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1 week in Europe in the fall

Portugal and Spain


Fall is an ideal time to visit Europe. The summer crowds have left, the temperature has dropped — along with the prices — and you’ll have some of Europe’s top cities to explore with much more peace and quiet. Because of this it’s possibly the best time to visit the likes of Portugal and Spain. If you’re looking to spend 1 week in Europe in the fall, consider this a good starting point.


Itinerary highlights



Click here or on the map to view this route in our Trip Planner

Day 1: Porto, Portugal

1 week in Europe in the fall | View over Porto and the Luís I Bridge
  • Walk the Douro River, and take in the views from the Luís I Bridge.

  • Drink port wine at a local wine cellar.

  • Take the tram ride along the river and walk to the Felgueiras Lighthouse.


Arriving at Porto Airport? The easiest way into the center is by TerraVision bus. If you’re flying into Lisbon, catch the Metro to Lisboa Oriente and the train to Vila Nova de Gaia. Reservations are required for this high-speed train, but it reduces the journey to 2.5 hours.

Days 2 - 3: Lisbon, Portugal

1 week in Europe in the fall | Lisbon's Alfama district at twilight
  • Walk the Alfama district to get a taste of old Lisbon.

  • Have sunset drinks from one of Lisbon’s hills or rooftop bars.

  • Take a tram to Belém to visit the Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery.

  • If time allows, take a day trip to Sintra or Cascais.


There is a direct InterCity train between Porto and Lisbon that requires an advance reservation. But it gets you between the two cities in approximately 2.5 hours.

Day 4: Madrid, Spain

1 week in Europe in the fall | Madrid's El Retiro Park in autumn
  • Walk around the Buen Retiro Park to see the fall leaves and rowboats on the lake.

  • Visit Plaza Mayor, Madrid's main square.

  • Go to the Museo Reina Sofía to view Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica.


There's a direct overnight train from Lisbon to Madrid that requires no changes and takes just over 10 hours. It leaves at 9:34 PM and arrives at 8:40 AM the next morning. Reservations are required for this journey but you'll save on time and the cost of overnight accommodation.

Day 5: Seville, Spain

1 week in Europe in the fall | Seville cathedral and rooftops
  • Explore the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, also known as the Seville Cathedral, in the heart of the city.

  • Relive your Star Wars fantasies at Plaza de España.

  • Marvel at the giant wooden structure of Metropol Parasol.


High-speed trains leave for Seville from Madrid approximately every hour. Reservations are required, but the high-speed trains reduce the journey time to 2.5 hours.

Days 6 - 7: Barcelona, Spain

1 week in Europe in the fall | View of Barcelona from Park Guell
  • Spend a morning at Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece Sagrada Família.

  • Take in the views and architecture at Park Güell.

  • Soak up the coastal atmosphere at La Barceloneta beach.

  • Walk La Rambla along with thousands of other tourists, then get lost in the Gothic Quarter.

  • Find a quirky café, hip restaurant, vibrant bar, or traditional tapas spot to spend a few hours.


The most convenient train from Seville to Barcelona leaves at 8:50 AM. Reservations are required for this AVE high-speed train, but you’ll arrive in Barcelona before 3 PM.

Is 1 week in Europe in the fall enough for me?

If you’ve always wanted to explore Portugal and Spain but were concerned about the heat and crowds of summer, then this 1-week fall itinerary is for you. Your Eurail Pass gives you access to easy rail connections, including an overnight train between Lisbon and Madrid.


1 week in Europe in the fall will expose you to gorgeous autumn colors, but more importantly, the grueling summer heat will have abated and you’ll have room to breathe in these famous European cities.