talamasca wrote:
Mar 18th, 2018 10:20 pm
Haven't been to the Algarve, but a lot of people I met totally fell in love with Lagos.
Totally agree with the people you met that fell in love with Lagos, I spent 3 days and had a great time, it's a beautiful laid back town.
If I go back to Portugal I'd love to explore more of the Algarve coast.
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Last edited by aznrsx1979 on Mar 18th, 2018 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Oh, I forgot to mention popping into a fado bar at night. It's an incredibly emotional and powerful form of Portuguese folk music. Even if you don't understand a word, you can still get its intent.
[OP]
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Great suggestion everyone. Thanks.
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Consider joining free walking tours (this is RFD after all). Gives you a good understanding and history about the cities. The guides are usually good. Look them up in tripadvisor.
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Two day hop on bus in Barcelona. Well worth it.
My food blog - Reggie The Food Critic.
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Thanks all, had a wonderful time. Great food, sights and overall a 10!
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Oakville
sam123 wrote:
Jul 5th, 2018 8:41 am
Thanks all, had a wonderful time. Great food, sights and overall a 10!
Bumping this thread as we're thinking of doing something very similar in terms of duration and places to visit.

One thing I keep reading is that Spain shuts down for a good part of each and every day for siesta - stores/shops/restaurants are closed from 2-5pm and restaurants don't open until quite late for dinner (like 8-9pm).

Did you find this to be the case?
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RETD wrote:
Sep 19th, 2018 9:35 am
Bumping this thread as we're thinking of doing something very similar in terms of duration and places to visit.

One thing I keep reading is that Spain shuts down for a good part of each and every day for siesta - stores/shops/restaurants are closed from 2-5pm.
Did you find this to be the case?
Can't say we ran into this. May have been just us and the things we were doing. Have fun, great food and drink.
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RETD wrote:
Sep 19th, 2018 9:35 am
One thing I keep reading is that Spain shuts down for a good part of each and every day for siesta - stores/shops/restaurants are closed from 2-5pm and restaurants don't open until quite late for dinner (like 8-9pm).

Did you find this to be the case?
I didn't find stores/shops closed for siesta in the larger cities - possibly in smaller cities/towns. Locals usually have dinner late at 9 or 10 pm but many restaurants opened for dinner around 7 pm.

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