Every time of the year is the perfect time to visit Spain and Portugal, but there is just something magical about those autumn months when every region tells its own unique story in preparation for the winter ahead.
Once the summer heat subsides, the new season brings a stunning display of autumn colors across the entire Iberian Peninsula. The northern regions of Spain, such as Galicia, Asturias, and the Pyrenees, transform into a breathtaking mosaic of red, orange, and yellow hues, while the lush natural wonders across the Azores and Madeira in Portugal welcome visitors with a myriad of unique Instagram-able moments.
We cannot forget our gourmands who can indulge in the traditional flavors of the autumn
harvest through regional dishes, wine tastings, and culinary festivals; don't miss trying seasonal specialties like wild mushrooms, roasted chestnuts, and new wine (vino nuevo).
We have asked our country specialist to share her favorite experiences in Spain and Portugal for some travel inspiration, and this was her selection!
I had the time of my life on my trip to Spain and Portugal in March. The weather was perfect – not too cold and not too hot. I started the trip in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia (Basque Country) with its own culinary specialties and wines. No visit to Barcelona would be complete without a visit to the Antonio Gaudi masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Seeming to sprout out of the ground in the center of Barcelona, this architectural wonder is still in construction which started over 100 years ago. Projected completion is 25 years from now. When completed, it will be the tallest cathedral in the world, with 4 towers honoring the four Gospels. Barcelona blends the modern and
the ancient seamlessly, making it one of the greatest “bucket list” cities in the world. Whether you go as part of a tour, cruise or independent travel, there is so much to see you will wish you had more time to explore.
From Barcelona, I went to Zaragoza and explored its’ towering cathedral, one of many on my trip.From there onto Madrid, where beautiful parks and plazas were welcoming places to rest after sightseeing and a long visit to one of the greatest museums in the world, The Prado. Treat yourself to a guided tour where you will learn all about the great Spanish masters – El Greco, Velasquez and Goya.
From Madrid I took a tour of Toledo, rising majestically over a deep gorge. Three escalators were needed to take me to the top where I explored yet another magnificent cathedral and took a meandering walk on ancient cobblestones. A refreshing, freshly squeezed orange juice was a welcome departure from my usual Starbucks iced coffee. Yes, in Spain, Starbucks serves fresh orange juice, squeezed to order.
From Madrid to Seville for a tour of the 4th largest cathedral in the world. On to Cordoba, where a wonderful guide took me to the old Gothic Jewish Quarter and the 5th largest cathedral in the world. So much history! A wonderful dinner with Flamenco music and dancing was a highlight.
Lisbon followed with trips to the Portuguese Riviera – Cascais, for a delicious seaside lunch and a street market full of local art and handmade cork souvenirs. A dinner with Fado music was an unexpected delight on my last evening in Lisbon. I made stops in Fatima, Nazare (a surfers must destination) and Obidos for their specialty drink, Ginja, a cherry liqueur served in a chocolate cup.
Obidos is a perfectly preserved medieval city, with ancient walls surrounding the city. (Walking the wall was not encouraged as there are NO guardrails or anything else to hold onto).
Leaving Lisbon was bittersweet, but I was ready to come home. A good camera is a must as you will undoubtedly have hundreds of pictures to take and hundreds of opportunities to take them. I hope a trip to the Iberian Peninsula is in the near future. Safe Travels.
The Classy Travel Blog is a great way to educate yourself; Not only with travel tips and tricks, but also with insight on all of the Classy Destinations around the world.