Need Help with Spain Itinerary

Old Feb 15th, 2007, 08:32 PM
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Need Help with Spain Itinerary

Hello - we are going to be in Madrid and Barcelona on two consecutive weekends in early April and are wondering what to do during the week (i.e., Mon-Fri). We have already done the Granada-Cordoba-Sevilla circuit and were thinking of Bilbao and surrounding areas. Is this a good idea? Can we rent a car in Madrid, drive to Bilbao and other points of interest and then on to Barcelona? Or is that too much for five days? Any recommendations for what places to visit/hotels or guesthouses to stay in in the Basque region (San Sebastian sounds very touristy!)?

Sorry for all the questions - any guidance would be of tremendous help!

Many thanks!
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Old Feb 15th, 2007, 09:46 PM
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Yes, Madrid to Bilbao and then on to Barcelona is far too much for a mere 5 days. All you'll see is the highway.

If you want to spend a few days in the Basque Country, San Sebastian-Donostia or Bilbao, then you can check out the Hotel Londres in SS and the Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao or Sheraton Bilbao in Bilbao.
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Old Feb 15th, 2007, 10:50 PM
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Indeed open the map and have a look. The only suggestion I can add is, keep in mind tha the best of Spain is often in smaller cities. For instance you can find fascinating destinations around Madrid, not as far as Bilbao, which could be left for a later date. Same around Barcelona.
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Old Feb 15th, 2007, 11:05 PM
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i agree. fly between mad-bcn, but do your touring in one northern area.
ww.toprural.com will give you loads of country inns.
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Old Feb 16th, 2007, 06:44 AM
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thanks for the very helpful clarifications! sounds like driving the entire way is out of the question. one possibility is flying to bilbao and then driving from there to barcelona? or is that too ambitous as well, for 5 days?
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Old Feb 16th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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The drive from Madrid to Bilbao takes about 4/5 hours and Bilbao to Barcelona 6/7 hours.
San Sebastian may sound whatever you want but it is the must attractive city in the Vasque countries.
May suggestion is:
If it matches your budget, Fly to Bilbao and then Fly to Barcelona.
Rent a car in Bilbao and visit the area for a few days.
Rgds
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Old Feb 16th, 2007, 01:09 PM
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Flying Madrid to Bilbao is very, very cheap buying ahead on iberia's web site. Renting a car is very expensive, and you don't need it once you are in the cities. So go to Iberia's web site and shop for flights Madrid-Bilbao-Barcelona.
The smaller cities around Madrid are a worthwhile choice. Drive to Avila, spend a night in the Parador, drive on to Salamanca, but don't stay at the Parador because it's far from old city. Both are wonderful at night. Segovia and it's aqueduct can be seen as a day trip. We also visited royal palaces along the way: Escorial, Aranjuez. Circled around Madrid to visit Cuenca, an incredible little town with a first rate museum of modern art and windows looking at Panoramas that were art themselves. Again, the Parador is first rate place to stay.
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Old Feb 18th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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Based on all your helpful advice, we are thinking of flying from Madrid to Bilbao (we have visited the region around Madrid already) on Sunday or Monday and either (1) making it a base for 4 days, and exploring the surrounding area on day trips, and then flying from Bilbao to Barcelona on Friday, or (2) spending 1.5 days in Bilbao, and then driving to San Sebastian, followed by two nights in smaller towns on the way, dropping car off in Zaragoza and then taking train into Barcelona.

My questions are:

1. is option 1 any good, in the sense that are there really good day trips out of Bilbao (enough to get a sense for the Basque country)?

2. if option 2, any recommendations for places/paradors to stay in between San Sebastian and Zaragoza?

3. any idea how much the car rental might cost us?

Thanks again!
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