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Bilbao to Algarve ~1 week itinerary

Bilbao to Algarve ~1 week itinerary

Old May 23rd 2022, 9:56 pm
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Default Bilbao to Algarve ~1 week itinerary

Bilbao to Lisbon ~1 week itinerary

Hi all. Arriving into Santander on the ferry next week and looking to indirectly meander down to the in-laws in the Algarve, this time exploring the northern Spanish coastal regions and northern half of Portugal. My partner and I are 30-somethings, like to make food and drink a big part of our trips (especially tapas/pintxos and other simple, local delights, and occasionally something fancier), as well as a dose of culture, nightlife, people-watching and generally exploring towns and villages.

We were in San Sebastián shortly before the pandemic and loved the general vibe and food scene, but it’s too far east to revisit this time and keen to find new gastronomic pleasures. Thinking we may detour slightly and head to Bilbao for a couple of nights, likewise Porto has long been on my hit list so maybe another couple of nights there too. Going to have a final night in Lisbon but have been there several times (big fan) so will take a back seat this trip. So that leaves two or three nights to enjoy elsewhere, and they don’t necessarily have to all be cities - we’ll be stopping off at places of interest between our overnight locations, so ending our day in a sleepy fishing village is fine.

Wondering whether to incorporate places like Santiago dC, some of the Douro, Oviedo, Cudillero and other villages on the Asturias coastline, Vigo, Comillas, Santillana, etc etc. Obviously it’s a large area that you could spend much, much longer exploring, so need to filter it down into a realistic week-long road trip.

I’m usually drawn to spending more time in Spain as the food and culture always feels a little more complex and developed than Portugal but maybe I’ve spent too much time in the Algarve and need to discover more of the real Portugal in the north.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old May 24th 2022, 9:29 am
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Default Re: Bilbao to Algarve ~1 week itinerary

we would thoroughly recommend Cudillero, but whatever you do, do not take your caravan into the village, there is a cracking campsite at the top of the hill (if you are towing that is) and a lovely walk along the hilltop path down into town (avoiding having to walk along the road) a cpl of lovely bars in the harbour area and a fantastic fish restaurant on the left hand side near the btm (name escapes me now, but its also a fishmongers where all of the other restaurants seem to buy their fish from) enjoy
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Old May 24th 2022, 10:15 am
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Default Re: Bilbao to Algarve ~1 week itinerary

Thanks Andy - good to hear Cudillero is a good stop. Not travelling with a caravan, though - just using hotels.
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Old May 24th 2022, 1:05 pm
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Default Re: Bilbao to Algarve ~1 week itinerary

Originally Posted by oysterleeds View Post
Bilbao to Lisbon ~1 week itinerary



I’m usually drawn to spending more time in Spain as the food and culture always feels a little more complex and developed than Portugal but maybe I’ve spent too much time in the Algarve and need to discover more of the real Portugal in the north.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
If you are drawn to more time in Spain would suggest heading via Zamora , Salamanca, Merida, Badajoz then head via the country roads to Jerez de Los Caballeros, Zafra, Aracena , Minas de Rio Tinto..Could also include Jabugo for some of the best jamon in Spain. Alternative is from Badajoz over the border into Elves, Vila Viçosa, Estremoz then onward to Alcoutim. Estremoz some excellent restaurants and good wines.
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Old May 24th 2022, 1:20 pm
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Default Re: Bilbao to Algarve ~1 week itinerary

I agree 'loafing' even though we live in Portugal, the hospitality in Galicia was superb on the way down here last year, every beer you got a little plate/bowl of something, some good some not so good, obv they didnt know that we are vegetarian, and we didnt tell them so as not to offend (and the dogs loved the cherizo....so bonus)
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Old May 24th 2022, 1:23 pm
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Default Re: Bilbao to Algarve ~1 week itinerary

Thanks Loafing. This isn't my first drive to the Algarve and have previously stopped at Salamanca, Caceres and of course Seville (one of my favourite European cities, as is Lisbon), so no stranger to other parts of Spain - especially the more typically hot and dusty parts (and islands). However, despite not being quite so excited about Portugal, given the regularity of visits to the Algarve (for the in-laws) I do feel I need to do a bit more exploring there, and given my prior enjoyment of San Sebastián and Santander which have a slightly different vibe, it feels like a good time to explore it a little more.

My best food memory of Portugal so far (besides the pastel de nata, and some humble piri piri meals) is visiting Ramiro seafood restaurant in Lisbon - delicious and buzzing. More of this sort of vibe would be good. I wish Portugal had more of a tapas scene and made better use of their produce overall - it too often feels reminiscent of 70s British food; overcooked, under-flavoured and unimaginative. Thankfully the UK moved on!
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Old May 24th 2022, 1:25 pm
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Default Re: Bilbao to Algarve ~1 week itinerary

Originally Posted by andywally View Post
I agree 'loafing' even though we live in Portugal, the hospitality in Galicia was superb on the way down here last year, every beer you got a little plate/bowl of something, some good some not so good, obv they didnt know that we are vegetarian, and we didnt tell them so as not to offend (and the dogs loved the cherizo....so bonus)
Yes the custom of a "tapa" with your drink is still alive and well in Andalucia , when we visited Ubeda and Baeza we abandoned dinner and just wandered from bar to bar enjoying some wonderful tapas. Your dogs would have loved it.
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Old May 24th 2022, 1:27 pm
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Default Re: Bilbao to Algarve ~1 week itinerary

now then .........if we arent too careful here it could turn into a debate about the merits (or de-merits) or PT cuisine, and I use the word very carefully..........but I have to agree in our experience so far its been simple 'boiled to death' (like we used to in the UK about 40 yrs ago) underseasoned and a tad bland ................ btw I have just put my 'tin helmet' on ready for the flack
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Old May 24th 2022, 1:38 pm
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Default Re: Bilbao to Algarve ~1 week itinerary

Originally Posted by andywally View Post
now then .........if we arent too careful here it could turn into a debate about the merits (or de-merits) or PT cuisine, and I use the word very carefully..........but I have to agree in our experience so far its been simple 'boiled to death' (like we used to in the UK about 40 yrs ago) underseasoned and a tad bland ................ btw I have just put my 'tin helmet' on ready for the flack
Need a new thread for that am sure will generate endless debate - fresh fish done on the open grill in any of the East Algarvean towns/villages unbeatable - as for the rest unimpressed
Back on topic ??

Last edited by Loafing Along; May 24th 2022 at 1:39 pm. Reason: Added text
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Old May 25th 2022, 7:53 am
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Default Re: Bilbao to Algarve ~1 week itinerary

Originally Posted by Loafing Along View Post
Need a new thread for that am sure will generate endless debate - fresh fish done on the open grill in any of the East Algarvean towns/villages unbeatable - as for the rest unimpressed
Back on topic ??
We stayed in Cascais for 3 nights. No lugging suitcases daily. Very nice seaside town, great seaside walks eg to Estoril. We used it as a base to visit Lisbon by a nice train service, along the coast allowing us to get into the centre of Lisbon, have a drink etc. In fact we often recommend that when people ask about visiting Lisbon. Also Sintra is only +/- 20min away and a must see visit, we walked up that steep hill to the colourful chateau at the top.

I would also recommend visiting Vila Nova de Milfontes, stunning scenery.... And just a few minutes walk away from the 'touristy bit' is a fully functioning town, all year round. For a slice of 'proper' PT life. (Also we were pleasantly surprised to see a large Indian/Asian community there).

Re food... We live in Spain, right on the PT border, in fact the nearest resto outside our development is actually in PT. But our ES town, Ayamonte, 10 mins away is full of choices. I consider myself as a 'foody', and I would say that we eat 2/3 of the time in PT restos. I think food is a personal choice, and with the plethora of choices we have, in 2 countries - we find that we gravitate towards PT for food.

But the best part is having the choices......

Jon
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