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-   -   Need Help With Basque/Rioja/Cadaques/Barcelona/Menorca (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/need-help-with-basque-rioja-cadaques-barcelona-menorca-1652908/)

mammyu May 6th, 2018 09:08 AM

Need Help With Basque/Rioja/Cadaques/Barcelona/Menorca
 
My husband and I have two weeks in Spain in September and I am trying to finalize our plans and could use some input. While we want to see Barcelona, we are big fans of going to smaller places, and we really like exploring by foot or bike. We love being near the water and renting a kayak or sailboat and snorkeling. We are foodies, like wine and gin, and we travel light. We like modern art. We can both drive a stick shift (manual) car. In general, we feel that if we can stay in an area at least 2 nights before moving on, then we are not picking up and moving too often, but of course staying longer in one place always makes you feel more settled.

Most of my questions revolve around getting from one place to another, the length of time to allow for certain regions, or the best order in which to do things. The areas look so small on the map, but I want to be sure I have left enough travel time each time we move. You will see wiggle room around Sept 7 & 8. I know I need to travel from the Basque area to Cadaques one of those days but am unsure when and whether I should add another day to San Sebastian or Barcelona, or whether someone has a better idea. I really appreciate your help.

Tues Sept 4: Arrive 8:30 am Madrid, spend night in San Sebastian

QUESTION A – Better to fly to Bilbao and do Guggenheim, then take public transportation to San Sebastian for the night OR fly to San Sebastian and do Bilbao a day later? (Flights: Bilbao 10:45 am arrive 11:45 Air Europa / San Seb 11:45 arrive 1pm SS Air Europa)

Wed Sept 5: spend night in San Sebastian

Thurs Sept 6: San Sebastian

QUESTION B: Best use of time while in the Basque area with SS as our base. We want to see SS, Bilbao, Hondarribia, drive the coast between Bilbao and SS and see San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Lekeito and/or Getaria. Do I add another night and go to La Rioja, perhaps Guardia? Do we spend a couple of nights in the Rioja area? We will rent car at some point in San Sebastian and use it for exploring the coast and getting to Cadaques, then Barcelona.

Fri Sept 7: San Sebastian/Rioja or travel to Cadaques –

QUESTION C: Best route to travel to Cadaques – I know we could go the southern way through Zaragoza and Girona, or the northern way through Toulouse. Is one way more beautiful (perhaps because of the Pyrenees? Is there another way to go that I haven’t listed?

Sat Sept 8: Cadaques (Figueres), etc

Sun Sept 9: Cadaques or travel to Barcelona and turn in car

Mon Sept 10: travel to Barcelona or already in Barcelona

Tues Sept 11: Barcelona

Wed Sept 12: Barcelona

Thurs Sept 13: fly from Barcelona to Menorca (Flight Vueling either 10:35 AM – 11:30 AM or 12:00 – 12:55 PM)

Fri Sept 14: Menorca

Sat Sept 15: Menorca

Sun Sept 16: fly from Menorca to Barcelona (Flight 11:10 AM – 12:05 PM or 12:05 PM – 1:00 PM)

Mon Sept 17: 10:30 am flight from Barcelona home

Again, I appreciate your input.

mikelg May 7th, 2018 12:16 AM

QUESTION A – Better to fly to Bilbao and do Guggenheim, then take public transportation to San Sebastian for the night OR fly to San Sebastian and do Bilbao a day later? (Flights: Bilbao 10:45 am arrive 11:45 Air Europa / San Seb 11:45 arrive 1pm SS Air Europa)

More flight availability to Bilbao, I´d stay there at least one night...Guggenheim and old quarter are a must, among many other things. Then it´s just a bit over one hour on an excellent bus to San Sebastian, which is a small city and can be easily seen and enjoyed in just one day.

Wed Sept 5: spend night in San Sebastian

Thurs Sept 6: San Sebastian

QUESTION B: Best use of time while in the Basque area with SS as our base. We want to see SS, Bilbao, Hondarribia, drive the coast between Bilbao and SS and see San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Lekeito and/or Getaria. Do I add another night and go to La Rioja, perhaps Guardia? Do we spend a couple of nights in the Rioja area? We will rent car at some point in San Sebastian and use it for exploring the coast and getting to Cadaques, then Barcelona.

From SS, great access to Hondarribia by public transport or car. From Bilbao you have a great drive to SJ Gaztelugatxe, Bermeo, Mundaka, Gernika, Lekeitio and then Getaria (this one, easy access from SS). Rioja Alavesa (Laguardia) deserves at least one night (easier to reach from Bilbao), from here you can take the highway to Cadaqués.

bilboburgler May 7th, 2018 05:49 AM

Bilbao also has a museum of fine arts which I prefer to the Guggenheim and it has a modern art section.

mammyu May 7th, 2018 06:56 AM

Thanks for your input. That helps a lot.

Diamantina May 7th, 2018 04:54 PM

While in Cadaqués, you might want to visit Salvador Dali's house in Portlligat. It's only a short walk from the middle of Cadaqués. If you decide to do this, you should buy a ticket in advance:
https://www.salvador-dali.org/en/mus...in-portlligat/
Would you be visiting the Dali Museum in Figueres on your way to Cadaqués or using Cadaqués as a base to visit Figueres? The drive between the two places takes about 45 to 50 minutes, with the portion closest to Cadaques being winding.

If planning on visiting a lot of museums in Barcelona, you might consider buying an Art Ticket. But it might not be worth it if you are just going to the Picasso Museum and the Miro Museum (Fundació Joan Miró) and if you won't have time to visit the other included museums. The Art Ticket also covers admission to two contemporary art venues: CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona) and MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona), and the Museu Nacional d'Art Catalunya (from Romanesque to Modernism), and Fundació Antoni Tàpies (which we found underwhelming and should have skipped).

In Barcelona, we also enjoyed Caixa Forum, which is not included in the Art Ticket, but admission is only 4 Euros. However, in September 2018 (through Sept. 16) they'll be exhibiting ancient Egyptian art from the British Museum.

mammyu May 8th, 2018 07:50 AM

We were planning on using Cadaques as a base to visit Figueres.

Diamantina May 8th, 2018 06:15 PM

Then am I correct in understanding that you'll only spend two nights in Cadaqués and visit Figueres on one of them? If so, you might not have enough time to enjoy Cadaqués itself. We were there two years ago in October and loved it. Though it was busy (because of French school holidays), it was a wonderful place to just relax and enjoy the coastal scenery. We also spent two days/two nights and felt we could have used an extra day (we drove there from Girona). If we'd had an extra day, we would have tried to visit nearby Cap de Creus Natural Park. This Fodor trip report by nhulberg was so helpful in planning our trip (scroll down for Cadaqués details):
https://www.fodors.com/community/eur...1130852/page2/

I'd highly recommend visiting Dali's home. It was amazing and surprising to see how Dali lived and where he created his art and greatly complements a visit to the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres. As I said before, the road into Cadaqués is winding and I'm glad we didn't have to drive it multiple times over a couple of days. Shortly after we drove into Cadaqués, a bad accident occurred on this road (rescue helicopter, ambulances). We used Girona as base to visit Figueres. It's also about a 40 minute drive, but an easier drive. Girona is a beautiful small city (especially its Old Town/Barri Vell), with a university, popular with professional cyclists, and known for good restaurants. We only had one day/night there and wish we could have seen more of it.
https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2...ist-dan-craven

mammyu May 9th, 2018 08:05 AM

You make a good point - Cap de Creus is something we would like to see and perhaps we should skip Rioja and see (and stay in) Girona. We are all about Dali and definitely plan to see the home. Thanks for your input!

Diamantina May 9th, 2018 04:05 PM

Make sure to reserve ahead for the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres and his home in Port Lligat, so you don't miss out. I hope you get to vsiit Cap de Creus as well. But Rioja sounds tempting too! (We're saving the Basque region and La Rioja for a future trip.) You might enjoy this article about the Dali Museum and his house:
Salvador Dali's house: A bizarre whacky museum
Have a wonderful trip!

kleeblatt May 10th, 2018 01:56 AM

You can see San Sebastian in one day. It's gorgeous and the old town is fun to walk through. It's a bit touristic though and you don't get a feel of the locals.
We really loved Bilbao, despite its seemingly grittiness. There's a fantastic vibe to the city and the food choices are fun!
We did the coastal drive between San Sebastian and Bilbao. It was nice but long. We saw San Juan de Gaztelugatxe but didn't hike to the church which was a shame but we just didn't have time and we were tired.

My first tip: Hire Mikelg as a tour guide for Bilbao. He's incredibly knowledgeable of the area and is a professional tour guide that will adhere to your needs.

My second tip: the beautiful coastal walk (and St. James Way) between : Donostia - Pasaia. It's easy to take the bus back.

SueBi May 10th, 2018 01:58 AM

If you travel to Cadaques...is El Celler de Can Roca in your plan? Hope you are lucky to get a reservation there!!!

mammyu May 10th, 2018 08:17 AM

I will certainly look into El Cellar do Can Roca! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
Thanks also for the tour guide tip and walk along the coast.

mammyu May 10th, 2018 08:34 AM

All of your links are so helpful, Diamantina!


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