Why I’m Saving Spain and Portugal

Over the past few weeks, as I’ve been telling people about my upcoming RTW(ish) plans, I keep getting a couple of questions over and over again:

“Are you going to Spain?”

“Are you going to Portugal?”

No, I have to repeat over and over, I am not going to Spain. Or Portugal.

Spain-36 - Toledo

Photo by archer10 (Dennis), on Flickr

And before you ask “But why not?!?” like everyone else has, let me tell you:

I’ll admit that neither Spain nor Portugal had really been on my travel radar — until perhaps about a year ago, that is, when some of my blogger friends began writing about this particular part of Europe. The more I read about both countries, the more I realized that I did, in fact, really really want to visit both Spain and Portugal.

Believe it or not, I haven’t “done Europe” yet in the traditional sense. I haven’t seen the Eiffel Tower or ridden a bike in Amsterdam or photographed gondolas in Venice. I haven’t actually been a tourist in Western Europe at all, with the exception of the UK.

I plan to change that this summer, and DID consider adding Spain and Portugal to my already-full itinerary.

But then I stopped to consider it.

And then I realized that there’s no way I could possibly dedicate enough time to either of these countries on this trip.

Lisbon, Portugal

Photo by rstml, on Flickr

Sure, I could zip through Barcelona and Madrid and visit Seville for a weekend; I could spend a few nights in Lisbon and spend a few nights in Porto. But to me, Spain and Portugal deserve their own trip.

I would want to dedicate weeks to this region; not just days.

And, to help make my point, I’ve gathered some of the posts about Spain and Portugal that are responsible for finally getting me interested in this part of Europe:


Spain could be a perfect weekend break, according to the Globetrotter Girls, but I still want to spend more time there than just 2 or 3 days.

Kate names Sevilla as the most beautiful city in Spain and wins me over with her photos.

Not that I really needed them, but these 5 Reasons to Go to Southern Spain have me more than convinced.

This list of 13 Reasons to Fall in Love with Costa Brava, Spain has swayed me to add this coastal region to my must-visit list, too.

And the Spanish Pyrenees? YES, PLEASE!

I also want to get lost in the details and gorgeous architecture of the Alhambra in Granada.

Not to mention the details of Barcelona and the Catalunya region. (Like this street art in Barcelona.)

Liz lists her 10 Favorite Underrated Cities in Spain, adding even MORE locations to my list of places I’d like to explore.

There are even eco-friendly (and very cool) things to do/see all around Spain.


I’m already a little bit in love with Lisbon thanks to 33 Things We Love About Lisbon. And the tiles! I want to see all the pretty tiles in Lisbon.

These Postcards from Northern Portugal inspired me to want to visit Porto and explore the Douro Valley, even though I don’t drink wine.

And apparently Portugal is also quite cheap! Bonus. (For example, apparently you can do Lisbon for Under 5 Euros!)


This post about The Day I Ran with the Bulls in Pamplona still helps me feel the excitement of this famous festival — and makes me want to experience it for myself.

La Tomatina — the world’s biggest food fight — is also appealing to me simply because of its sheer craziness.

And who doesn’t want to play with flames at Las Fallas: Spain’s Festival of Fire?

Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Bull

Photo by LpstkLibrarian, on Flickr

So, yes, I DO really want to visit Spain and Portugal now.

It just won’t be on this trip.


Do YOU have any places to recommend in either Spain or Portugal (or any relevant links to share)? Tell me in the comments!



*Note: This post was written by me but brought to you by a third party.


  • Si says:

    Hey are you going to Spain and Portugal on your upcoming trip? Just joking. Me or my partner were robbed in both countries and we still think they’re utterly brilliant travel destinations. But I understand there’s no hurry to get there, when there are so many other countries to visit!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Haha cheeky. 😛

      That’s definitely a good sign, though (not that you got robbed, but that you still love both countries despite that).

  • Christine says:

    Good thought on dedicating an entire trip to Iberia. I recommend you check out the north of Spain, especially Basque Country. I write all about Spain on my blog!

  • Liz says:

    Thanks for the shoutouts Amanda :) You definitely should save Spain and Portugal. There is way too much to see on a quick Euro trip. Let me know when you want to go one day and maybe I can be there and we can eat tapas and run with the bulls together :)

  • Megan says:

    I think when people hear “round the world”, they automatically assume you’re going to see like, every country ever. It’s hard to explain to people that some places deserve more attention than you can possibly give when you’ve only got a few months to a year, and a limited budget.

    As one of those people who tries to jampack in as much as possible into little time (you know, only a couple weeks of vacation a year!), I constantly have to remind myself that those places will still be there in a year or two, and then I can dedicate more than a day or two to them.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      YES! You summed my feeling up exactly. As much as I would like to, I can’t possibly hit up EVERY place I want to visit on this short RTW trip.

  • I feel the same way about Spain and Portugal. Good idea not to try to cram everything into one trip and feel like you only scratched the surface. Lisbon is at the top of my list for Portugal thanks to a friend who convinced me of its charm.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’ve heard Lisbon compared to San Francisco before, which makes me REALLY want to go there. But yes… I’m already cramming enough into this trip!

  • memographer says:

    I had to cancel my trip to Spain and Portugal this year :( Maybe next year.
    Good point on separating these from other RTW places, Amanda.

  • We’re constantly asked questions like that on our 11-month round-the-world trip! When we set out, we thought we’d have time to see everything we ever wanted to see, but, duh, the world is immense, and we prefer slow travel, so Ireland, Italy, Greece, India, Bangladesh, Brazil and about 20 other countries we had on our original list, and the entire continents of Africa and Antarctica have to wait for another trip.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! The world will still be there a year or two or ten from now.

  • Daniel N. says:

    You definitely should visit Spain and make sure you say hi when you go through Granada.

    I just moved here a month ago and it’s an amazing city with such beautiful landscape all around. I just don’t know where to start with my photos!

    Good luck.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’ve heard so many good things about Spain (and Granada, too!) that I know I HAVE to get there eventually.

  • Christy says:

    Good choice. I spent two weeks in Spain and only visited Madrid and Seville in that time. I can’t imagine running all over the country in a short amount of time. Some of my best memories are in Spain, when I met a family on a plane who then invited me to stay with them. Portugal is definitely high on our list too!

  • Megan says:

    Mad props for sticking to your guns. Some places just deserve more time to be done “right”. I really want to go to India…but not until I can dedicate several months to it. Its quite tricky explaining that to people, because they all see this Bollywood-enamored, India-desiring chick and think “geez, just get it over with.” There are some places I’d be fine visiting with only a few weeks or days, but that’s not quite how it works with EVERY country 😉

    • DangerousBiz says:

      YES. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. (And I’m with you – I feel the same way about India!)

  • Lindsey says:

    YES to everything that you shared regarding Spain and Portugal. I may be a bit biased as a Spanish teacher and having traveled to Spain twice (lived there for a few months) and been to Portugal BUT they are beautiful, full of amazing things and I still have so much of both countries I want to see. And yep – Sevilla just may be my favorite city ever in Spain. But Barcelona is pretty awesome too…

  • Erika says:

    I feel you. I felt this way about Italy when I was touring Europe. I wanted time AND money to do it the way I always dreamed of… not necessarily on a backpacker’s budget.

    I’m not as big a fan of Spain, as I share on my blog with a post called My Most Embarrassing Trip Ever (Or 8 Days in Spain), but I am absolutely in LOVE with Lisbon!!! It was one of my most favorite vacations ever… and my first solo trip ever. :)

    I think that the cultures of both country are laid-back, aren’t rushed… so having a lot of time to explore is part of the fun of enjoying them! I think it’s a wise decision! :)

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I agree on Italy! I’m actually going to be spending a few weeks there on this trip. So it’s my “spend longer in” destination for this adventure!

  • Good strategy!
    I’ve been to Spain tons of times and could see go back. There are just so many different regions and there’s always lots to see.
    On Sunday I’m leaving on my first trip to Portugal. Excited!

  • Alison says:

    I definitely agree! You could sped so much time in this region and not even scratch the surface. We’ve made multiple trips to Spain, including two weeks in Andalusia and I would go back in a heartbeat. The food, the architecture, the people… all fantastic! Take your time and enjoy!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Most commenters seem to agree with you that I’m making the right choice in holding off on Spain and Portugal!

  • Stephen S. says:

    I’m feel the same. I fly to Barcelona in two days. I’m excited but only have two weeks for Spain which is not nearly enough time. However, I’m running with the bulls, which is a major bucket list item!

  • Ali says:

    Both great countries (though I haven’t spent too much time in Portugal…yet) and it’s probably a good thing you’re waiting to give them more time. But think long and hard about how you feel about being in crowds before you go to Tomatina. Ugh. I did not have fun that day!

  • In Portugal I’d also recommend Coimbra (for the architecture and the fado) and Obidos, an impossibly quaint white village (whose specialty is cherry liquor)!

  • Jana says:

    What a wonderful answer to an annoying question :) You can’t go everywhere at the same time, Lisbon and Madrid will still be awesome next time. Btw: Seville is the most boring and “meh” city I ever visited

  • Alhambra = YES! You really need to see it. I was trully amazed when I saw it for the first time and I tend to visit Alhambra every time I’m nearby Granada. This happens way too rarely if you ask me 😉

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