Notices

North of Spain from Bilbao

Reply

Mar 5th, 2014, 01:29 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7
North of Spain from Bilbao

Hi I have booked a 9 day stay in the north of Spain, will be flying in and out from Bilbao, but haven't booked my accommodation yet? We'll be a party of 3 and were thinking of renting a car and exploring the cities around.

Would you recommend booking accommodation for the whole duration of the stay in Bilbao and travel out from there each day, or is it better to move from city to city and sleep there?

Also, what are the main places we should definitely be including in the itinerary?
drtanz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 5th, 2014, 01:47 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,777
You should first flip through a guide book or website to see what speaks to you, but I think I can in this case speak on behalf of humanity and say you will want to include a few days in San Sebastian!
You will really only need a car if you are exploring small villages. There is a direct airport bus from Bilbao to SS, making it easy for you to start your trip off there. You can return to Bilbao for your last couple days (depending on your interests). What comes in between should start with your research.
yorkshire is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 5th, 2014, 06:56 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,541
I had a terrific trip to northwestern Spain last year. Spent a night in Bilboa. Here are my photos from the trip, may give you some ideas. The first photo is the route that I took. The first shot of each town I visited contains the town name.

Saving northeastern Spain for a separate trip.

https://plus.google.com/photos/10755...CPbR6qm-vJjuGA
joannyc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 5th, 2014, 07:02 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 888
San Sebastian is a must. Great pixtos and world class food, nice beaches, and fun locals.

There is a bus terminal in Bilbao, where several bus companies travel to San Sebastian (and other towns you may want to go to). It's easy, fast, and quite comfortable. You put your own bags into a compartment under the bus, and off you go.
Leburta is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 9th, 2014, 02:54 PM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7
Thanks guys, @joannyc how long did the trip take?
drtanz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 9th, 2014, 05:48 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,041
What time of year is this trip?
CathyM is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 9th, 2014, 07:25 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,541
Drtans, I believe it was about 22 nights on the ground with 2 travel days so about 24 days total.

I know you don't have that amount of time but thought you might think about Burgos, Santillana del Mar, Comillas, etc.. Have no idea how long each would take via public transportation.

Have a great trip!
joannyc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 17th, 2014, 10:32 PM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7
Ok so here's the schedule I came up with, a tad undecided between the options I have on day 3 and day 6, anyone got any feedback? Did I miss anything essential?

1 - Arrive in Bilbao in the evening around 8pm, sleep in Bilbao

2 - Day trip to Santander, sleep in Santander

3 - Option 1 - 100km to wine tasting at Haro, then pass to Pamplona before driving to San Sebastian
Option 2 - Drive along the coast through towns like Guernika and Zarautz to San Sebastian
Sleep in San Sebastian

4 - San Sebastian

5 - Hondarribia, St-Jean-de-Luz, Biarritz, Bayone, sleep in San Sebastian

6 - Option 1 - Stay in Sebastian and drive back to Bilbao in the evening
Option 2 - Drive to Bilbao and then continue to the wine tasting in Haro
Sleep in Bilbao

7 - Bilbao

8 - Bilbao (maybe Guggenheim museum) and flight back at 14:45
drtanz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 18th, 2014, 12:36 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
Bilbao is not the best base for exploring the area, but you should spend at least three days at the beginning to see and experience the city.

With such a short time frame, I'd either skip Santander, the Rioja or the Pays Basque and concentrate on the País Vasco.

If you do include a visit to the Rioja, are you actually planning on doing it and Pamplona in one day?

Remember, you'll have to reserve any bodega tours in advance and tour times, in English, are usually limited to one a day at most wineries. Visits can also take from 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours each.
Robert2533 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 18th, 2014, 05:40 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 5,934
Bilbao and San Sebastián and the small villages along the coastline between these two very different cities should be more than enough for nine days. Recommend to spend most of the time in San Sebastián, but Bilbao is also a fabulous and much bigger city. http://www.sansebastianturismo.com/en/
NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/tr...anted=all&_r=0
Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandst...rink.shopping2
Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/de...lin-stars.html

Bilbao: http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...ilbao-tourism/
The coastline: http://tourism.euskadi.net/basque-coast/
Small Getaria, just west of San Sebastián and on the way along the coast to Bilbao: http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...taria-tourism/
kimhe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 18th, 2014, 06:59 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,280
Kimhe, I should invite you to my fb page on the Basque Country so you could publish all this valuable info...thks!!
mikelg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 18th, 2014, 09:59 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,041
I agree with Robert2533. You have just 7 nights. I'd skip Santander and spend 3 nights in Bilbao and 4 in San Sebastian. You can daytrip to Haro from Bilbao and daytrip to Pamplona and Hondarribia from San Sebastian.
CathyM is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 18th, 2014, 09:19 PM
  #13
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7
Thanks guys, I'll give Santander a miss then, and Pamplona can go off the list too. I think I'll still want to do the wine tasting though since the region is so famous for that. Another thing I'm still unsure about is whether to rent a car or not.
drtanz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 18th, 2014, 10:42 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,280
Well, don´t think of Rioja as a "wine tasting" activity, as it is in Napa Valley. The Rioja wine region is full of historical and beautiful towns, such as Laguardia or Labastida, full of charm and character. Towns on this region base their economy on wine making, as they´ve been traditionally doing for centuries (although it was not until the XIX century that they took it seriously and the big names were founded). A tour of a winery takes about two hours, where you see the full process, and at the very end they offer you a couple of wines to taste, with a full explanation on the characteristics of the wines. Family businesses in many cases, proud of their production. Really worth a trip to, say, Laguardia, and enjoy a full day visiting the town and two or three wineries.
mikelg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 19th, 2014, 12:07 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 5,934
mikelg,

thanks for the invitation to publish on your site, but I already spend too much time here and therefore keep fb at an absolute (below) minimum ;-)

Of course, just feel free to copy anything that might be interesting, and I will also be happy to get a link to your fb.
kimhe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 19th, 2014, 04:00 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7
Thanks mikelg, so I should consider that a full day trip, sounds good
drtanz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2014, 09:54 PM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7
OK I made some modifications.

07.06 - Arrive in Bilbao in the evening around 8pm, sleep in Bilbao

08.06 - Explore Bilbao, sleep in Bilbao

09.06 - Drive along the coast through towns like Getaria, Zestoa, Zumaia, Loyola, and Zarautz to San Sebastian.
Sleep in San Sebastian

10.06 - Explore San Sebastian, sleep there

11.06 - Hondarribia, St-Jean-de-Luz, Biarritz, Bayone, sleep in San Sebastian

12.06 - San Sebastian and later drive back to Bilbao, hitting any missed towns on the way. Sleep in Bilbao.

13.06 - Drive to wine tasting in Haro and later visit Logrono. Drive
back to Bilbao. Sleep in Bilbao.

14.06 - Bilbao (maybe Guggenheim museum) and leave to Barcelona at 14:45
drtanz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 22nd, 2014, 05:36 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 5,934
Perhaps splurge one day in San Sebastián in one of the world class restaurants? I've had out of this world meals in both Akelarre and Arzak in recent years (both three Michelin stars, and you also have Martin Berasategui and Mugaritz and several other Michelin star restaurants). You should book way ahead.

Lunch in Akelarre is something very special with the spectacular views over the beautiful coast, and Arzak has been up among the ten best restaurants in the world for about 25 years.
Akelarre: http://gastronomyblog.com/2010/06/04...san-sebastian/
Arzak: http://theboywhoatetheworld.com/2011...of-a-lifetime/

But plenty of excellent "normal" restaurants in San Sebastián also. Casa Urola and La Muralla are two of my favourites:

Casa Urola, new owners and chef but the same sky high standard as ever: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...e_Country.html

La Muralla, fabulous value set menus: http://www.restaurantelamuralla.com/es/
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...e_Country.html

For a great value three course lunch with drinks included for 11€, I recommend La Zurri in the Gros district across the city river Urumea. Very popular with locals:
http://www.restaurantelazurri.com/ http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...e_Country.html

All about going for the famous pintxos in San Sebastián, with suggested routes etc: http://www.todopintxos.com/home/home.php?lang=en
kimhe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 22nd, 2014, 07:28 AM
  #19
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 7
Lovely, thanks kimhe will be sure to try some of those out
drtanz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 22nd, 2014, 08:46 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,041
I'd put all of the time in Bilbao in one stay at either the beginning or end of the trip. This way you have one less instance of packing/unpacking. I'd probably just head straight for San Sebastián on arrival (it's less than 1.5 hours ) and stay 4 nights then later move to Bilbao - or vice versa. I think you're over ambitious on the daytrips. For example Hondarribia, St-Jean-de-Luz, Biarritz and Bayonne in one day! I think you'd be more likely to visit one in the morning and one in the afternoon but not all 4 places. So I'd prioritize the places you want to visit and if the others don't work out then you won't be disappointed.

Be sure to book the bodega visits in advance. I'd skip Logroño as it's not the most atmospheric of towns (except during San Mateo) with just a daytrip. Haro is good to visit some of the "biggie" bodegas but you may find others just as interesting in the smaller villages. Visit Laguardia or Labastida instead of Logroño.

Definately take a look at Maribels guides. Her Rioja guide will help you decide on the bodegas and her Basque Country guide and city guides for Bilbao and San Sebastián will be an excellent resource for your trip.

maribelsguides.com
CathyM is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:41 PM.