When asked to include Spain and Portugal in a recent European trip, how could I say no? So, the agreed-upon itinerary included a week of hiking in my comfort zone countries and then a week of exploring Iberia. Sixteen days, in total, checking off 5 countries – Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal! What a fantastic adventure!
• 2 nights stay in the Geneva area of Switzerland, hiking in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps. We had planned to hike the Gemmi Pass, however the high winds caused the cable car to the Gemmi Pass to close for the day, so “Plan B” was activated and we ended up on a beautiful hike around the Oeschinensee. We started and ended our hike in Kandersteg but returned to our originally planned activity of hitting up the thermal bath in Leukerbad before returning to Geneva. So relaxing!
• 2 nights stay in the Cinque Terre area of Italy, hiking from Monterosso to Vernazza. Here, again, we had to divert to “Plan B” because the classic “blue panoramic trail” was closed because of recent heavy rain. So, we hiked a higher trail that gave us more of a bird’s eye view of the coast. It was a view we wouldn’t have seen otherwise and a fantastic day of hiking! Our hike ended in Vernazza but we took the train to the town of Manarola for the classic Cinque Terre view which we took in over our aperitivo of wine and bruschetta.
• 3 nights stay on the French Riviera! We stayed in Nice but took the opportunity to visit Monaco, Eze Village (with a hike down to Eze Sur Mer), Grasse (and the Fragonard factory), Cannes and Antibes. Great food, great company and a beautiful coastline – can’t lose in this part of Europe!
• We hopped a flight from Nice and spent 2 nights in Sevilla, Spain. The visit included a very memorable and informative guided tour on bikes with our fantastic guide, Antonio!! We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Sevilla and hope to get back there for a longer stay next time!
• 3 nights stay in Lagos, Portugal where we explored the rugged Algarve coastline on a boat tour culminating in a visit to the famous Benagil Cave. We were also able to fit in some hiking to the see the beautiful Lagos beaches. There’s no way to describe the experience – you just have to see it!
• And to cap off our Iberian explorations, we spent 3 nights in the Lisbon area, recommended by a friend who works in that area. We stayed in charming Cascais but did the must-see visit to Sintra and the Palacio da Pena there, and saw the highlights of Lisbon on our hop on hop off bus tour around the city. Our adventures in Cascais also took us to the Westernmost point of the European continent at Cabo da Roca as well as an evening visit on the rocky coast to see the Boca do Inferno.
We definitely kept busy on this trip although there was still plenty of time for shopping, eating and wine enjoyment as well. We also made some fun new friendships during our travels and hope to catch up with our new friends again someday!
Is this an itinerary that you would enjoy? Or, would you be interested in having me put together and lead a different itinerary for your long-desired Europe trip? Or, maybe you would like to join one of the trips we’re currently planning? How about Italy for 12 days? Check out the offerings on my website and let me know! 😊