Proposal ideas in Basque country

Jun 11th, 2012, 07:15 AM
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Proposal ideas in Basque country

Hi all,

I will be traveling in Basque country in mid July, mostly between Bilbao and San Sebastian, and am looking for ideas on where to propose to my girlfriend. I'm looking for something private but memorable (obviously), and I'll have access to a rental car so I'll be able to visit small coastal towns/sights.

One potential place is the San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, but I'm wondering if it's too crowded most of the day to pose the question. Somewhere in SS or Bilbao, if suitable, is also a possibility, but the less foot traffic the better. Can anyone help me with suggestions or recommendations of maybe small, out of the way spots (or "secret" spots within the cities) that might be worth considering?

On another note, I've read a lot on here about parking issues in the cities, but where actually are people parking their cars? At their respective hotels, or does Bilbao/SS have other parking options within the cities? Thanks in advance!
travelbug312 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 07:46 AM
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Here's an old thread on TA with proposal ideas.

My visits to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe have all been in mid/late September so it has not been crowded - but it may be more busy in July.

If you bring a car into Bilbao and San Sebastian there are city parking structures - but they are expensive. If I recall more than 15 euros a day. It may be good to schedule the car for travel between SS and Bilbao and a day or two on each side for exploring. But you won't need it the entire time you're in the cities.
CathyM is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 08:01 AM
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The Castillo de Arteaga is a great place for a proposal, you can dine and then propose. Or the Comb of the Winds in San Sebastián. Eneperi in Bakio, very close to San Juan de´s also a restaurant.

In Bilbao, I´d propose in Artxanda mountain or under the Spider at the Guggenheim.
mikelg is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 10:30 AM
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… or the Santuario de Loyola (my parents married there)
Revulgo is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 11:46 AM
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If a more natural setting appeals, just outside Elantxobe there is a trail up to a former whale lookout. Though in July I imagine the beach (far below) will be full of people. Follow up with a romantic meal on the water in Elantxobe (the place with red shutters--I forgot the name!).
On the coastal camino trail between Deba and Zumaia, there are some spectacular geologic formations (La Ruta del Flysch).
yorkshire is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 01:22 PM
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Yep rasta, that was a little uncalled for...people post all sorts of other more obvious stuff on here which could easily be googled for the answer on generic travel sites-but they want a more personal response so come to fordors instead. i think fordors is an ideal site for a question like this. sure it will be perfect wherever you pick. I have never been (but very much want to go!) to the region so cant't advise but hope its lovely!
HG001London is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 04:27 PM
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Well, I've been there a couple of times and any spot you chose will be ideal.Probably beats the hall way of a University dorm..But I wouldn't change that for all the world, even after 61 years!!! Best wishes!!!
amer_can is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 11:53 PM
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In San Sebastián:

Up at Monte Urguell, just above the wonderful old town with many of the best restaurants and bars in Spain (10 min footwork). Fabulous views of the city and the bay:

In the Palacio Miramar park, just by the La Concha beach promenade:

Or take the funicular up to the old fashioned fun fair at Monte Igueldo:
kimhe is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 06:45 AM
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My first idea was San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. There will be people but the place is small, so it won´t be terribly crowded, and there is something about going up and watching over the sea ... and you can always ring the bell at the end.

If it doesn´t have to be on the coast ... what about Urkiola? There is a very easy walk that goes out of the church to a view above Atxarte valley. Or the walk to the Saibigain. On clear days you overlook from Gorbea to the sea.

Afterwards, you could celebrate at the Asador Etxebarri, in Atxondo.

Mikel, I liked the idea of the spider. If they could manage to get the timing with the mist coming out of the water ...

Bye, Cova
cova is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 02:56 PM
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There are all sorts of research tools, and the Fodor's Europe forum is one. Who said you have to exhaust all other types of research before posting a question on Fodor's? I think one is apt to get better insights on such a request here rather than heading to whatever destination a Google search for "Romantic Proposal Sites in Basque Country" would yield.

We're all a virgin once, so take it easy Rasta. You've been very helpful to me on a couple of topics, but no need to give all the newbies a hard time.

If we're all nice to travelbug312 we might even get a trip report and hear the details of the proposal. Cheers travelbug!
Sidny is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 06:01 PM
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Top of Monte Urguell or start at La Concha and walk all the way until you can't walkj anymore, at the wind comb statue and do it there.
Egbert is offline  
Jun 14th, 2012, 11:35 AM
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hmm my comment have been removed. Not sure what I said wrong other than defend the OP for coming on fodors to get more personal advice than other more generic websites-Another user was accusing the OP of just jumping in having never been on befoee. All i did was explain that at one point we were all new to fodors and all had to have a first post. Hmm very odd, i thought if anything this was praising fodors so not sure why it has been removed.
HG001London is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 06:08 AM
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Dear all,

I want to thank everyone for the great advice and I'm looking into each of these locations (mikelg - extra thanks to you for crossposting on my tripadvisor post as well!)

For such a special occasion, I wanted to seek the advice of travelers who could tap into personal experience with the Basque region. I have not been there myself, and (as many of you are likely aware) the information generally available is targeted toward a broad audience and often fails to faithfully describe the experience of actually standing at a particular place and being enveloped by its surroundings. It appears one responder could not comprehend the impetus behind the post as many of you clearly did.

Based upon everyone's kind responses so far, I posed the question to the right audience. Thanks again - rest assured I will vigorously research each of your suggestions (I mean, this only happens once, right?) and any future responses as well!
travelbug312 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2012, 08:10 AM
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travelbug, hope it is an amazing proposa....let us know where u chose
HG001London is offline  
Jul 24th, 2012, 02:12 PM
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Sooo, what happened??
michmich11 is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 07:19 AM
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So, this reply is (apologetically) quite late, and I'm not sure who's going to see it at this point, but as promised, here is how it went.

I decided on proposing at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe at sunrise to avoid the presence of people. Many of the suggestions provided, while fantastic, were less likely to leave us completely isolated. The other issue was also that we did not rent a car until the latter few days of our trip, making the smaller coastal areas (unfortunately) unavailable since I wanted to propose on the first day we were there.

So we arrived in Bilbao at around 1pm local time after having flown overnight, and I had already checked the sunrise time for the next morning. I arranged for a car to pick us up at the hotel about an hour and half before sunrise, and the cover story was that I had heard that the sunrise was gorgeous on this island and I wanted to capture pictures of it.

The drive took about 50 minutes from Bilbao, but we encountered an access issue. San Juan is connected to the mainland via a stone bridge, but you cannot (as far as I or our driver knew) drive up right to the stone bridge. Instead, you have to park the car higher up the mountainside next to the coastal roadway and hike down a rocky path. This is a little tricky in the wee hours of the morning in the absence of any light, natural or artificial. In fact, it was so dark that the driver of the car (I had rented a Benz) gave us his emergency flashlight to hike with. Unfortunately, the flashlight is not so bright. So at this point, we're carefully navigating the dark rocky trail using an emergency flashlight and my significant other is wondering if I am planning on murdering her. I would not recommend walking the trail in the darkness to everyone, as we really did have to take some care not to fall.

I will say that in the darkness, the view of the island is at once awesome and foreboding. Standing at the stone bridge, you are confronted with this looming mass, complete with rocky outcroppings, that would look quite at home in a horror movie. I was impressed, while the SO was intimidated. Fortunately, once we got to the stone steps, the light began to show over the horizon.

We climbed the steps and got a beautiful view of the coastline and the path once we climbed to the top. The courtyard of the chapel was very peaceful, but unfortunately the high walls and stone shed at the far end opposite the chapel block some of the view; you don't get a full panorama of the coast and the ocean. However, the complete absence of people was really relaxing, and we had some time to enjoy it while I set up the camera on a tripod to supposedly get a shot of the rising sun. As soon as the sun began to rise over the horizon, I took a knee and presented my girlfriend with the ring that I had hidden in my spare lens bag. She said "absolutely".

I could write an essay about all of the wondrous food and sights we experienced during our fantastic Basque trip, but I'll leave that for another time. For now, I leave you with the story that you all helped me build. Thanks again and happy travels everyone!
travelbug312 is offline  
Nov 27th, 2012, 07:32 AM
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Oh travelbug312...Sure does beat a college dorm hallway!!! Glad it all was what you wanted!! Best wishes!!!
amer_can is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 06:27 AM
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amer_can - thanks for the well wishes! Our experience was great and the fiancee is proud to tell the story to others, fortunately. But I'll say that it's no small thing to make it 61 years, and we should only be so lucky!
travelbug312 is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 09:07 AM
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Glad everything went fine...I just love that place
mikelg is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 01:31 PM
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Smile alot, laugh alot and don't sweat the small things..Plus really have no other place to go with kids in tow!!!HAHAHA..
amer_can is offline  

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