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Itinerary Help Northern Spain Just Starting to Plan

Itinerary Help Northern Spain Just Starting to Plan

Old Jun 18th, 2007, 04:21 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 318
Itinerary Help Northern Spain Just Starting to Plan

Hello, we are planning a two week trip this September to Northern Spain. We have never been to Barcelona, but have been to Madrid and the Andalusia. We will be driving and love scenic routes as well as nice European highways. Love to eat with the locals, enjoy history and site-seeing. 4 star hotels are in our range. We are flying into Barcelona and back home from Madrid.

A business friend who lives in Spain suggested the following itinerary, but I’m not sure if it’s too much driving or how much time to spend in each location. We have 13 nights. He suggested these towns as bases. Does this look like too much for one trip? Perhaps we skip Galica and save it for another trip. Your advice is appreciated.

Barcelona – 3 or 4 nights
He said to skip the Costa Brava, not sure why (or we go to S’Agaro for a few nights)
San Sebastian – Visit Bilbao & Pamplona
Santander – Visit Oviedo
Santiago de Compostela (Galica)
Salamanca visit Avila
Stay in Salamanca and drive to Madrid to catch flight (We already spent time in Madrid so we don’t need to stay in town)

I have been searching the boards and have found lots of information about different Northern areas, but can't quite put together an itinerary. Your help will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

PS - there is an extensive trip report under easygoer for the Andalusia. We loved that trip. Also I owe the boards a Sicily trip report from last September, just in case Bob the Nav is out there. It was GREAT!

easygoer is offline  
Old Jun 18th, 2007, 04:43 PM
Join Date: May 2007
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It is wonderful that you wish to visit the north. I just posted on San Sebastian a few weeks ago.

There is little to see in Bilboa besides the exterior of the museum and the colelction is nothing to speak of. Thus if you have seen Gehry, you have seen Gehry.

When you are visiting Santander try to see Altamira. They have created what I understand is an excellent reproduction of the original cave. I was fortunate to see the original but not seen the replica.

We have spent a lot of time in Galicia. Try to see Coaat of Death and the Rias Altas. If you have the means try to stay at the Reyes Catolicos in Santiago.

Aduchamp1 is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 04:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Really is a long journey. My opinion:
-Skip Pamplona and Bilbao
-In Asturias visit "los Picos de Europa" (mountains)
-In Galicia after Santiago go to Bayona and visit the Cies islands.
Finally I recommend Segovia instead Avila.
Revulgo is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 04:52 AM
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In San Sebastian stay at Hotel Londres and ask a room to the wonderful beach and bay.
Revulgo is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 05:37 AM
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This plan needs a lot of adjusting. First of all, you should add the Picos de Europa to the itinerary: Cangas de Onis, possibly Fuente De, etc. This area can be visited after Santander. You should also add a night in Santillana del Mar where you can try to stay at the Parador Gil Blas.

There is much more to see in Galicia than Santiago.

Also, there is nothing about the attractions en route from Barcelona to San Sebastian..Catalunya or the Pyrenees... And no Basque towns close to San Sebastian.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 05:44 AM
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One possible itinery:
* Barcelona to San Sebastian (motorway) via Zaragoza (stopover) and Pamplona.
* San Sebastian to Santander (motorway).
* Santander - Arenas de Cabrales (Picos de Europa).
* Arenas de Cabrales - Cangas de Onís - Ribadesella - Gijón (beach).
* Gijón - Oviedo - León (terrific mountains scenary but motorway). In León stay at Hostal de San Marcos (a former palace).
* Leon - Santiago de Compostela (motorway until Lugo). More great scenary.
* Santiago - Bayona. Ride to islas Cies.
* Bayona - Salamanca (via Orense and Zamora).
* Salamanca - Segovia - Madrid.
Revulgo is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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We left the car in Salamanca and took a train to Madrid
it was very nice 15 p/p eu.
We actually came into Salamanca the evening before the morning we had to return the car in Avis.
We returned the car and rolled our two suitcases to the Ibis Salamanca, two blocks away. No frills but a nice breakfast, we paid with breakfast and tax only
61 euros, next day we changed to our hotel. It did work very nicelyy for us.
Graziella5b is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 10:38 AM
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Three words for you: Picos de Europa

I would also recommend Santillana del Mar (best seen in the evening after the hordes of tourists depart).

The Basque coast is amazing!!!!
marigross is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 02:48 PM
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Thanks for all of the help. I didn't mention but we were very fortunate to stay in Leon for three nights at the Parador, Hotel de San Marcos, compliments of the Spanish Cheese Producers. We toured two Spanish cheese factories, one was a producer of Queso Azul de Picos de Europa (amazing goats milk blue cheese). This was 10 years ago.

They were located in the heart of the mountains at Posada de Valdeon. After visiting the cheese factory and of course the goats, our group was taken by 4 wheel drive to the end of the “Montana”. The dirt/rock road was on a cliff-side with, in parts, not enough room for the truck. Yikes! At the end was a valley with a bar/restaurant, in the middle of no-where. It had only received electricity sometime in the 1970’s. It was magical. We pulled walnuts out of the trees and drank beer.

Later back in town our group was greeted by every agricultural minister in northern Spain. The Major of Leon was supposed to attend, but he had to see the King. Oh my. We had lunch with about 65 people. It was great.

So back to Northern Spain we go. The more I read your suggestions; I’m realizing that Northern Spain is not a two week loop, like we did in Andalusia. Since we have never been in Barcelona, I think we need to stay at least three nights.

If we spend…
Barcelona – 3 nights
Costa Brava – 3 Nights
San Sebastian – 3 nights
Only Four nights left with a Flight out of Madrid

Not enough to even consider Galicia (we have been to the Minho and Viana de Castelo in Portugal – loved it!)
I would prefer to come back next year for Northern Spain part two instead of spending two weeks driving from town to town.

Any more ideas would be appreciated on where to head after San Sebastian on the way to Madrid. We would prefer no more than 5 bases. Thank you.
easygoer is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2007, 05:05 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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Hotel El Oso , in Cosgaya, Near Potes is great and not expensive. Their restaurant is well know, and rightly delicious food.
Graziella5b is offline  
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