WE TWO LADIES, EARLY 70S AND EARLY 60S, HAVE TWO DAYS IN LISBON PRIOR TO A SEPTEMBER GUIDED TOUR, ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR ACCOMMODATION, AND WHAT TO SEE? WHAT'S A CENTRAL, SAFE PLACE FOR A FIVE-DAY STAY IN BARCELONA, AND WOULD A COUPLE OF DAYS SUFFICE TO EXPERIENCE SAN SEBASTIAN? L. O'CONNOR, SYDNEY NSW
The Alfama district of Lisbon is an old and atmospheric part of the city, and there are quite a few hotels and guesthouses in its narrow, spiralling streets between the waterfront and the castle. There's more than enough here to fill in your two days including the National Pantheon of Santa Engracia, the Fado Museum dedicated to this unique Portuguese musical tradition, the Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora, the Feira da Ladra flea market and the Mercado da Ribeira, a wonderful produce market along the waterfront.
In Barcelona you might go for an Airbnb since you have plenty of time and hotels are pricey, but beware of apartment stays with no lifts. I'd look for somewhere off to the side of La Rambla, in the Gothic Quarter, La Ribera or El Raval, which make up the Ciutat Vella, the Old City. San Sebastian is a great place to experience Basque food, and a couple of days would do, but it's well and truly on the tourist map and it gets super crowded even into September, be prepared. The old city, Parte Vieja, is the premium area for accommodation, but the Gros area, just across the river and within easy walking distance, is cheaper. You might consider a food tour with local experts Mimo, mimofood.com/en