16 nights in North Spain

Dec 18th, 2012, 12:14 PM
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Hi Cathy

Yes I did check that out but was still very expensive unless booking two separate flights. And also would mean some backtracking since I want to goto both San Seb and SdC.

I will be checking with some travel companies though if there is anyway to avoid the ridiculous increase in cost just because I want to goto another domestic airport other than Barcelona or Madrid.

For example, a flight from Melb to Barcelona costs around $1K, but a flight from Melb to Bilbao costs arond $1.7K. $700 diff, but a separate domestic flight with Iberia is a fraction of that. I just don't want to risk a separate domestic flight incase there's a hiccup with the main one, plus I think I might have to go get my luggage, transfer to domestic airport etc etc.

I will probably now tack on an extra couple days to include Barcelona (fly from Melb) then fly or train to San Seb (sorely tempted by Cadaques since I'm SOOOO close, but its just a hassle to get from there to San Seb). My new itinerary now looks as follows:

Barcelona: 2 nights
San Sebastian: 4 nights (incl daytrip to Hondarribia and another daytrip)
Llanes: 2 nights
Oviedo: 4 nights (incl 2 or 3 daytrips incl Cangas de Onis and possibly Leon)
Santiago de Compostela: 4 nights (incl daytrip to La Coruna)
Fly out to Istanbul

All up 16 nights.
Cdchi1 is offline  
Dec 18th, 2012, 01:37 PM
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Wow - 16 nights for Barcelona all the way to Santiago de Compostela - it's a huge geography (over 1,100 kilometers). You'll end up spending alot of time in transit. Again, I'd cut back as this is way too much IMHO....but I won't say it anymore

Not sure I'd want to visit Leon as a daytrip from Oviedo. It's over 2 hours (beautiful ride) by train or bus each way. Leon really has enough to keep you busy for a couple of days. I think the problem is that Oviedo, Cangas de Onis and Leon really could use 2 days each - I'd probably skip one and do 2 days in each place.

Personally I'd probably daytrip to Lugo, Pontevedra, Cambados or do a daytrip by bus taking you up the Costa de Morte versus A Coruna. You could easily spend a week in just Galicia.

Unless you've been to Barcelona 2 days is barely enough to skim the surface. I'd recommend a minimum of 4 days without daytrips. I understand the temptation to venture out to Cadeques. Catalunya is another area where you could easily spend 1-2 weeks visiting Barcelona, Girona, the Costa Brava (I especially like the area around Begur), Tarragona, Vic....just to name a few.
CathyM is offline  
Dec 18th, 2012, 03:27 PM
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Hi cathy

Yeah its a fair stretch, but I think since I am not staying in a heap of places it should be ok. I wouldn't really count the Barcelona to San Seb section section It's more a lazy stopover (I've been to BCN twice)...who knows, if a I get a flight significantly cheaper to Madrid I'll probably go there first then fly to San Seb (I might even be able to daytrip to Segovia on my 'rest day' since I missed that last time - went to Toledo instead).

So I'm really doing 4 places over 14 nights, and none of them are massive cities. And I've been to San Sebastian before so 4 nights will be easily enough there - though I'll never get enough of the tapas I'm sure

Thanks for the daytrip suggestions. The Pontevedra option looks interesting...someone suggested Islas Cies...looked to far from SdC for a daytrip but the Galician tourism website seems to suggest its not, even if going via Vigo which is 90 km from SdC.
Cdchi1 is offline  
Dec 18th, 2012, 08:41 PM
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If you can arrange ot Segovia is a must see...the aquaduct is awesome and considering it was in operation until just several years ago it is a marvel..
amer_can is offline  
Dec 19th, 2012, 12:25 AM
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Las Islas Cíes is not far, but allow time to get from train station in SdC as it it is not right in the centre.
Allow time to get from the train station to the port in Vigo.
The ferries to the Island stop running mid day. They limit the amount of visitors, it is planned to limit them even more in 2013. You have to pre book the ferry.
If you are in SdC for 4 days i would suggest you change that for 2 days and sleep one night in Lugo and another night in A Coruña. In principle I am against one night stands, as they do not work, but as you want to visit a lot of locations, this option will be easier than doing day trips to both cities. However pack very light if you take this option as it is no fun trialling a large suit case behind you.
I concur with CathyM you are squeezing in a lot.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Dec 19th, 2012, 12:55 AM
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I mentioned Islas Cies because he wanted beaches adn was in Galicia. Malpica is easier to reach from Santiago but it is not as nice.
Golemtoo is offline  
Dec 19th, 2012, 02:29 AM
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Thanks all

Yes I guess with all the daytrips it is alot.

I'll see how it goes...the good thing about daytrips I find though is that you can always not do them if it becomes too much, whereas booking into a place for a night then changing your mind can be a hassle (rebooking extra day at base etc).

If I drop something, will probably be San Sebastian...love the place, but as Cathy suggested, might be better to focus on Galicia...the extra 4 nights might also allow me time for a decent tour for the Picos from Oviedo. I've never been on a extended hike through mountains, yet I love hiking...so might be an opportunity.
Cdchi1 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2012, 02:31 AM
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The GOOD news though is I think I've pretty much finalised my Turkey 30 day itinerary. Thought that would be the hard one since I've never been and Turkey is a complete mystery to me, but turned out to be pretty easy to plan in the end with some great advice from Fodor members
Cdchi1 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2012, 02:36 AM
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Edit: Oops, obviously if I drop San Seb I probably have to drop Llanes too which would give me six extra nights not 4. And I'd probably fly into Madrid for 2 nights instead of Barcelona.
Cdchi1 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2012, 06:29 AM
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Pontevedra is a marvelous town. It has the same nighttime cultural life as San Sebastian (minus the beach!). Taking a daytrip there will not show what makes Pontevedra such an eye-opening travel destination. But I definitely recommend that you pick someplace on the coast other than A Coruna. The coast is very scenic. A Coruna is lovable to me, but it really is an odd combination of something like Miami and San Diego (but quite compact). It's a huge regional commercial center, and I imagine it is fun to live there, but the smaller towns are much more set in their ways, and more interesting. Lugo is also nice.

Sorry you are faced with such hard choices. Last time I was in the region, I decided to skip Santiago de Compostela. I wanted to lean away from where the tourists go and see where the Spanish lived. (I really wanted to go to Leon, but could not squeeze it in). But don't be afraid that you can only find in San Sebastian what you liked about San Sebastian. Yes, the beach and food are unique -- yet, other towns in Northern Spain have great personality and integral town core and really terrific food. Pontevedra was just a revelation that way.

Have a great time.
goldenautumn is offline  
Dec 19th, 2012, 06:37 AM
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PS: You can consider reversing your trip and flying into Barcelona but then flying to Vigo (there are 2 flights a day with Vueling, I think.) From there you can get a bus or train to Pontevedra or Santiago de Compostela.

You might even be able to fly to Santiago directly from Barcelona.
goldenautumn is offline  
Dec 19th, 2012, 04:57 PM
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Thanks goldenautumn...better to be faced with hard choices than no choices at all
Cdchi1 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2012, 06:36 PM
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OK I've been convinced that going west to east Spain in 16 nights is too much, so I've decided to spend it in Galicia, and some time in the Picos. A return to San Sebastian will just have to wait for another time. I've also noticed that between yesterday and today, for some strange reason the discrepancy in flight prices between going from Melb to Madrid, and Melb to SdC has reduced remarkable, so may not need to 'waste' anytime in Madrid.

I'll start going through all the great info posted above again and come up with a new itinerary The only wrinkle will be that I have to start and end in SdC to get the flight from SdC to Istanbul but not a huge drama.
Cdchi1 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2012, 09:39 PM
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There are regular buses I believe from Santiago de Compostela airport to Lugo, so you could save seeing Santiago itself for the end of your trip.

Pontevedra is less than an hour from Santiago de Compostela (again, I think there is a bus directly connecting with the airport), so I hope you you will spend some nights there if you are giving up San Sebastian.

If you don't have this website, it's useful, although I don't think you can rely on it for timetables or restaurant recs, because they are out of date by now.

goldenautumn is offline  
Dec 20th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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The Galiciaguide website is getting way out of date I think I read on his blog that the owner hasnot updated for some time and is working on other projects.
http://www.turgalicia.es is the official website, but there is so much information one can get lost in it and give up. Still at least I am on hand ;-)
Buses information can come from several points of information. So if the OP chooses locations maybe I can pin down some time tables. But i do know some companies do not have a web presence and some buses are not listed on the web. But hey we are talking Galicia here, so it is normal!
ribeirasacra is offline  
Dec 21st, 2012, 06:10 AM
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I'll wait to see your new itinerary for detailed comments, but I know Galicia and the Picos area well, so here are a few random things--

If you want to spend time doing some real hiking in the Picos, I think Fuente De is a good base. There are several well-marked trails that would be great day hikes. In Fuente De, the only accommodation option is the Hotel Rebeco (about 50E single) or the parador (which may have special rates that make it competitive with the Rebeco). There is also a campground with, I believe, a couple of rooms in the lodge that are available. http://www.elredondopicosdeeuropa.com/

Potes is a logical base in the Picos, but not without a car. It's a touristy town, has a few things to visit, and is in general a nice place. It's about 4 kms from the monastery of Sto. Toribio, which purportedly has a piece of the "true cross." There is a beautiful 10th century visigoth/romanesque church nearby in Lebena, but there is no public transportation that I know of.

With Santiago as a base in Galicia, you have many options for traveling around with public transport. I'd recommend a day trip to Lugo (amazing Roman walls, nice old town, good octopus), and a day or two by bus to Finisterre and/or Muxia. Both on the coast, with some nice walking possibilities.

Llanes is a nice coastal town (and near some very nice places like San Vicente de la Barquera, Cudillero, Luarca) and it has a fairly good bus system to surrounding towns. But from Llanes to the Picos as a day trip on public transit would be hard.

If I were going to spend much time in Asturias, the place on the top of my list would be Oviedo. It's a beautiful small city, lots to see, great ambiente.

You will have not shortage of things to do, that's for sure.
lreynold1 is offline  
Dec 21st, 2012, 08:45 AM
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Oviedo sounds like a good idea, and then you are also close to seaside Gijon: http://www.avidcruiser.com/port-prof...n/spain/gijon/

Great theaters both in Oviedeo and Gijón. Take a look at the program at El Teatro de la Laboral in Gijón: http://www.laboralciudaddelacultura....-artstica.html
The Laboral "city of culture" in the old university: http://www.laboralciudaddelacultura....esentacin.html
kimhe is offline  
Dec 21st, 2012, 02:10 PM
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Hi all...thanks. Sorry for the delay in posting my new itinerary, but I lost my Excel file that had my trip summary and could not remember what I came up with, so had to do it again. I've finalised my itinerary as follows:

- Fly into Santiago de Compostela immediately from Melbourne staying 3 nights
- A Coruna - 2 nights (4-5 hr to Oviedo
- Oviedo - 4 nights (4-5 hrs ALSA bus to Lugo)
- Lugo - 2 nights (2 hrs Monbus bus to Ourense
- Ourense - 1 nights (1.5 hrs Monbus bus to Vigo)
- Vigo or Pontevedra - 3 nights
- Santiago de Compostela - 1 night then fly to Istanbul

Including Oviedo makes things very difficult obviously.

Staying in Vigo seems to make more sense to me than Pontevedra in terms of a base to see Islas de Cies.
Cdchi1 is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2012, 05:07 AM
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As a johnnie-come-lately to this discussion, I don't want to throw a monkey wrench into it, but I personally would remove A Coruna from the itinerary. It has a nice old quarter, lots of pedestrian streets with bars and cafes and a nice walk along the water, but really doesn't have much else. I spent a night there once at the beginning of a short Camino de Santiago, and after visiting the Church of Santiago and having a nice dinner we were pretty much ready to leave.

Nor would Ourense rate that highly as one of 5 or 6 top places to visit in the north. It has a LOT of modern development along the river that is not very attractive. The old quarter once again is well preserved, and a little tourist train will take you out to the public thermal baths on the river that are free and extremely well maintained. The cathedral's portico is perhaps done by the same Maestro who did the Santiago cathedral's Portico de la Gloria (an amazing romanesque delight, now scaffolded for repair, however).

I've never been to the Islas de Cies, but hear they are beautiful. I've not spent too much time in Vigo, but really don't think it has much to offer. If you are using it as a base for day trips, it might be perfect because as such a large city, I assume it is very well connected via public transportation.

Pontevedra is a pretty place, great for walking around in its historic pedestrian center (a very nice parador, too), and you'll see lots of pilgrims walking the Camino Portugues there.

I liked your original idea of Llanes for a few days. There are many nice coastal walks, some absolutely beautiful, and good public transportation to some amazing beaches in the vicinity. The towns of Cudillero and Luarca are pretty nearby and very nice.

I realize you may of course have special reasons for wanting to go to the places you mention, and I don't mean to be a naysayer, just giving my opinion.
lreynold1 is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2012, 05:57 AM
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I too would drop A Coruna from the itinerary. Can you go straight to Lugo from Santiago? I believe you can get a bus from Lugo to Oviedo

My trip to Galicia was based primarily on food interests, so naturally I was not going to give up Ourense. I certainly wouldn't go to Ourense as a day trip and miss the tapas scene, and I think if you are including Oviedo and must leave from Santiago, then you pretty much have to spend a night in Ourense if you are going by public transportation.

Vigo is a huge commercial fishing port. (Possibly the biggest in Spain?) Pontevedra is far more interesting.

Therefore, I personally would

- Fly into Santiago de Compostela 3 nights
- Lugo - 2 nights
- Oviedo - 4 nights
- Lllanes - 2 nights
- Ourense - 1 nights
- Pontevedra - 3 nights with a day trip to the islas, or go directly to the islands if you can from Ourense, spend 1 night, then head up to Pontevedra for 2 nights
- Santiago de Compostela - 1 night then fly to Istanbul
goldenautumn is offline  

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