MY HUSBAND AND I ARE THINKING OF SPENDING SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS, APRIL–JUNE IN PORTUGAL AND SPAIN. WE ARE INDEPENDENT TRAVELLERS, INTERESTS ARE WALKING, FOOD, WINE AND THE OUTDOORS. ANY SUGGESTIONS RE AN ITINERARY AND TRANSPORT, HAPPY TO HIRE A CAR?
M. HOLLINS, NORTH PARRAMATTA
Highlights of Portugal include the cruise along the Douro River, source of port wines, but for my money the train ride along the river is even better. From Porto's Campanha Station, several trains make the journey daily along the Linha do Douro to Peso da Regua, where you change trains for a sensational journey along the Douro gorge, with the terraced vineyards towering above. Pocinho is the end of the line, and I'd suggest an overnight stay before returning to Porto. North of Porto the Parque Nacional da Peneda-Geres is a wild and exhilarating mountainous region with some lovely walks. Other highlights would have to include Lisbon, the historic town of Lagos in the Algarve, the port from where the great navigators sailed, the fortified hilltop town of Sintra outside Lisbon, Evora, a really lovely university town with a Roman temple, and Coimbra, site of a historic university and former capital.
In Spain, Seville, Madrid, the white villages of Andalusia, Barcelona, the Costa Brava, Burgos Cathedral, the culinary capital of San Sebastian and the Basque Country, Cordoba, Granada's Alhambra, the villages of the Pyrenees, the Prado Museum, Toledo – the feast is almost endless.You might start in Madrid, head south to Seville and Andalusia then east to Valencia, along the coast to Barcelona, north to the Pyrenees and along the Atlantic Coast to Galicia and drop down into Portugal for a north-to-south journey finishing in the Algarve.
In both Spain and Portugal a hire car is the way to go and you might consider a lease deal, such as Renault Eurodrive renaulteurodrive.com.au. You might also aim to finish by the end of June, before the mass migration from the paler parts of Europe begins.
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