Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

3.5 week driving holiday - any feedback would be great

3.5 week driving holiday - any feedback would be great

Old Oct 22nd, 2022, 08:50 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
3.5 week driving holiday - any feedback would be great

Hi team, this is our first time to Spain we are a 50 year old couple from Australia who love to travel. Would love some feedback on our itinerary and any tips or tricks anyone can help us with. We are hiring a car and are ok about driving on the opposite side of the road when we travel and also have driven in Germany, Italy, Austria etc so the tight roads and traffic we are also OK with.



Fly into Barcelona and pick up car (having a stop over on the way and flying business so we feel comfortable with this that we should have gotten some decent sleep)



Drive to Salardu (or somewhere similar via Monserrate) 1 night
1 night Isaba
3 nights San Sebastian
1 night somewhere on the way to Porto
3 nights Porto
2 nights Sintra
2 nights Merida
1 night Cordoba
2 nights Granada
2 nights Rhonda
4 nights Seville
Drop car and train back to Barcelona for 3 nights.
I know we are not doing Madrid but we can't do everything

Thank you for any feedback.

curtisrsbm is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2022, 11:22 PM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
sorry this should ready 3.5 weeks we have 25 nights
curtisrsbm is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2022, 05:49 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 23,059
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
choose your hotel well as some of those towns are nightmares with a car.

Is your sequence right, it looks like a bit of backtracking to me

what time of year (the more specific the better to check for festivals)?
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2022, 06:00 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 27,267
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
-- Suggest laying this out again with travel times added.

-- I actually prefer Portugal to Spain, but I would consider dropping Portugal to slow things down. At least, put Portugal at the end and fly home from Lisbon (you want multi-city tickets, not two one-ways).

-- Take the train. This is a city-centric itinerary and you neither need nor want a car in the cities. Plus, Spain has been busy upgrading its rail system, and now has high speed trains with comfortable rolling stock. See: https://www.seat61.com/Spain.htm and https://www.seat61.com/Portugal.htm and if you've never traveled by train in Europe start here: https://www.seat61.com/european-train-travel.htm
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2022, 07:19 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 17,230
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Do not drive on arrival. Even business class doesn't mean you will be in to form when you get behind the wheel. Your jetlag will have a serious affect on your ability to drive, certainly as long a drive as you are suggesting to start with.
Do Barcelona first to get over jetlag, then pick up the car if you must drive.
Better yet as thursdaysd says take the train.
hetismij2 is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2022, 11:29 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 70,399
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
Do not drive on arrival. Even business class doesn't mean you will be in to form when you get behind the wheel. Your jetlag will have a serious affect on your ability to drive, certainly as long a drive as you are suggesting to start with.
Do Barcelona first to get over jetlag, then pick up the car if you must drive.
Better yet as thursdaysd says take the train.

A MAJOR ditto to 'don't drive the first day'. Sure you might be OK, but you wouldn't realize you aren't until it is too late.

There are an awful lot of zero and one day visits -- two nights nets you one full day so you'll effectively have one day free time in four destinations, and almost no time at all in four others. I'd cut several stops so you aren't just checking out/in and on to the next city for most of your trip. Trains would be easier for several of the legs/cities . . .
janisj is online now  
Old Oct 23rd, 2022, 12:34 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,273
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I completely agree with janisj and hetismijs2 about the "don't drive the first day".

I've personally made that loooong drive from Barcelona to Salardú in the stunning Vall d'Aran (we stay at the Hotel Mauberme) and would never, ever attempt it on arrival day. And we fly business. It's mountain driving in the valley, so one needs to be alert and fresh. And you simply won't have time for that drive, stopping in Montserrat.

I also agree with janisj that your itinerary seems quite fast paced with one night stands.

Just staying one night in Salardú, one of the most beautiful spots in the catalán Pyrenees would be a real shame (at least to me). There are so many picturesque spots to explore there and charming stone and slate villages like Tredós, Artíes, Bagergue, Unha. For me, 2 or 3 nights in the valley would be my minimum, an extra one even better to explore the Romanesque architecture of the Vall de Boí, but everyone's pace is different.

The drive from Salardú through the Aragón Pyrenees to Isaba in the Navarran Pyrenees is also long and very challenging on the N-260, a minimum of 4 hours w/o stops.

Is there a special reason you want to stay in tiny Isaba in the Roncal valley just for an overnight? I ask only because it´s not on the direct way to San Sebastián. The easier route from Salardú to SS would be to do north, crossing to the French side and driving west on the fast A64 through Pau. The Roncal valley of Navarra is very pretty but less majestic to me than the Tena Valley in Aragón.

The distance between San Sebastián and Porto is 760 some kilometers. A more or less halfway point would be Léon, which is on the Camino de Santiago and has one of Spain's most beautiful Gothic cathedrals with gorgeous stained glass windows.

All that said....would you consider doing your 35 nights in Spain, to explore fully the Cantabrian coast, "Green Spain", the beautiful Picos de Europa mountains and the cities of Old Castile before heading south?

Just some initial thoughts...
Maribel is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2022, 12:59 PM
  #8  
Forum Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 4,690
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Added 'week' to thread title
Moderator1 is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2022, 01:03 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
choose your hotel well as some of those towns are nightmares with a car.

Is your sequence right, it looks like a bit of backtracking to me

what time of year (the more specific the better to check for festivals)?
thankyou i will recheck the route on a map. It will be very late April when we arrive. Appreciate your help
curtisrsbm is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2022, 01:12 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,273
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Please check the road maps at www.viamichelin.com. In late April you may (but who knows these days?) still have snow in the Spanish Pyrenees but in checking the closing date of the Baqueira-Beret ski slopes just north of Salardú, they closed last year in mid-April

Last edited by Maribel; Oct 23rd, 2022 at 01:17 PM.
Maribel is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2022, 01:48 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,910
Received 22 Likes on 4 Posts
Porto and Sintra, but no time in Lisbon? Switch your nights in Sintra to Lisbon, skip Sintra except perhaps a day trip.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Old Oct 23rd, 2022, 01:57 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,273
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And you really won't want a car in Sintra, since the historic quarter is closed to vehicular traffic except for locals. And the historic quarter will be packed with pedestrians, many day trippers from Lisbon, in early May.
On the Pena Park hill, there is no longer any parking for private vehicles.

Last edited by Maribel; Oct 23rd, 2022 at 02:01 PM.
Maribel is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2022, 09:43 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry for my late reply, thank you all for you invaluable input , we are dropping Portugal from this trip based on your advice of being to rushed, we will just have to come back and do it another time. I am just coming up with a new plan so will keep you posted. Thank you again,
curtisrsbm is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
paul
Caribbean Islands
4
Nov 24th, 2001 01:39 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -