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2 weeks in Spain with 2 teenaged daughters

2 weeks in Spain with 2 teenaged daughters

Mar 21st, 2009, 07:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 41
2 weeks in Spain with 2 teenaged daughters

Travelling with family this summer: The broad itinerary is finally in place! Girls are not yet excited (spouse definitely is, however), as one is waiting to hear from colleges and the other, well, it's not yet real to her.

The Plan:

Landing in Bilbao 24 July and driving to San Sebastian, where we're renting an apartment in the town for a week.

(Looking for advice on restaurants, good day trips -- Biarritz, wine country, Bilbao, Hondarribia -- share your favorites and stories).

Driving to Parador Cangas de Onis (east of Gijon and Oviedo, Pico de Europas) on 31 July, staying for 4 days.

Driving 4 August to Parador Santillana del Mare (Santander) for 1 night, before flying to London on 5 August. 24 hours in London before the flight home; staying near Paddington.

All input and insight welcome, as usual!

kdkahn is offline  
Mar 21st, 2009, 08:15 AM
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Take in a bull fight. Here is a cool picture. http://tinyurl.com/4mka6b
spaarne is offline  
Mar 21st, 2009, 08:54 AM
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"Driving to Parador Cangas de Onis (east of Gijon and Oviedo, Pico de Europas) on 31 July, staying for 4 days."

Is there enough for teens to do there?

Santander is a university town with a population of almost 200.000 - it might be of more interest to young people.
danon is online now  
Mar 21st, 2009, 08:59 AM
Join Date: May 2007
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Santander has one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain and the teens might like hanging out with the Spaniards.

Also take them to see Altamira II. I was fortunate enough to see the orginal cave drawing when I was 22 amd I am still interested today. It was exciting to think these drawing were done 15,000 years ago.

Also your trip is not overly ambitious. It is only about one hour drive from Bilbao to San Sebastian but drive from the airport to the town and see the outisde of the museum. The collection itself is not worth the time.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2009, 09:30 AM
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Go walking in the Picos d'europa. One monastery up there has enough of the holy cross to build a battleship.

Eat churros with chocolate

Visit Riojas
bilboburgler is online now  
Mar 21st, 2009, 09:33 AM
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"but drive from the airport to the town and see the outisde of the museum. "

sorry, have to disagree. The inside of the museum is wonderful, although the collection may not be for everyone's taste.
danon is online now  
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:03 PM
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Hi, KdKhan:
I love your plan. You're going to visit my favourite part of Spain. And I travel a lot in Spain, as I live in Madrid.
I returned from Cangas de Onis two weeks ago.I went with my wife and stayed in a small rural hotel there. The Parador is one of the most beautiful in Spain. In fact is an old Romanic monastery reconstructed. You will love it. Only thing is that it's about 2 kms from the town center, but it's not a problem if you have a car.
While at the area don't miss going to Covadonga. It's a very nice monastery constructed in the cave where the Spanish king Pelayo beated the arabs in the 8th century and started to reconquer Spain. It's just 10 Kms from the Parador. Then follow the road from Covadonga to visit The Covadonga Lakes. It's a beatufil mountain road about 12 kms long. It starts in the monastery and you will arrive to a very beautiful lake in the middle of the mountains. You will think you're in switzerland¡¡¡. A good place for a picnic too.
At cangas you must see the Roman Bridge. Walk over it and see the Romanic cross hanging on the lower part.
I will recomend you to have a meal at a "Sidreria" (Cider House. Cider is the tipycal drink of the area and it's very good. It's also amazing to see how the throw it from the bottle hanging above the head to the glass which is one meter below. We went to a tipycal one, recomended in Spanish guides called "Sidreria El Polesu" (Angel Tarano street ,3).Look first. It's small and noisy, but very tipical.It looks like the place local folks go to have their Cider and tapas. You can order some Tapas and a bottle of Cider. See how they serve it and just look at the people.
If you stay on a Sunday you can go to the "Sunday market" in the town place. IT's a small market of food. Don't miss the Cheese area. Cheese is very good in the area; but be careful. The most popular are very strong. The best and most popular is called "Cabrales". It's very strong and tasteful. I love it.
From Cangas you can go to the beautiful towns of Llanes in the coast; it's about 40 kms. It has a medieval center and a very nice walk built in the high of the city walls and just hanging on a cliff by the sea.It's called "Paseo de San Pedro" (St. Peter'walk).
If you drive to Cangas from San Sebastian, you can stop at Santander. It's a beautiful summer city. It used to be the place wher spanish Kings used to spend their summer (now they go to Mallorca). The highway from Bilbao to santander is very beautiful too and when you leave Santander towards Cangas you will pass a lot of small towns by the sea. I will recomend to stop at Comillas. I very nice and popular summer town. It has a Gaudi's building called "El Capricho".
While in San sebastian, enjoy the most beautiful beach in Spain: La concha. Walk around the old town and stop at any of the multiple bar's and restaurants to have some tapas. Be careful, spanish use is to stop at a lot of bar's having a lot of tapa's. If you order a beer or a wine in each one, you may have problems....but there's a trick. Just order a "zurito" of beer or a "chiquito" of wine. They will serve you then a very small amount of beer or wine that will allow you to continue to the next bar¡¡¡.
In the old city of San Sebastian there's a well known bar called ALCALDE, where you will find the best Jamon (Ham) in the city. And if you like Jamon, go in Bilbao to a place called "La viña", near the Town Hall.It has the best Ham in Bilbao.
If you want to have a very special AND EXPENSIVE meal in San Sebastian; you can choose between two of the Best spanish restaurants: Arzak and Akelarre. Many people prefer Arzak; but my favourite is Akelarre. It's located on the top of Mount Igueldo,on a cliff dominating the seaside and it has spectacular modern food. Due to the excellent views, it's better to go for Lunch and ask a window table. Order the Tasting menu, composed of abuot 10 small dishes that will allow you to have a complete sample of all the food and enjoy the food and the view.
But don't worry. If you don't want to spend a lot of money; we say in Spain that no matter the restaurant you choose in San Sebastian you always eat like a king.
I hope that helps. If you need any more help, don't hesitate to ask. Enjoy Spain and come back soon.
andonius is offline  
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:08 PM
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Nice trip--you will love San Sebastian. I do agree that you have too much time in Cangas and too little in Santander.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Mar 21st, 2009, 12:10 PM
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I forgot to tell you that you can do a day trip from San Sebastian to Pamplona.It's about one and a half hour drive by Highway. Pamplona is a very nice city and you can walk the streets where the "San Fermin" bull runs take place in July (without bulls, of course).
andonius is offline  
Mar 21st, 2009, 07:40 PM
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Hi all -

Computer keeps closing IE, so I'll be back with more detail later, but many thanks!

kdkahn is offline  
Mar 21st, 2009, 08:40 PM
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In San Sebastian walk along the west side beach promenade to the end to see the Chillida sculpture and then walk over to the tram (behind the tennis courts) and ride to the top of Mt Igueldo which has a great view. Also go to the Old Town in San Sebastian and try several of the excellent tapas bars. If you can't find street parking there's a large underground parking garage downtown that's only a couple blocks from the old part of town. We looked for the crowded tapas bars and would walk in and check out the tapas lining the bar counter to decide if we wanted to try something there. And nothing goes better with a seafood tapa than a glass of the local white wine, Txacholi. An excellent restaurant in Santander is El Serbal -it only has 1 Michelin star compared to 3 for Arzak - but then it's also 1/3 the price. Santander is a short drive to Santillana del Mar and the Altamira museum with cave reproductions. However if you want a really fun cave adventure see if the tourist info office in Santillana del Mar can make reservations for you to tour Cueva Chufin. You have to drive to the tour guides (Antonio) home in the little town of Riclones, and he takes you by SUV, a walk thru fields, & then a rowboat to the cave.
uwhusky is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 05:16 AM
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Hello all again. Back on line in a predictable way. Malware is the worst. Anyway, enough of that...

Thanks for the great detailed recommendations, Andonius and uwhusky. Your replies are printed and in the planning folder, underlined. One question on the road to Covadonga from Cangas: Would it likely scare someone (me) to drive it? I found out when we in Italy 2 years ago that I do have a problem with steep, twisty mountain roads. A whole lot of adrenalin takes over, and not in a good way!

I am only a little concerned about the length of stay in Cangas. I could hike all day and the Pico de Europas come highly recommended. The girls on the other hand, are probably more interested in shopping, eating, hanging in quaint little towns. From Cangas, it looks like a short drive to the coast and Gijon. Llanes sound great. Any other thoughts on that what would make a break (for the girls) from the beauty of the mountains?

uwhusky, thanks for the tips on the caves. I had also heard of a replica of the Altamira caves -- is it worth visiting. Last, are the cave tours likely to intimidate someone with a bit of claustrophobia? Open spaces underground are not a problem. Crawling through tight spaces, however, is.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

Thanks again!

kdkahn is offline  
Mar 25th, 2009, 07:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Places I like in San Sebastian and surrounding areas:
The traditional Basque cuisine of "Casa Nicolasa" at San Sebastian.

The Funicular de Igeldo and the old amusement park which opened in 1912.
San Sebastian's Funicular Railway consists of two carriages which transport passenger both up and down at the same time connecting Ondarreta Beach at the bottom, with the popular Monte Igeldo Amusement Park at the top, offering spectacular coastal views of La Concha Bay along the way.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/1331599717/

The colored façades in Hondarribia

Restaurant "Kaia-Kaipe" at the port of Getaria.
Two restaurants in one. Kaipe is a carvery only. Kaia has a more innovative cuisine. Both have views of the port and the sea. Marvellous grill. "Chuleta de buey" (beef chop), "pescados a la parrilla" (grilled fish), "txangurro" (baked spider crab).

The Tolosa's Saturday "Tinglado" market where the farmers offer their local products.
Revulgo is online now  
Mar 25th, 2009, 07:48 AM
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Instead of staying in Cangas de Onis, I would go to Llanes (Asturias). Llanes is one of my favourite small towns on the north coast. There are some nice hotels, wonderful beaches, nice little restaurants, charming old town and fortifications (Napoleon era) etc.
Covadonga is nice indeed, but in August and September (and during public holidays) you must use the shuttle service to go to the Covadonga lakes.
My favourite hiking route round the Covadonga lakes: http://www.topwalks.net/en/picos_eur..._covadonga.htm
You will find other routes from the same web site if you are interested. But I recommend to do at least this one, it is very easy.
The road up to the lakes is twisty and steep, but it is not dangerous.
Sidrerias and the local cider culture are worth visiting. Also I liked the cider museum in Nava (Asturias) and I am not a big fan of museums.
walksntalks is offline  

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