Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Initial itinerary – Northern Spain and Catalunya

Initial itinerary – Northern Spain and Catalunya

Jan 3rd, 2015, 07:20 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,709
Yes, I meant to fly into Oviedo (through Madrid) and start up there, working your way across (and up and down.) But now I am thinking you could use public transport for the cities in the beginning. I would not be inclined to board a bus for a few hours after a transatlantic flight but I am a bit of a woos. I like to get there... and then worry about long bus journeys after a couple of days.

You can get to Tarragona easily with public transportation - but visiting wineries and Poblet, would be easier with a car. But you don't have a ton of time, so make it easy on yourself, and have a glass of cava at a bar in Tarragona
rialtogrl is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2015, 07:42 PM
  #22  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,103
@ rialtogrl - Thanks for clarifying! I will check my options, but I have no objection to moving on by bus (or train) after a long flight, and in fact, I prefer to do so if it means I can get to the place where I want to begin my explorations -- especially since I can sleep through virtually ANYTHING once I DO get to sleep. And if I can visit at least Burgos and Leon before renting a car, I should be sufficiently adjusted to the time difference to be a reasonably "safe" driver.

I suspect I'll have a bit of cava at any number of places, Tarragona included -- but if any one asks, I'll note that YOU insisted that I do so. ;-) But that reminds me -- how will I ever decide when to have cava rather than vino tinto, or when to have either of them rather than vino blanco?!? Life is TOO full of insurmountable opportunities.

Thanks again!
kja is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2015, 08:18 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,990
You are so going to have a great trip!
joannyc is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2015, 08:26 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,990
I don't sleep well (or at all) on planes. I was looking foward to getting a couple of hours on the bus from Barajas to Burgos but a gentleman started chatting with me while waiting for the bus and I never got a chance to snooze the entire way to Burgos! Yes, he did select the seat next to me on the bus and chatted all the way. But, do have to say he was a very nice person!
joannyc is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2015, 08:39 PM
  #25  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,103
@ joannyc -- if my trip is anything like yours, it will, indeed, be a great trip!

I almost never get to sleep the night before a major trip -- too much to do! And that leaves me so exhausted that I actually CAN sleep on the flight. Bonus! (???) I can then be sufficiently awake to enjoy seeing the terrain from a bus or train window. And while I generally prefer to sit in silence, I've had some surprisingly delightful interactions with others on trains or buses. As I see it, it's all part of the journey, and IME, some of those unexpected interactions, or observations of others' interactions, can truly enrich a trip.
kja is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2015, 09:02 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,990
Kja, I have to agree that I do enjoy the people that I meet along the way! They do add to your trip experience and are usually a wonderful time!

Have to laugh about one time when I was in Gent, the restaurant owner said there was not enough time to have the "x" course meal but by the time another table and I stopped chatting and eating our meals... she could have made quite a few extra bucks on those extra courses! ��

Other trips, I've met up with newly made friends for drinks, dinner, or both. Love it!

Like you, I have met so many wonderful people during my trips! One of the purposes of our trips, right?
joannyc is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2015, 09:16 PM
  #27  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,103
@ joannyc -- What a wonderfully memorable evening you had -- thanks for giving me extra reasons to smile!
kja is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2015, 10:44 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,709
-And if I can visit at least Burgos and Leon before renting a car-

And Oviedo, if you take the Ponferrada part out of the itinerary.
rialtogrl is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2015, 10:50 PM
  #29  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,103
@ rialtogrl -- Indeed! I so appreciate that you are thinking through my route with me and making sure I know my options!
kja is offline  
Jan 4th, 2015, 01:55 AM
  #30  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,103
@ ribeirasacra - OMG, I'm so sorry, but I just now realized that I missed a message that you posted while I was also posting earlier today. I didn't mean to ignore you!

Even without seeing your second message, your first message made me give further attention to how I should allocate my time in Burgos and Leon. My current thinking is that even if I have no time to do anything in Burgos other than a short walk on the day of my arrival, I might be able to finish seeing my highest priorities in Burgos in time to reach Leon before a late dinner. (Here in the US, I'm very unusual in that I don't normally eat dinner until 20:30 or so -- how I love visiting a country where dinner is served late! ) Even if I don't have time to do anything other than dine in Leon on that first night, I should then be ready to get an early start the next morning -- so I think your suggestion makes a lot of sense. Thanks so much!

Thanks again for your input. I hope you continue to monitor this thread and continue to offer your knowledge.
kja is offline  
Jan 5th, 2015, 07:12 PM
  #31  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,103
I'm coming to terms with leaving Ponferrada for a later trip to Galicia and Portugal, but I'm still looking for ways to trim my itinerary, particularly because I keep finding things I want to add to it!

So -- does it make sense to defer Tarragona and the Monestir de Poblet until a future trip that includes Valencia and Zaragoza? They are so close to Barcelona, it seems a shame to drop them from this trip....

Other suggestions?

Thanks again!
kja is offline  
Jan 5th, 2015, 08:55 PM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,816
We loved Valencia!
It took five trips to Spain before we spent a week .
Like most here , we were " guilty" of concentrating on Barcelona, Madrid and Andalusia.
A lovely city, beautiful beaches ,good food. Some side trips possible by Cercania.
I recommend it highly.
danon is offline  
Jan 5th, 2015, 09:11 PM
  #33  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,103
@ danon -- actually, Valencia had been a very small blip on my radar until a few years ago, when I saw your comments on it. I immediately knew that I would need a third trip to Spain -- one that would capture Valencia, along with Cuenca and other places not covered by my first two trips. My first included parts of central and southern Spain. I'm now planning my 2nd trip, to include Catalunya and parts of northern Spain. I can't currently envision a way to include Valencia in this particular trip -- but maybe you do? Feel free to offer suggestions! Otherwise, know that I'll be seeking your input on Valencia and surrounds sometime in the future.
kja is offline  
Jan 5th, 2015, 10:24 PM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,816
You already have a full itinerary....
Valencia will probably have to wait ...

Both Tarragona and Girona are worth a visit. , Barcelona is amazing .
danon is offline  
Jan 5th, 2015, 10:52 PM
  #35  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,103
@ danon - thanks! I am definitely looking forward to Tarragona and Girona and (of course) Barcelona.

It's SO hard to decide what to cut!
kja is offline  
Jan 6th, 2015, 09:03 AM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,709
If you think you are going back then by all means save Tarragona for another trip! But I would try to do the overnight in Montserrat on this one, maybe the night before you head down to Barcelona to drop off the car. (Assuming that is where you are dropping it off!)

In the future, if you can go in the fall, you could hit the Santa Tecla festival in Tarragona and the Fiestas del Pilar in Zaragoza... and visit Valencia too!
rialtogrl is offline  
Jan 6th, 2015, 10:04 AM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,990
I've resigned myself to the idea that it will take me probably 4 or 5 trips to Spain to see all that I want.
joannyc is offline  
Jan 6th, 2015, 05:14 PM
  #38  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,103
@ rialtogrl -- Thanks! Montserrat remains on my list for this trip.

@ joannyc -- I can think of worse things to which to resign myself.
kja is offline  
Jan 11th, 2015, 12:23 AM
  #39  
kja
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 22,103
Hi again! I’m still researching my options, but think I have a potentially workable plan for a 4-week trip – a plan that actually takes opening hours into consideration.

I am indebted to a huge group of Fodorites who have been incredibly helpful already; I beg your attention once again to see if I’ve missed anything that is truly unskippable, included anything that is truly skippable, or made other glaring (or even not so glaring!) errors.

I know my plan is at a more rapid pace than some of you prefer. Because I am all-too-well aware that the time I have to travel will NEVER allow me to visit all the places I want to visit, I approach each trip with a commitment to take full advantage of every possible moment to see and experience things. I am not looking to relax, and trust that I will find more than enough relaxing moments after tourist sites close for the day and over long, late, delicious meals.

What I am seeking is a diverse array of the finest things to be seen and experienced in this part of Spain (other than beaches and shopping, which are not among my interests). I will need to reserve many things (e.g., caves and cavas) in advance and plan to begin requesting reservations soon – wish me luck! In most cases, I should have the latitude to go a day early or late if necessary.

So here’s the current plan, with apologies in advance for any misspellings. BTW, even once “finalized,” I never view a plan as writ in stone – I actually plan for what to do if I’m ready to move on earlier than anticipated or if I decide to take more time than planned. (I do seriously LOVE planning my trips. ) My hope is to get a good enough idea of what makes sense to allow me to proceed with making reservations for lodging, tours, etc.

Day 1: Depart from the U.S.

Day 2: Arrive in Madrid and take the first possible bus (thanks, joannyc!) to Burgos. Explore as possible. Night in Burgos

Day 3: Pick up a rental car and head for the 1st of 2 nights in Laguardia-Biaster (thanks, lincasanova!), being very careful about speed reduction zones (thanks, mamamia2!) Visit Lopez de Heredia and Remelluri (thanks, mikelg!)

Day 4: Visit Vivanco and its museum (thanks, sssteve!) and the San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries.

Day 5: Return to Burgos to see things that weren’t open when I first arrived; move on to León for the 1st of 2 nights there.

Day 6: León

Day 7: Continue exploring León and then move on to Oviedo for the 1st of 2 nights there. If I have time, visit San Miguel de Escalada and/or Santa Cristina de Lena en route.

Day 8: Oviedo.

Day 9: Continue exploring Oviedo, visit Tito Bustillo (thanks, LuisJp!), and move on to Potes for the 1st of 2 nights there. (Or maybe Congas de Onis, which cruiseluv recommended? Or – dare I say it? – a night in each?)

Day 10: Picos de Europa (including Potes’s Monday market, Fuente Dé, the Enol and Encina lakes, Santo Toribio de Liébana....)

Day 11: Continue exploring the Picos de Europa, move on Santillana del Mar for the 1st of 3 nights there. If time permits, visit Comillas en route.

Day 12: Altamira and El Soplao.

Day 13: El Castillo, Las Monedas, and the Hornos de la Peña.

Day 14: Move on to Bilbao for the 1st of 2 nights there. Stop en route in Castro Urdiales if time permits (thanks, lreynold1!)

Day 15: Bilbao (not just the Guggenheim, but also the Beaux Arts museum – as Southam mentioned – and so many great options mentioned on mikelg’s wonderful blog!)

Day 16: Continue exploring Bilbao; move on to San Sebastian for the 1st of 3 nights there. If time permits, visit Santimamiñe and Zumaia en route.

Day 17: San Sebastian and surrounds, to include (this day or later) listening to the city choir, assuming I can learn where / when they will be performing while I am in the area (thanks, kimhe!) and a walk to Pasaia (thanks, yorkshire!)

Day 18: San Sebastian and surrounds.

Day 19: Early start for the Vall de Boi (stay in Taüll? Thanks, Michael!)

Day 20: Continue exploring the Vall de Boi, leaving in time to reach Cadaqués (thanks, kwoo!) before sunset. (@ ribeirasacra – I’m sure you will cringe when you realize that I am proposing 3 one-night stays in northern Catalonia, when I could base in Girona. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree about 1-night stays, but FWIW, I haven’t yet ruled out the option of basing in Girona.)

Day 21: Visit Figueres and, if time permits, Besalu (thanks, crosscheck!) on my way to Girona.

Day 22: Continue exploring Girona, leaving in time to reach Tossa del Mar before sunset. If time permits, visit the Jardins de Santa Clothilde en route.

Day 23: Leave Tossa de Mar early and drive to Sant Sadurni d’Anoia. Visit Cordoniu and/or Freixenet. Go on to Poblet Monastery. Spend the night in Sitges.

Day 24: Go to Barcelona early and return the car. Sometime that day, take the train and then cable car to Montserrat. (I may begin my exploration of Barcelona first – TBD.)

Day 25: Continue exploring Monserrat and return to Barcelona. (So, across days 24 and 25, I should have the equivalent of more than a full day in Barcelona).

Days 26, 27, 28: Enjoy Barcelona. Take a day trip to Tarragona if time permits (thanks, danon, for confirming that it is worthy!) And, if the timing works out, maybe have a glass of wine with rialtogrl.

Day 29: Fly back to the U.S.

As for lodging, I’m looking forward to the parador at León (thanks, Robert2533 and annhig!) and appreciate the other suggestions some of you have already offered. Other ideas are welcome!

I’ve taken note of kimhe’s much appreciated restaurant recommendations, and welcome additional ideas on that front, too.

Thanks again for all the input already given and thanks in advance for any and all comments on this latest plan.

Fodorites rock!!!
kja is offline  
Jan 11th, 2015, 07:41 AM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13,816
kja,

if you visit Tarragona.....
Sunday afternoon/ evening is the time students
come back to Barcelona from visiting hometowns ...the trains are packed ( we had to stand all the way)
Barcelona has more to offer than one expects ...
On our first visit we stayed for a week without leaving the city ( we are " slow" travelers !)

have a good time!
danon is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:17 AM.