3 Nights in Lisbon; 1 in Fatima; 1 in Salamanca; Madrid w/Church Choir Arriving 5 Nov
I'm going on a 10 day tour with my Church choir, and have never been to Portugal or Spain. I have an international driving permit, but am hopeful the transit system will be adequate. Shopping, eating recs would sure be appreciated! Breakfasts seem to be covered at the hotels, but our itinerary looks like:
3 nights Lisbon / Hotel VIP Executive Diplomatico
1 night Fatima / Hotel Santa Maria
1 night Salamanca / Hotel Catalonia Salamanca Plaza
3 nights Madrid / Hotel Florida Norte
Any and all recs i.e; things to see/do; souveniers; bullfights etc. would be most appreciated! Budget range from inexpensive street vendor food on up would be great! Thanks again !!
Well you are arriving today, but I hope this gets to you in time.
Its been a few years since I have lived in Madrid, but I do remember there to be a good amount of shopping off the metro stop Goya (H&M, Zara, etc).
I found the public transportation to be excellent in Madrid. I believe you missed the bull fighting season, I would check out the museums (Prado & Reina Sofia). The tourist area is Sol. You will be able to find souvenirs, etc. there.
For eating I would just stop in random stops and order what looks good. Try different things, especially the jamon, olives, and wine.
If you are staying at the Florida Norte in Madrid, you are just ten minutes' walk up the Paseo de la Florida from one of Madrid's most wonderful sights: Goya's frescoes in the church of San Antonio de Florida. Across the street from the church is one of my favourite eating places, Casa Mingo, an Asturian cider houser always thronged with Madrilenos. Their speciaity is roast chicken - the best I have ever eaten, and very reasonably priced, 9 euros a few months ago and one portion (a whole chicken!) will feed two hungry people. Start with the chorizo in cider, and accompany it all with a bottle of their excellent cider.
Your hotel is one metro stop from the centre of Madrid where, around the Opera and Sol you will find loads of good and reasonably eating places.
While in Lisbon you must take the trolley (#15 I think) to Belem and visit the Geronimos Monastery and then have pasteis de belem at Antiga Confeitaria de Belem. This place is famous the world over for making these laborous little egg custard pastries. Their recipe is sacred. You can catch a glimpse of the bakers making the pastries through windows (the custard is made in a locked,secret room). I just returned from my first trip to Portugal and I wrote 3 posts on my blog at www.mamaliciouseats.wordpress.com. I wrote about my several days in Lisbon and you'll find links to restaurants, sites, etc. Another great site is www.golisbon.com.
It's an amazing place that is easy to navigate. Seafood and the pig, in addition to pasteis de nata, reigns supreme. Have a wonderful journey!