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laubowski Nov 30th, 2003 03:32 AM

Bilbao/San Sebastian
I will be going to Spain in mid march for 12 days. I will be flying into Madrid from LA and out of Barcelona to home. Now I just need to connnect the dots.

Plan A: Madrid for 4 days, Fly to Bilboa/San Sebastian for 2 days/ Barcelona for the rest.

What worries me is how far is San Sebastian from Bilboa? Is it the right time of the year. Basque country has been one of my dream destinations because of all the food. Please help me out.

Maribel Nov 30th, 2003 06:03 AM

Bilbao and San Sebastián are about an hr. apart by car-96 km.
It takes about 1 hr. 10-15 min. by bus.

I'm not an expert on weather in the Basque Country in mid-March, since we mostly travel there in summer.
But our two great native Basque posters, cova and cristina (from Bilbao and S.S. respectively) can tell you what to expect.

2 days for both cities seems short to me. I'd add at least a day, since you're spending the money to fly. There are flights from S.S. to Barcelona on Iberia (the S.S. airport is actually in Hondarribia to the east) and more from Bilbao, where fares are much lower thanks to competition with Spanair.

Otherwise, it's a 6 hr. drive from S.S. to Barcelona.

There's also the 8-9 hr. Miguel de Unamuno train starting in Bilbao and stopping in S.S. or the Pío Baroja night train.

Vibasa is the bus co. from S.S. to Barcelona, The Plus service (fewer stops) takes 6 1/2 hrs.
See schedule here:;cuentaLink=1

Thomas Nov 30th, 2003 06:39 AM

In case you won't be driving between SanSebastian and Bilbao, there is frequent and efficient bus service.

car Nov 30th, 2003 11:48 AM

Regarding your question about right time of the year. March is a cold month, Bilbao and SS seaside cities will have moderate cold, well above freezing in any case, there could be some rain. As one of your main attractions is the food. Excellent. I will rather visit this area in a cold month than on a hot and humid one.
If you could choose certanly April-May could be better.
I agree with previous post about adding some more time in the area, otherwise your two days are going to be in and out in a rush.

laubowski Dec 1st, 2003 10:11 AM

Thanks for all your replies. My primarily objective of going is really to eat. I will be in Spain for a total of ten nights. 3/11-3/22

I think 3-4 days Madrid, 2-3 days Basque Country, 3-4 days Barcelona.

This is my college spring break and thus I can not change my schedule very much. It would be sufficient to stay for maybe a couple nights in San Sebastian for two quality dinners. One day would be completely dedicated to Bilboa and the Gugenheim which would be a day trip. What do you think?

Madrid (3/4 days)
San Sebastian (2/3 days) (Including Bilboa)
Barcelona (3/4 days)

Going from city to city on Iberia or Spanair.
SS to Bilboa will be bussed.


car Dec 2nd, 2003 12:17 AM

It looks balance to me.just make it an early morning to SS.
Proper spelling is Bilbao.
Have fun

cova Dec 2nd, 2003 08:52 AM

Hi Laub,
there are much more flights into Bilbao than to the tiny Hondarribia airport (and that means more likelihood of cheaper flights ... and you get to see the "Calatrava dove"). As you will not have a lot of time ... have you thought about flying into Bilbao, staying there, and do San Sebastian as a day trip? I promise you that if you are looking for great cooking, Bilbao will not disappoint you.

There are plenty of buses joining the two cities, and you will be able to enjoy a nice lunch in SS.

Right now I am not at home, but I will be able to give you a few recs if you tell us more or less what are you looking for ...

Car is right regarding the weather, although as it has been so changeable during the last months that I cannot promise you anything, but pack your umbrella.

Good luck with the trip, and I hope to be able to help you a little bit, specially regarding Bilbao.

Maribel, I must certainly recommend the Reina Victoria in Madrid. We had a great time last August, and the last weekend has confirmed my impressions. Maybe the rooms are not so nifty as in other hotels, but the people working there have been efficient and cheerful. A big, big plus, and I will certainly be coming back more times.


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