Spain/Portugal Advice

Old Jul 1, 08, 11:12 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: St. Louis, MO
Programs: AA EXP, DL PM, HHonors Diamond, National
Posts: 126
Spain/Portugal Advice

Planning a trip to Spain and Portugal next May using miles and points. I have the flight booked May 1 through May 14 and would like to include Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon and a beach resort in the itinerary. Is that too ambitious? I wanted a fairly leisurely pace but am not sure about the info I find on flights and trains and making the right connections. Any suggestions about timing (generally planned about three days in each place) or general advice would be very welcome.
JMKSTL is offline  
Old Jul 2, 08, 3:34 am
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: London
Posts: 14,042
Get an open jaw ticket and start at Lisbon, from there travel to Madrid (there's the trenhotel - an overnight service) or you could arrange for your air ticket to Madrid to have a Lisbon stop over.

From Madrid to Barcelona there are high speed trains that will make the journey in under 3 hours (or a longer and cheaper overnight train where you can sleep in a bunk) and numerous companies that will fly you over this route.

Barcelona is by the sea with plenty of beach resorts nearby.

The hardest part of your itinerary may well be deciding which sort of beach holiday you want, and what you are prepared to pay for. Seclusion, upmarket spa facilities, some of the finest dining options in the world, or the thrills and spills of a theme park facility.

Only thing is that early May isn't really beach season in Southern Europe (on the upside the prices will be a little lower). The temperature of the Med has been steadily rising, and rising earlier, over the past decade, so, depending on your constitution it should probably be warm enough... just. You're probably better off choosing a beach on this side of Spain than on the Portugal/Atlantic side - where the water will be significantly colder.

If you're after the fine dining experience you'll need to find out when it is that El Bulli (at Roses - a beach 'resort') accepts reservations for May - you get an extremely narrow window of opportunity for this.

But no, your itinerary isn't particularly demanding.
LapLap is offline  
Old Jul 7, 08, 10:59 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: St. Louis, MO
Programs: AA EXP, DL PM, HHonors Diamond, National
Posts: 126
Thanks for the Tips

Thanks for the helpful info LapLap but I was unable to book the open jaw trip using AAdvantage miles. I have to fly RT to Madrid so will have to do some backtracking.
JMKSTL is offline  
Old Jul 8, 08, 2:41 am
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: London
Posts: 14,042
Originally Posted by JMKSTL View Post
Thanks for the helpful info LapLap but I was unable to book the open jaw trip using AAdvantage miles. I have to fly RT to Madrid so will have to do some backtracking.
In that case, just visit Madrid first/last, travel to Lisbon or Barcelona (by plane or train) and fly between Lisbon and Barcelona before returning to Madrid (by plane or train).

Both Vueling and Clickair have Lisbon-Barcelona flights, keep an eye on both companies' websites and you should be able to pick up a flight for this route when they become available for the dates you want for very little (under 40Euros).

Easyjet & Vueling fly the Madrid-Lisbon route (under 30 Euros) if you don't want RENFE's trenhotel .

And, also under 30 Euros, Iberia, Spanair, Air Europa fly the MAD-BCN route, you can even go with Ryanair if you don't mind flying into Girona (an hour from Barcelona).

It should hardly affect your vacation at all, except that you go to Madrid twice.
LapLap is offline  
Old Jul 8, 08, 12:31 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: ZRH, exFRA/HD, ex-SFO, ex-MUC, ex-GRU
Programs: LH SEN
Posts: 674
Hi JMKSTL, I happen to know Lisbon quite well. If you have any specific questions, feel free to send them my way.
MariaSF is offline  
Old Jul 9, 08, 2:27 am
  #6  
GK
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: UK
Programs: reformed ex basic Member
Posts: 3,148
I'd suggest factoring in some time away from the three cities listed.. rent a car and explore the back roads of rural Spain, will give you a much more balanced view of life.
GK is offline  
Old Jul 9, 08, 4:23 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: London
Posts: 14,042
Originally Posted by GK View Post
I'd suggest factoring in some time away from the three cities listed.. rent a car and explore the back roads of rural Spain, will give you a much more balanced view of life.
The OP can do this on the Catalonian coast and still remain faithful to the planned itinerary.
LapLap is offline  
Old Jul 12, 08, 9:52 pm
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: St. Louis, MO
Programs: AA EXP, DL PM, HHonors Diamond, National
Posts: 126
Thank you all for the suggestions. I have some Marriott points and plan to spend a few on their resort in Obidos for a few days as part of the trip.

JMKSTL is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread