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Trip Report Trip Report - 18 days in Northwest Spain

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Hello everyone,

Trip report of our May trip to Northwest Spain on On our Costa Brava trip last year we had Basque style tapas - pintxos - many times in Barcelona and Girona so of course we HAD to go to San Sebastián. It's no problem driving a Europcar rental rented in Portugal into Spain and we had a great loop trip to San Sebastián, the Picos de Europa, Santiago de Compostela and Pontevedra before heading back to Portugal. Plenty of pics on the website and probably too many on my Flickr photostream:
Donostia/San Sebastián:
Picos de Europa:

Itinerary was:

1 night in Valladolid on the way from Pinhao Portugal to San Sebastian
7 nights in San Sebastian, day trip to Bilbao plus other driving excursions
1 night in Fuente De with a little hike at the top of El Cable (the funicular)
3 nights in Cangas de Onis with a hike around the Covadonga lakes and a day trip to Ribadesella
3 nights in Santiago de Compostela
3 nights in Pontevedra with a hike in the Parque Natural de Carreiron and driving excursions

Northwest Spain Summary:
We love Spain and this trip to the northwest was terrific. Fantastic pintxos any time of the day or night. Spectacular scenery and great hikes. It's called Green Spain for a reason, and May could be a rainy time to go - but we got lucky with great weather on the days we planned hikes and driving tours, and had the umbrellas handy the rest of the time.

Driving: Easy, but the Garmin Nuvi maps need to be refreshed. Nuvi didn't know about some of the highways and kept trying to divert us to the older "N" roads. Really odd, the "new" highways have been here for years. We had our little VW Polo for a total of 28 days and 4,250 kilometers (2,264 miles). Picked it up in Lisbon and 28 days later dropped it off in Porto. This was the perfect size of car for the 2 of us - just big enough cargo space for our 2 carry ons and 2 big laptop bags plus some groceries. Lost some steam going up steep hills, and the pick-up for passing wasn't zippy. But it got great gas mileage and was small enough to park just about anywhere and navigate some tight streets. We were really happy with the little Polo and would rent one of these again.

Best things about the trip:
Hiking in the Picos de Europa
Excellent roads
Mostly great weather, wow, were we lucky!

Worst things about the trip:
Very expensive parking in San Sebastian / Donostia (solved after the first 42 hours and $100 later)

Would I change anything?:
Lekeitio may have been a bit far to drive from San, Nah!

Our travel style - we plan all our own trips and use award miles for travel, so we HAVE to have a general idea of where we want to go FAR in advance. After getting our airline award tickets I have plenty of time to put together an itinerary. Resources like Fodor's and the forums - especially other people's trip reports - are a huge help! When back, I like to write up the trip on my site for my own amusement - I don't run ads or have any monetary motivation - it's just fun!

Happy planning and thanks everyone who has contributed

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