MY PARTNER AND I ARE LOOKING TO TOUR SPAIN/PORTUGAL FOR A MONTH NEXT APRIL, BUT WHICH CITIES TO VISIT? WE PREFER TO TRAVEL BY TRAIN, FOCUSING ON HISTORICAL SITES, GREAT ART, ARCHITECTURE AND OLD-WORLD CHARM. A. CRUTTENDEN, TUGUN QLD
As a rule I advise at least three nights in each stop. That gives you a minimum of two full days for exploring. Any less and I question why you're bothering to go there, and slow travel is far more rewarding. Therefore you can probably fit up to eight stops into your itinerary. Madrid is a good place to start and end your travels since it has the possibility of more one-stop flights from Australia than any other city in the region. Other than Madrid, my own itinerary would include Toledo, Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Barcelona and Portugal's Lisbon. A tour from Seville of the white villages of Andalusia is highly recommended, easily arranged through Viator au.viator.com. Be sure the itinerary includes Ronda. The city of San Sebastian in the Basque region has shot to prominence as a major dining destination. It gets crowded but in April you're well ahead of the hungry hordes. However, eating well in Spain is certainly not confined to San Sebastian, frankly I'd give it a miss.Train is by far the most convenient way to get around and you might take a look at the "Spain" section of the dedicated train website, The Man in Seat 61 seat61.com.Long-distance trains require a seat reservation and you need to book a couple of days in advance at the very least. The best way is via the Renfe website renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html. If you book in advance you can take advantage of cheaper "promo" fares. You can also buy from the ticket machines at train stations, they have English-language prompts.For accommodation, take a look at the Spanish section of Sawdays sawdays.co.uk, which has plenty of great places to stay that won't burn a big hole in your pocket.