Our Spring Travel Plans
Note: Updated After Trans-Atlantic Stop in Cape Verde
It is time to travel again. We had an awesome 10 week adventure that finished 2016. Then the plan was to head somewhere warm to escape the Toronto winter. But that never happened. It was a good thing that we had a reasonable winter in Toronto. But we are ready to escape our hibernation! We will start this 10 week odyssey with a 3 week trans-Altantic cruise with Oceania Cruises. This will get us to Lisbon, Portugal. From there we will enjoy 7 weeks in Portugal and Spain for the spring.
A Hop To Miami Before Our Cruise
A short flight to Miami will give us 2 days in Miami to relax before we board our ship. We are staying at the Miami Intercontinental. We are IHG loyalty members and will spoil ourselves with concierge service. We have spent time in Miami before. There is great shopping to find and lots to do.
Once boarded on our cruise ship, we will settle in for 21 days of luxury. We have cruised with Oceania on numerous occasions and look forward to the great food and the awesome customer service we have come to expect. This will be a great way to begin a trip that will get us to Portugal and Spain for the spring.
Starting With A Transatlantic Cruise
The first leg of our cruise is a mini Caribbean vacation. We returned to 4 ports that we visited on a previous Eastern Caribbean cruise with Oceania. There was one day each in Puerto Rico, Antigua, St Barts and Barbados. We enjoyed the sun and Caribbean hospitality that we saw on our previous trips.
We will then head for 4 days across the Atlantic Ocean. While I normally do not have a problem on the water, I have my bag packed with all kinds of sea sickness remedies! We know there will be lots to do on the cruise ship for sea days!
Our first ports when we land will be in Port Verde and then Senegal. On our last awesome adventure we stopped a few times in ports on the east coast of Africa. This trip we will get a little taste of the west coast of Africa.
From there we head to the Canary Islands for 3 different ports. We are currently researching things to see and do in Lanzarote, La Palma and Tenerife.
We have one port in Portugal on Madeira Island before landing in Lisbon to begin our travel through Portugal and Spain for the spring.
Enjoying Portugal In May
We are very excited to be in Portugal and Spain for the spring. A lot of thought went into the stops along the way. But we also needed to plan the route. We finally decided that we would start south and work our way north.
Our Portugal travels start with 5 days in Lisbon. We are again staying at an Intercontinental Hotel in Lisbon. We figured we might want just a little more pampering. Next we get a car and head south to the Algarve region for 7 days. One night we will stop in the mountains at Monchique. The rest of the time will be spread in two different regions on the coast in the Algarve.
Returning to Lisbon, we then fly to the Azores. We had heard so much about the Azores from Cathy @RoarLoud that we couldn’t possibly miss a trip to these outer islands. We have 6 days on Sao Miguel and then 4 days on Faial. There is a long list of things we want to do in the Azores.
Our flight back from the Azores will take us into Porto. We will explore the city of Porto for 4 days before picking up a car to wander in the Duoro Valley. We had considered a Duoro Valley river cruise but left the planning until far too late. We did not realize how many boats were on the river at this time of the year. And all were full. We looked at a one or two day cruise but finally decided we would have more flexibility by car.
From Porto we will meander back south with stops in Coimbra and Obidos. We will drop our car off at the airport in Lisbon and fly to Spain.
Finishing Up With Spain For 3 Weeks
We have been to Spain several times and have loved every visit. This trip we wanted to pick up some new places in Spain. We will start our Spanish explorations in Seville. From there we will go to Cordoba. We were entranced by Granada with its Moorish influences and expect that Seville and Cordoba will equally entrance us.
We will then get back on the train for a short stop in Madrid. I am still a bit leery about return to Madrid. The last time we were there I was robbed! But it is a beautiful city and a gateway when you travel around Spain by train.
From Madrid we will head up to the north. We have 4 days planned for San Sebastian. Everyone says it is a foodie haven so we are looking to test that theory. We will get another car rental and take our time driving along the north coast of Spain. There are many small towns and mountain regions to explore as we head towards Vigo.
After exploring Vigo we will drop our rental car and head back into Portugal.
Heading Home After Portugal and Spain For The Spring
We have left our plans for northern Spain a little loose in early planning. If we have time, we would like to stop in Braga in Portugal before heading back to Lisbon.
It will be a short stop in Lisbon before we head back to Toronto after being in Portugal and Spain for the spring. While 7 weeks of land travel may seem daunting, we are sure it will pass by quickly. We just hope we can get all the planning done in advance!
As we have noted before, one way trans-Atlantic business fares are ridiculously high. We had originally planned to travel with Icelandic Air with a stopover in Iceland. Their one way rates were reasonable. But ultimately we decided that we wanted to enjoy Iceland when we were not burned out from 10 weeks of travel.
We got really lucky again and found a great deal on business class tickets from Lisbon to Toronto. After finding the great deal on First Class Emirates tickets on our last trip, I was again pleasantly surprised. Because we were somewhat flexible on when we could travel, there was one day when the rates were low. We hit “BUY” and planned our last weeks around that date.
It will be another great adventure. We will start with a luxury cruise before heading to Portugal and Spain for the spring. There will be so many great stops. And so many new blogs to write!
Have you had the chance to enjoy Portugal and Spain for the spring? Is there something we must see on our trip?