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Basque region of Spain and France in 10 days with kids

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May 27th, 2015, 04:58 PM
  #1
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Basque region of Spain and France in 10 days with kids

Hello all,

We are planning a trip from Los Angeles to the Basque region. We are in our early 40's and our children are 8 and 12. We are seasoned travelers and willing to move around if needed. Although for a 10 day I would like only 2 bases if possible. Here is the basic itinerary and I need assistance to make sure 1) its the best use of time 2) it would be interesting for kids.

1) Fly into Bilbao/san Sebastian depending on flights
overnight 3 to 4 nights San Sebastian - Use it as a base to see Bilbao and any other suggestions you all have.
2) Bus or rent a car and drive to Biarritz for 2 or 3 nights and see the area
3) Rent a car if we don't have one and drive to Toulouse and fly out after spending a few days there. OR up to Bordeaux and leave from there.

I realize Biarritz is fairly close to San Sebastian but i'm at a loss as to where else to do a few nights?
monicatripqueen is offline  
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May 27th, 2015, 05:10 PM
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I'm returning to the Basque country this fall, but I will base in Bayonne - easier for trains. With kids, if you want a beach, you could look at St. Jean de Luz as well as Biarritz.
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May 27th, 2015, 05:26 PM
  #3
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Forgot to mention the trip is at the end of March . If we have a car would one city be a better choice between the 3 you mentioned?
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May 27th, 2015, 05:34 PM
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No idea, I don't drive in Europe. I would check into parking costs.
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May 27th, 2015, 09:38 PM
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St Jean de Luz is a very charming town with a great beach.
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May 27th, 2015, 10:21 PM
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Let's get down to the basics. There are two Basque Countries; the Pays Basque, the French Basque Counrty, and the Paîs Vasco, the Spanish Basque region. Both are Basque, but very different in so many ways, thanks in great part to our old friend (again thanks to Saturday Night Live) Generalisimo Francisco Franco.

I would do 3 to 4 nights (5 days) in and around Bilbao, and the rest of your time In or around San Sebastián-Donostia, with a day trip or two into the Pays Basque. If you had more time, then I would spend it in the Pays Basque, in the beautiful inland region.

The best beach in the Pays Basue is at Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Biarritz is beautiful, but geared more to surfers (small waves).

In order to see things, you will need a car.
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May 28th, 2015, 05:09 PM
  #7
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I had to move quickly because there was an opening for flights using my milage. So I have booked a flight into Bilbao and out of Toulouse. So now I guess the question is how would you suggest I break my trip up for 10 nights 11 days.
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May 28th, 2015, 05:23 PM
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Do not miss the French Basque villages in the foothills of the Pyrenees, Saré, Ainhoa, Ascain, Espellette. Go to www.maribelsguides.com and read and print her guides to the Pais Vasco and Pays Basque. They made our trip there so much easier and added a lot to our trip. We thought St-Jean de Luz looked very nice too.
Make sure you visit Hondarribia, Spain too.
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May 28th, 2015, 05:57 PM
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Surprised no one has mentioned it but check the additional charge of picking up a rental car in one country and dropping it in another. May be worth it to take a train/bus from Spain into France and picking up a different car.

Also, try to pick up at an off-airport/tran station location to avoid additional fees. Dropping the car at airport/train station does not incur any additional fees.... just the pickup does.
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May 28th, 2015, 06:40 PM
  #10
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some great ideas HappyTrvlr! I will be looking into those areas for sure. Joannyc I will check out what the additional charge is. In my past experience its fairly expensive to do that but it doesn't hurt to check. So we arrive at 7:30 pm and wondered if we should do the night in Bilbao since we do want to see it anyways. Then head to San Sebastian the next evening after we have seen what we want in Bilbao. ???
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May 29th, 2015, 09:12 AM
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Any thoughts if i should
spend the first night in Bilbao since we arrive at 7:30 at night?
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May 29th, 2015, 10:08 AM
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Check out the Hotel Carlton Bilbao (http://hotelcarlton.es). You may be able to find some great rates and be in the center of the city, close to everything.
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May 29th, 2015, 10:10 AM
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Thank you Robert2533
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May 29th, 2015, 10:16 AM
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We just got back from San Sebastian and loved it. Such a classic and elegant city. Still salivating over the delicious food and the Spanish wines. We drove to S/S from France for a five day visit and found ourselves not needing a car while in the city. We only used it for trips to Bilbao and the other neighbouring areas. Our hotel had free parking which was a perfect situation. After the visit we returned to France to continue the rest of our European vacation.
My husband enjoys driving in Europe and many time we do a drop off in a second country. Yes, there is a hefty "drop off" charge but we absorb that as part of the cost of travel and the convenience of having a car and doing things at our own pace. It's a matter of personal preference and travel style.
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May 29th, 2015, 12:28 PM
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I second the recommendation for Hotel Carlton in Billbao, I stayed there also. It is a very nice hotel!
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