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Honeymoon in Barcelona, Basque region, Madrid


Honeymoon in Barcelona, Basque region, Madrid

Old Jan 21st, 2011, 08:07 AM
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Honeymoon in Barcelona, Basque region, Madrid

I'm still in the midst of planning my honeymoon for the spring. I have flights locked down already though I have a few lingering questions for myself on this trip...We're looking to not rent a car, taking mostly Metro, buses for day-trips, and walking around town. (we enjoy walks, taking in the culture, and total food fans, and the future Mrs is a photographer).

1. Land Madrid morning ~10am, with about 7-8 hours to kill before my flight to Barcelona (what should one do - in Madrid if I take the Metro down and grab a few sights and bites?) is there enough time? I'll probably just check our luggage to the next flight once we land to avoid carrying luggage.

2. Basque region: Flying in and out of EAS (San Sebastian airport) - I only have 5 nights in Basque region - at least 3 nights in San Sebastian (I want to stay at the Parador de Hondarrabia but not sure if I should spend two nights or one night at the tail end). Is Hondarrabia spectacular enough for 2 nights?

3. The rest of the time - we'll be based out of San Sebastian, taking bus/walking as our primary transport. (might take a day trip to Bilbao for the Guggenheim) Budget: $150 or less per night in San Sebastian. I'm thinking about the Astoria7, because it looks like a hotel that is us (modern), however, location is bit of a walk - is that area safe at night if we walk/bus- or should we find a hotel closer to the city centre, parte vieja, la concha? We'll definitely be hiking up a hill or two, not really beach folks.

3. Madrid 2 nights then flying back to the States. What hotel close to Madrid Barajas is most convenient to the Metro? (as we're staying at an airport hotel because it'll be more convenient for our flight out.). With 2 nights in Madrid - where are safe areas where we could visit and take walks, eat, take in the culture, people watch?
SnLTravel is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2011, 03:12 PM
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$150/night doesn't buy much in San Sebastian-Donostia and certainly not the Parador in Hondarribia.

Have you read Maribel's Guide to Madrid or the País Vasco? They might help in planning your time in the Basque country and make the most of your honeymoon.
Robert2533 is offline  
Old Jan 21st, 2011, 07:24 PM
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How long do you have in total for this trip? I see 5 days in the Basque country and 2 in Madrid (extremely short amount of time for Madrid). Then you mention Barcelona but don't say how long. For these 3 regions I'd want to have at least 2-3 weeks. If you don't have this much time I'd honestly consider cutting down on the geography.

Maribel's guides are incredible - excellent advice on hotels for these areas. The parador in Hondarribia will be out of your price range but there are other charming choices in this village. You may also consider staying a couple of nights in Getaria or Lekeitio.
CathyM is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 02:40 AM
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Hondarribia is just fine, but I would strongly suggest to stay in plain fantastic San Sebastián. I've lived here and visited almost every year since the late 80's. After a night out in the Parte viaja/Old town, it would at least to me be a real downer having to take a bus/taxi back to tranquile Hondarribia. San Sebastián is made for walks and there are spectacular routes out of the city, both east and west along the coast. http://marshlands.blogstream.com/

Lots of nice places in San Sebastián that will meet your budget. Hostal Alemana is a great value option close to the center, the old town and the La Concha beach: http://www.hostalalemana.com/ingles/index.html

Hotel Parma, on the outskirts of the Parte vieja/Old town, would be another good option:

As food fans, you've come to the right place. San Sebastián is absolutely crazy about food. The world's most renowned chef, Ferran Adrià of El Bulli, even suggests that San Sebastián is the best place to eat in the world "in terms of the average quality of the food, in terms of what you can get at any place you happen to walk into". 17 Michelin stars in and around town. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandsty...rink.shopping2

Give me an idea of what you are looking for (gourmet, traditional, seafood, informal bars with the most spectacular tapas/pintxos?) and I can give you some suggestions that most likely will meet your expectations.

Madrid is fabulous. I've posted some suggestions here. The city is made for honeymoons:

When going to San Sebastián, consider flying into Bilbao. Much more frequent flights and normally much more affordable. Direct bus to San Sebastián in 75 mins (PESA bus company, departure once an hour).
kimhe is online now  
Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 03:56 AM
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Regarding Madrid, I strongly suggest that you dont stay by the airport. Much better to stay in the center, preferably near Prado museum and Plaza Santa Ana area. Even if your flight is early AM , it will not take long to get to airport, about 20-30mins.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 04:26 AM
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Agree with cruiseluv, you mustn't think of staying close to the airport in Madrid. Taxi from the center to Barajas would be some 25 mins and 25-30€. I like to stay close to Plaza Santa Ana/Huertas area.
kimhe is online now  
Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 05:57 AM
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If you are coming from the US, you should try to get a direct flight to Barcelona, rather than one with that long layover in Madrid. Have you bought the airline tickets already? What city in the US are you coming from?

Certainly stay in Madrid in the way back, not near the airport! The bus from the airport costs only 2 euro.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 09:47 AM
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I would spend the entire time in San Sebastian. And I will never ever spend a night in a hotel near the airport since I made that mistake in Naples. It's always a gross area when you can spend one more night soaking in a fantastic city like Madrid. Cabdrivers will take you to the airport at anytime.
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Old Jan 27th, 2011, 09:57 AM
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Thanks for all the responses - I've been reading the forums and you have some excellent insight.

Flights have already been locked up (ORD-DFW-MAD-BCN-EAS-MAD-MIA-ORD). We were using miles - had a great deal on that so we were not able to get the Barcelona with miles (I research airlines and routes as a hobby and if were not using miles only - we would have flown a much more reasonable itinerary).
Domestic Espana flights were not that bad - booked on Expedia and our total in Espana flights amounted to total $300 USD for two of us - on Iberia). My original plans were to fly in/out of Bilbao - but I didn't hit the trigger soon enough and the airline tickets shot up in price the next day! So I found our current itinerary that worked for us and we're just locked into that plan for now.

Regarding hotels I have for the most part reserved our hotels (options on two of them for San Sebastian and -
We're spending 5 nights in Barcelona (in Exiample), 3 nights in San Sebastian (Parte Vieja), 2 nights Hondarribia (Parador), 2 nights in Madrid (Hilton airport).

As for my preference to stay by the Airport - I had to stay at the Hilton this year in order to reinstate my expired points anyway. I plan on taking the metro into the city centre, and per the reviews - its not ideal for visiting Madrid, but Madrid was never really high on my list. Additionally, I believe it makes sense (as I'm cautioned to the pickpockets within the city, carting through the city with our luggage is not a good option for me). Logistically, I get nervous whenever arriving at an airport in an unfamiliar city (could never tell how traffic, delays could affect).

I actually plan on staying in San Sebastian 3 full nights then to Hondarribia for 2 nights at the Parador (might travel into France from Hondarribia). As for food, we want a good mix of gourmet, informal, seafood, pinxto's(all the above!)Give me your favorites for restaurants in Barcelona, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Hondarribia and Madrid.
SnLTravel is offline  
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