Spain to Portugal Summer Vacation: Part 1

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Advisor - Jill Albino
Curated By

Jill Albino

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • Food & Wine

  • Spain

  • Portugal

  • Downtown

  • Outdoors

  • Shopping

lighting building road view Spain
Curator’s statement

My family and I love leisurely exploring on our summer vacations. Our recent trip from Spain to Portugal was the perfect match for that. Spain and Portugal both have rich culture, beautiful villages with plenty of beaches, wonderful restaurants and activities.

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Where to stay

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Day 1: Malaga

best museum Museo Picasso Málaga in Spain

If you are coming from the USA, you'll likely arrive super early into Malaga. Take an hour or so to explore the art scene by walking, biking or driving through the narrow side streets.

If you have more time, you can visit one of the many museums. I suggest Museo Picasso Málaga. After you have time to admire Malaga rent a car (or driver) and head to Marbella where you will be staying for four nights. When you pull up to the resort, you'll notice it looks like a small village. At check-in you'll meet with the Adventure/Experiences team to prepare for your stay. Since it was a long morning and you are trying not to get jet lag, grab a bite to eat.

CHEAT Burger is where you will want to do this and it's conveniently located next to the pool you will spend the day at. End the day with dinner at Cipriani.

Day 2: Beachside

SEA GRILL  restaurant Marbella beach view

Breakfast at Sea Grill is a must. It is one of the most elaborate buffets I have ever seen. After breakfast sneak in a quick workout or yoga on the beach with the entire family. Today you will be soaking in the rays on the beach at one of the many beach clubs. There was a Fendi beach club collab at our hotel during our stay which was very popular. There is volleyball, pickle ball, a gym, restaurants, jet skis and other water toys on the beach. Enough to keep you busy for the day. Later in the afternoon borrow a hotel bike and ride the path along the water in Old Marbella. Here you will find small cafes and side streets that are so narrow you'll have to do a lot of maneuvering to make it around a corner if you do take your car. At night have dinner at Bibo, the kids loved their fancy mocktails and afterwards hang out at the Plaza for a nightcap while the dj spins.

Day 3: Tarifa

The Most Beautiful Beaches in Tarifa Spain

Today you are going on a road trip to Tarifa. The drive is beautiful and under 2 hours. In Tarifa you will find beautiful beaches, wind surfing, fantastic shopping, charming streets, the 45-min ferry to Morocco, and the coolest picture to take where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean meet. There are even beach clubs with restaurants and pools for when the beach gets too hot.

*Make sure to bring your own towel as they do not provide them.

Spend the morning on the beach and make sure to walk both sides to see kite surfing on one end and the Atlantic/Med meeting spot. Lunch at Mandala or Chiringuito. Walk to Castillo de Guzman el Bueno castle. Then find the old city gates – Puerta de Jerez and Puerta de la Almedina. There are so many great shops up and down these tiny streets and mostly all local. Even writing this makes me want to get back there asap. Tarifa is a trip. Before you head out, catch a sunset and dinner at the new El Mirlo.

Day 4: Marbella

Restaurant Los Bandidos Marbella Spain

Breakfast at Rachel's. Healthy pancake options, smoothies and açai bowls. This is next to a pool so have a swim before your early morning family tennis match. The Puente Romano courts are stunning and famous. They will provide everything you need. If anyone wants to sit out, there is a pilates studio, spa, cafe, outdoor gym, kids club and foosball all in the same area. If you aren't staying at The Marbella Club, choose it for lunch today so you can explore the property. The food is also delicious and you can shop/window shop the designer stores they have on site. Make your way back to Puente Romano and hang by the pool closest to the beach. The have a walkover bridge and pool beds which makes this the busiest pool on the property. Dinner in town tonight at Los Bandidos, Leone or one of the many others.

Day 5: Explore

Puerto Banus living Marbella

On your last day, enjoy breakfast at Sea Grill again. Drive to Puente Banus to do some walking around the markets in the square. Head back to the hotel for an activity like paddle boarding, kids DJ lessons, Nobu cooking class or a Flamenco lesson. There is so much to do here and many day trip options, it can be overwhelming. I will work with you to create the perfect plan. Time to head to the next stop on your 2-week adventure.

Next stop on your way to Portugal is Seville. Seville is so beautiful and there is so much to see/do, but for this trip we are using it as a quick stop over.

Day 6: Roaming around

Walk the streets and view Royal Alcázar of Seville, Plaza de España, Catedral de Sevilla, Catedral de Sevilla, La Giralda, a picture at Setas de Sevilla and finally dinner at Petra.

Need to Know

This is a 2-part Spain to Portugal driving itinerary. Malaga- Marbella-Seville- Algarve-Comporta-Lisbon.

For more travel tips, check out Fora Travel Advisor Arlette Diederiks guide, City Guide to Barcelona, Spain

Advisor - Jill Albino

Travel Advisor

Jill Albino

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Spain.