Our Plans For Portugal and Spain For The Spring
Note: Updated After The Trip With Portugal And Spain For The Spring Blog Posts And Pictures
We had an awesome 10 week adventure that finished 2016. Then the plan was to head somewhere warm and escape the Toronto winter. But that never happened.
It was a good thing that we had a reasonable winter in Toronto. But we were ready to escape our hibernation! We started our 10 week odyssey with a 3 week trans-Altantic cruise with Oceania Cruises. This got us to Lisbon, Portugal. From there we enjoyed 4 weeks in Portugal and then we spent more time in Andalusia Spain for the spring.
A Hop To Miami Before Our Cruise
A short flight to Miami gave us 2 days in Miami to relax before we boarded our ship. We stayed at the Miami Intercontinental. As IHG loyalty members, we spoiled ourselves with concierge service. We have spent time in Miami before. There was great shopping and lots to do.
Once boarded on our cruise ship, we settled in for 21 days of luxury. We cruised with Oceania on numerous occasions and look forward to the great food and the awesome customer service we came to expect. This was a great way to begin a trip that got us to Portugal and Spain for the spring.
Starting With A Transatlantic Cruise
The first leg of our cruise was a mini Caribbean vacation. We returned to 4 ports that we visited on a previous Eastern Caribbean cruise with Oceania.
We then headed for 4 days across the Atlantic Ocean. It was our first trans-Atlantic trip and we were prepared for anything.
Our first ports when we landed were 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 got a little taste of the west coast of Africa.
Enjoying Portugal In May
We were very excited to be in Portugal and Spain for the spring. A lot of thought went into the stops for our 4 weeks in Portugal. But we also needed to plan the route. We finally decided that we would start south and work our way north.
Next we got a car and headed south to the Algarve region for 7 days. One night we stopped in the mountains at Monchique. The rest of the time was spread in two different regions on the coast in the Algarve.
Returning to Lisbon, we then flew 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 had 6 days on Sao Miguel and then 4 days on Faial. There was a long list of things we wanted to do in the Azores.
We Headed Back To Mainland Portugal
We considered a Duoro Valley river cruise but left the planning until far too late. It surprised us 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.
Finishing Up With Spain For 3 Weeks
We visited Spain several times and loved every visit. This trip we wanted to pick up some new places in Andalusia Spain.
We were entranced by Granada on a previous visit. So we knew the Moorish influences in Seville and Cordoba would equally entrance us.
Our Spain Journey Started In Seville
We flew into Seville and stayed in the Old Town. From there we wandered the city and explored the great sights we found in Seville.
We enjoyed the tranquil Maria Luisa Park with stops at the Pabellon Mudejay and Plaza de Espana. The next day we walked around historic old town Seville in the Santa Cruz area. Both the Seville Cathedral and Alcazar Palace Complex were massive and beautiful sites.
One day we took a trip across the Guadalquivir River and wandered in the Triana neighborhood. This was the area where flamenco originated. And also where amazing tile art was created. This was a preview for our walking tour for tapas and a flamenco show.
It was a great 4 days in Seville as we explored the many things to see and do.
The Beauty Of Andalusia Spain Continued In Cordoba
It was an easy train trip from Seville to Cordoba. This stop rounded out our exploration of the history of Moorish occupation in the Andalusia region of Spain.
For four days in Córdoba we moved at a slow pace and still saw all the sights we targeted. We started with the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos. The massive gardens provided a green space with blooming flowers and the trickling sound of fountains. Exhibits inside provided a view into the history of the region and some amazing recovered mosaics. We went up the Lion Tower for three levels and got a panoramic view.
It was easy to see why the Mosque-Cathedral Of Córdoba was regarded as one of the leading Moorish sites in the world. One day we wandered around the outside for views of the many decorative doors and the courtyard. On a second day we went inside and found a fascinating mix of Islamic and Catholic design and decoration.
We enjoyed our stay in Cordoba and the many sights we explored.
Madrid Was The Last Stop Visiting Portugal and Spain For The Spring
We got back on the train for a short stop in Madrid before we flew home to Toronto. We enjoyed a pampering stay and just wandered like locals. And on this trip we made sure and visited the famous Chocolateria San Gines for chocolate and churros!
I was still a bit leery about returning to Madrid. The last time we visited Madrid we learned some hard lessons about travelling. I was robbed in broad daylight! But Madrid was a beautiful city and a comment gateway when we travelled around Spain by train.
Heading Home After Portugal and Spain For The Spring
It was a short stop in Lisbon before we headed back to Toronto after being in Portugal and Andalusia Spain for the spring. While 7 weeks of land travel may seem daunting, it passed by quickly. We just made sure we got all the planning done in advance!
As we noted before, one way trans-Atlantic business fares were 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 on a later trip 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.
We had another great adventure. Our trip started with a luxury Caribbean cruise before we did our first trans-Atlantic cruise.
We saw so many great spots when we explored Portugal. It was wonderful to add some new beautiful sights in Andalusia Spain on this spring trip. There were so many great stops. And so many new blog posts to write!
Have you had the chance to enjoy Portugal and Spain for the spring? Was there something we missed on our trip?
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