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A week in Spain: Basque Country or Andalucia?

A week in Spain: Basque Country or Andalucia?

Mar 31st, 2011, 03:56 PM
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A week in Spain: Basque Country or Andalucia?

My husband and I are planning our first trip to Spain. We love exploring villages and the countryside along with the culture of the country. We like staying in a place for a few days - not skipping from town to town in a hurry to get to the next place.

That being said we were wondering what part of Spain to visit. We will be traveling the end of May and beginning of June. What is the weather like in southern Spain as oppose to northern Spain?

Any ideas would be welcome.
tstone is offline  
Mar 31st, 2011, 04:21 PM
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Southern Spain will be VERY hot. We've been there twice in april and the temps were in the high 80s. In summer temps of 100 are usual.

When Spaniards go on summer vacatin they go to San Sebastian - the only cool part of the country due to the ATlantic coast and mountains behind.

IMHO Andalusia is by far the most interesting part of the country - but unless you love heat not for the summer.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 31st, 2011, 04:45 PM
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How much time do you have?
danon is online now  
Mar 31st, 2011, 05:29 PM
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If this is your first trip to Spain I'd choose Andalucia, probably 4 days in Sevilla (w/a daytrip to Cordoba), 2 days in Granada and the remainder in Malaga. You could probably fly one leg (if not both) from Malaga.

The heat shouldn't be too unbearable in early June unless you are very sensitive.

I've traveled to Spain every spring for the last 10 years - most of the trips in mid-April and a couple in early May. The weather in Cordoba, Sevilla and Granada during my early May trips was quite nice - short sleeves during the day and long sleeves or a light sweater at night.

May is the time for many festivals in Andalucia - ferias in many villages and citys and the Patio festival in Cordoba. If you can plan your trip around one of these it would be even better.

Whichever you choose you will have a great time I'm sure. These are my 2 favorite areas of Spain. Andalucia is what most people envision when they think of Spain. The Basque country is very unique and unlike any part of Spain. I'd save for another trip when you can appreciate better the differences (and perhaps add another week and explore more of the North).
CathyM is offline  
Mar 31st, 2011, 06:14 PM
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They are very different and each has its own rewards. The Basque country is one of the most beautiful areas of Spain and San Sebastian has the best food in Spain.

As Cathy noted the south is what most envision Spain to be. The Alhambra is one tourist sight that lives up to reputation and Sevilla is a wonderful walking city. And it will be hot as hell. I remember one visit to Merida in June and only maddogs and two American tourists were out in the noon day sun.

On the other hand there are a few places in Basque country where the Spanish go to retreat from the heat during the summer.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Mar 31st, 2011, 11:05 PM
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Past 14 years temperature statistics for Andalucía, the beginning of June:

Málaga (coast) highs: 77-84°F
Sevilla (inland) highs: 83-95°F
kimhe is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 05:14 AM
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Thanks for your replies. It seems that Andalucia could be in the 90's at the beginning of June. A bit too hot for us. We may consider that region for another time in the autumn.
That being said, we have a week to explore the Basque area. Some posts suggest staying in Bilbao for a night to visit the museum. Then we would head up north to San Sebastian. What other towns are on the list to visit? Would staying in San Sebastian as a base be good and then explore by car or bus?
tstone is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 07:15 AM
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Exactly how many nights would you have actually in Spain? Does the week include travel time to Spain?
Have you already made flight arrangements? If so, would you need to fly into/out of Madrid?
CathyM is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 08:00 AM
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I think your choice of the Basque Country is a good one, but, you should be prepared for some rain during the time you are there. You might also consider staying in just one town, as there is, IMHO, not a lot of reason to relocate when everything is within easy driving distance.

If you were in to stay in San Sebastian, which is worth several days on its own, you could easily reach Bilbao, Pamplona, and Hondarribia if you were to rent a car.

That said, for the time your are considering, you might inquire about apartment or villa rental. I'm certain that if there is a service or rental agency available, the helpful people on this board would be able to provide references.
Jeff801 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 08:55 AM
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"If you were in to stay in San Sebastian, which is worth several days on its own, you could easily reach Bilbao, Pamplona, and Hondarribia if you were to rent a car"

These are all doable by bus: one hour for Bilbao and Pamplona and 30 min for Hondarribias.
weber6560 is offline  
Apr 1st, 2011, 10:09 AM
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San Sebastián is not a bad choice. A great lot of both Spanish and foreigners hold this as their no.1 city. Among all the great cities in Spain, I know of no better. This gives you an idea of San Sebastián and the region: http://marshlands.blogstream.com/
kimhe is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2011, 07:40 AM
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If the 90's is too hot for you I would go to San Sebastian. Stay in SS for at least a week and take trips to Bilbao, Lekeitio, Getaria, Hondarribia, St. Jean. Actually I would be perfectly happy to stay put in San Sebastian for a week. Bilbao is worth a night, if you want to stay somewhere quiet, a night in Lekeitio would be nice.
Egbert is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2011, 01:06 PM
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Thanks for all the ideas. We will have seven days to explore the area. Would it be best to fly into Madrid and then fly to Bilbao? Is the museum worth a visit? It seems that staying in San Sebastian for most of the vacation is a good idea. We also like to be in small villages too. What is Lekeito like or Hondarribia? Any other cultural things to do in the area - museum, ruins, etc. I will be reading more blogs etc. but thought I would ask. Thanks again.
tstone is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2011, 01:50 PM
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I'd book a connecting flight from Madrid directly to Bilbao. It normally doesn't cost much more when you initially book your tickets to do it this way.

Personally with 7 days I'd spend 4 in San Sebastian, 1-2 in a smaller village (Geteria, Lekeitio, Hondarribia, etc...) and 1-2 in Bilbao. As much as I hate 1-nighters I love Bilbao at night. Alternatively you could base yourself the entire trip in San Sebastian and do all this as daytrips.

Maribel's guides are wonderful, particularly for this area:


There are pros and cons of having a car. This can be done with public transportation but it's nice to be able to explore on your own reaching places very difficult to reach by bus or with infrequent connections. The issue with a car is that parking can be quite expensive in Bilbao & San Sebastian - you need to factor this into your budget and decision.
CathyM is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2011, 04:29 PM
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We will also be going to Spain the last 2 weeks in May.
We chose to fly into Hondarribia (via Madrid) and rent a car there.
Besides San Sebastian, Bilbao and La Rioja Alavesa, we will be traveling west via Cantabria and flying home from Oviedo, Asturias.

Reason we're renting a car is because we want to visit smaller villages along the way that are not easily reached via public transportation.
You may want to look at this website for country houses (B&B's) as an alternative to big hotels: http://www.toprural.co.uk/Holiday-co...Spain_9_h.html

So far, we have booked a cople of "casas rurales" as well as small hotels. We're leaving a few nights open for "whatever happens".
Ajilimojili is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2011, 05:23 PM
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We toured Basque country while on a 35-day driving tour of France and Spain, and stayed in Pamplona for one night, Vittorio one night, Lekeitio for two nights, Bilbao one night. We LOVED Lekeitio, and if it hadn't been raining the day we pulled in, and they hadn't been 'midst their film festival, we probably would have stayed in San Sebastian for a couple of nights too. It was a wonderful region for food & wine & BEAUTIFUL scenery. Our whole trip through the region was on a "whatever happened" basis...it was in a mid-September through mid October time frame. (No, the whole trip wasn't at that pace. We had one more one-nighter in Zaragosa before we stopped for a week in Barcelona, then headed up the coast to SW France.)

We really did feel we got a good impression of Basque Country. Loved the road signs. There is an obvious absence of vowels in the Basque language.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2011, 06:42 AM
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Thanks everyone - We are going to get our map out today and create an itinerary. I like the idea of staying in SS and then two nights in a small village as well as Bilbao. Also like the idea of renting a car- we like to explore.
One other question - what is the weather like at the end of May/beginning of June? Also any hotel ideas in SS would be helpful.
tstone is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2011, 07:35 AM
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All things being equal, the weather should be perfect that time of year. High 70's during the day.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2011, 07:50 AM
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Hi tstone - you will love SS. We stayed two nights in Hondaribbia and loved it. You can take a boat from there to Hendaye on the French side every 30 minutes. You can see the Beach in Hendaye from Hondaribbia. In SS we stayed at Hotel Codena. It is about a 25 minute walk to the old town but there is a bus right in front of the hotel if you do not feel like walking. There is a fridge in the room and a grocery store just a block away. It is modern and clean with a wonderful view from the large window. There is parking for a fee but it is very tight.
Micheline is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2011, 09:38 AM
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Hi all,
Thanks for all the info on hotels etc.
Now we have our big atals out and are up in the air to where we want to go for seven days. Basque area sounds great. However, since it is our very first time to Spain we are wondering if we are missing out not going to Barcelona - seeing all of Guadi's masterpieces etc. Would it be worth it to spend time there for two nights and go to SS afterwards? AND Andalusia is on my top list but with the heat into the 90's the first week of June it might not be the best. Anyway lots of rambling. Any further ideas for first timers to Spain would be greatly appreciated.
tstone is offline  

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