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2 week itenary Basque countries

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Mar 1st, 2011, 08:21 AM
  #1
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2 week itenary Basque countries

Hi,

my husband and I will stay in the Basque countries for 2 weeks this summer and would love to have some suggestions for where to spend them.

We'll arrive in Bilbao by plane in the late afternoon around 6 pm and leave from Bilbao 2 weeks later.

We've been thinking about this itenary:
Day 1: Bilbao or drive directly to the Rioja area
Day 2-5: In the Rioja area
Day 5-6: In the Biarritz area
Day 6-13: San Sebastian (we've booked this)
Day 13-15: Bilbao

We are really unsure if it's the best to rent a car at the airport and just drive diretcly to Laguardia or the area around. How are the streets when it's dark?

Should we spend 3 nights in Rioja or 2 nights there and 2 nights in the Biarritz area or somewhere else?

I'd be even happier if you also suggest some places to stay. It can be both apartments and hotels/special places.

I guess I should add that we prefer the not too touristic places even though I understand that we'll come accross this since we'll go in july/august.

Hope to have your suggestions and comments soon!
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Mar 1st, 2011, 09:23 AM
  #2
 
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When in the French Pays Basque make sure you drive up into the foothills of the Pyrenees to visit Ainhoa, Sare, Espellette, etc. We liked the small seaside city of St-Jean de Luz as well.
I don't think Rioja is in the Basque region.
From San Sebastian visit Hondarribia on the French border with it's medieval quarter and old fishermen's houses. We loved the Basque region and hope to return. If you haven't looked at www.maribelsguides.com check it out. Maribel has lots of helpful information on the Basque regions of Spain and France. Also, read "The Basque History of the World" by Michael Kurlansky before you leave home.
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Mar 1st, 2011, 10:03 AM
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You may be interested in reading my blog as a local Basque, www.blogseitb.us/basquetourism, it has some interesting suggestions on what to do, where to go, etc...

You´ll be arriving to a very safe place, streets are completely OK at night.
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Mar 1st, 2011, 10:46 AM
  #4
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Hi!

Thankyou for your answers and suggestions. Yes, I've been reading a little from Maribels guides
Have you got any particular comments on our 2 weel itenary and how we should spend the time?

We'll arrive at Bilbao around 6 pm in the evening. Will it be too late to drive to Laguardia or the areas around? Or should we stay the first night in Bilbao?

Looking foreward to have your point of views!
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Mar 1st, 2011, 11:58 AM
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Bilbao is a great city to visit, in any case it takes one hour and a half to Laguardia.
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Mar 1st, 2011, 12:38 PM
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You might want to see the Guggenheim in Bilbao.
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Mar 2nd, 2011, 11:28 AM
  #7
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I'll for sure see Bilbao!

Any comments on the itenary and if we should drive directly to la Rioja while landing at 6-7 p.m.

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Mar 2nd, 2011, 12:08 PM
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Sorry, I didn't read you itinerary properly to see you end up back in Bilbao. If you are flying in on a long haul, stop in Bilbao. If flying in from elsewhere in Europe, up to you, really.

If you have time, try to see the Bayonne old town and the Basque Museum ( closed over lunch, 12 to 2.)

Can't help with hotels as I only know San Sebastian hotels and am no expert.
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Mar 3rd, 2011, 07:15 AM
  #9
 
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I am planning a trip to the same area for part of my May travels. In the past I have found the ratings and detailed reviews in trip advisor,www.tripadvisor.com, very helpful in selecting hotels. I also cross-referenced some of them to Maribel's recommendations and those I found on this forum. If you do a searchs of this forum for the areas of interest you will find a lot of suggestions but make sure you use the advanced search and check box to search all comments and replys. Finally, you can see the hotels I choose by looking at my Mar 2 post "NORTHERN SPAIN TRIP: HELP REQUESTED TO FINALIZE ITINERARY". I can't recommend any of them yet though until after my trip. Also, in the reply is a link to a post from 2008 from Julie with her extensive trip report part of which was in the area you are visiting. Good luck.
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Mar 3rd, 2011, 08:43 AM
  #10
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Thx for your answers!

I'll have a look into that nformation.
Any particular suggestions on La Rioja rlm346? Or a good travel guide which covers all the areas?
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Mar 3rd, 2011, 10:56 AM
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I was captivated at St. Jean Pied du Port one trip. It is the real thing in the hills above Pamplona.
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Mar 3rd, 2011, 12:01 PM
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From what I have read in the sources I referenced, the area from Haro to Logrono is the place to be. I picked LaGuardia area since it was central and has some good restaurants/bars/wineries. The Castillo El Collado had great reviews and was recommended by Maribel. We have wanted to experience the Marques de Riscal since we first read about it in preparing for our first trip even though Elciego seems a bit too isolated to be a good base. I strongly recommend you read Maribel's guides on the Spainish Basque, La Rioja and French Basque regions. Some of it is was created several years ago but gives a good overview which you can selectively get updates elsewhere.
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Mar 3rd, 2011, 12:23 PM
  #13
 
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I stayed in Ainhoa, a beautiful little village and outside Bairritz. We visted Bilbao to see the Guggenheim., spent the night there. I found that part of spain dreary, we saw so little flowers until we got to the French side .
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Mar 3rd, 2011, 01:26 PM
  #14
 
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I don't think it will be too bad of a drive from Bilbao to La Rioja for the first night - it should only take 2 hours. I second the recommendation of a base in Laguardia. It's small but also large enough with nice restaurants & hotels. Maribel's hotel and dining recommendations for this area are excellent. I haven't really found one good guidebook for this geography. Cardogan, Footprint and Rough Guides have good books for Northern Spain covering a much wider geography but they are decent for this area.

I like your itinerary. Many people try to force too much into 2 weeks and your pace looks nice. Try to visit Vitoria & Pamplona in addition to some smaller villages along the coast and inland as daytrips.
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Mar 7th, 2011, 07:09 AM
  #15
 
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Hello
I´ve seen you are planning to visit Euskal Herria and in my opinion it is a good idea to drive to Errioxa ( La Rioja) if you arrive at 6 pm. It is summer, so you have 3 hours of light and after having rest you can visit all the area . Two days is enough and from that place you could visit Pamplona and the north of Nafarroa. From this place you could go to the north to Iparralde, the french Euskal Herria and from there to Donostia or San Sebastian.
From Donostia you could come to Bizkaia ( Bilbao) and visit Urdaibai and Bilbao city
I hope this information is helpful
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Mar 10th, 2011, 07:08 AM
  #16
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Hi everybody and thankyou!

So, we've decided to drive directly from Bilbao in the direction of Rioja the first evening. I think we'll stay in the Haro area, then 2 nights in Laguardia before heading north and having 2 more days to plan before one week in San Sebastian and spenings the very last days in Bilbao.

Can you suggest a particular route from Laguardia to the Pyrenees, Biarritz, St Pied de Port? Or something else. What should we stop and see on our way and where should we stay for the night? Any suggestions would be very much appreatiated!

Can't wait to plan more!
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