Northern Spain trip

Apr 19th, 1999, 11:46 AM
  #1  
John Lee
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Northern Spain trip

We are planning to spend two weeks in early May driving around Northern Spain covering an
area very roughly bounded by The Pyrenees, Santander, Burgos, Zaragoza,
Barcelona and Andorra.

Can anyone help with suggestions for interesting places to visit, not only
absolute 'must-sees', but also (preferably) off the track places which
attract few tourists?

As this will be an 'economy' holiday, suggestions about the sort of places
to look out for to eat where you can eat well for as little as possible
would also be welcomed (we prefer not to eat late at night as is the usual
Spanish custom).

We are not pre-booking anything, so any recommendations and advice about
identifying economical places to stay overnight (with minimum of private
wc/shower) would be very helpful. And idea of prices too?

Finally, are ATM cash machines common in Northern Spain. If not, what is
recommended insofar as obtaining currency is concerned?

Thanks for any help you fellow-travellers can give.

John


 
Apr 19th, 1999, 01:15 PM
  #2  
Sheila
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I got to know a small part of the Pyrenees very well last summer, and simply for garndeur they cannot be beaten. Go to one of the National Parks- the one I spent time at was Aigues Tortes but I think they are all wonderful.

The food is unlikley to be expensive. watch out for tapas- each is inexpensive in itself but it can amount to a lot if you take 2 or 3 on your plate.

The village I styed in most ofthe time was Boi. The next village is Taull. They are spectaularly pretty and off season they are very inexpensive. There are a wide range of small restauarants to choose from.

you might want to think about a guide book called "Special Place to stay in Spain and Portugal" published by Alistair Sawday Publishing, which inthe area you describe lists over 30 nice places to stay ranging from 1800pesetas per person to 28,000 ppp. and ranging from a basic hostal to a suite ina luxury sort of a place.
 
Apr 19th, 1999, 01:16 PM
  #3  
Sheila
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I got to know a small part of the Pyrenees very well last summer, and simply for garndeur they cannot be beaten. Go to one of the National Parks- the one I spent time at was Aigues Tortes but I think they are all wonderful.

The food is unlikley to be expensive. watch out for tapas- each is inexpensive in itself but it can amount to a lot if you take 2 or 3 on your plate.

The village I styed in most ofthe time was Boi. The next village is Taull. They are spectaularly pretty and off season they are very inexpensive. There are a wide range of small restauarants to choose from.

you might want to think about a guide book called "Special Place to stay in Spain and Portugal" published by Alistair Sawday Publishing, which inthe area you describe lists over 30 nice places to stay ranging from 1800pesetas per person to 28,000 ppp. and ranging from a basic hostal to a suite ina luxury sort of a place.
 
Apr 19th, 1999, 07:48 PM
  #4  
Kathy
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Just west of Santander are the Picos de Europa which are absolutely spectacular. They rise very dramatically close to the sea so are only about an hour's drive out of Santander. We stayed at the Hotel del Oso (see Karen Brown's guide) near Potes in the fall of '97 and it was $42 U.S. with gorgeous views. The hotel also had an incredible restaurant. The whole area was not crowded--at least not in October--and nearby is a funicular at Fuente De which is sort of the "end of the road".
 
Apr 20th, 1999, 11:54 PM
  #5  
covadonga
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Hi, John.
Go to Jaca, in the Pyrenees. Itīs a small town and it has a lot of things going on. There are a few ski resorts around (sorry, but Candanchu is the last one to shut down for the summer on the 6th of May), this year we had plenty of snow. The scenery is really beautiful all around, if you like mountain hiking you will enjoy it, if you prefer something more adventurous than plain walking, there are a few companies that organise daily tours... Then you have the cathedral, lovingly restored, the first romanic cathedral on the Saint Jamesī Pilgrim Way. San Juan de la Peņa, an old monastery built up in the rock, really impressive. Castillo de Loarre, near Huesca, you would think you are still living in the 10th century. In Jaca you can tour the Citadel. It was built around three centuries ago to protect us from our french friends, and still itīs being used as a military guarnition. Quite interesting, built up in a star shape.
There are plenty of hotels in Jaca, and some nice restaurants.
I have more ideas about the area you want to travel around, just e-mail me and I give you some addresses.
 
Apr 21st, 1999, 12:20 PM
  #6  
Plato
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Hi John,
 
Apr 21st, 1999, 12:24 PM
  #7  
Plato
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Hi John,
Last Sept we spent some time in the Pyrenees around Garvanie in France which is really spectacular. In Spain, the Hecho valley is a must, well of the beaten track not far from Jaca. If you like walking it's fantastic. Don't trust the Spannish maps though.
Regards Plato
 
Jan 3rd, 2001, 01:24 PM
  #8  
Sheila
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topping for Clousie
 
Jan 4th, 2001, 06:01 AM
  #9  
Clousie
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Thanks for topping, Sheila.

I've been going through my very dated material (can't wait to get out to my favorite bookstore!) and this area seems very promising.

Is it possible to locate in one or two areas and still be close enough to a variety of walks and other things to do? What would anyone suggest as the best international airport and travel from there to this region?

Any comments on Galicia? Sounds interesting, especially with the Celtic influence. Have to keep the Lost Souls on track!
 
Jan 4th, 2001, 02:09 PM
  #10  
Sheila
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What I did was to fly into Barcelona, and spend the first night at Montserrat. Next day I drove to Boi and found an hostal. It was just outside the park boundary. I did different walks every day, of varying difficulty, right up into the high pastures and one one day away up past where mere tourists went and onto the high tops (bit stupid actually, broke all the rules but...)

I drove into the next valley to Benasque and found a remote valley nearby where I went looking for lammergeier(didn't find any unfortunately).

If I'd wanted to I could have done Aneto-highest peak in the Pyrenees-one day and a stroll up the riverside the next.

You could easily cross the country and do a few days in the Pyrenees and then a few in Picos de Europas, which look wonderful too. Or you could cross over and do stuff in France.

Barcelona is the nearest airport on the east side. I guess Pau would be, in France.

I never got to Galicia.

What happened to Canada?
 
Jan 4th, 2001, 05:12 PM
  #11  
lynn
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Hi John:
My husband and I found a neat place in the Pyrenees which is accessible only by cogwheel train. Vall de Nuria. They have a website if you want to check out more info, but just to let you know it was the highlight of our trip last year. We have slowly been exploring Catalonia over the past few summers and had heard about Nuria and finally had the pleasure of exploring it's beauty.
As I said it's only accessible by train which you can pick up in Ribes de Freser and leave your car at the train station in this little town or one or two trains out of Barcelona daily connect to it if you don;t want to drive up.The trip up the mountain on the little train is achingly beautiful and once in Nuria you have a choice of hotel or tent. The hotel if you choose it (I believe) always requires that you take half or full board and also includes the train up and back. We chose this accommodation and loved it.
The hiking is wonderful, you can go trail riding, or just sit and soak up the scenery in the bar or on the patio. There are a few restaurants, snack bars a well stocked store for all your hiking needs including clothing and the whole reason for the place originally is the church/sanctuary right in the centre.
If it sounds interesting to you, email me at address above and I'd be glad to answer any questions. We also hiked the national park aigues tortes the year before out of Boi and loved it too for a nice 1/2 walk to see some of the mountain lakes.
P.S......good luck finding restaurants in some of the out of the way areas that don't make you eat late. We drove from France into Spain two years ago and stayed overnight in Vielha.......we hadn't eaten since our flight arrived in Bordeaux at 8;30 am that morning from Toronto and couldn't find ANY restaurants open before 8"30PM for dinner.........we got used to it and planned our days accordingly after that but the first evening was a killer. You may sometimes be forced to eat later if you choose small out of the way places.

We found ATM machines all over Spain without exception. No problems there I don;t think.
Happy travels................
Lynn
 
Jan 5th, 2001, 09:09 AM
  #12  
Clousie
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Canada??? We had a recount, and everyone didn't mean to vote for it!
Now we're on to Spain, but not sure all the Lost Souls will want to go during the summer which is my only option. Spent the day at the bookstore, and am definitely getting more psyched on northern Spain, just difficult to zero in on a small enough area for 2 weeks.

Has anyone any comments on Andorra? Is it worthwhile or just another stamp on my passport?
 
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