14 days Paris, Basque country, barcelona

Old Nov 16th, 2014, 03:13 PM
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14 days Paris, Basque country, barcelona

our family of 6 (kids are 17 to 21) are planning a trip this July for 14 days in Europe. We are planning to fly into Paris and stay for 3 nights, drive to San Sebastian stopping along the way in Bordeaux and may stay a night or two along the way. We will then spend 3 nights in San Sebastian with a day trip to Rioja. Bilbao for a night and then to Barcelona and or Madrid for the remainder of time. I would really like to see the Basque Country, as we heard it is beautiful and worth the visit. I'm a little worried that we are moving around too much. We have also considered a home base of San Sebastian or another town with day trip from there to Bilbao and Rioja. I've been to Madrid 20+ years ago, so was hoping to experience a different city in Barcelona, but not sure in July this is the best choice.

Also, is a car the best way to travel to San Sebastian with stops in Bordeaux or could we do this on a train?

Any suggestions would be appreciated!
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Old Nov 16th, 2014, 04:51 PM
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Well I think you're giving Paris short shrift unless you have seen most of the sights already. I would bag bordeaux and add days to Paris and then train or fly directly to San sebastian. As for Barcelona/Madrid - the former is on the coast and has beaches and more moderate weather than Madrid which tends to be super hot in summer (we were there at the end of April and it was 99 and humid).
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Old Nov 17th, 2014, 04:24 AM
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Great info about the wonderful and diverse Basque Country.
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Old Nov 17th, 2014, 05:35 AM
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With only 14 days, I would do at least the first 4 nights in Paris then take the train to San Sebastian-Donostia for the next 7 nights, spending the final 3 nights in Bilbao to get the most of your time in the Basque country. Barcelona should be saved for another day, especially during July when it's packed with tourist (its a major cruise port). And as noted, Madrid can be rather warm in July (but rarely humid).

With 7 nights in San Sebastian you can rent a car and do a couple of day trips into the Pays Basque visiting St.-Jean-de-Lux on market day, Biarritz, Bayonne, St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Espelette, Ainhoa, etc.. Take a drive through the Navarran Pyrenees and visit a few wineries south of Pamplona. Visit Tolosa, Getaria, Zumaia, Lekieto, Ea, Gernika-Lumo and the Urdaibai estuary.

From Bilbao you can visit the Rioja for the day, surf the break at Mudaka, walk the 244 steps at Gaztelugatxe, visit the fishing village of Bermeo and generally have a good time in the city (www.bilbaoturismo.net).
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 05:37 AM
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Thank you for your suggestions. I think spending a longer time in the Basque country makes sense. Are there any other beach towns you would recommend to visit. Also is the Basque country preferred to the Mediterranean side Spain?
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 08:09 AM
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You might want to stay in the French Basque country too, rather than staying in Bordeaux. A quick check on sncf.com indicates that tickets purchased in advance (I used Jan. 23 as a test) can be as low as €144 for six.

This set includes pictures from the pays Basque:

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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 01:07 PM
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We got a very nice big apartment overlooking the ocean in San Sebastián. It would be a great base for exploring region.
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