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Barcelona, San Sebastian, Bilbao with kids?

Barcelona, San Sebastian, Bilbao with kids?

Old Nov 26th, 2016, 08:20 AM
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Barcelona, San Sebastian, Bilbao with kids?

Hi, I am in the early stages of planning a family trip in June. We'll be flying into London and spending a few days there, and then plan to travel on to Spain and spend a week there. Our children are 12 & 9 and like history, museums, and architecture. They haven't been to either country.

I was thinking perhaps we'd spend a night or two in Barcelona, and then stay in a smaller city (perhaps San Sebastian) for 4 or 5 nights and do a mix of local sightseeing and daytrips. Does this seem too limited? Would you choose a different region of Spain?

I'd like to limit the number of places we stay, and like the idea of renting an apartment, enjoying local neighborhoods, walking around, eating well, and having a cultural experience. I wonder if there is a better choice than San Sebastian, or if you think this makes sense for us. The kids will probably be tiring by that point, so the prospect of a beach or pool holds some appeal.
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Old Nov 26th, 2016, 08:56 AM
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We spent 5 nights in San Sebastián in September. I've never eaten so well in my life. We could have stayed there forever. The beaches (there are 3) are beautiful, there are all kinds of neighborhoods to explore, the market is huge and fascinating, the thalassotherapy spa is exceptional, the gardens and parks are gorgeous, the old shopping district is full of treasures, and there is plenty for people of all ages to enjoy. I think it would be perfect for a family.

We had a car, but we actually did a daytrip to Bilbao by bus that was very easy and inexpensive.
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Old Nov 26th, 2016, 09:18 AM
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Ditto to all StCirq says. Barcelona is an adventure and San Sebastián/Donostia is my favourite city on the planet since I first visited in the late 1980's. Bilbao is also a fascinating contrast to San Sebastián, much more to Bilbao than the spectacular Guggenheim museum.

San Sebastián is a feast for all senses, the culinary capital of Spain if not all of Europe, lots of fun for the kids and an excellent base to explore the region.


- The 12th century Castillo de la Mota on top of Monte Urgull, just above the Parte vieja/Old town in San Sebastián. Have had many great picnics up here: http://www.sansebastianturismo.com/e...f-mount-urgull

- San Telmo museum on the edge of the Parte vieja, in a 16th Century Dominican convent and about Basque society, history and culture: http://www.sansebastianturismo.com/e...ecture/museums

- The Miramar Palace, used to be the Royal summer residence in San Sebastián from some 150 years ago. During the summer months it now hosts the University of the Basque Country's great quality international summer courses over a vide range of topics: http://www.sansebastian.travel/en/miramar-palace/

- Take the steep funicular up to the old world amusement park on top of Monte Igueldo. Fabulous views of the city, the bay and the sea from up here: http://www.monteigueldo.es/en/index_en.php

- The Eureka science museum with the digital Planetarium etc. etc. in the Miramón Technology park:

- The Aquarium: http://aquariumss.com/

- Some of the finest city beaches in Europe: http://www.sansebastianturismo.com/e...o-to-the-beach

- And go for the world famous pintxos, the Basque stellar variant of tapas. A fun and affordable way to have a tailor made gourmet meal. http://www.euskoguide.com/food-drink...ntxos-pinchos/
The best pintxos, pintxos bars and suggested routes etc: http://www.todopintxos.com/home/home.php?lang=en

Here are two great guides to the region: http://tourism.euskadi.eus/en/

About Bilbao: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/a...navarra/bilbao
About Barcelona: http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/
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Old Nov 26th, 2016, 09:53 AM
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I wouldn't count on a good swimming experience. The beach is pretty, but the water is cold. I wouldn't go in till Aug. or Sept. But kids being kids, that won't matter to them ! Enjoy.
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Old Nov 26th, 2016, 10:01 AM
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And tons of things to do, see and experience around San Sebastián. Here are some ideas that might be fun for both the kids and you.

Visit the witches in the Zugarramurdi cave:
Also a witch museum here: http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/z...i-witch-museum

The old university town Oñati (the university from 1540) and the close by Arantzazu sanctuary: http://tourism.euskadi.eus/en/towns/...aa30-12375/en/

The Hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe:

The historical capital Guernica, world famous for the 1937 German/Franco terror bombings and Picasso's masterpiece of the same name: http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...rnica-tourism/

See some of the best football (soccer) teams in the world in either San Sebastián (Real Sociedad), the football miracle town Eibar or in Bilbao. Always a great spectacle, and Real Madrid and FC Barcelona play here at least six times pr. year. http://www.football-espana.net/58466...asque-takeover

I also recommend lunch in either Getaria just west of San Sebastián (sensational seafood) or in the old capital Tolosa a little inland (the best steaks in the world).
Getaria: http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...taria-tourism/
Expect this: http://www.thepauperedchef.com/2007/...-in-getar.html
Tolosa: http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...olosa-tourism/
The steaks in Casa Julián are out of this world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOaLtnbKOos
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Old Nov 26th, 2016, 12:32 PM
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I too love San Sebastian, more so in July Aug. and Sep. It is a beach town and has the best food scene in the world. What it doesn't have is the romance, music, art and architecture of "Old Spain" that many first time visitors (especially from the states) are looking for. That is easiest to find in Andalucia (Seville, Granada, Cordoba, Malaga etc.)Also the museums in Madrid are as good as any in the world. Barcelona is like it's own country, Catalonia.
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Old Nov 26th, 2016, 05:06 PM
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Thank you, this is all so very helpful!
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