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Need help with N. Spain itinerary Aug 2008

Need help with N. Spain itinerary Aug 2008

Jan 7th, 2008, 08:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 107
Need help with N. Spain itinerary Aug 2008

Hello everyone,

As I mentioned in another post, my future husband and I will be spending part of our honeymoon in Spain in August of this year. I have been pouring through posts, websites, guidebooks, etc., trying to figure out a reasonable itinerary for our time. Neither of us has been to Spain before. I have traveled quite a bit in other European locales but my fiance has never been to Europe before. Neither one of us speaks Spanish.

Here is what I have so far:

Aug 11 & 12: San Sebastian (arrive from Paris). Staying at Maria Cristina on points.

Aug 13 & 14: Picos de Europa (not sure where to stay yet)

Aug 15: Leon (?)

Aug 16 & 17: Santiago de Compostela

Aug 18: Baiona (stay at parador?)

Aug 19: Fly Vigo -> Barcelona

Aug 19-22: Barcelona. Stay at Le Meridian on points. We currently have airline tickets from Barcelona back home on Aug. 22nd.

Because we are able to use points for accommodations in San Sebastian and Barcelona (and in Paris, the week before), we feel like we can have one or two splurges on accommodations in the other places, so are considering the paradors in Baiona and Leon.

I have several questions:

1) Is the itinerary too ambitious? i.e., are we trying to cover too much ground in too little time? Somehow we have decided that we really want to see Barcelona, San Sebastian and Santiago.

2) My fiance has some interest in staying at the Hotel Marques de Riscal in Elciego and we can stay there on points. I figure if we do this we could slip it in after San Sebastian and before Picos but then we would have to take either Leon or Baiona off of the itinerary (heart is not really set on either of them). I don't think it is really a burning desire but was wondering if anyone has been there or can offer any information on doing this??

3) Would it be better to take either Baiona or Leon or both off the itinerary and spend additional time in Barcelona? I'm a bit for this because I have been thinking it might be nice to do a day trip to Montserrat if we have more time in Barcelona. Plus, I've been told that there is a lot to love in Barcelona itself. But, having the Leon stop breaks up the long journey from the Picos to Santiago (not that we mind the long drive).

4) Is there something else/somewhere else that I should be considering?

Thanks in advance for all feedback.


AllisonK is offline  
Jan 7th, 2008, 10:32 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
It is far too much traveling with only 9 nights before heading to Barcelona. Based on experience, you need to spend a minimum of four nights in San Sebastian-Donostia just to get the flavor of the city, let alone the surrounding countryside. Hondarribia is a must if you are going to be in the area for any length of time. And donít forget about Bilbao.

If you rent a car, you can head to the Picos for a few days, venturing into the interior to Fuente De and Potes. August is a great time of the year, but it will be busy as it is the most popular time to visit this area.

Overall, I would save Santiago for another adventure, one in which you can actually have enough time to enjoy the area.

Have you read Maribelís Guide to the País Vasco? If would prove invaluable in planning you trip.
Robert2533 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2008, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,760
Yes you are travelling too much.
However if your heart is set on Seeing Galicia rather than the Basque country then fly from Paris to Vigo, Hire a car, take a bus or train up the coast of Galicia. Return to Vigo or fly out of SdC to BCN. Or fly back to Paris via Vigo.
Vigo is not a such a nice place to stay but we would recommend the Paradore in Baiona over the one in SdC any day.
For more information about Galicia see


If you want to travel inland than there is also lots to see.
Let us know what interests you and we can hopefully point the way here in Ďourí part of Spain.

Ian and Irene
ribeirasacra is offline  
Jan 8th, 2008, 05:08 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,115
AllisonK, Robert is spot on. 2 days in San Sebastian will create a crying jag of epic proportions because you didn't get to immerse yourself in the city. A big WOW that you are able to stay at the Maria Christina! My guess is that you will cancel all the other places to see in Spain! Speaking Spanish or Basque won't be a problem. Maribel's Guide is invaluable as she is very accurate in her evaluations. I would give an eye tooth to much my way through the Parte Vieja again. It blows away Madrid and Barcelona in the Tapas categories. That's my opinion of course...
johnthedorf is offline  
Jan 8th, 2008, 05:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,509
We will be doing a part of that itinerary in May and will be spending 3 nites at the Parador Cangas de Onis near the Picos---comes highly recommended.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 8th, 2008, 05:37 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,211
It seems to me that for 11 nights that is too many stops. I'll leave to others that have driven in those areas to suggest an itinerary that makes sense.

I think 3 nights in Barcelona is enough

If you do go to Picos de Europa area, I recommend the Cangas de Onís parador. Try to get a room in the "Zona monasterio" (the old part of the hotel).

Hope you can keep Santiago in your itineray. It's really a magical place.

Good luck!
cruiseluv is offline  
Jan 11th, 2008, 09:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 782
I think is too ambitious. I'll recommend, based in San Sebastian, stroll this town and its promenade all the bay along, enjoy the superb Basque cuisine and devote one day to do a slow trip on the Basque coast along (Hondarribia & Getaria) heading to Bilbao. From Bilbao get Cantabria: Santander, Santillana, San Vicente de la Barquera and Picos. Finally fly from Santander to Barcelona.
Revulgo is offline  
Jan 11th, 2008, 09:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 782
As good as Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastian is Hotel Real in Santander.
Revulgo is offline  
Jan 11th, 2008, 11:44 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
As Revulgo mentions, the Hotel Real in Santander is very nice, a 5-star Gran Lux. We stopped in for a drink while staying in the area this past July.

The hotel's own website is: http://www.hotelreal.es/es/

Robert2533 is offline  

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