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Barcelona to Bilbao: Must-stop places in between?

Barcelona to Bilbao: Must-stop places in between?

Old Apr 9th, 2017, 01:50 AM
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Barcelona to Bilbao: Must-stop places in between?

Hello. I am planning a trip with my husband and two teenagers, fifteen full days total. We are flying into Barcelona and flying out of Bilbao. We'll likely spend 6 or so days in Barcelona, sightseeing and spending a day at the beach. I am wondering if anyone has advice about best places to visit by car between Barcelona and Bilbao. I was planning on our spending two nights in Bilbao, unless someone convinces me we need more time there. We want to mix it up between city adventures and nature (hikes, swimming).

--I was looking at Alquezar as an interesting place to visit for two nights for atmosphere and a hike or two. Is it worth the visit? My kids loved Gimmelwald, Switzerland - how isolated it was, and magical, and different than where we live in San Francisco. Do you think we'll have a similar good feeling in Alquezar?

--Any thoughts on Jaca? Anyone recommend Jaca over Alquezar? Or another town?

--Any ideas about San Sebastian? Are there good swimming beaches? Is it worth it to spend a night or two there?

--Any suggestions for must-visit towns around San Sebastian/Bilbao? To stay in or just stop by for a bit of a day?

Thanks!
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Old Apr 9th, 2017, 02:28 AM
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San Sebastián has got three of the finest city beaches on the continent, it's the food capital of Spain if not all of Europe, and it's arguably the most beautiful city in Spain: http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...stian-tourism/

The three city beaches in San Sebastián, famous La Concha, the surf beach Zurriola and family friendly Ondarreta. https://www.sansebastianturismo.com/...o-to-the-beach

"Is San Sebastian the world's greatest city for foodies?"
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/de...y-for-foodies/

Fine video intro to San Sebastián, last year's European Capital of Culture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRWCdjw1C8Q&t=47s

"Must visit-towns" around San Sebastián/Bilbao:
Getaria: http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...taria-tourism/
Guernica (80 years since the terror bombings and Picasso's masterpiece): http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...rnica-tourism/
The old regional capital Tolosa, just inland from San Sebastián: http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...olosa-tourism/

And from San Sebastián you can walk along the coast to picturesque Donibane/ Pasajes San Juan for a fabulous lunch, inluding a small boat ride. Takes som 2-2,5 hours, and you can take the bus back to San Sebastián:
https://www.spain-holiday.com/San-Se...resque-pasajes
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Old Apr 9th, 2017, 09:24 AM
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You don't say when you're making this trip, but you might have a look at Pamplona on your way west. The big feria of San Fermin runs between July 6 and 14. You might be interested in that, but on the other hand you might want to avoid the crowds there.
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Old Apr 9th, 2017, 10:18 AM
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Best is a bit subjective. However if you do a search many others form the past have taken the same route and you will see thousands of ideas.
http://www.fodors.com/search/results...lona+to+Bilbao
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Old Apr 9th, 2017, 05:32 PM
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La Concha beach in San Sebastian is amazing for swimming. When the tide is in, the shallow water is like swimming in a pool. When the tide is out, the floating platforms are within closer reach. We spent hours in the water. Note that it will be really crowded. If you are driving in for the day, be sure to arrive early. We have splurged and stayed at the Hotel Londres located right on the beach. We have been twice and would love to return again.
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Old Apr 9th, 2017, 06:02 PM
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Thank you all for your quick responses!

Kimhe, your links are super helpful, thank you! With all my googling, I hadn't come across them. San Sebastián definitely sounds like a must-see/must-stay-in place.

Bedar, thanks for the suggestion of Pamplona. We won't be there for the festival, but I hadn't had it on my radar, so I'll take a look to see if it makes sense for us to stop there. We are, unfortunately, traveling in August, the only time we can make it due to other things taking up the earlier part of our children's summer holiday.

Riceirasacra, Thanks for that link. I read a number of the forums before posting my question, but hadn't seen anything detailed enough on Alquezar & Jaca, the two places we are considering stopping in. I'll look at your link - that one my have eluded me in my own search!

Gracias1
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Old Apr 9th, 2017, 06:03 PM
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Bibliotecaria, Thanks for the advice on the La Concha beach & hotel! I hadn't come across that name in my research.
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Old Apr 10th, 2017, 12:17 AM
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Iruña/Pamplona is well worth a visit anytime, also outside the San Fermin festival: http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...plona-tourism/

And the Hotel Londres on La Concha beach is about as good as you get it anywhere: https://www.hlondres.com/en/
https://www.hlondres.com/en/accommodation/attic
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Old Apr 11th, 2017, 09:53 AM
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I would even skip Barcelona if you're going in the summer. San Sebastian is a gem. 3 nice beaches in town and you can walk to the finest bar food in the world right from the beach.
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Old Apr 11th, 2017, 10:17 AM
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Things will be quiet in Pamplona after fiesta, through most of August. Everyone who can will be at the beach* or camping in the mountains.

*Más de 7.000 niños y adolescentes navarros irán de campamento en verano
http://www.diariodenavarra.es/notici...26093_300.html
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