What to Wear on Safari: 20+ Things You Absolutely Must Pack

Your Wildest Dreams


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What to Pack for New York in Winter

  What to Wear in New York in Winter Click the icon next to each image to shop directly on the retailer page or browse via the links below. I’ve also linked more affordable options throughout the post. 1. Beanie (on sale plus extra 30% off) |  2. Cashmere Gloves | 3. Gold Hair Barrette | 4. […]


SophieFebruary 11, 2017 - 10:30 am

I want to go to New York now!

VâniaFebruary 12, 2017 - 10:27 am

Never been in New York but I just know that it is my dream city. Hope to collect tips on what to take there from this post sooner than later :)

VivianFebruary 21, 2017 - 11:09 pm

LOVE the over the knee boots! I’m sure they are essential for all the snow this year!

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READ THIS Before You Buy Alhambra Palace Tickets on Ticketmaster

Essential Tips for Booking Alhambra Palace Tickets Information updated April 2017 The Alhambra is the essential sight in Southern Spain. You know, the one on every guidebook cover, the one all your friends rave about, the one Rick Steve recommends… well you get the point. What you might not realize is that the attraction is so popular that […]


ThuyJune 30, 2016 - 11:02 am

Place looks beautiful and this post looks informative. I’m saving this for later!


MR ESSENTIALISTJune 30, 2016 - 2:04 pm

Never visited – but definitely on my bucket list!
Alexander @ Mr Essentialist

LISAJuly 4, 2016 - 8:19 am

This is gorgeous! You took great pics too! Glad you got to visit. I will definitely keep it in mind if I visit.

JessicaJuly 4, 2016 - 11:03 am

Fantastic guide to Alhambra Granada. The number of visitors is just impressive and how long you need to make a booking before your target visit. Well, it looks worth it with these captures. :)

TaraJuly 4, 2016 - 11:19 am

I had no idea this was Spain’s most popular attraction. Honestly, when getting tickets become a hassle, I would normally cross it off my list, but your photos are so stunning, I think serious advance planning would be worth it!

PaulJuly 4, 2016 - 1:32 pm

I feel completely ignorant here but I’ve actually never heard of this place! Let alone it being Spain’s most popular attraction. I think it’s because I’ve never really been interested in visiting Spain as I’ve only associated it with English summer holidays! I know there is plenty more to Spain than beach resorts and I need to get that out of my head and see for myself!

melody pittmanJuly 4, 2016 - 3:36 pm

Good information to know. I agree, 6600 tickets is an odd number. I haven’t visited this region in Spain but it looks gorgeous. I also did not know it was the most visited site in Spain. Learned a lot. ;)

Alex DatsevJuly 4, 2016 - 4:59 pm

Great information and stunning pics. I have always wanted to visit this port of Spain and it really seems like one should get their Alhambra tickets before confirming hotels and transportation.

SierraJuly 4, 2016 - 5:38 pm

I love seeing top tourist sites – and planning ahead is so very important for that so I really appreciate your thorough suggestions!

ClaireJuly 4, 2016 - 5:53 pm

What a beautiful place! I’ve never heard of Alhambra before but now it’s on my list for sure!

christine legerJuly 5, 2016 - 3:29 pm

my parents are doing spain next spring. I may leave the kids with the hubby and join them if its going to be anything like this.

CharlieJuly 8, 2016 - 11:55 am

Thank you for all the details, it’s very useful! I’m visiting Alhambra in august. Do you know if we can print our tickets in advance at the Grenada Tourism Office?

SherJuly 8, 2016 - 12:24 pm

Hey Charlie – glad it was helpful! I’m not quite sure what you mean – you need to buy the tickets online on Ticketmaster before you go. Since its already early July, I’d recommend doing this today / ASAP to get a preferred time slot. Then once you’re in Granada, you can head to the tourism office when you’re in town to print out the ticket. Ticketmaster doesn’t give you an option to print it at home, I think because the tickets need to be scan-able at the Alhambra.

SherJuly 8, 2016 - 12:25 pm

If you’re already in Granada, you can definitely print them out before the actual date of your visit. Let me know if that clarifies your question

MaryJuly 9, 2016 - 9:07 am

Great tips! I lived in Granada for a while, and never got tired of the Alhambra-it’s absolutely stunning. Also great pictures! How did you get them without hoards of people in them???

SherJuly 9, 2016 - 4:16 pm

Thanks Mary! Ah its just timing and good cropping :)

Jessica {The Bohemian Diaries}July 11, 2016 - 11:29 am

Fabulous photos, Sher! You should really throw a watermark on them to prevent others from taking them for personal or commercial use without giving you credit (they are that beautiful!) Definitely would love to make it there one day!

SherJuly 11, 2016 - 1:54 pm

Jessica, wow thank you for your kind words! So flattering, maybe I will think about adding one someday :)

CharlieJuly 11, 2016 - 3:03 pm

@Sher : Yes, I already bought my tickets on Ticketmaster :). What I wanted to know was if I can head to the tourism office when I will be in Granada to print my tickets the day before my visit to the Alhambra. So, you answered my question :) Thank you again!

TeodoraJuly 11, 2016 - 6:04 pm

Amazing photos! Been to Spain several times but I should definitely go back and visit this majestic place! Will save this for future reference!

SherJuly 11, 2016 - 6:05 pm

Hi Charlie, ok great! Glad I was able to answer. I also heard from friends that ANY la caixa branch should be equipped to print out tickets – a friend was able to print hers in Madrid as she was anxious to get the physical tickets in hand. i wasn’t able to verify that myself but thought I’d pass it along! :)

christine legerJuly 12, 2016 - 2:55 pm

wow. I didn’t know any of that. Thanks for the heads up. My parents are going in march

TomJuly 13, 2016 - 4:02 pm

I would never have thought Spain’s most popular attraction was in Granada! Wow! I’ll have to visit there when I return to Bracelona!

[…] up in the hills. There are numerous sidewalk cafes and restaurants within walking distance and the Alhambra is an easy 15 min walk up the […]

Marge GavanJuly 16, 2016 - 9:51 pm

Only 6,600 visitors per day? I wonder how they come up with such a number. I understand why the ticket sells so fast, I mean just look at it, so gorgeous. I would love to go there myself someday.

[…] Read more: Essential Tips for Visiting the Alhambra in Granada, Spain […]

NaomiAugust 9, 2016 - 3:45 pm

Thanks for the great tips and links. I never would have thought it would be that difficult or as least challenging. I’ll go in November. Just to clarify, why do you recommend the hike for the 8 am time slot? does the bus not run that early.. or…?

SherAugust 12, 2016 - 12:17 pm

Hi Naomi! I recommend the 8am time slot because it’s the first time slot of the day. That way you can see the Nasrid Palace with the least amount of crowds. You can pick any time slot you want though, there are slots every 30 minutes throughout the day. I recommend that you try to see the Nasrid Palace first out of everything in the Alhambra, because there’s often a huge queue and you don’t want to be at the gardens for example, which are about a 15 min walk away and then have to rush back to queue for the Palaces.

Regarding the bus vs. walk, there are two entrances to the Alhambra complex: the Main Entrance and the Justice Gate. The bus takes you to the Main Entrance (closer to the gardens) or you can walk to the Justice Gate entrance (in front of the Nasrid Palaces). You can of course choose whichever mode of transport but if you DO plan to see the Nasrid Palaces first, it makes more sense to walk to the Justice Gate – that way you will arrive right at the sight. If you take the bus, you are dropped off closer to the gardens and have to walk 15 minutes to get to the palaces anyway, so its a bit of a extended loop. Also just to clarify – it’s a steep climb but I wouldn’t go so far as to say you are actually “hiking” if you choose to walk. Its steep but doable! :) Hope that was helpful!

LonnieOctober 7, 2016 - 5:57 am

Thank you so much for the information! We will be driving from Ronda in the morning, right at the end of August and so want to allow plenty of time for traffic. If I book the afternoon slot, and choose say 3:00pm for the Nasrid Palace, does that mean we should have an hour to walk through the other areas, or will we need to jump in the line much earlier to make the 3:00pm slot? Also, will parking be a nightmare at that time of day?

[…] You can’t miss the palace of Granada – the Alhambra. It overlooks the city from the top of the palace grounds (which make for a nice nature walk for those on tight a budget). The fortress was originally built by the Romans but further developed by the Moors, the palace offers guided tours for an additional charge and exhibitions change frequently – typical things to do in the Alhambra, Granada.  A visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the #1 thing to do in Granada on Trip Advisor. Check out this tips on purcashing Alahambra tickets. […]

[…] you know when you’ll be in Granada, buy your tickets online at least one week in advance. Ticketmaster in Granada is one of the best ways to get your ticket. Admission into Palacios Nazaries are valid for a 30 […]

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Robin WickesFebruary 9, 2017 - 5:23 am

Hi Sher. Thanks for your very useful blog. You say the visiting-day is split into Morning and Afternoon, with the Morning ending at 2pm as the Afternoon begins. I see that Ticketmaster offers tickets for General entry starting every half hour during the day. If your ticket is for entry at 1pm, does that mean you have only 1 hour to see everything because everyone has to leave at 2pm so that the Afternoon visits can start? Many thanks again.

SherFebruary 9, 2017 - 10:26 am

Hi Robin – so glad you found it useful! Thanks for commenting – I just went on the Ticketmaster Alhambra website and realized that they’ve changed some things around so I updated the post.

There are 2 general visiting sessions per day, morning and afternoon. When buying a ticket, the 30 min time slot refers only to the period when you enter the Palace. Because the palace is enclosed, they restrict entry to a set number of people and usher in new people every 30 minutes so in the purchasing process, you are committing to seeing the palace in that time span. However, you can see the entire complex (the gardens, the old fort, etc) anytime during the session hours. So for example, you book a 1pm ticket. That means you can enter the Alhambra complex anytime from 8:30am – 2pm and see the gardens, the old forts, the smaller exhibits, etc. You can only enter the palace however, from 1-1:30pm (and typically there is a line to enter so you would want to start queueing around say 12pm to make sure you are at the entrance gate at 1pm). Hope that helps! Let me know if any other questions.

SherFebruary 9, 2017 - 10:45 am

Hi Lonnie – sorry I think I missed seeing your comment. It sounds like you’ll be visiting in August 2017 so I hope that I am in time to answer. I would line up 30 min in advance to see the palace. If you jump in line AT 3pm I think that is probably cutting it slightly close since people are usually queueing in a wrap around section.

Regarding parking – I didn’t drive in Spain so im not sure! I don’t remember that there is parking lot at the complex, since its built on a hill right in the old town. I would probably park at your hotel (if they have parking) and then just walking over or taking the local bus.

[…] famous towns in Southern Spain and a must stop on any Andalusian itinerary, if only to visit the Alhambra palace. We did a loop through Southern Spain from west to east and saved Granada for last. Logistically, […]

RobinFebruary 9, 2017 - 12:56 pm

Magic! Thanks Sher.

KellyFebruary 22, 2017 - 3:29 pm

This was so so helpful—thank you for writing and updating it! I was having the hardest time finding how to buy tickets on the Alhambra website and ticketmaster, especially with half the pages showing up in Spanish. I just bought my tickets following your process and links and will be visiting at the end of March. I look forward to reading your recommendations for Granada and Seville!

SherFebruary 22, 2017 - 5:22 pm

So glad you found it helpful Kelly!

Scott LindenbergMarch 11, 2017 - 9:16 am

Sher-Loved your article on the Alhambra, but there are still two things which are unclear to me. Let’s say I have a 1:30 p.m. entry time for the Nasrid Palace. If I get there before 1:30 and the line prevents entry before 2:00, will I still be able to enter after 2:00? Second, assuming I get into the Nasrid Palace and exit after 2:00 p.m., will I still be able to get into the Generalife Gardens, even though my ticket time was 1:30? That is to say, is the Gardens entry time-sensitive, as well? I’m just not clear on the significance of the morning versus afternoon ticket.

SherMarch 11, 2017 - 9:25 am

Hi Scott – if you purchase a 1:30pm entry time you will need to enter the Nasrid Palace between 1:30 – 2pm. There is a guard scanning tickets by the turnstile and the scan will only work in that 30 min window. If you wait too long to join the line and don’t reach the front turnstile until after your 30 min window, aka after 2pm, yes you are out of luck.

There are 2 “sessions” per day – a morning and afternoon. Only the Nasrid palace is a specific timed excercise. All the other attractions like the gardens, old fort, museum etc can be experienced anytime in your session. Since youre buying a 1:30pm nasrid palace ticket, i would queue up for that around 12:45/1pm and afterwards see the rest of the Alhambra as you have until 6pm for everything else.

PattyMarch 15, 2017 - 2:09 pm

Sher – thank you for your article and the beautiful photos. I am trying to purchase tickets online with a US credit card and it keeps telling me that my card is not working. I have tried several cards and none of them will work. I read that other people had this same problem. I’m wondering if you were able to purchase your tickets from the US using a US credit card.
Thank you.

SherMarch 15, 2017 - 2:20 pm

Hi Patty – Hm, no I didn’t have any issues and used a US credit card for the spanish version of ticketmaster. Perhaps one of the tours might be an easier option? It’s more straightforward and includes transportation and the tickets, and given that they raised alhambra ticket prices significantly via ticketmaster, the tours I linked are a good deal. It might also be your bank putting a hold on your card bc they think its suspicious – try calling your bank?

KriahnaMarch 22, 2017 - 8:35 am

Really informative post… And amazing pictures. May I ask What camera and lens combination did you use?

Also do you Happen to know what time the tourist office closes and if the automatic machines are available after the office closes?

SherMarch 24, 2017 - 5:32 am

No the machines are within the office so i would assume they are not available after close. Not sure of specific hours!

Thanks for your nice comments. I use either my iphone or canon camera! Exact models and lenses are all listed on my FAQ page :)

RobinMarch 26, 2017 - 11:10 am

Hi Sher. I visited the Alhambra (which is truly fantastic) last week and I’d make a couple of points which might be of value.

1. The Corral del Carbon service is great except that the folks there are not empowered to give you your ticket if you’re paying a discounted rate. One of the members of my party was entitled to a discount because he’s 65 and he was told his only option was to go up to the ticket office at the main entrance to the Alhambra. That’s the only place where you can prove your entitlement to a concessionary rate – eg with a passport. Unbelievably, the staff at Corral del Carbon are not authorised to verify your date of birth against your passport.

2. The audioguides were already sold out at 10:30am when we arrived. Fortunately we had a guidebook which gave us plenty of detail so we weren’t too disadvantaged. We used the Lonely Planet but we saw folks with the Rough Guide and lots of other guides. So a trip to your local library before leaving for Spain might be worthwhile.

We had a brilliant day – our 7-hour visit whizzed by!

SherMarch 26, 2017 - 12:38 pm

Hi Robin, thanks for letting me know! I hope you enjoyed your trip and i’ll be sure to update the post!

HeatherApril 23, 2017 - 8:49 pm

First of all thanks for posting this – its super helpful!

I’m still a bit confused about which slot to choose. There is no mention of the morning/afternoon sessions on the ticketmaster site – is that still a thing? I am trying to purchase tickets for early June and all of the slots up until 1pm are sold out. Would you recommend choosing a 3pm slot and arriving at 2pm to get in? Or choosing the 1pm slot, arriving at 8am to the complex and doing the palace last? In general, I was confused about what time we are supposed to arrive at the Alhambra site regardless of our time slot for the Nasrid Palace.


SherApril 23, 2017 - 9:39 pm

Hi Heather, glad you liked the post! Yes, there is a morning and afternoon session. They took away the extra step on the ticket purchase pages (before you clicked morning or afternoon) but if you navigate to the ticketmaster page (direct link in the post) you’ll see it says under opening hours:

8am – 2pm
2pm – closing (depends on season)

So i believe the distinction is still in effect, to help with crowd control. (They seem to have redone the Ticketmaster site in Jan or so and I agree its a bit confusing now)

In regards to your second question, its up to you! If you choose the 1pm, you can enter the Alhambra (meaning the site) anytime from 8am – 2pm so in that case you would visit the gardens, old fortress etc first and then start queuing for the nasrid palaces at noon. They recommend to queue 1 hour before the entrance printed on your ticket. Since you’re going in peak summer… maybe consider scoping out how bad the line is at 11:30am to give yourself room.

If you choose the 3pm, yes you should arrive to queue for the nasrid at 2pm and then see the other sites after. Hope that helps!

RobinApril 24, 2017 - 12:34 pm

Hi Heather and Sher. There must be a way of checking whether the “morning” and “afternoon” sessions actually mean that the whole Alahambra is cleared of the morning visitors at 2pm and then the afternoon visitors are allowed in. None of the guide books suggest this is the case but I agree that the Ticketmaster page is worrying. I visited last month and was advised that you need a whole day to see everything – certainly more than a morning or afternoon. We arrived (via the easy walk up to the Justice Gate) at 10:00. We walked along to the Generalife (wonderful!) where we spent 2 hours. Then after a quick lunch in the cafe outside the main entrance, we went back in and visited the Alcazaba (marvellous!) and then had a look in the museums (fascinating!). We joined the queue for the Palace (fantastic!) at about 2:30 because we had tickets for 3:30. That’s a good time to visit because a lot of the bus-tours have left by then. We left the Palace at 4:30 and had an hour’s stroll around the Partal and Medina before wending our weary way back down to Granada via a bar or two. A brilliant day! And may I say that Sher’s guidance was extremely valuable.

SherApril 24, 2017 - 12:56 pm

Hi Robin,

I visited the Alhambra last year (2016)and they scan your ticket at each site entry (the nasrid, the old fortress, etc). At that time in 2016, your ticket would stop scanning outside of your designated period (so for example if you chose a morning ticket, the man scanning would deny you entry at 3pm) and the morning/afternoon designation was something to keep in mind. Rick Steves also mentioned this in his guidebook but I believe I used his 2015 version for my visit.

They don’t physically clear you out – you can linger in the gardens for example where there are no guards scanning tickets – but you wouldn’t be able to enter the sites before or after your period and effectively, that makes people stick to the session times. I did a 8am – 2pm visit personally and felt like it was enough time but I agree that if you stop for lunch and like to take things at a slower pace, then a full day is great. I am more go, go go especially once crowds come ha :)

Because they changed the ticketmaster website and no longer have that in-between page where you pick “morning” or “afternoon”, I am unsure if that is still 100% the case but it seems that way given the way they list their opening hours in the same 2 sections. If anyone is visiting this year in 2017 and has the latest info I would love to get any feedback and am happy to update the article!

SherApril 25, 2017 - 1:44 pm

Hi Robin and Heather – I checked the official granada alhambra site and their site does seem to confirm the morning afternoon designation. Hope this helps!

“You must access the Monument visiting areas within the established schedule for the type of ticket purchased (morning, afternoon or evening).”
source: https://www.alhambradegranada.org/en/info/ticketsale.asp

[…] Headed to Andalusia? Check out this 3-day Granada Itinerary and Alhambra Visitor’s Guide […]

The Best Carry-On Luggage 2017 (As Tested By A Frequent Flier)

  The Best Carry-On Luggage in 2017 I bought my first luggage set in high school and it was a pink/purple Diane von Furstenburg set that faithfully stood me by for about 10 years! The distinctive color made it easy to spot on the luggage carousel and its sturdy construction withstood the pull, tug and […]


LeahFebruary 8, 2017 - 8:04 am

I am all about good luggage!! These sound awesome!

KenzieFebruary 9, 2017 - 2:53 pm

I’ve been looking for some new luggage! Those packing cubes look like a great buy too!

JoyceFebruary 21, 2017 - 9:21 pm

Love this comprehensive roundup! The samsonite omni, raden, and tumi look super interesting!

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Bri GibbsApril 13, 2017 - 9:10 am

What are the two brands of luggage at the top of the article?
You have two pieces on the left and one piece on the right. They are all shades of green. What and where can I find those pieces?

SherApril 14, 2017 - 6:29 pm

Hi Bri – those are from Away luggage. I haven’t tried them yet but they’re another new, “smart” luggage type brand with sandwich-style construction. Let me know if you get it and end up loving it!

[…] NYC | Carry On Luggage […]

The Best Spain and Portugal Itinerary | 10 Days

The best of Spain and Portugal in one easy trip.


JoyceJune 1, 2016 - 12:33 pm

Cordoba and Grenada look gorgeous. I love all the flower shots in Cordoba, what a great time to go! I love all your pictures & travel style too! I might be planning a Spain trip for this summer, I’ll bookmark this and avidly follow all your recommendations haha

AmandaJune 1, 2016 - 8:13 pm

Gah you’re making me so jealous, girl!!!! I studied abroad in Salamanca in high school and spent a lot of time in Barcelona and Madrid, but I haven’t been back since. I desperately want to go back and go down to Granada to see the Alhambra!

Adaleta AvdicJune 1, 2016 - 10:14 pm

Wow, so much information & this is so detailed! I may be going to Lisbon in November, so this is cool to know it’s like San Fran. I have my list of must-sees made after reading this post!

She JohJune 1, 2016 - 10:55 pm

Wow, what an incredible trip and your pictures are absolutely stunning! I want to go now!

CoryJune 1, 2016 - 11:34 pm

Nice tips! I will going to Spain later in the summer, so this will help a lot.

EliseJune 1, 2016 - 11:42 pm

Your photos are stunning! Now I want to visit :)

ColbyJune 2, 2016 - 12:12 am

Your photos are absolutely stunning! I’ll be moving to Spain in the fall and will definitely refer back to this.

SherJune 2, 2016 - 12:24 am

Aw, thanks for the kind words Colby!

MelissaJune 2, 2016 - 12:37 am

Your vacation looks AH-Mazing!!! And the photos!!! Makes me want to book a trip asap!

aicha robertsonJune 2, 2016 - 1:43 am

Wow I can’t wait to visit Spain someday, what a great post! Thanks for sharing x

Trang DoJune 2, 2016 - 1:49 am

Great pictures!! Amazing photos!!!

JulianJune 2, 2016 - 8:50 am

Excellent review and nicely planned trip. Pictures of Granada and Cordoba look very nice. Too bad you didnt see Porto, such a nice city as well. Many thanks for the inspiration.

SherJune 2, 2016 - 2:33 pm

Thanks Julian! Yea – I keep seeing Porto all over now. Wish I had gone but it was nearing 3 weeks at that point and I had to get back to work! If only haha.

SherJune 2, 2016 - 2:34 pm

Thanks Melissa! It was an amazing trip, I hope you have a great summer!

SherJune 2, 2016 - 2:34 pm

Thank you Trang!

SherJune 2, 2016 - 2:35 pm

Yes, Spain is amazing! Hope you visit soon. xoxo

AmyJune 2, 2016 - 3:58 pm

Fantastic and comprehensive post! I always appreciate a post catering to first timers, as that is quite often what I am, myself! Beautiful photos, thanks for the insight into such spectacular places!

MaggieJune 2, 2016 - 5:17 pm

Your photos are simply stunning!! Awesome trip!

Leslie Rossi | alifewellconsumedJune 2, 2016 - 10:40 pm

i did portugal a couple of years ago! i loved it, sintra was unreal.

Alexandra A.June 4, 2016 - 3:52 pm

All these places are amazing,I definitely have to visit them someday!

[…] just got back from a fabulous trip to Spain and Portugal and for the first time used Airbnb for a significant portion of my trip! For some reason I thought […]

Carmen's Luxury TravelJune 25, 2016 - 2:11 am

I am absolutely in love with Spain and Portugal but haven’t visited all of these places you’ve listed. This is a beautiful and helpful guide. Thanks so much for sharing and happy travels :)

AndraJune 25, 2016 - 11:53 am

Love your list! And what amazing photos. I just googled the Patio Festival in Cordoba and it looks so nice! The houses look amazing then. Nice tip

Long NguyenJune 25, 2016 - 1:50 pm

A very well arranged guide for the travel you have experienced. I found this clear and easy to understand with structure of information and pictures coming along with. I have printed it for the trip to Spain in next two years. Thanks.

NatashaJune 25, 2016 - 6:56 pm

First of all I have to say I LOVE your photos and the way they are set up in this post. Haven’t been to all these places in Spain but definitely have to get back so I can visit more.

SherJune 25, 2016 - 7:02 pm

Hey Andra! Yes the patio festival is amazing. I recently posted about it with tons of photos, have a look! :)

SherJune 25, 2016 - 7:03 pm

Hi Natasha! Thanks so much for the kind words. xx Sher

JoannaJune 26, 2016 - 2:20 pm

I will be going to Granada in autumn for 5 night and I am very looking forward to it. Thank you for the tickets tip, I will keep it in mind and book them at least 2 months in advance. :)

Renne SimpsonJune 30, 2016 - 2:11 am

Wowwww I’m just in love with Sintra because of your photos <3 I have a thing for colorful cities. Beautiful….

SherJune 30, 2016 - 2:13 am

Thank you Renne! Yes I’m so glad I took a detour to Sintra on this Portugal trip, it was a really fun day trip and actually 2 days would have been better!

ShobhaJune 30, 2016 - 5:29 pm

Love the itinerary and the photos! I’ve been to all these cities and I can say that you pretty much covered everything for a first time trip.

Stephanie LangletJuly 1, 2016 - 2:02 pm

I’m also more a fan of Barcelona than Madrid. In the highlights there, I would add the palace of the Catalan Music – one of my favourite places with the Sagrada Familia – and la Boqueria, the market on the Ramblas.
Great guide!

SherJuly 2, 2016 - 4:10 pm

Yes! I loved La Boqueria too – had a great seafood brunch there. Can’t believe I forgot to add that, thanks for the note Stephanie!

LiaJuly 4, 2016 - 12:28 am

I love this :) I did this trip exactly back in 2012 with the addition of Porto. Your photos are beautiful!

AmiJuly 5, 2016 - 10:18 am

That is a concise and well planned itinerary. Very useful and am bookmarking it for my future trip.

Rob TaylorJuly 6, 2016 - 12:56 am

All of these places are must-visits, especially Sintra… and Grenada… and Madrid… I think adding the day trip to Segovia is brilliant.

FabioRosadoJuly 12, 2016 - 6:08 am

I really enjoyed your post and the pictures look amazing.
Lisbon has a lot to do and see, 2 days might not be enough if you want to visit Sintra as well, but that’s my opinion :)

Did you enjoy Belem as well? I can see that you went there because of the picture of the famous Pasteis de Belem :D

SherJuly 12, 2016 - 6:23 pm

Yes! I wish I had spent an extra day in Sintra – there was a lot more to see than I had realized!

[…] Evening: Grab one last bite of tapas and pack up to depart Granada for the next stop on your tour. I recommend flying to Madrid or Barcelona and starting my Essential Spain itinerary. […]

TaraJanuary 1, 2017 - 10:21 pm

Hi! I am planning an 8 day trip to Europe in April and am torn between two different itineraries:
1. Fly into Barcelona, explore Barcelona, and do monterassat, and then take a flight to Lisbon and explore Porto and sintra


2. Fly into Madrid, do Sevilla and Granada with day trips to Córdoba and Sevilla

Any insight you have would be wonderful!!

SherJanuary 1, 2017 - 10:30 pm

Hi Tara – either itinerary would be amazing, it really depends on what you’re looking to do on your trip? Between Madrid & Barcelona, I liked Barcelona a lot more (personally) as it’s a larger, vibrant city with amazing restaurants, lots of sights (mostly of Gaudi’s works) and Montserrat was very different.

Madrid is more historic and I really loved South Spain. Andalusia has Moorish history so there’s lots of beautiful arabic-influenced sights like the Alhambra. Tapas are really good in Sevilla! Cordoba really comes alive in early May for the flower festival.. Either way there’s lots to see in both options you outlined! Maybe you can extend your trip for 2 weeks?? :)

[…] Spain and Portugal Itinerary Advice for 10 Days […]

sheenaJanuary 27, 2017 - 10:02 pm

Hi Sher! Im in love with your photos! Im also planning a same trip for July. I just want to ask a few questions , I hope you don’t mind. your first stop was Madrid right? then from barcelona did you fly to lisbon? And was it easy to travel via trains also? I don’t drive so I’ll probably be commuting my entire trip. Im already thinking of flying to Madrid from Singapore(where i come from) and do the same itinerary as yours then go back to Singapore either from Barcelona or Lisbon( I cant decide yet). Thanks for reading my comment . Any advice is a great help thanks;)

SherJanuary 27, 2017 - 10:32 pm

Hi Sheena, aw thank you! Happy to help. Yes I flew in to Madrid and yes also flew from Barcelona to Lisbon. In between I took trains from Madrid down south to Seville/Cordoba/Granada. All of those train rides are very doable and you can find the train schedule on renfe.com The site doesn’t fully translate from Spanish to English but the time schedules are easy enough to read. To actually book the tickets I used rail europe (i have a link to that in the post) because it’s easier to pay – with renfe you pretty much need a spanish credit card or it won’t work.

I didn’t rent a car so to get from city to city I took the train or flew. I felt like walking in any of the Spanish cities was very doable and walked pretty much everywhere! Even 30 minutes in some cases but I also don’t mind to walk. There are local buses and taxis to get around too so no need for a car!

I definitely really liked Lisbon but I went with family and they were kind of tired after 10 days in spain, so if you decide to go home after Barcelona that could be fine too. Lisbon is very hilly (kind of like San Francisco if you have been there?) and you mostly have to walk around for sights and such but there’s also the trolley to take which is fun. If you do go to Lisbon, I highly recommend Sintra! There are some colorful palaces and mansions there which are really unique.

Let me know if you have any other questions and thanks for reading :)

[…] Spain and Portugal Itinerary Advice for 10 Days […]

JeanneMarch 6, 2017 - 3:02 am

We’re planning to go visiting Spain and Portugal departing from the UK for 13 days, wondering what would be the best itinerary be for our first time visit on these both countries and we need to head back to Hong Kong after, need your suggestion to see if we’re able to fly direct either from those countries or get back to the UK first. FYI, we don’t drive.

Many thanks for your help in advance.

Tanya GomezMarch 17, 2017 - 5:42 am

Wow! your itinerary is perfect! ;) Great choice of places and I also loved your pictures.

Sara BunchMarch 18, 2017 - 5:37 pm

Love this itinerary! I’m planning a trip now hoping to hit most of these places, but I only have about 14 days. How many days total was your trip?

SherMarch 19, 2017 - 2:59 am

Hey Sara! Glad you like it :) I took about 2 weeks so it sounds like you have plenty of time. With shorter time the day trips from Madrid are probably easy to cut and maybe less time in Cordoba if the patio festival isnt going on

AngieMarch 31, 2017 - 6:12 am

Hi Sher,
I love everything you posted here, especially the itinerary and the photos. its so easy to understand and the photos are all amazing. I’ll be doing Spain and Portugal trip for 16 days this May, adding few days to spend in Porto and Barcelona. Im planning to do the whole exact thing as yours, I can’t wait to visit Cordoba for the flower festival and Sintra! Thank you so much for your itineraries :)

NamrataApril 8, 2017 - 10:04 pm

Hi Sher your blog was really insightful! I have a question. I’m planning to buy train tickets in advance (traveling to Spain and Portugal) but since my itenerary is not finalized so how do I go about making reservations? Is it hard to make same day /2dayreservations in advance for train seat reservation? Thanks for your help!

SherApril 8, 2017 - 10:10 pm

Hi Namrata, glad my posts were helpful! Hm, it depends. When are you planning to go?

If spring/summer I would recommend you finalize your itinerary and buy the tickets online before you go. Spain gets quite crowded as early as May and certain popular places will sell out. For example, the Madrid day trip to Toledo is strangely very popular!

I booked all of my trains ahead of time, except my Portugal day trip to Sintra. the line at the train station was very, very long the day of. In hindsight I would have bought it ahead of time to save time.

If you are visiting in the fall/winter its probably less important to book ahead.

For the Alhambra you absolutely need to buy a ticket ahead of time (I have a whole post on that). In general the high speed train runs pretty frequently, you just might not the time or seat you want if you buy the day of. Hope that helps!

Where to Stay in Manhattan: 4 New York Hotels Under $150

Here’s to Budget Friendly in the Big Apple


DanielleJanuary 30, 2017 - 9:23 am

Saving this for when we go to Manhattan! :)

DeasyJanuary 30, 2017 - 9:03 pm

This is a great list. Park Savoy Hotel seems very promising! I’m always looking for hotels with great value in Manhattan since I’m more interested in spending money on activities instead!

MollyJanuary 31, 2017 - 8:37 pm

Great places- I didn’t know of any of them! so helpful!!

[…] NYC Neighborhood Guide & Hotels Under $150 per night […]