Our trip to Spain

Jul 5th, 2006, 10:55 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2003
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Our trip to Spain

I am in the midst of planning a trip to Spain for my wife and I. I just want to make sure that the plan makes sense. I would love some feedback. Planning on flying from SFO to Barcelona on August 26 and spending about 5 days there, then fly to either Bilbao or San Sebastian, whichever is best, I am not sure, and staying in San Sebastian for 4 days. Is that enough time in that area? Now here is where I am not sure what to do next. We will have about 4-5 days before we head back to Barcelona to depart. We are both in our early 30's, love history, music, good food and nice beaches. So will we see nice beaches to lay out in Barcelona and around San Sebastian? Should we go towards Santiago de Compostela, or Pyrenees, or St Jean de Luz???? Please help!! I read alot of your awesome posts and since it is our first time I am a little confused of where to go the last few days. Is the itinerary pretty good otherwise? Hotels that most recommended in Barcelona were: Hotel Palace,Majestic,Claris, Neri. We want to be near the action to walk around!! In SS hotels I found were:Villa Soro, Obispo,Charles V in Hondarribia,Niza,Londres. I would love some feedback, and also do we really need to rent a car? Not to add to the confusion but is Seville a must on this trip? Alot of people are telling me we have to go there. I just don't want to travel that far down south. Thanks again
sevan77 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2006, 12:14 PM
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One time we rented a car and just drove around the Basque Country. We went to San Sebastian, Vittoria, Bilbao, Guernica, and along the coast. It is a beautiful place. We also went to Burgos, a medieval fantasy! Just drive around, try to get lost a few times, and enjoy the sights.

About Seville and Andalucia, it is indeed one of the most beautiful regions in Spain. Seville alone is definitely worth the trip, and you can also go to Ronda, Granada and Cordoba. Getting there from anywhere in Spain should take you three hours or so by air, so it is not that bad.

Santiago is also a beautiful city, with lots of history (and great food), but I believe that four days may be too much.

What about Madrid? There are way too many things to do and see in and around Madrid!
Jean_Valjean is offline  
Jul 5th, 2006, 12:33 PM
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Well, this is your trip so if you don't want to go so far South, don't. I think that you have allotted a good amount of time in BCN and SS, and if you have 5 more random days, choose something that is desireable to you and your wife (nature? city? more beaches?) and won't entail too much travel (unless you fly to Santiago, that is a long way). Also, you are leaving out of Barcelona so crossing the country will mean crossing it all the way back. Madrid is certainly feasible because it is a great midpoint. Everything flies in and out of there and it will be easy to get back to BCN.
laclaire is offline  
Jul 5th, 2006, 02:29 PM
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if tickets are not yet purchased , try to do an "open jaw" into bcn and out of another city so as not to backtrack.

being august and HOT i would stay as far north as possible.
thus, trying to rearrange flights, or just count on returning to bcn by plane, perhaps.

not usually any supplement for one way car rentals.
lincasanova is offline  
Jul 5th, 2006, 02:38 PM
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oops sorry! I didn't mean to repost your post!!!!

nessundorma is offline  
Jul 5th, 2006, 02:50 PM
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Sorry, for that confusing interruption. Let me try again:

Since we are talking about August, I would avoid Sevilla - and I love Sevilla. And for you "bonus" five days, I highly recommend that you pick a town in the Pyrenees, either on the French or the Spanish side, and go hiking. The countryside of the Pyrenees is incredibly pristine, sometimes dramatic, sometimes bucolic. And the water is so delicious! In August, that is where I would want to be. If not there, then I would crawl along the Spanish coast -- the Cantabrian Coast -- and go on a voyage of discovery.

I think San Sebastian is a fantastic place and you won't regret 3 or 4 nights there, with lunch time trips to Hondarribia or nearby beaches for fantastic food and charming sights.

I'm a fan of modern art and museums, and I though Bilbao was boring. I regretted the day I spent schlepping to and from there from San Sebastian by bus -- and it wasn't even August! (It was May, and plenty warm enough). I would only plan to go to Bilbao if you get stuck with a rainy day.

I stayed at the Niza and thought it quite charming although my 6'4" husband complained the bed was a bit short and we both thought the mattress rather hard. We especially enjoyed breakfast with the waterview in the downstairs bar. We thought the bar nicer than that of the Londres, where my husband previously stayed (without me!!!!!!) and liked very much.

We traveled to St Jean de Luz and thought it rather dull and very touristy by comparison. We much prefered the tiny port adjacent to it of Ciboure, which thought filled with charm. A drive along the French Basque coast is extremely pretty -- but then again so are the view of the Spanish Basque coast from Monte Igueldo. (Make sure to go there, and pay the few euros to get to the top of the torre.)

In the French Pyrenees, I thought Cauterets made an interesting base as a starting point for walks, up to the Pont d'Espagne. Others may have different suggestions for locations on the Spanish side.

nessundorma is offline  
Jul 5th, 2006, 06:18 PM
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for openers, I don't think you can go very wrong no matter what you do. Barcelona and San Sebastian will anchor any trip no matter how bad the rest of it is! Re Flying to Bilbao vs Sanse: I found that flights to Bilbao were somewhat cheaper than flights to Sanse. I also found Bilbao to be much more enjoyable than I was led to believe. downtown Bilboa is quite "cosmopolitan" [damn I hate that word] and Friday nite at Plaza Nueva is a truly great way to end the day.

Hondarribias is beauftiful but I am not sure I's want several nites hotel there. Better to be in Sanse and catch the local bus [30 min] over to Hondarribias. Another easy day trip from Sanse by bus is Pamplona [1 hr] or seacostr vilages like Lekeitio [1 hr].

I think I'd Do Barcelona, Fly to either Bilbao and do 1 day and then to Sanse by bus [1 hr]or fly directly to Sanse and do 3-4 days. I'd then rent a car and putter about inland in the mountains. Possibley drive on to B or back to Sanse or
bilbao and then fly to Barcelona.
weber6560 is offline  
Jul 12th, 2006, 10:39 PM
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Of course it's whatever floats your boat. But, I would highly recommend the Pay Basque region in France. In my opinion, St jean de Luz and Biarritz would be a welcome relief from the masses of Barcelona. It's a low key setting and the food is to die for and you will actually have close to Pacific Ocean type waves.
astutefish is offline  
Jul 21st, 2006, 03:19 PM
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We are planning the same trip you described--3 nights Barcelona and 3 nights in San Sebastian. Our top hotel picks are: BCN--Majestic and Hotel 1898 and SS--Londres. The Majestic has been running a special--pay for 2 nights gets one night free but so far they have not posted for next year when we will be visiting. The superior rooms are on the street side. Being so noise sensitive, we would be forced to get a small inside room. That's why we are considering a courtyard room at the 1898--brand new last November, fabulous reviews on TripADvisor. From my research, the Londres in directly located on the beach and could be noisy if you are not able to get a high floor room overlooking the water. The Villa Soro is a good 15 minute walk into town and not near water but a very classy, comfortable hotel. Such a difficult choice.
RichardJ is offline  

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