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The Best Spain and Portugal Itinerary | 10 Days

a quick guide to sintra including can

The Best of Spain and Portugal Itinerary

10 Days

Last updated March 2017

Planning a trip always takes the longest. Where to go, how long to stay, should I do this city or that one? I decided to do a Spain getaway at the last minute and then added on Portugal at even later minute and found it helpful to read forums and blogs for which cities to linger and which to skip.

I’m now back from my trip to Spain and Portugal and thought I’d share a summary of my itinerary. My trip covered the two large cities of Madrid and Barcelona and explored Southern Spain in the Andalusian cities before heading west for a taste of Portugal.

First, I flew directly into Madrid, then took the high speed rail down to Andalusia to experience the warm sunny cities and Moorish influence of Cordoba, Seville and Granada, and then flew up northeast to Barcelona. After a couple days exploring (with day trips to Montserrat and Girona for a view of the Game of Thrones set) I hopped on a flight to neighboring Portugal to quickly visit Lisbon and Sintra.

Below is my day by day itinerary featuring Instagram photos from the trip! You can check out the whole photo series by exploring the hashtag #shershegoes_spain

 

10 day itinerary for Spain and Portugal

With 10 days, you get just the highlights. If you have more time, say 2 weeks like I did, I would extend your time in Madrid and Barcelona to take advantage of fun day trips and take things at a slower pace.

DaysCityOvernight
Days 1-2MadridCatalonia Plaza Mayor
Day 3CordobaEurostars Palace Hotel
Day 4SevilleHotel Alfonso XIII
Days 5GranadaAnacapri Granada
Days 6-8BarcelonaRoyal Ramblas
Day 9-10LisbonHotel Santa Justa

Keep reading below for a day by day city itinerary of must-see sights, things to eat and where to stay! I’ve also included day trip suggestions below.

 

Madrid


spain and portugal two week itinerary

quick guide to spain madrid itinerary
quick guide to spain madrid itinerary
quick guide to spain madrid itinerary
quick guide to spain madrid itinerary
IMG_7668-2
quick guide to spain madrid itinerary
quick guide to spain madrid itinerary
quick guide to spain madrid itinerary
quick guide to spain madrid itinerary

I arrived first in Madrid, Spain’s capital city. The streets are narrow, the apartments all have beautiful shuttered balconies and the charm is everywhere. We settled in for a couple days of sightseeing, healthy doses of tapas and rioja and laid back nights that ended with churros con chocolate.

Main Attractions: Royal Palace, Museo del Prado, Retiro Park

Don’t Miss: a night hopping from bar to bar sampling tapas and pinchos.

Recommended dishes:

  • gambas al ajillo (shrimp in hot garlic and oil)
  • jamon iberico bellota (fancy coldcuts of iberico pigs fed on acorns)
  • calamares a la romana (fried squid rings)
  • my special favorite, patatas bravas (fried potato wedges served with a mayo aioli)!

Stay: 2 days, 3 nights – preferably in the Centro district close to the main attractions. Other solid neighborhoods: La Latina, Chueca and Barrio de las Letras.

Overnight: Catalonia Plaza Mayor – Centrally located and affordable, Catalonia Plaza Mayor is in the heart of old Madrid.

 Compare current room rates on:  Booking.com | Hotels.com | Expedia | Priceline | Agoda

 Read reviews:  TripAdvisor reviews

 

Note: When searching for hotels, I like to compare across all the hotel aggregation sites as they seem to bid competitively to offer the cheapest rate. I’ve found that these hotel OTA sites can often have better pricing than the direct hotel site.

My usual go to is Booking.com for Europe and Agoda for Asia, as these two generally offer the best rates and have a very flexible cancellation policy, usually something like the week of travel. 

 

Madrid Day Trips


We stayed in Madrid an extra couple nights in order to do some day trips to some notable cities in Castille La Mancha. I couldn’t decide on one, so we visited (images below from left to right):

  • Segovia | an ancient town notable for still standing Roman aqueduct ruins
  • Toledo | a medieval city
  • El Escorial | a monastery and entombment for ancient Spanish kings
easy day trip from madrid roman walls at segovia
easy-day-trip-from-madrid-toledo-1
easy day trip from madrid toledo

 

 

Cordoba


quick guide to cordoba spain and portugal two week itinerary

quick guide to cordoba best of spain itinerary
quick guide to cordoba best of spain itinerary
quick guide to cordoba best of spain itinerary
quick guide to cordoba best of spain itinerary
quick guide to cordoba best of spain itinerary
quick guide to cordoba best of spain itinerary
quick guide to cordoba best of spain itinerary
quick guide to cordoba best of spain itinerary
quick-guide-to-cordoba-9

Having thoroughly explored Spain’s capital, we headed south for a loop through Andalusia. I was most excited to see Cordoba, as we were in town for the local patio festival when the locals proudly come out to show off their flower bedecked courtyards to visitors.

Cordoba was once a regional capital for the Roman and Moorish empires and bears characteristics of each. It’s a small, easily walk able town and were it not for the festival, I think a day is more than enough to see the main sights.

Main Attractions: Mezquita-Cathedral, Palacio de los Reyes Cristianos, Roman Bridge

Don’t Miss: a visit in Spring, when this beautiful town comes alive with flowers. The Patio Festival is an opportunity for proud locals to exhibit their version of ‘Best Lawn’ and visitors can see traditional Moorish style patios decorated with a profusion of beautiful pink, red and green blooms.

Stay: 1 days, 1 night – unless you’re in town for the Cordoba Patio Festival when you won’t be able to get enough with even two or three days!

Overnight: Eurostars Palace Hotel – this hotel has a gorgeous inner courtyard and gives travelers a true feel for Cordoba’s patios, which are usually hidden to outsiders except during the festival.

 Compare current room rates on:  Booking.com | Hotels.com | Expedia | Priceline | Agoda

 Read reviews:  TripAdvisor reviews

 

Read more:

 

Seville


a quick guide to seville including can

a quick guide to seville including can
a quick guide to seville including can
a quick guide to seville including can
a quick guide to seville including can
a quick guide to seville including can
a quick guide to seville including can
a quick guide to seville including can
a quick guide to seville including can
a quick guide to seville including can

From Cordoba, we hopped back on the high speed train for Seville. Flamboyent Seville is home to the fiery flamenco, stadium roaring bull fights and the most delicious tapas bars of my entire trip! We did a bit more sightseeing, although by this point I was thoroughly wow’ed by the cathedrals and had pretty much reached my limit.

Main Attractions: Cathedral, Alcázar, Barrio Santa Cruz

Don’t Miss: the gardens in the Alcázar are breathtaking…and one you might recognize as Dorne from Game of Thrones!

Stay: 2 days, 2 nights to eat all the affordable and tasty tapas you can find.

Overnight: Hotel Alfonso XIII – indulge in this luxurious property featuring gorgeous Moorish architecture and every comfort imaginable. Hotel Alfonso is located in a prime spot next to Seville’s Real Alcazares.

 Compare current room rates:  Booking.com | Hotels.com | Expedia

 Read more reviews:  TripAdvisor reviews

 

Read more:

 

Granada


a quick guide to granada including can

a quick guide to granada including can
a quick guide to granada including can
a quick guide to granada including can
a quick guide to granada including can
a quick guide to granada including can
a quick guide to granada including can
a quick guide to granada including can
a quick guide to granada including can
a quick guide to granada including can

After thoroughly exploring Seville, we hopped on a (10 euro!) bus to explore Granada, once the Moorish stronghold of the west. Today the city retains much of its North African flavor and is an absolute must see on any southern trip through Spain.

The main attraction in Granada is the breathtaking Alhambra, an old fortress and palace with extensive gardens. Tickets sell out quite fast so you’ll need to book this in advance. You can read about everything you need to know regarding Alhambra tickets in this post here or skip the mess entirely and take a guided tour that bypasses the queue altogether here.

I ended up extending our Granada stay for an extra half day so that I could grab the only ticket option remaining during my trip.

Main Attractions: the Alhambra!

Don’t Miss: a relaxing retreat at the Arabian baths, or Hammam Al Andalus. The current baths are built over the ancient bath site and gorgeously decorated.

There are a number of different pools at different temperatures as well as some fun massage options. I loved how relaxing this experience was! Budget around 3 hours to fully enjoy the experience.

Stay: 2 days, 2 nights in order to fully explore, with a full 1/2 day devoted to the Alhambra.

Overnight: Anacapri Granada – affordable, clean and walking distance from the Alhambra. The Anacapri Granada is located in the heart of Old Town and also conveniently near the local bus stop, should you wish to explore Granada’s farther sights.

 Compare current room rates:  Booking.com | Hotels.com | Expedia | Priceline | Agoda

 Read more reviews:  TripAdvisor reviews

 

Read more:

 

Barcelona


a quick guide to barcelona including can

a quick guide to barcelona including can
a quick guide to barcelona including can
a quick guide to barcelona including can
a quick guide to barcelona including can
a quick guide to barcelona including can
a quick guide to barcelona including can
a quick guide to barcelona including can
a quick guide to barcelona including can
a quick guide to barcelona including can

From Granada, there are a couple ways to get to Barcelona including via car, high speed rail or plane. We decided to fly after hearing unimpressed reviews of the overnight train service.

Barcelona was by far one of the highlights of my trip – I enjoyed it a lot more than Madrid! The city is cosmopolitan, proudly Catalan and lively with some of the most impressive and unique sights in Spain.

After almost two weeks of sightseeing, lots of churches and an abundance of small town charm, the genius works of architect Antoni Gaudí were so distinctive and colossal that I couldn’t help but be awed.

Main Attractions: La Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà (aka La Pedrera), Park Güell

Don’t Miss: a full day dedicated to Gaudi’s works: the modernist mansion Casa Batlló and the still under construction Sagrada Familia church.

Barcelona had some of the most innovative tapas bars that I tried in Spain – don’t miss a good evening out trying various Spanish small plates or try a cooking class.

Die hard soccer / football fans will want to see FC Barcelona’s stadium and perhaps grab a match or two.

Stay: 3 days, 3 nights minimum! There is so much to see in Barcelona and the city makes a great base for nearby day trips in Catalonia.

Overnight: Royal Ramblas hotel to stay right on the main shopping and pedestrian road, Las Ramblas.

 Compare current room rates:  Booking.com | Hotels.com | Expedia | Priceline | Agoda

 Read more reviews:  TripAdvisor reviews

 

Barcelona Day Trips


Near Barcelona are a couple cities worth visiting. Montserrat is a religious pilgrimage site for many Catalans and a breathtaking change of scenery for tourists – the monastery is actually high up in the mountains!

Also within an easy day trip from the city are Girona, a walkable old city famous for its historic Jewish quarter of narrow cobblestone streets, and Figueres, where Salvador Dali built his museum and personal shrine.

Trains connect all three towns within easy access of Barcelona Sants rail station. We decided to do the first two and left Figueres for another trip simply because the train schedules weren’t as convenient.

  • Montserrat | a dramatic mountaintop monastery where the Black Madonna was discovered
  • Girona | a quaint medieval town very similar to Dubrovnik and currently the set of King’s Landing for the Game of Thrones series
a quick guide to montserrat including can
a quick guide to girona including can
a quick guide to girona including can

 

Lisbon


a quick guide to lisbon including can

a quick guide to lisbon including can
a quick guide to lisbon including can
a quick guide to lisbon including can
a quick guide to lisbon including can
a quick guide to lisbon including can
a quick guide to lisbon including can
a quick guide to lisbon including can
a quick guide to lisbon including can
a quick guide to lisbon including can

Portugal’s capital Lisbon feels a lot like San Francisco. Both have rolling hills, quaint trolleys and well worn cobblestone streets. Lisbon has some amazing seafood spots and charm, but also a sad air of neglect to the magnificent tiled apartment buildings.

I first visited Lisbon on a fun long weekend trip in college, where we spent the days sipping on Sangria and the nights partying in Chiado and Bairro Alto.. with nightly stops at McDonalds in Rossio Square for CBO sandwiches and McFlurrys.

This time, I focused a bit more on sightseeing and managed to fit in a wonderful day trip to nearby Sintra.

Main Attractions: São Jorge Castle, Alfama walk (medieval district) and Baixa walk (downtown with major squares)

Don’t Miss: dinner at Cervejaria Ramiro, a local favorite of Anthony Bourdain that completely lived up to my seafood heavy anticipation. Get the garlic shrimp in olive oil and large grilled prawns and wash it all down with beer and buttery garlic bread.

Stay: 2 days, 2 nights plus an extra day to check out the wacky, beautiful mansions at nearby Sintra!

Overnight:  Hotel Santa Justa is an affordable luxury hotel with an amazing location right by the famous lift.

 Compare current room rates:  Booking.com | Hotels.com | Expedia | Priceline | Agoda

 Read more reviews:  TripAdvisor reviews

 

 

Sintra


a quick guide to sintra including can

a quick guide to sintra including can
a quick guide to sintra including can
a quick guide to sintra including can
a quick guide to sintra including can
a quick guide to sintra including can
a quick guide to sintra including can
a quick guide to sintra including can
a quick guide to sintra including can
a quick guide to sintra including can

A couple friends recommended Sintra as a must do while in Lisbon. After a major earthquake and tsunami hit Lisbon in 1755, Portuguese royalty permanently left the city in favor of this mountain retreat.

On a day trip, you can explore the national palace, Pena palace and a number of extravagant private mansions. It’s a unique town and ended up being my favorite day trip of the entire trip!

Main Attractions: National Palace, Quinta da Regaleira, Palace of Queluz, Arab Walls

Don’t Miss: the Pena Palace, which inspired Walt Disney’s vision of Cinderella Castle!

Stay: 1 days, 1 night to see the highlights, a 2nd day if you want to see the exotic mansions like Montserrate Mansion that are farther from the town square.


 

That was my recap of my first time visit to Spain and Portugal. I hope that itinerary was helpful! Are you planning a trip to Spain, Portugal or both?

 

 

Spain Vacation Checklist

Let me know what you’re looking forward to in the comments below!

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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

OR

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!

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