Bilbao/San Sebastian/Santander

Old Jun 29th, 2002, 01:48 AM
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Bilbao/San Sebastian/Santander

Hello. I will be spending a few days in and around Bilbao in mid-September. I intend to base myself in Bilbao and visit San Sebastian and Santander as day trips. Can anyone help me with journey times between these places? My Rough Guide to Europe tells me they are fairly close together but would appreciate confirmation of this. Also, any hotel/hostal recommendations for Bilbao would be gratefully received. Many thanks!
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 02:28 AM
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From Bilbao to Donostia (San Sebastian) there is an hour drive by highway and from Bilbao to Santander, about half an hour by highway. For accomodation you should check the Basque government´s official web,
They have a full list of hotels and prices. But I would recommend you to spend the days in San Sebastian and make a daytrip to Bilbao. Take in mind that in mid september there is the annual boat race competition in San Sebastian and the famous International Film Festival. Enjoy!
Old Jun 29th, 2002, 04:36 AM
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The Film Festival in Donostia-San Sebastian is from September 19 to 28 this year.
The Spanish school holiday last until around September 10 or so (not sure).
Best time to visit San Sebastian may be between Sept 11 and 18.
For bus (75-95 minutes)between Bilbao and San Sebastian go to
The railway between the two cities is narrow gauge (Eurail not valid). Hourly departure from Bilbao Atxuri to San Sebastian Amara (2 hours 35 minutes).
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 02:03 AM
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Thank you both very much for the information and for the very useful websites. I may very well stay in San Sebastian instead of Bilbao.
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 07:11 AM
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Either Santander or San Sebastian are better bases than Bilbao, with San Sebastian defintely nicer than Santander. Bilbao is an hour and a half to the east of Santander and an hour and a half to the west of San Sebastian. Busses are frequent, cheap and comfortable.
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 07:31 AM
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Hi Brian,
let me recommend you to stay in Bilbao. Santander and San Sebastian are more beautiful, but in order to do day trips from one to the other are a bit too far away. Bilbao is in the middle and there are very frequent buses to both places or to Burgos (inland in Castilla).
I don´t recommend you to get the train from Bilbao to San Sebastian. Too long travel time and right now there are works at the Atxuri station, and you have to get the train later in the line (in Bolueta).
Also, the Film Festival in San Sebastian will mean that the accomodations offer (not only at the top Maria Cristina) will be scarcer.
The journey times can be 1 hour from Bilbao to San Sebastian and 1 hour and a half to Santander or Burgos. Check at the ALSA web. To San Sebastian there is also another bus line, PESA.
In Bilbao, I´d try to stay at the Iturriena Ostatua in the Old Town, or maybe Los Tamarises at the Ereaga beach, in Las Arenas (easily reach via the metro).
Old Jul 10th, 2002, 07:35 AM
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Brian, I forgot to tell you that you can find their addresses in the Hotels part of the Fodors website.
There is a good selection of hotels there.
Old Jul 12th, 2002, 02:34 AM
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Thanks Cooter and Cova for your replies. I had not thought of going to Burgos but would like to do so. I passed through it years ago when they were having a fiesta and it looked nice. I reckon I will stick to staying in Bilbao and doing the other towns in day trips. I'll be going on my own so perhaps there will be more to do in a big city.
Old Jul 12th, 2002, 04:04 AM
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Hi Brian, I know nothing about Spain, but I hope you'll be able to visit the new Guggenheim Museum while you are in Bilbao.

I've often thought of visiting the Basque country, so I hope you'll tell us about your trip when you return. Please take special note of small places for me. Thanks Cher, J.
Old Jul 16th, 2002, 09:33 AM
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JW - you should visit Spain.. it's a wonderful country. The Basque Country seems to be very different to central or southern Spain, more green and well Basque! Will post some pics on Virtual Tourist when I get back.
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