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Northern Spain

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Aug 21st, 2014, 04:12 PM
  #1
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Northern Spain

We are interested in learning about what we might experience in Northern Spain, having read some about San Sebastian, thinking of basing there and fanning out across the northern coast to see Bilbao, maybe Santander...Need help with our planning. We will be traveling next July. We also wish to drive to France, after finding it difficult to plan train travel from say Bilbao to Toulouse France where we will meet our adult children to continue our travel. We have 11 days in Northern Spain. Thank you fellow fodorites. You are the best!
lrtayloe is offline  
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 05:03 AM
  #2
 
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A couple of great intros to the wonderful Basque Country/Euskadi (San Sebastián/Donostia - Bilbao/Bilbo etc. etc.):
http://www.euskoguide.com/
http://tourism.euskadi.net/en/
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Aug 22nd, 2014, 06:18 AM
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Bookmarking for future reference.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
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Sep 5th, 2014, 03:42 AM
  #4
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Thank you all for your assistance. It has really been a surprise to learn how few "print" references there are on northern Spain although I see that Rick Steve's has one coming out at the end of the year.
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Sep 5th, 2014, 04:41 AM
  #5
 
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The Cadogan guide on Bilbao & the Basque lands is good: http://www.amazon.com/Bilbao-Basque-.../dp/1860114008

I've lived here and visited almost every year since the late 80's. With eleven days, I would have stayed four days in San Sebastian with lunch day trips to close by Donibane/Pasajes San Juan and Getaria. Then on to Lekeitio for some two-three days before the final days in vibrant Bilbao. Be sure to visit the historik capital Gernika (Picasso's Guernica) on your way from Lekeitio to Bilbao.

Donibane/Pasajes San Juan: http://www.euroresidentes.com/eurore...s/san-juan.htm
Getaria: http://www.thepauperedchef.com/2007/...-in-getar.html
Lekeitio: http://www.lekeitio.org/en/presentation
Gernika: http://www.gernika-lumo.net/en-US/To...s/default.aspx
Bilbao: http://www.guggenheim.org/bilbao

San Sebastian and Bilbao are both fabulous cities, and very, very different.

San Sebastian was recently voted #5 city in the world on Conde Nast Traveler and is European Capital of Culture 2016:
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/16/tr...er-top-cities/
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Sep 5th, 2014, 05:42 AM
  #6
 
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If you stay with your train plans, I think you will be likely to go from Bilbao to Bordeaux. Then, the TGV leaves Bordeaux regularly and gets to Toulouse with but two stops.
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Sep 5th, 2014, 06:40 AM
  #7
 
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Bookmarking!
Iwan2go is offline  
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Sep 5th, 2014, 06:47 AM
  #8
 
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And you are close to the Picos de Europa National park:
http://www.thepicosdeeuropa.com/
http://vimeo.com/99700884
kimhe is offline  
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Sep 5th, 2014, 06:50 AM
  #9
 
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While most people know Spain by its Southern and Central references, Northern Spain remains mostly untouched by massive tourism. There lies its great beauty...unspoilt places, great food, nature, a "different" Spain. As a Basque, I´m naturally biased towards my beautiful land, which just recently has started receiving tourists...it´s funny, we used to take pictures of tourists in Bilbao just maybe 10 years ago...now it´s the other way around.
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Sep 5th, 2014, 09:08 AM
  #10
 
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There is no direct rail connection between Bilbao and Irun-Hendaye, where you would need to go to pick up the train to Toulouse. If you choose to go by rail, you would have to connect through Miranda de Ebro, in the Burgos province of Castile and León, not far from Haro, in the Rioja. It would be an adventure, but makes for a long day.

If you don't want to drive, the quickest way would be to take the bus to Donostia-San Sebastian and the train from Irun-Hendaye to Bayonne, or Bordeaux, to connect to Toulouse. Connecting through Bayonne tends to be quicker.
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