Northern Spain in 7 Days?

Jan 19th, 2013, 04:14 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 3
Northern Spain in 7 Days?

Hello! Planning a trip to Northern Spain in late July (will be going to Ireland after for a friend's wedding), and would love some feedback/advice. Based on the research I've done online, here's what I'm thinking so far:

Arrive into Madrid Friday morning and rent a car (will rent in advance before leaving the US).
Drive to Leon for lunch and a little bit of sight seeing, before continuing on to Oviedo by evening.
Spend the night in Oviedo and see the surrounding area Saturday morning/day.
Drive to Bilbao Saturday night and stay there through Wednesday night.
Day trips to: Santander, San Sebastian, La Rioja on Sunday-Wednesday.
Leave Bilbao Thursday morning for Ireland.

Thinking about staying one or two nights in a rural farmhouse somewhere in the Basque region, and the other 2 nights somewhere else - San Sebastian? Santander? La Rioja?

My boyfriend would like to surf at least once, and I am drawn to the coast/beaches as well, which is why we're trying to focus our trip on the coastal towns. I also LOVE wineries and am excited to explore the La Rioja area.

Do you think we're attempting to do too much in the first day after arrival? Are we not seeing enough in a week? We initially thought about trying to do Northern Spain and parts of Portugal (Lisbon and surrounding areas), but it seems like that would be too much. Any feedback/tips would be greatly appreciated - thank you!!
bchgal22 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2013, 04:44 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,796
Will you feel up to driving about 4 hours to Leon after an overnight flight, getting you luggage, and picking up the rental car? I know I couldn't do that safely as I can't sleep on the plane.

Then, it's another 1 1/2 hour drive to Oviedo.

No interest in Santiago de Compostela?

I just started planning my September trip to many of the same locations but I'll have about 2 1/2 weeks so first night will be in Madrid recuperating before I pick up my car.

Have a great trip!
joannyc is online now  
Jan 19th, 2013, 05:31 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 597
Are you departing from Ireland?

Is it possible to get a flight into Northern Spain from Ireland? If you can fly out of Bilbao, can't you fly in? If not, so be it.

I am not sure why you are going to Spain, but for me, to go to Spain and miss the evening pintxos scene in the town kills half the fun of being there. In July, most of the towns you are "daytripping" to will be dead for the most of the day. They will come alive at 6pm, 8pm, and be in full swing at 10pm.

Sure Bilboa will be hopping to in the evening, but in July, if you have a choice, wouldn't you rather be at the beach?

I don't think I would want to day trip to wine country if I couldn't drink the wine. So I would make those other overnights in wine country. In fact, if you LOVE wine, rioja is some of the world's best. Spend as many nights there as you can.

If you seriously would rather "base" than road trip, why not base in San Sebastian where the pintxos are so sublime? Were it me, I'd split my nights between SS and the Rioja wine country.

(PS: I recently took a trip to Galicia and did not set food in Santiago de Compostela. I'm sure it is as architecturally intersting as everyone says, but in July it will be a tourist/pilgrim zoo. I will go back someday in the dead of winter. I also think it much too far to drive if you need to fly out of Bilbao. )
goldenautumn is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 03:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 5,934
San Sebastián (and close by Zarauz) is a surfers paradise, some of the finest city beaches on the continent, the food capital of Spain (if not all of Europe) and European capital of culture 2016. http://adventure.nationalgeographic....58_600x450.jpg
kimhe is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,041
I'd skip the visit to Leon and Oviedo and spend the entir time in the Basque Country.
As it is you oly have scheduled lunch and a little sightseeing in Leon and essentially just a few hours other than sleeping in Oviedo. I'm assuming you're originating in Europe otherwise imwouldn't even think of attempting this after a translatic flight.

I also wouldn't use Bilbao as a base for 5 nights to visit San Sebastian and La Rioja. Personally I'd fly into Bilbao and not Madrid. With only 6 nights I'd spend 2 nights in La Rioja and the remaining time in San Sebastian. Or if you don't mind moving around more you could spend 2 nights in San Sebastian and 2 in a more rural area closer to Bilbao or one of the fishing villages (Getaria, Lekeitio, etc...).
CathyM is offline  

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