Paradors in Northern Spain

Old Mar 19th, 2006, 05:42 PM
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Paradors in Northern Spain

I am planning a trip to Northern Spain and am thinking of staying exclusively in paradors. I only have two weeks (I wish I had two years!) and so far am planning the following:

2 nights Pontevedra
1 night Vilalba
1 night Leon
2 nights Cervera de Pisuerga (to check out the Picos de Europas)
2 nights Santo Domingo Bernardo de Fresneda
2 nights Olite

(I am starting in Santiago de Compostela and ending in Bilbao, but probably not staying at paradors there.)

Am I taking on too much here? I know Leon is a stellar parador from what I have read here on Fodors - would it be better to drop Vilalba and spend two nights in Leon?

If anyone has any insight or tips about these paradors or others in the area I would be eternally grateful. I am in the wine business, so that is why I am staying in La Rioja and Olite, rather than on the coast.

Also - do most paradors have parking? And is there a charge?

Many thanks in advance!
rialtogrl is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2006, 05:45 PM
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We spend 2 nights at Leon and I was really glad we did--it is simply mind-boggling! REally, I could hardly sleep, I didn't want to miss a moment of "living in another century" while staying there. Leon itself didn't thrill me (though the cathedral is impressive) as much as some other places in Spain, but the parador is unbelievable.
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Old Mar 19th, 2006, 05:50 PM
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ditto what artlover said.

Of the five paradors I've stayed in, the one at Santiago de Compostela was the most disappointing.
 
Old Mar 19th, 2006, 05:58 PM
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Man - you guys are quick!

Artlover, do you think one night in Leon is sufficient?

Neopolitan - I am not staying at the parador in Santiago because they won't take the 5 night card - and it is really expensive. So I am glad to hear your opinion.

I have mapped out our driving and it looks to be between 2-3 hours between all these places... I hope I am not pushing myself too hard here.
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Old Mar 19th, 2006, 06:01 PM
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A few hours in the town of Leon is plenty. There is no reason to spend two nights there except that it is such a nice place to stay, and you certainly can go out and visit a variety of places around there if you want.
 
Old Mar 20th, 2006, 02:39 AM
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In Pontevedra the Castillo del Conde de Gondomar (Baiona) at the mouth of ria de Vigo is nice. There's also one in Tui.

For Picos de Europa you might consider the one in Fuente De.

There's a new Parador in Limpias, just south of Laredo and halfway between Santander & Bilbao.
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 04:29 AM
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Hi riatogr,

By all means, two nights in Leon. Not only because of the parador but because Leon is a wonderful city, the Cathedral is outstanding, the vitraux are marvellous, then you have San Isidoro.If Leon's cathedral is one of the best in all Spain, the city can claim a similar pedestal for the Romanesques frescoes in its Real Basilica de San
Isidoro.
Around the Cathedral is the Barrio Humedo lots of fun with its many cafes and places for tapas.
I agree that the Parador of Baiona is very nice , get a room with ocean view. On the other hand I did not find Baiona that exciting as a town.
For Picos de Europa I thing that the Parador is not nice, Fuentes De, I believe it is called. We stayed instead in Hotel el Oso, following Karen Browns 'recomendations and loved it. When we saw the Parador, where we had a coffee after taking the funicular up the mountain, we were so glad we were staying in Hotel del Oso, great place, great food, particularly great food, and great orujos.
Have fun.
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 04:32 AM
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In Santiago look for hotel Rua Villar, www.hotelruavillar.com or ruavillar.com, it is new and looks charming,near the Cathedral.
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 05:17 AM
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You might also consider Parador Cangas del Onis for the Picos part of the route. Not deep into the Picos like Fuente De but you can make side trips.
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 06:01 AM
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Hi rialtogrl,

Lucky you! It sounds like a fabulous trip. I want to ditto some of the other comments offered by others here.

We stayed 2 nights at the Leon parador and I was very glad we did. It's IMO superior to the one in Santiago. I really liked Leon and didn't find 2 days excessive. Make sure you stand outside the Cathedral around midnight. They turn off all the spotlights and turn the inside lights on. WOW! All the stained glass looks beautiful from the outside.

On that trip I also stayed at the Cangas de Onís parador and loved it! If you stay there ask for a room in the "Zona monasterio"( the old part of the building. While staying there I went to Covadonga and the lakes of Enol and Ercina in the Picos de Europa.

And in Santiago I agree with Graziella's recommendation. I stayed at the Hotel Rua Villar last year and loved it.Charming, very reasonable, with all the modern ammenities and just steps from the Cathedral.

In Bilbao I have stayed at the Lopez de Haro which I also liked very much.
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 09:48 AM
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Thanks for all the info! I will be looking into all these options.

I am still wondering about the parking situation at the Paradors... do they have parking, is it extra, etc. There is not much info on the parador website about this.

For our third week, we are staying in the Sierra de Grazalema, here:
http://www.natural-images.net/index.html

This place looks really awesome and the owners are taking us around - they've got a bunch of great things planned for us. It is going to be a great trip!
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 11:13 AM
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I too think you'll be glad you spent 2 nights at the Leon parador, though I wasn't as taken with Leon itself as other places. Maybe take the bus and do a daytrip to Salamanca, which IMO is much more beautiful than Leon.

Make sure you check out all the public areas in the parador--especially the library with its window overlooking the cathedral and the "bar" (can have breakfast there too--cappicino). The dinner at the restaurant was very good--not great, but worth it for the setting. There was a bakery that was fabulous--see if you can find my last trip report for the name--very cute place on the main street on the way to the cathedral.
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 11:55 AM
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We have used a rental car at all of the paradors we have stayed in, including Compostela, Santillana and Cangas del Onis in the north. I think it is safe to say that all paradors have facilities for parking either on site or nearby. I do not think we paid for parking but of that I am not positive.
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 05:00 PM
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Can anyone tell me what is IMO ? TKS>
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Old Mar 20th, 2006, 05:15 PM
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Hi Graziella,

IMO= In my opinion
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