Northern Spain

Old Dec 26th, 2020, 08:47 PM
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Northern Spain

I am surprising my husband for his 60th birthday for a trip to Northern Spain. He has always wanted to go but we just never had the time. We want to stay 10 days and we are not sure what the best itinerary is. We like to stay a nice places and do some sight seeing but we also like to just hang out in the local areas. We enjoy drinking, eating, music and nightlife, beaches and some cutural things. Although we are on a mid range budget, nothing too fancy but nothing to casual in terms of hotel.
We live in So Cal

Does anyone have the ideal itinerary that would make this a great and memorable vacation
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Old Dec 26th, 2020, 11:48 PM
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I live near Bilbao, in the Basque Country. The North of Spain is quite different from the rest of the country, as its green, very mountainous (I can see snow on the top of the mountains near my home now) and quite rainy (beach weather is not always an option), but with really wonderful landscapes and a beautiful rugged coast. 10 days is not that much, Id recommend to travel east to west, with these basic points of interest: Donostia-San Sebastian, Bilbao and the Rioja wine area, in the Basque Country; in Cantabria, probably Comillas and Santillana; in Asturias, Oviedo and the romanesque churches and the coastal towns of Cudillero and Lastres, and then in Galicia you cant miss Santiago de Compostela, where St James Way or Camino de Santiago ends. Lots of unspoilt little towns on the way, great food and many areas very little touched by massive tourism. As this itinerary is quite long, Id concentrate maybe in just two or three points: you may want to do the Basque Country, Rioja wine area and Burgos. Or Galicia and Asturias.
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Old Dec 27th, 2020, 07:09 AM
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10 days might be a little short.

The whole Bilboa and Rioja area is worth 4 days with great food down on the coast and wine up in the hills. The Picos are interesting mountains. Burgos, Leon and area need another 4 days with the far west and Santiago another 4 days at least. Lots of monestries, empty hills, ancient industrial areas (think Roman) etc

Last edited by bilboburgler; Dec 27th, 2020 at 07:15 AM.
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Old Dec 27th, 2020, 12:35 PM
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Northern Spain is a wonderful place for a trip. You pretty much can't miss. The toughest part is whittling what will become your wish list down to something that is manageable with probably 3 stops in a 10 day trip. We have been several times (after studying lots of posts on this site--just search Northern Spain or area by area and you should encounter lots of posts and trip reports that should start your list. I'll throw in my 2 cents--check out Ribadesella, a small coastal town near a big time, but very casual, restaurant in the middle of nowhere--Gueya Mar. A super foodie experience. It is also home to one of our all time favorite hotels, Villa Rosario. A beautiful gem of a place built by a local returning from the New World with buckets of money. It's right on the water and truly magical--and not terribly expensive. Along the coast are a boatload of other great places to stop--Oviedo, Castro Urdiales, Santandar, San Sebastian, Getaria, Hondarribia. The list goes on and on.

We first visited the area in 2008 and have returned 3 times since and I can't wait to go again. Here is a link to my trip report from my first trip there. Lucky you. You have great travels ahead. Enjoy.

Trip Report: 17 glorious days in Northern Spain

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Old Dec 27th, 2020, 02:53 PM
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This might be helpful while planing your trip.
Paradores of Spain are historically important buildings ( castles, palaces, monasteries) that have been converted into hotels.
They usually have interesting architecture and surroundings ( although some are out of the way).
Their website has several routes that you can use for your planning ( you will require your own transportation).
They also have discounts on their website.

Happy travels

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Old Dec 28th, 2020, 08:56 AM
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Spain (suggestions)

Barcelona is nice, cobblestone streets, culture, saw flamenco dancing there (not sure if they have it now). I really liked Toledo. Theres a house of a famous painter that's worth seeing (cant think of his name, did a stormy painting). Toledo has a small town peyton place type feel.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old Dec 31st, 2020, 03:21 AM
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The glorious beach and a wonderful walk along the El Camino were our highlights in San Sebastian. Bilboa won our hearts with its vibrant city and local flair. We went to the Rioja area for a day but it was a long drive and I'm not sure if I'd do it again.

We went to Biarritz and Bayone for the day which was very interesting indeed.
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