Portugal or Basque country

Old Oct 16th, 2010, 07:30 PM
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Portugal or Basque country

In mid May We are meeting friendss in Spain but will have about 2 weeks beforehand. We could do Barcelona and North of Barcelona before we meet them. Then when they join us we would do Madrid and Andalucia (We will have about 18 days then) and possibly some of Portugal. What are some ideas for the days before. I was thinking about the Basque Country.We have done Nice but only for a day so certainly could go back there but thought I might save that for another trip. We could also wait and do Barcelona with our friends which would then give us more time before but we'd probably have to forgo Portugal then. Thougts and suggestions are much appreciated.We would probably fly into one location and then out of either Madrid or Lisbon.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 08:15 PM
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I would stick to Spain and save Portugal for another trip.

With 2 weeks, you could do a week with Barcelona/Catalunya, then 1 week in the Basque country.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 08:35 PM
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I actually have a bit over a month; about 2 weeks alone and then a little over 2 weeks with friends. I am thinking 4 days in Barcelona, 4-5 in Madrid and a week or so in Andalucia. That extra time is what I am talking about.
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Old Oct 16th, 2010, 09:24 PM
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Tidy: We spent some time up the coast from Barcelona in a town called Cadeques. We loved it.

We also visited family in the Basque area between Roncevalles and Pamplona. Very neat. We also spent a few days in San Sabastian. Loved it and would love to spend more time along the Basque coast to explore. Also, the little wine towns in the Rioja are very charming.

Lots to think about. Hopefully the experts will chime in for you.
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Old Oct 17th, 2010, 12:20 AM
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I think you should consider San Sebastián in the Basque Country, my favourite city on the planet. Excellent time of year to go, spring will be there in full and the huge influx of Spanish summer visitors is a couple of months away.

Belle epoque San Sebastián has got fantastic food, a culture that people take great pride in and some of the best city beaches in Europe. Lots of charming villages along the coast towards vibrant Bilbao with the famous Guggenheim museum. If you go the other way you're soon in France and places such as St. Jean de Luz and Biarritz. All within some 60 mins by bus/driving from San Sebastián.

The article "A different kind of Spain" gives you an idea of San Sebastián and the region: http://marshlands.blogstream.com/

"There is dining that features more Michelin starred restaurants per mile than Paris, New York, or Vienna. There is a culture that brought Woody Allen to the city’s Film Festival last year, brings Herbie Hancock and Bob Dylan to this summer’s Jazz Fest, and embraces Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum just down the coast in Bilbao. There is the zest for life that drew Ernest Hemingway to nearby Pamplona and was immortalized in The Sun Also Rises.

San Sebastian’s setting on the coast is a panorama reminiscent of Rio de Janeiro - a horseshoe bay of blue water whose entrance is guarded by Mount Igueldo, a wide sandy beach circling the bay, green mountains extending all the way to the water, and a statue of Christ on Mount Orgull overlooking it all".

17 Michelin stars in San Sebastián, but the best food experience might just as well be strolling around for the delicious and world famous pintxos served in every bar in this food-crazy town and really take in the atmosphere.
http://www.todopintxos.com/home/home.php?lang=en
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Old Oct 17th, 2010, 03:08 AM
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YIKES!!!!!!! What an incredible website! I need to get back to San Sebastian soon...
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Old Oct 17th, 2010, 03:34 AM
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I would consider Portugal. A whole different feel from Spain, even though Spain itself has a very different feel from region to region. But if you are going with your friends to Portugal later in the trip, you should fly out of Lisbon so you should save Portugal for that time and go to the Basque country before you meet up with them.

Nice is too far out of the way, I think.
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Old Oct 17th, 2010, 05:30 AM
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Thanks so very much. Am I able to drive from Spain to France in a rental car? Also, does any one know about renting a car in Spain, say Sevilla and then dropping it in Portugal. I read from one post that the fees are very high. Also, our friends will go from Lisbon to Barcelona. what are some options, most economical etc.Thank you,
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Old Oct 17th, 2010, 07:01 AM
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No problem to cross the border between France and Spain in a rental car, at least it wasn't last time I did. But I have almost always in more than twenty years used the excellent public transportation system.
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Old Oct 17th, 2010, 09:11 AM
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You mention in the 2 weeks with your friends visiting Madrid, Barcelona and Andalucia. In my opinion this will be very rushed. I'd focus on at most 2 of these areas for the time with your friends. Mid-may next year would be a great time to visit Andalucia. Not too warm and many towns will have festivals.

For the other 2 weeks I'd head to the Basque country. It's such a contrast to the other areas with beautiful scenery and incredible food.

I'd save Portugal for another trip. I don't see how you could fit it in with the 2 weeks you have with your friends and I wouldn't skip the Basque country to visit Portugal.
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Old Oct 17th, 2010, 02:03 PM
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I had the experience of renting a car in Portugal and returning it in Spain, and the drop-off fees were very, very high (hundreds of dollars). If I hadn't left the rental car to the last step of my planning, I would have avoided doing it that way, but by the time I found out, it would have been too hard and perhaps even more expensive to change our itinerary around.

I do not know for certain whether the same fees apply when renting in Spain and returning to Portugal, but I imagine there is a good chance that they do, and I would be sure to check this out carefully before making any plans that include a cross-border rental return.
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