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Looking for input on Basque itinerary

Old Oct 29th, 2012, 04:18 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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Looking for input on Basque itinerary

DH and I will be spending a week in the Spanish and French Basque area after 4 days in Barcelona, where our wanderings will be focused on art, architecture and food.

Unfortunately, the more I read about Basque Country, the more I want to see and I’m having trouble coming up with an interesting yet somewhat relaxed itinerary. For this part of the trip, I think we’d like to soak up the culture, have great meals and wander through charming villages. We’re familiar with Gehry’s architecture (we live in Los Angeles and frequent Disney Hall) so the Guggenheim in Bilbao isn’t a priority. We prefer staying in larger towns for more varied night life and restaurant options.

Is the first itinerary below too ambitious?

Itinerary 1 - 5 nights San Sebastian, 2 nights Biarritz:
5/11: Arrive San Sebastian from Barcelona late afternoon
5/12: San Sebastian
5/13: Morning in San Sebastian. Lunch and afternoon in Hondarribia and Hendaye
5/14: Morning in San Sebastian. Pick up car. Lunch and afternoon in Getaria (with visit to the Balenciaga museum), and Lekeitio. Is it too much to squeeze in Guernica?
5/15: Day trip to Ascain, Sare, Ainhoa and Espellete. Return car.
5/16: Mid morning train to St. Jean de Luz. Can we store our luggage at the train station while we visit St. Jean? Late afternoon train to Biarritz.
5/17: Biarritz
5/18: Mid morning train to Paris

Itinerary 2 - 5 nights San Sebastian and 2 nights St. Jean de Luz:
5/11: Arrive San Sebastian from Barcelona late afternoon
5/12: San Sebastian
5/13: Morning in San Sebastian. Lunch and afternoon in Hondarribia and Hendaye
5/14: San Sebastian: Rent car for day trip to Guernica, Getaria and Lekeitio.
5/15: San Sebastian.
5/16: St. Jean de Luz.
5/17: Rent car for day trip to Ascain, Sare, Ainhoa and Espellete.
5/18: Morning train to Paris

TIA - I appreciate all your comments!
Vonse is offline  
Old Oct 29th, 2012, 04:44 PM
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I'm sorry but I forgot what time of year you are visiting!

There is so much more to Bilbao then the Guggenheim - but I understand there is just so much for this area. Personally I'm inclined to the Spanish Basque area versus the French....but this is the Spain forum and I'm quite biased to Spain!
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Old Oct 29th, 2012, 05:05 PM
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Mid May. It's hard to know what to cut out when you've never been! I really have no idea whether I'd enjoy Bilbao more than Biarritz. If we cut out Biarritz in favor of St Jean de Luz (itinerary 2), then perhaps I could add a day trip to Bilbao, but I'm still not sure that would be enough time for Bilbao. Weather may be a factor too.
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Old Oct 29th, 2012, 05:12 PM
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I would cut out Biarritz in favor of St-Jean-de-Luz in a heartbeat. That said, I am far more partial to French Basque country than Spanish.
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Old Oct 29th, 2012, 05:21 PM
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I appreciate your input StCirq, but I wish you'd finish your non-trip report! Cutting out Biarritz would certainly make for a more relaxing pace. Do you have any hotel recommendations for St. Jean de Luz?
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Old Oct 29th, 2012, 05:47 PM
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Gosh, Vonse, it's only been a day since I last wrote on it - I do have other things, including hurricanes, to deal with. I'm working on it. There'll be more up tomorrow, promise!

I don't remember where we stayed in St-J-d-L (we went there a few times), but I can research and find out. I do know we never ended up staying in the adorable place we wanted to because we always just waited until the last minute and took off from St-Cirq without planning far ahead. I'll check and get back to you!
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Old Oct 29th, 2012, 06:40 PM
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I do hope you know I was teasing, StCirq. Stay warm and safe. I'd love to know the name of the adorable place where you always wanted to stay....thanks.
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Old Oct 29th, 2012, 06:46 PM
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I do, Vonse, know you were kidding. No harm done, and I appreciate that you are reading my report. I think the place we always wanted to stay was Les Almadies, but we were always too late to book it and ended up at someplace called La Splendide or Les Sables of whatever, right on the beach and perfectly fine, but nothing special.

St-Jean-de-Luz is absolutely delightful, though. Blitz through Biarritz and head there. Bayonne is also an overlooked, lovely town.
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