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Itinerary help for San Sebastian, Barcelona and in between

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Itinerary help for San Sebastian, Barcelona and in between

Old Jun 21st, 2012, 08:24 AM
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Itinerary help for San Sebastian, Barcelona and in between

I have posted a question for help with France and Spain trip earlier. But after a long debate, we decide to scratch Paris out of our plan and focus on northern Spain instead.

We will have 15 nights total the last 2 weeks of September this year.
I (but not the bf) have been to Madrid and Andalusia before and love it, but prefer to explore different area for this trip.

My current thoughts was flying to Bilbao from San francisco, spend 6 nights in San Sebastian - since we are both foodies at heart and want a relaxing time to enjoy food and recover from jetlag.

We would like to spend the last 4 or 5 nights in Barcelona and leave home from then.

The question is, what should we do in the middle (around 4-5 nights) between San Sebastian and Barcelona? rent a car and explore some different towns? Any suggestions of where to stay and what to do would be greatly appreciate.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 08:50 AM
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Hi SC,

You are aware that the San Sebastian Film Festival runs from 21 -29 Sept?

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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 09:51 AM
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I may have posted on your earlier thread but we did a trip this May - Lisbon, San Sebastian and Barcelona. I really liked that combination but then we are reluctant to rent a car to explore. I know this suggestion is not what you asked for (and it often annoys me when posters do that) but I just thought I'd throw my 2 cents in! We really enjoyed the above combination - each place had its own food scene and we had so many delicious meals and I am thinking about repeating the same trip again!
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 10:46 AM
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Hi SC,

I haven't been yet, but I will be going to SS and Barcelona this Sept.

Here are some of the things that other posters have helped me put together.

Bilbao is worth an overnight, if not 2.

http://www.asadoretxebarri.com/ is about 0:40 hr from Bilbao on the way to Donostia.

Burgos and Vitoria-Gasteiz are worth a visit, if not an overnight.

Getaria is worth a visit as are Hondarribia/Hendaye, Biarritz and St-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

Saragossa is about halfway between Donostia and Barcelona. You might find it worth a stopover.

Hope this helps.

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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 11:13 AM
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Since 2007 I've spent the last 2 weeks of September in the Basque Country and La Rioja. It's a wonderful time to visit!

You may actually want to spend a couple of nights in Bilbao to start the trip. It's a good foodie town and often overlooked and underappreciated. Even if you head straight to San Sebastian on arrival at the Bilbao airport it's an easy 1:15 bus ride. I'd also consider a couple of nights stay in a smaller fishing village for a different feel. You don't have the excellent pintxos culture of San Sebastian or Bilbao but it makes a good change of pace. Of course you can also visit these areas as daytrips from San Sebastian.

You may consider heading to La Rioja for a few days. The festival of San Mateo in Logrono is in full swing and it's a great time to visit. The main festivities are around Sept 21 but there will be lots going on in the days leading up and a couple of days afterwards. You could spend 2-3 days in Logrono enjoying the festival and even a couple of nights in a smaller village,like Laguardia, and use as a base for visiting bodegas. This area has alot of great places eat too!

As ira noted, the San Sebastian film festival this year is from Sept 21-29. If your visit coincides during this time you'll want to book hotels soon as they will fill quickly.

If you haven't seen maribels guides they're great for othese areas.

maribelsguides.com
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 11:52 AM
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Thanks for all your quick response. I plan to arrive in Bilbao on 9/15 and out of San Sebatian on 9/21, the day the film festival starts.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 11:58 AM
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Well, your trip would work perfect to head on 9/21 to Logrono as it's the main festival day and will be a great time to visit! You could spend a few days in La Rioja and then head back to the Bilbao area for a cheap flight to Barcelona.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 12:53 PM
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Thanks Cathy! I will do research tonight on Logrono and La Rioja.
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Old Jun 21st, 2012, 01:08 PM
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Suec1, what mode of transportation from Lisbon to San Sebatian/ Barcelona did you use?
I also have Lisbon in mind but the bf said he did not want to waste to much time waiting at airport. If I want to fit Lisbon in the trip after San Sebatian what would be the best itinerary?
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 06:28 AM
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I just downloaded the guide from this page for San Sebastian, very informative:

http://www.sansebastianturismo.com/i...20ciudad&doc=D
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Old Jun 22nd, 2012, 07:01 AM
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We did the night train from Lisbon to SanSebastion - I am pretty sure there is a night train that runs SS to Lisbon as well. We enjoy night trains about once a trip. We found these three cites made a great trifecta as there was a different vibe in each one. If you can stay long enough each place to have time for daytrips out to more rural venues that gives you a nice mix of urban and rural. We also opted to stay in Cascais instead of Lisbon - it is a nice resort town about 30 minutes out of Lisbon (frequest and cheap train service connects it with Lisbon and Belem, Sintra can be reached by bus). We enjoyed Lisbon but Cascais is a very pleasant alternative base. However if you are really looking for nightlife, Lisbon would be better!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 05:39 AM
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We have just booked our plane ticket, flying into Bilbao and out of Barcelona. However there is some change in our dates. We now have 13 instead of 15 nights.

We plan to stay in SS first 7 nights. If I could have 2 days trip from SS, where should that be?

We also plan to stay in Barcelona the last 4 nights. That leaves us 2 nights in between SS and Barcelona. We are interested in exploring La Rioja. What do you suggest as a base for these 2 nights before heading to Bilbao to return the car rental and fly to Barcelona?

Thanks so much for all your help!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 06:49 AM
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Several years ago we drove from Bilbao to Barcelona, staying in Zaragoza en route. It was a wonderful drive. The Spanish highways are fast and easy to drive. The Cathedral in Zaragoza is amazing, the big square is quite fabulous, and don't forget about the Aljaferia. As a matter of fact, you will find Zaragoza gives you a totally different Spanish experience than either the Basque coast or Barcelona. You can dump the car at the airport in Barcelona and take a bus right into town, likely someplace near your next lodging.

While you are in SS, you may want to venture out to visit Vitoria-Gastiez and Pamplona. Our trip was at the time of the SS film festival, and V-G was holding some sort of Rennaisance Fair (I am guessing that is what it was, because all the signs were in Basque, and while my Spanish is limited...Basque left me completely mystified,)
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 07:13 AM
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I am a big fan of San Sebastian and a foodie as well. However, I too would suggest a day or so in bilbao. It is much underrated. I would suggest then one night in Leiketio, a small town on the coast between Bilbao and SS. The food doesn't get any fresher - most restaurants are about 50 from the boats! Catch the bus in Bilbao. The bus stop in Leiketio is right across the road from Hotel Zubieta, a great, small hotel built around very old restored farm buildings. The next morn, catch the 9am bus to SS, arriving about 1030.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 07:22 AM
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Great daytrips would include Lekeitio, Getaria and Hondarribia. I really like Cathy's idea of a night or two in La Rioja then on to Barcelona. If it is a nice day I would recommend the train into Zarautz, walk along the beach and then the half hour walk along the ocean (unforgettable)into Getaria. Just make sure you get there before lunch is over because many people say the best grilled fish in the world is at Kaia Kalpe or Elkano in Getaria. then hop on the bus back to San Sebastian.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 07:31 AM
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Ha! I just found a trip report I wrote for that portion if this link works: http://europetogo.yuku.com/forum/vie...9#.T-XfKWt5mSM

We were in middle of a 35-day road trip through France and Spain, but this is precisely what I was talking about above!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 08:02 AM
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i also agree with weber6560 on Leiketio. We stayed there 2 nights and loved it. But you'd need to take time away from SS to do that...
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 06:12 PM
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For pix of Leiketio, go Thewanderingweber.shutterfly.com.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 07:22 PM
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Honestly if you only have 2 nights between San Sebastian and Barcelona I'd probably just spend them in Bilbao or Lekeitio. Or spend 6 nights in Barcelona as 4 nights will be barely enough to see Barcelona and additional nights would give you time for some daytrips. The Rioja is great but with only 2 nights I'd probably just head to Logrono for the festival, but this means you really wouldn't have time to visit any bodegas. But if you're really into wine you could spend a couple of nights in Laguardia and visit some bodegas - you'd definately need a car for this area.

My top daytrips (in no particular order) from San Sebastian: Hondarribia, Geteria, Zarautz, St Jean de Luz (cute village on the French side), and Pamplona. I usually overnight in Lekeitio and Bilbao so haven't done as a daytrip but they are also feasible daytrip options from San Sebastian.

uhoh_busted - you visited Vitoria during their annual Medieval Market. It's usually the 3rd or 4th weekend in September.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2012, 08:44 PM
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I agree with Cathy about more time in Barcelona......an amazing city !
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