Detailed Itinerary for Spain and Portugal Tour Package. Guest post by Chanchal Dwari.
- Starting location: Bengaluru
- Tour Duration: 11 Days
- Travel Month: December (Christmas New year time)
- Number of People: Total 8 families 21 people including adults and kids.
- Lisbon: 4 nights
- Barcelona: 4 nights
- Valencia: 1 night
- Barcelona Near Airport: 1 Night
- Expenditure (All inclusive): INR 4,55,000/- (2 Adults + 1 kid of 5 years)
Planning is the most important and exciting part of a tour. It imbibes a lot of positive energy and motivation to our daily life. You must plan your holidays for at least 6 months in advance. For the Spain and Portugal Tour, we started our planning very late. I have a friend circle consisting of 8 people. We all studied in the same Engineering College.
One fine day in our group chat, we thought we should celebrate our 20 years of friendship in Europe. Planning started, we scheduled weekly call and after a lot of discussion and debate. After 3 -4 calls, we decided that we will celebrate in Barcelona on Christmas, as Christmas time is a common holiday for everyone. We initiated our planning for Spain and Portugal Tour. We live in different geographies, our location and route were as follows.
The trip was not well planned. Moreover, we were travelling during Christmas. Air tickets were very expensive. We booked our Air tickets in the month of October. Our Spain and Portugal Tour Route was Bengaluru (BLR) à Lisbon à Barcelona à BLR. We booked 2 different air tickets,
- BLRà Barcelonaà BLR via Qatar Airways
- Barcelona àLisbon à Barcelona via TAP Portugal.
Qatar Airways was very good 10/10, Tap Portugal was not good, 5/10.
- Lisbon: Novotel Lisboa for 4 nights, 294€. with parking
Good Sleep with King-Size bed enough for 3 of us. Good location and very good breakfast.
- Barcelona: Bonavista Apartments Virreina for 4 nights, 390€ with one-night parking
1BHK apartment with huge space. Good sleep, good location, very good kitchen with utensils, refrigerator, washing machine. Enjoyed our stay. Supermarket is just opposite to the Apartment.
- Valencia: Hotel Eurostars Acteón, for 1 night, 58€ with parking.
Provided extra bed for child. Good sleep, good location, and average breakfast.
- Barcelona Last nights (El Prat de Llobregat): Centre Esplai Albergue, for 1 night, 50€ with Parking. Good location very near to the airport. Bunk bed, disturbed sleep as you will get sound from next room. We checked out early, they provided us with a packed breakfast.
Guideline for Schengen visa: You need to apply for the visa at the embassy, where you will be staying the maximum number of days. Our stay duration in Spain was 6 days, we applied visa at the Spain embassy. The visa application process is not very complicated. You need to provide all relevant documents as mandated by the visa office. It typically takes 2 – 3 weeks to process the application. If your documents are all clear, you can even get the visa within a week. We applied through VFS Bangalore and got the visa within 10 days. Special rule for the visa (Spain Embassy) Travel insurance should be valid 15 days more after the completion date of your travel.
I booked the car at Lisbon Airport for 4 days from Budget (Avis), and 2 days at Barcelona Airport for Valencia visit. Pick up and drop at the Airport.
Documents required to book the car in Spain and Portugal:
- Driving license (Home Country)
- International driving permit (IDP) is not required to book the car. As per Country regulations in Spain and Portugal International driving permit (IDP) is required to drive the car for non-EU residents.
Passport and Driving License are very important to pick the car. In Barcelona I went to pick the car (booked online) without my Passport. Initially, they refused to give me the car. I was able to provide them with the booking details of Lisbon. As I booked the car from the same company, they were able to trace my documents in their system and allowed me to take the car.
Important Tips for car booking. Please don't take insurance on online booking. Take zero liabilities, and full coverage insurance from counter (expensive than online). Online insurance has a lot of terms and conditions and you will face challenges to claim.
I had one small incident in Lisbon after I took the car from the Avis counter. It was my 1st time in right-hand driving. I am comfortable with left-hand driving. I was driving right thinking that I am driving on left, and I banged a standing car in the parking. It was a minor accident got scratch at the right-side mirror. Avis representative was right there he told me no worries you have full cover insurance you can go.
International Driving Permit (IDP)
Getting IDP in India is very easy, you need to apply online. Pay the fee online and go to RTO office after booking an online appointment. You need to go to RTO two times, one day for application and one day for collection. Time required is 15 days. Documents required for IDP:
- Copy of Passport and Visa
- Copy of Air ticket
I had only 7 days on my hand. I requested RTO officer to provide me with the IDP early. He told me to come on the day of travel, the best he can do. Initially, I thought he will ask for some additional money. He kept his promise and gave me the IDP without any additional money.
Our flight was from Bangalore to Barcelona via Doha. Technically Barcelona was our 1st destination. We had to go through the immigration process, and we got back our luggage. TAP Portugal was our next flight and it was like a domestic flight from Barcelona to Lisbon.
Sharing an experience…
We faced challenges with luggage at TAP Airlines. We had 2 check-in luggage and 3 hand luggage. QA(Qatar Airways) allowable limit was 30 kg/person and the total weight of our luggage was 48 kg (22kg + 26kg). In TAP the allowable limit was 20kg x 3 (Total 60kg). We thought they will allow us to go as our total luggage was 48 kg. At the time of check-in, we went ahead with 2 check-in luggage.
One young guy was attending us in the counter. He issued the boarding pass and checked the luggage in without any problem. The belt at his counter was not working. He requested us to put the luggage on the next counter.
The moment we put that luggage on the other counter, the lady on that counter said not allowed or pay for extra luggage. We tried to convince her without any result. We removed 8 kg from the check-in luggage and converted one hand luggage into check-in luggage. I had one portable weight measuring instrument to measure the weight of luggage. I always keep it with me on my travels. The main reason is to ensure after shopping we never go beyond the limit. It helped us a lot to do this jugglery.
Flights for the day was too tiring. We started early in the morning at 1:00 am (IST) from home. Our flight from Bangalore was at 4:00 am in the morning. We reached in Lisbon at 9:00 pm local time (with 2 Hrs delay of TAP flight).
Pick up rental car from the airport was very easy. Rental car counters are located at the arrival. It took 20 minutes to complete the formalities and they issued the car to me. They gave us one RFID tag for toll payment. You need to pay extra for that. It is important to take as it is required to pass through any toll gate. Checked in to Novotel @ 11:00 pm.
Day Expense: INR 1240 for Taxi, INR 1200 for food, 194€ for car rental.
Our agenda for this trip was a reunion in Barcelona. We started our trip a few days early. Three of us planned for Lisbon. We planned for Hop -on hop -off bus. My other friend decided to explore the city using local transport. Our third friend did not reach yet, their plan was to come in the evening. We started our day @ 10:00 am, we booked hop -on – hop off bus for “City Sightseeing”. Starting point was Novotel. We explored the places covered by 2 lines of “City Sightseeing” bus (90min + 60 min), The prominent places were
- Belém Tower
- Praça do Comércio
- Castelo de S. Jorge
- Jerónimos Monastery
- Padrão dos Descobrimentos
- Lisbon Cathedral
- Avenida da Liberdade
Lunch: Packed Food, Dinner at Novotel with Friends. Day Expense: (45€ for Bus tour, 35€ for food)
Our plan was to go to “Praia da Marinha”. We were 3 families, 6 Adults and 4 kids. There were 2 cars with us. We started early in the morning from the hotel. On our way, we stopped for breakfast.
It was an excellent thrilling drive. Initially, I was facing little uneasy driving. The right-hand-drive was 1st time for me. After a few hours of drive, I was comfortable. It was close to 3 hrs drive one side. We enjoyed our day in “Praia da Marinha” and in the evening we enjoyed at Praça do Comércio.
Day Expense: 45€ for food, Tool charges through RFID. Fuel charges 40€
We went to “Sintra”. Our other friends planned to explore Lisbon. We planned to go by train as car parking is not easy at Sintra.
Route:“Sete Rios” à “Portela de Sintra” travel time 45 minutes.
“Sete Rios” rail station is walking distance from Novotel. After reaching “Portela de Sintra” rail station, we booked hop -on – hop off bus from “City Sightseeing” for two routes, “Red rout (90 minutes)” and “Blue rout (45 minutes)”. This place is like “I read about this place in fairy tales”, a lot of things to explore. We spent more time at
- Cabo da Roca
Day Expense: 15€ for train 42€ for Bus trip, 30€ for Entre fee and 30€ for food.
Food: We tried “Frango no Churrasco”, a kind of grilled chicken.
Time to say goodbye Lisbon, Barcelona calling. Our flight was at 08:45 am and we reached to Barcelona at 12:00 pm. After checking in to the Apartment we started our day @ 2:30 pm. By the time we reached the apartment, all my other friends have already started exploring the city. Most of them have reached the previous day. Only Devadyuti was there for us, as he reached on the same day. We started exploring the city together. We took the metro rail. It is very convenient in Barcelona. A lot of options are available to buy the tickets. Based on your requirement you can select the pass. We covered
- Casa Batlló
- FC Barcelona.
We enjoyed the day till late evening and came back to the apartment. After coming back, we kept our family into the apartment for rest. We friends started hunting pubs, and bars at night. We reminisced our college days and enjoyed till 2:30 am at night. Most of the bars are open in Barcelona till 2:00 am.
Day Expense: 55€ for taxi, 20€for train, and 70€ for Food and Drinks.
Food: We tasted a plethora of local delicacies.
We had a big gang, we started our day at 10:00 am. Our 1st destination was “Park Güell”. It was very difficult to manage such a big group. Few of us moved fast. Some frequently stopped for taking photographs. Others stopped for savouring the street food. The toughest part, everyone was not carrying a phone. We realized that it is very difficult to move together unless planned properly. We decided to split amongst each other. I called Devadyuti and was able to trace him. We both with our families started exploring the city. We went to
- La Sagrada Familia
- Montjuïc Castle
- Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya
View from Montjuic Castle was beautiful. You need to travel via ropeway to reach there. We explored a few urban areas of the city including La Rambla. We enjoyed food at Tapas.
During the day I had a small incident. While waiting for the train at a metro station, I left my camera at the metro station and boarded into the train. I never realized that I forgot my camera. I would like to thank one of the fellow passengers who noticed that I forgot my camera. He took the camera and returned me in the train.
After coming back to the Apartment once again boys night out started. We enjoyed till the closing time of the bar. Finally, we ended our day @ 2:45 am after eating at Istanbul restaurant near Fontana metro station.
Day Expense: 40€ for train / Ropeway, and 40€ for food and drinks.
Food: Local delicacies were a priority.
Our plan was to go to Montserrat as part of our planned Spain and Portugal Tour. It's a hill station 200km from Barcelona. We booked a 35-seater bus and started our journey @ 8:30 am. It's a small place and quite impressive. You can visit the monastery, you can take a cable car ride to the Mountain's summit and can do much more. We were there for the entire day and came back in the evening.
After coming back to the apartment once again boy's night out.
Day Expense: 70€ for bus, and 60€ for food and Drinks,
Food: Good buffet lunch at Montserrat and lot of options for dinner.
After breakfast we started our journey for Sitges.
Route: Fontana à Passeig de Gracia à Sitges by train, travel time 1 hour.
Sitges is a costal town, very good place, filled with shops, restaurants and bars. We enjoyed the place took lunch and came back to Barcelona in the afternoon. We booked entry ticket for La Sagrada Familia. It is important to book the ticket one day in advance as entry queue is very long.
In the evening picked the rental car from Airport and came back to apartment.
After coming back to the apartment once again boy's night out. One of the best celebrations of our Spain and Portugal Tour.
Day Expense: 60€ for train/POI etc., and 50€ for food and Drinks,
Food: Good seafood lunch at Sitges.
The time came for wishing each other goodbye of our Spain and Portugal Tour. After breakfast and goodbye, we started our journey to Valencia. We started at 9:00 am. Barcelona to Valencia distance is close to 350km. We took 3hrs 30 minutes to reach Valencia. Very good road and easy to drive. After check-in to the hotel, we started our day at 2:00 pm. We took the hop-on-hop-off bus from “Get your Guide” to explore the city. We visited following points
- Valencia Cathedral
- Casco Histórico
- Central Market
- Malvarrosa Beach
Day Expense: 42€ for Hop-hop off bus and 30€ for food and Drinks,
Food: Good seafood at dinner.
After breakfast at the hotel, we started our day. We went to the City of the Arts and Sciences and Oceanogràfic. After spending the entire day there, in the afternoon we went back to Barcelona. We reached Barcelona at 8:00 pm. After check-in at the hotel, we booked a taxi and visited the city till late night. We enjoyed our last dinner at La Rambla Tapas and came back to the hotel at 1:00 am.
Day Expense: 60€ for taxi and 50€ for food and Drinks, 85€ for Oceanogràfic
Food: Dinner at Tapas
Deposited the rental car in the airport and back to home.
Expense Details – Spain and Portugal Tour
The Spain and Portugal tour was memorable for so many reasons. Reunion with friends' unimaginable amount of enjoyment. Most importantly learnt how to travel in a group. Only 1st day it was a mismanagement .after that it was all planned and we travelled together.
Note: After reaching home 30 days later we got one letter from Spain traffic department for the fine of 100€ due to over speed with photograph of Car I was driving @145kmph whereas speed limit was 120kmph. It was written if you pay within 7 days then you need to pay only 50€, I paid online.