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heeney Mar 22nd, 2011 05:56 AM

Barcelona/Bilbao/San Sebastian itinerary - pls critique
We are leaving in early May. Wanted to give a rundown of what we are doing and get some feedback.

Sat - Arrive at 7am. Check into Hotel Omm. Walk down Ramblas, stop at Boqueria for early lunch. Then see Palay Guell (which sould be open to the public in time for us). Up Montjuic to see Olympic stadium, Fundacio Joan Miro, and MNAC. Then back down the hill, and wander through Raval and stop by Mueu d'art contemporani. Then back to the hotel to rest for a little. Dinner on Aveneida Paral-lel. And wander Barri Gotic after dinner.

Sun - See Palau de la Musica Catalana (not sure if we'll take a tour or not). Then Museu Picasso and Santa Maria del Mar. Lunch at El Xampanyet. Wander around the gothic quarter again. See the Cathedral, Plaça del Rei, and Plaça Reial. Then go to Parc de la Ciutadella, and see the Olympic Port. Dinner at Cerveceria Catalana and maybe scout what else is open Sunday night.

Mon - Casa Batllo/Casa Mila, Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell. Not sure what else to do here. We aren't going inside Mila or Batllo because we already have been inside. So this day may be spent picking up things we may missed Sat and Sun. For lunch, not sure if we should do Tapac24 (sound good and casual). or Alkimia (since we heard good things and it's near Sagrada Familia).

Tues - Go to the Passeig Gracia station and catch the train to Girona. See the Cathedral and Cinema Museum (I'm a film-nut). Then lunch at El Celler de Can Roca. Take the train back and get off at Sants station. See Sant Pau del Camp and MAYBE Museu Marítim if we have time. Then since we had a big lunch we're having drinks and snacks at 41 Degrees.

Wed - Flight from BCN to Bilbao. Get to Bilbao @ 10 am. Check into Hotel Miro. Go to Guggenheim (and have lunch at the bistro there) and maybe Bellas Artes. See Santiago Calatravas bridge. Wander the old town. For dinner we'll do a Pinxtos crawl around the town. Also heard Cafe Iruna was good. Any help for other sights to see would be appreciated.

Thursday - Check out of hotel. Rent a car from Europcar at the train station. Drive to San Sebastian (stopping in Axpe for lunch @ Extebarri). Drop the car off at SS rail station and walk to hotel (5 mins away). Hang out at Zurriola beach and eat dinner at Ni Neu or Bodega Alejandro.

Friday - Concha Beach, Palacio Miramar, Monte Iqueldo. Lunch. Then down to see the Cathedral.

Sat - Santa Maria del Coro, Palacio del Mar (Aquarium), Paseo Nuevo, Monte Urgull, Museo de San Telmo (it maybe closed). Lunch will be Pintxos in the old town.

Sun - Take a taxi to Mugaritz for lunch. Then back to the old town to wander. Pinxtos for dinner. Haven't made a lot of sightseeing plans for this day. Any suggestions?

Mon - Flight home in the morning from EAS.

Let me know how this is. Thanks!

Egbert Mar 22nd, 2011 08:20 AM

Looks like you've got it all covered. Couldn't have planned it any better. Lunch at the Googy is a good idea. Etxebarri would be a meal of a lifetime. Please post a trip report. Not enough days in San Sebastian for me. You need to spend an afternoon in Getaria and have lunch at Elkano or Kaia, grilled rodaballo. The San Telmo museum has reopened.

kimhe Mar 22nd, 2011 08:53 AM

This site is great about going for the famous pintxos. Suggested routes etc, and note that some of the best places are on the other side of the river Urumea, in the Gros district (Bergara, Lagar, Ramuntxo, Donostiarra etc.). But going for pintxos in the Parte vieja is a very special experience, you can't do much wrong, must be some 50-60 bars/restaurants in this small area alone, and anyone less than excellent would be out of business in two weeks.

CathyM Mar 22nd, 2011 09:10 AM

If you haven't been to Barcelona before you might be pushing it to do a daytrip. You've only allowed for 4 days, the first of which will likely be jetlagged (assuming you are arriving on a transatlantic flight). You may not have time for a daytrip to Girona - but you could play it by ear.

I'd definately try to visit Getaria for more of a smaller fishing village experience.

mikelg Mar 22nd, 2011 09:31 AM

And you can´t miss the funicular train (used solely by locals) to top of Artxanda, one of the hills surrounding Bilbao, for spectacular views of the city.

heeney Mar 22nd, 2011 10:05 AM

Egbert, Glad to hear I "didn't" have enough days in SS. I was concerned I had too many. But we needed that many to accomodate all the places we wanted to eat. :)
Is the San Telmo museum worth seeing?

Kimhe, I'll check those areas out. I've been using a website called "todopintxos" that shows good reviews and routes.

CathyM, We have been to Barcelona before. So this trip is to see things we missed last time, and also revisit our favorite places from last time. Also, we definitly are doing Girona because we want to eat at El Celler de Can Roca. We are big foodies so that's a big draw for us.

mikelg, thanks for the tip on Artxanda. We'll check that out. Are there any other architectural places like Gehrys museum and Calatravas bridge worth seeing? We are big architecture buffs.

mikelg Mar 22nd, 2011 10:59 AM

Definitely. Can´t miss the Unesco World Heritage Monument, the Hanging Bridge (on my blog), unique in the world. The airport is also Calatrava´s. And buildings from Isozaki, César Pelli (Iberdrola Tower), the elevators to the upper part of town, the museum of reproductions, the museum of fine arts, second to El Prado...another thing you can´t miss is the Alhóndiga, a former wine and goods warehouse,, rebuilt and designed by Philippe Starck, and with a wonderful exhibition of Bilbao as presented in Shangai World Exhibition...This long unknown town is full of surprises.

alliesun10 Mar 22nd, 2011 11:06 AM

Saving your itinerary! My fiance and I are going on our honeymoon this July in Paris and San Sebastian. Please post a trip report when you return :)

heeney Mar 22nd, 2011 11:53 AM

Awesome! So glad you pointed these out. I heard about Eiffels bridge. Didn't know if it was worth the hour trip to it though. Expecially since we are only in Bilbao 1 day. It is an Unesco momument though. Good point.
I'm a big fan of Calatrava and also Starck. So that is very nice. And I didn't realize the Bellas Artes was so great. So say it's second to the Prado is a bold statement. If thats true we won't miss it.

Alliesun10, First...Congrats! My wife and I went to paris way back on our honeymoon and it was perfect! Second, if you are into food like my wife and I are then you are in for a treat with those two places!

I'll make sure to post updates when we get back.

mikelg Mar 22nd, 2011 12:38 PM

It´s not Eiffel´s, it was built by a local architect. Check its web page, it´s certainly a must, And you can take the elevator all the way to the top.

heeney Mar 22nd, 2011 01:05 PM

Ah! It was Alberto Palacio. One of Eiffels "deciples". My mistake.
OK. I'll check into that. Not sure if we'd be able to squeeze it in since we are there only for 1 day and it's kind of far from the city. Wish I had planned more time there now I know of all these other places.
I guess Bilbao doesn't get enough cred.

heeney Mar 22nd, 2011 01:37 PM

Also, can you give me an idea where these elevators are located? Not familiar with them and can't seem to find anything when I google it.

mikelg Mar 22nd, 2011 02:02 PM

It´s a 15´drive from Bilbao, 20´on the metro. there are three elevators in Bilbao, one in El Arenal, another one in Iturribide Street (Old Town) and the other one in the outskirts. The funicular train to Artxanda may also be a very wise idea, spectacular views from top.

CathyM Mar 22nd, 2011 02:08 PM

Ugh - I have 3 days left open in my September Rioja/Basque country trip and was planning on visiting somewhere new (to be determined where). However, I think you've lured me back to Bilbao. It makes sense logistically and is a great city :)

mikelg Mar 22nd, 2011 09:03 PM

You certainly won´t regret it. In my blog there´s an entry about what to do and see in Bilbao for a day, or two.

heeney Mar 23rd, 2011 05:20 AM

OK, got some great feedback so far (as always)!
So I went and revised my itinerary for our day in Bilbao. Here we go:

Land at the airport @ 10am, take a while to enjoy Calatravas airport, then grab a taxi to Hotel Miro and check in.
Walk to Museo Bellas Artes. Walk around museum. Walk to Guggenheim Bilbao, via Iberdrola Tower. See the museum and have lunch at the Bistro in the museum. Walk to Zubizuri (Calatravas bridge). Cross the bridge at take the funicular up the hill to Artxanda. Come back down the funicular, cross Zubizuri again, and go to Isozaki Atea. Then walk from there to Alhondiga. Stopping along the way at whatever strikes our fancy. From Alhondiga, walk to Indautxu metro. Take the metro to Areeta stop. See the Hanging Bridge. Jump back on the metro at either Areeta or Portugalete. Ride back and get off at the Casco Viejo stop. From there, begin our Pinxtos crawl for dinner wandering the old town and gradually heading back in the direction of Hotel Miro...where we will inevitably collapse at the end of a long day. :)

Verdict? Suggestions?

CathyM Mar 23rd, 2011 07:30 AM

Wow - that's a busy day. Hope you aren't jetlagged. I'd make reservations for lunch at the Guggenheim - we had reservations but saw several parties turned away bacause they did not. You may want to consider taking the shuutle bus from the airport vs the taxi. It's easy and much less expensive.

heeney Mar 23rd, 2011 07:37 AM

We shouldn't be jet-lagged because we are only taking an hour flight from Barcelona.
It would indeed be a busy day. I'm sure it will get paired down significantly depending on our mood at the time. The only thing there that is a solid must is the Guggenheim.
Where does the shuttle drop you?

CathyM Mar 23rd, 2011 08:13 AM

This link gives you the detail.

It ends at the Termibus station but stops in Gran Vía 79, Plaza Moyua and Alameda Recalde 11. I think the stop at Alameda Recalde 11 is only a couple of blocks from your hotel (according to google maps).

I took the airport bus to the Termibus station last September and it was very easy and efficient.

mikelg Mar 23rd, 2011 10:54 AM

Verdict: good, but you´ll be dead by the end of the day. Sit down somewhere for a drink and a pintxo in between...:)

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