Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Barcelona to Basque country--best itinerary?

Barcelona to Basque country--best itinerary?

Old Feb 18th, 2004, 05:41 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Barcelona to Basque country--best itinerary?

Hi. I will be going to Spain for a week in March and was planning on spending four days in Barcelona then taking the train to Pamplona, spending a day there and night, then going to San Sebastien for another day and night and then to Bilbao for a day and night before flying out. Does this sound doable? Or should I spend three days in Barcelona and more time in the other places? I mainly want to see the Guggenheim in Bilbao and not much else. I hear San Sebastien is nice. Is taking the train the best way to get around? Should I buy a rail pass here before I leave or buy individual train tickets when I get there? Any advice much appreciated! Thanks in advance.
tintintoo is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2004, 07:59 PM
  #2  
CFW
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,482
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We visited Barcelona & the Basque coast two years ago & loved it. Barcelona has lots to see & great restaurants, so you should allow at least three days. I would recommend many other places over Pamplona. We flew from Barcelona to Hondarribia, spent a couple of days in Hondarrribia/San Sebastian, then rented a car and drove along the coast to Santilla del Mar (past Bilbao & about 45 minutes inland from the coast) stopping at lovely fishing villages along the way. We flew back the the U.S. from Santander. It was a great trip.
CFW is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2004, 06:12 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
CFW: Thanks for your helpful post. Did you rent a car the whole time there? I was planning to take the train from Barcelona to San Sebastien, via Pamplona, and then rely on local transportation in Bilbao and San Sebastien. You are making me think I should skip Pamplona altogether. Would you recommend making San Sebastien the base out west and then travelling around from there--along the coast, Bilbao, etc.? I have to be in Bilbao the last night because of an early a.m. flight. What other villages around Sebastien do you recommend? I guess there isn't an easy way to see the coast without a car. Did you rent in the States beforehand or while in Spain? Sorry for all the questions! I've never been to Spain before. Thanks in advance for your help!
tintintoo is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2004, 06:40 PM
  #4  
CFW
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,482
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
tintintoo, You certainly could make San Sebastian your base & do trips from there.
March will be cool, and you will not be able to enjoy swimming & sunning on the beach, but the view is lovely & there are lots of great restaurants & tapas bars. We love having a car to see small towns & villages that are not touristy, but I don't know if you like that. Gaetaria was a picturesque small fishing village that had several great fish restaurants with fresh grilled fish & a delicious basque crab dish. We rented a car through autoeurope in the states & picked it up at the airport in Hondarribia. We stayed at the parador in Hondarribia, which we loved. Check it out on the website for the paradors: www.parador.es. Hondarribia is another small and very charming Basque village.
CFW is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2004, 02:29 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,635
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Pamplona, Capital of Navarre, doesn't have too much happening except 6-to-14 July (San Fermin). It is the assembly point for many Pilgrim groups destined for Santiago this Jubilee year.

You can catch a (Alsa) bus Barcelona to Bilbao but you may want to save Bilbao for last since you are returning from there. I did that: flew Lufthansa / SpanAir Bilbao to Frankfurt and Lufthansa Frankfurt to Philadelphia.

I prefer Santander over San Sebastian from whence I daytrip to Santillana del mar, Comillas, Potes, etc. Many day-trip tours don't run in March, but there's regular, commercial bus service to most of the places mentioned: I took an early la Palomera bus to Potes (and a 4 PM return). It was March and the Picos de Europa buses terminate in Potes.

In Bilbao, be sure to visit the 3-story Market on the river adjacent to the Casco Viejo. You'll understand why I said the next time I visit Bilbao I'll be sure to get a place with cooking privileges.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 11:11 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks so much for both of your suggestions--they are educational and helpful! So, now I am considering Santander and Hondarribia. I now have
three nights booked in S.S. and the last night in Bilbao (because of an early morning flight). Do you think I should split one or two of those three S.S. nights between Santander and Hondarribia? In what order? Thanks again in advance!
tintintoo is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 04:48 PM
  #7  
CFW
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,482
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Not sure you will have time to do it all. Hondarribia is a very small town, with one main street, and what we enjoyed about it was staying at the Parador, and just walking around in the quiet town. I'm also not sure how you are planning on getting from town to town. We had a car and drove along the coast. Hondarribia is about a 45-minute drive east of San Sebastian (on the border with France). Santander is about an hour west of Bilbao and on the coast. We did not visit Santander (passed by it on our way to Santillana de Mar), but I understand there are nice beach resorts there, and there may be more to do than in Hondarribia, which is a relatively small and quiet fishing village.
CFW is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2004, 07:21 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you again for your response. Since it will be March when I'm there and it's too cold for beach weather,I'm wondering if there will still be plenty to do and see in those villages. For example, is Hondarribia as interesting in March? Are the rooms at the Parador nice?
tintintoo is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2004, 04:04 AM
  #9  
CFW
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,482
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We loved the Parador. Had a beautiful corner room with windows on one side looking out toward the water & on the other looking onto a charming square. The Parador itself is an old stone fortress with soaring vaulted ceilings, wall tapestries, and an interior courtyard. We visited the Basque coast in May and we had some cool days with rain & other glorious days in the high 70's. Except for Santillana del Mar, there isn't much sightseeing. Mostly just the atmosphere of the small fishing towns, so if the weather is cold & rainy, which it may be in March, this may not be a good choice. Ask Maribel on this site. She is an amazing guru on all things related to Spain, and is very helpful.
CFW is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2004, 04:06 AM
  #10  
CFW
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,482
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Also, check out the thread on this site entitled:

Recommendations on picturesque sites on the northern coast of Spain( Costa verde)
CFW is offline  
Old Feb 26th, 2004, 08:47 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks again! I've already contacted Maribel. She thinks my time is too limited to do too many towns, so I may just stay in San Sebastien and Bilbao and make a day trip to Hondarribia if there's time. I think Santander will have to wait for another trip. I guess most people go to the coast in the summer. I am anticipating some rainy days!
tintintoo is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
mammyu
Europe
12
May 10th, 2018 08:34 AM
Tfromer1
Europe
7
Jun 21st, 2016 03:11 AM
ogard777
Europe
11
Jul 14th, 2013 10:04 AM
Mariastefnyc
Europe
6
Apr 9th, 2007 05:57 PM
Travelegs
Europe
8
Apr 22nd, 2004 10:11 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:35 PM.