We thoroughly enjoyed this trip. It was our first time in southern Spain, and first time in Portugal. It's also the first time we've used an agency in about 5 years or so (we've used them in Asia before, but not in Europe). This travel agency helped organize the whole thing. We had a pretty good idea of the cities we wanted to cover (Toledo, Valencia, Cordoba, Granada, Ronda, Seville, Lisbon, Porto), but they helped us solidify the plans, where we would stay, arranged hotels and travel (some trains, some flights, some driving rental cars), suggested tours and tour guides, and so on. The whole trip went smartly from start to finish (3 weeks), and we really did have a great time.
The most enjoyable part would have to be going to Las Fallas in Valencia for the last two days of the festival. It's just an amazing experience. Also very high up on the list would be our visits to the Mezquita-Catedral in Cordoba, and to the Alhambra in Granada. These are things that have such a unique history, such amazing architecture and decoration, such a profound cultural heritage, that everyone should experience them. There were other things as well -- seeing the great cathedrals in Seville and Toledo, touring the prehistoric caves outside Ronda, Segway touring in the hills above Granada, hiking in the Alpujarras mountains, or doing a wine tour in the Douro Valley in Portugal. All memorable.
We went for 3 weeks, from mid-March to early April, due to our schedules. If I did it again, I would try and stay much longer. Mid-March is perfect if you're going to catch Las Fallas in Valencia (which everyone should do once). But it would have been great to be able to stay in Spain through Easter, which we couldn't do. There are also other festivals -- e.g., the Cordoba Patio Festival, in early May -- that it would be great to be able to catch. If we did it over, we would stay longer, and include other locations, like Malaga and Gibraltar, and possibly even go over to explore Morocco, too. Mid-March to mid-May would be ideal.
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