Suggestions needed for Road Trip in Spain/Portugal

29 posts in this topic

Hello TTers,

 

In the upcoming month i have planned a 10 day road trip in Spain/Portugal, my plan is to fly to Barcelona from Stuttgart and then rent a car and drive something like Barcelona > Porto > Tarifa > Barcelona. Total distance 3000 km 

 

The idea is to spend 2 days in each city and plus 3 days that would take to travel in between those cities.

 

I recognise this is a whirlwind tour but i cant take more than 10 holidays at the moment.  

 

Any suggestions or tips  for improving this plan?? Is it worth covering both Portugal and Spain in one go ?

 

Any suggestions regarding any off beat destinations on the way ? 

 

Thanks in Advance. 

Mech Eng

 

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That´s not a holiday, Mech. That is torture. You cannot see the world in 10 days...how about choosing one place, sleep well every night and do some local touring?

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To each his own I guess, but I’ll never understand the point of such whirlwind tours. This is doable, physically, but madness.

 

Whatever it is you plan to do won’t be much of anything... except driving and parking and checking in/out of hotels. You’ll only get the most superficial feel of the tourist traps before heading out again.

 

15 minutes ago, MechEng said:

The idea is to spend 2 days in each city and plus 3 days that would take to travel in between those cities.

 

You mean a few hours, dinner, sleep, hour or two to noodle around next morning and then hit the road again? Doesn’t sound enjoyable.

 

15 minutes ago, MechEng said:

Any suggestions or tips  for improving this plan?

 

You could easily spend ten days in/around Barcelona. It’s not beach season, but there are plenty of small towns or natural areas nearby to explore. Eat yourself silly, drink wine, see museums, maybe shop, do some guided tours perhaps. Either way, I would just stick to one spot. 

 

Tarifa is nice, but really not worth going to just for the sake of driving through. It’s a wind/kite surfing hotspot. Has some camp grounds, etc. Seville would be better. Granada is amazing.

 

15 minutes ago, MechEng said:

Is it worth covering both Portugal and Spain in one go ?

 

Not really, no.

 

15 minutes ago, MechEng said:

Any suggestions regarding any off beat destinations on the way ? 

 

Honestly, would it matter?

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15 minutes ago, john g. said:

That´s not a holiday, Mech. That is torture. You cannot see the world in 10 days...how about choosing one place, sleep well every night and do some local touring?

Appreciate your suggestions, i wanted to do a crazy road trip anyway like i said thanks for your input, have you been to Porto ?

Would it make sense to visit Lisbon instead?

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, alderhill said:

Tarifa is nice, but really not worth going to just for the sake of driving through. It’s a wind/kite surfing hotspot. Has some camp grounds, etc. Seville would be better. Granada is amazing.

 

Thanks for your reply alderhill. 

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Hello MechEng! Yes, I have been to Porto and Barcelona and many places in Spain and Portugal. My ex-wife is from Spain and from close to the border with Portugal ( a town called Badajoz ). Spain and Portugal are both beautiful countries and both deserve more than a fleeting visit.

My question is: what do you want to experience? Laid back? Vibrant? Why a rush job?  What do you want? History? Food? Architecture? etc

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1 minute ago, john g. said:

Hello MechEng! Yes, I have been to Porto and Barcelona and many places in Spain and Portugal. My ex-wife is from Spain and from close to the border with Portugal ( a town called Badajoz ). Spain and Portugal are both beautiful countries and both deserve more than a fleeting visit.

My question is: what do you want to experience? Laid back? Vibrant? Why a rush job?  What do you want? History? Food? Architecture? etc

What would qualify as not a fleeting visit? like i said i can modify my travel map, but i can not spend 10 days in just one city. 

 

It would be my first time in these countries and i do not know what i want. I just want to visit them and take it from there, Plans can remain flexible. 

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Spain is big, MechEng! Be flexible, ok. Take Barcelona to start with and do day tours based on your interests eg museums, history, wine, villages or whatever. You might meet an interesting person and decide to orientate your time based on that. You never know.

Or find a favourite restaurant or a favourite village. You might even fall in love with someone.

 

Ok, be flexible!

 

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@john g.

Alright brother, thanks for that wonderful suggestion. :)

 

According to you what would be a next good Coastal city next to Barcelona? Valencia ??

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My pleasure, MechTex! The best suggestion: fall in love with one person in one place...makes travelling easier!

:P

(Been there, done it..)

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I totally support your plan as you are looking for a ROAD TRIP, which means you will be spending a lot of time on the road by choice - and that's kinda the point

 

Having driven from the east coast of the USA to the west, NY to FL, with lots of 7-10 day road trips pretty much everywhere in between, I gotta say, covering parts of Spain and Portugal in 10 days really does not sound like a big deal.  Your plan to stay flexible is key.  If you like a place, stay, if you don't, move along.  Better to concentrate on finding some lovely routes to take between the loosely sketched points on your wish list, as the worst kind of road trip is one that sticks you mostly with highway driving.  Blech.

 

Just don't be too goal oriented.  I made that mistake on my only big road trip through Germany - I was in a town I really liked, and wanted to stay longer, but had this kooky idea that I "had" to get to my next destination when there was really no need.  I should have followed my instinct to stay where I was, just because I liked it there. 

 

Barcelona would not be highest on my list - it's ok but so overrun with tourists now it's kinda sad.  I myself would pick the west coast - Bilboa and San Sebastian...maybe north into France...but I think that's very different from what you have in mind.  To each their own and I wish you a GREAT trip!

 

Also consider whether it might be worth it to rent the car in one location and return it in another?  Not cross border, but renting in spain and returning somewhere else in spain may be doable.

 

 

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I've done plenty of road trips, but a bit like @lisa13 says, it seems you might want to make the travelling itself the focus. So, if you want decent driving give the big cities a swerve and don't bother with motorways unless you really need to save time. Visiting (even driving through) small towns and villages will give you more of a feel for the place. Also, if you're keen on driving, don't get a soulless hire car. Either hire something fun or consider buying (and insuring) something to make the driving a bit different (for example: https://www.ebay.es/itm/Seat-600E/392510462355?hash=item5b63725993:g:GZMAAOSwHIBduv4z) Some mates and I once drove from Cherbourg down through the French Alps to Italy, back up via Austria, Poland and into the Baltics in a mad trip that probably wasn't much more than about 10 days...in a Saab I picked up from an auction for £50. Whenever we got bored we left our pre-planned route and headed into any nearby town/village to find somewhere to eat, sleep, wander around for a bit (and usually repair the car). At the end of the trip we walked into a bar in Tallinn (our last stop) and swapped the car for three beers. That trip provided more memories and stories than a whistle-stop tour of big cities in a hired Fiesta.     

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1 hour ago, lisa13 said:

I totally support your plan as you are looking for a ROAD TRIP, which means you will be spending a lot of time on the road by choice - and that's kinda the point

 

 

Well said @lisa13 thats what i'd like to hear, very good points you have there. 

 

Being on the road is the goal look at this guy travelling small towns in Southern USA from FL to California. 

 

btw i start with Barcelona cause its the cheapest destination i can fly to Spain from Stuttgart. 

 

Appreciate your feedback!

 

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32 minutes ago, dstanners said:

I've done plenty of road trips, but a bit like @lisa13 says, it seems you might want to make the travelling itself the focus. So, if you want decent driving give the big cities a swerve and don't bother with motorways unless you really need to save time. Visiting (even driving through) small towns and villages will give you more of a feel for the place. 

Well said Sir/Madam,

 

which is why i am asking for suggestions for couple of good towns/villages between those big Cities. 

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2 hours ago, MechEng said:

Appreciate your suggestions, i wanted to do a crazy road trip anyway like i said thanks for your input, have you been to Porto ?

Would it make sense to visit Lisbon instead?

I come from Porto. They are completely different cities. Porto has less tourists than Lisbon, it is an old dirty medieval town, more authentic. Lisbon has even more to see, but I feel that in the past 5 years it became too crowded. Both cities have great food, great nightlife, etc.

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2 hours ago, john g. said:

That´s not a holiday, Mech. That is torture. You cannot see the world in 10 days...how about choosing one place, sleep well every night and do some local touring?

I used to do 9000km around europe in 15 days on my early 20's... One day record was Bordeaux-Prague. Then staid in Prague for 5 days.

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2 minutes ago, MikeMelga said:

I come from Porto. They are completely different cities. Porto has less tourists than Lisbon, it is an old dirty medieval town, more authentic. Lisbon has even more to see, but I feel that in the past 5 years it became too crowded. Both cities have great food, great nightlife, etc.

 Thanks for the reply dude, since you are from Portugal ,could you suggest an "in between" town/city between Porto and Tarifa, look at my Blue "triangle" in my OP :) 

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1 hour ago, MechEng said:

 Thanks for the reply dude, since you are from Portugal ,could you suggest an "in between" town/city between Porto and Tarifa, look at my Blue "triangle" in my OP :) 

Really depends on your type of holidays. I would actually avoid cutting in diagonal:

https://goo.gl/maps/oFkeZwrMroC5qTgg7

This way you can visit Alentejo area. Very nice historic towns in the area, especially Évora, Reguengos de Monsaraz, etc.

 

You could also go closer to the coast

https://goo.gl/maps/YewDiYSXeDnnWjWC6

 

...and visit this amazing island (Berlengas).

https://www.e-konomista.pt/ilhas-berlengas/

 

EDIT: just saw that you intend to go next month. In March it is probably too cold to visit Berlengas and the sea might have large waves. Also, depending on weather, Porto can be soaking wet, so you might as well visit Lisbon, as usually it rains much less in the south.

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It would be a sacrilege to follow your planned route. Much of your coastal route in Spain is high-rise tourist nightmare which only an earthquake could fix.

 

Try driving up to the north coast of Spain and down the NW Galician coast. Turn inland when you arrive at Vigo following the Portuguese border, drive through the national park Pineda Geres, take in Salamanca, Madrid, Toledo. Return to Barcelona. You will have a struggle to to that justice in 10 days.

 

Granada and Alentejo would deserve a separate trip.

 

Do a separate trip to Portugal. Follow the Atlantic coast. Inland is beautiful. Wherever you go it will be great and so varied. Small country, packs a lot in. Would recommend Lisbon and the coast north of it over Porto. If you can't do it all, forget the now spoilt Algarve.

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