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Pyrenees--try to see a lot of different places or focus on a smaller area?

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Apr 11th, 2005, 05:07 AM
  #1
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Pyrenees--try to see a lot of different places or focus on a smaller area?

We are pretty much past the point in our trips where we feel we need to make sure we've seen everything there is to see and thus spread ourselves thin just trying to do it all. We are flying in and out of Barcelona and have time to do the let's drive and see it all from east to west type of trip, but I don't know if it's worth it. We relly don't like to keep moving around all the time and prefer to stay 3 to 7 nights in one place using it as a base. Are the areas truly that different that I will regret not "doing it all"? Or if I pick one general area to concentrate on and see what it has to offer as far as foothills and peaks and villages will I get a true flavor of the whole area? Also, approaching the Basque area there is obviously seashore. We are not at all interested in visiting beach resort areas or Bilboa. So should this still be consdered a very different must-see area? Thanks. If you've been in these areas I'd appreciate hearing your comments.
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Apr 16th, 2005, 07:44 PM
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Julies,
Not knowing how much time you plan on spending on this, or the time of year, it's a bit hard to offer you anything comprehensive.

It you have the time, and the season is right, then I would suggest that you spend at least two to three nights in Vielha, in the Vall d'Aran, northeast of Huesca. The Parador there is a nice place to spend some time.

Just north of Huesca, on the N260, is another great place to explore and spend a few days. The Salient de Gallego is a sky resort in the winter and mountain biking, rock climbing, trekking area in the summer.

As you head further west, to Navarra and the Basque Country, you have nearly unlimited choices of places to stay and explore, both on the coast and inland. You can pick one spot as a base, say the area around Elorrio, and spend the next several days exploring Navarra, the Basque Country and La Rioja.

If you need anymore pointers, let me know. This is beautiful country, full of fiestas and friendly people, what more could you want?
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Apr 16th, 2005, 07:53 PM
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We haven't been all over the Basque area in France (when we went to see Bilboa) but we stayed in the beautiful village of Ainhoa and visited St Jean-de-luz and several other villages. We loved the area and felt very welcomed.
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Apr 17th, 2005, 05:54 AM
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Robert--

We have 15 nights in Spain mid-may to 1st of June. We fly in and out of Barcelona and are planning to spend 3 or 4 nights there. Other than that I am still trying to figure out what to see and where to go. We don't want a true mountain wilderness vacation where all people do is hardcore hiking and mountaineering. Plus, I think at this time of year some of the more wild and high areas may still have snow anyway. I have been thinking possibly about the Garroxta (sp??) area for a while and then maybe the Ariege or maybe the area right around Tremp (south of the Valle d'Aran) or some of the Basque area. We are interested in some self-catering options, but the downside to that is that most are one week stays and if we do this we want to make sure that we are in an intersting area where there will be enought to do to keep us busy. We're middle-aged but quite active and like to hike and bike (not mountain biking) in addition to doing some of sighteseeing. We like local markets, cultural events, fiestas, charming rural areas, quaint authentic villages etc. We are not interested in resort areas or anything upscale, and we don't need to be catered to or want only places that cater to English speaking tourists; we prefer the authentic over the contrived. Knowing this does it help to answer my original question? Thanks again.
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Apr 17th, 2005, 09:09 AM
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The Tremp area is fine for getting out-of-doors and would be suitable for a couple of days. Garrotxa, well know for its cheese, also offers a lot of out doors activities and would also be good for a few days, but I think you'll find heading either to the Rioja (Alta and Alavesa), Navarra, or the Basque Country (País Vasco and Pays Basque) where you can stay in Country Homes (Casa Rurals), might be a bit more interesting. These areas are filled with history, great for road biking and the countryside is beautiful.

You can check out the Top Rural web site for possible accommodations throughout Spain.
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Apr 19th, 2005, 10:42 PM
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I am in a similar position, only my trip isn't until Oct., I am also flying in/out of Barcelona and spending 15 nights, and also we seem to enjoy similar things.

I was considering the upper aragon and the Pyrenees, but like you I was concerned that the atmosphere was too extreme sporty.

I also was considering the Basque region, but since this is my first visit to Spain, I didn't think it would be a very good introduction to Spain. Also we would be there during the rainy season. But from what I've read it seems that everyone who has been to this region loved it and consider it to be undiscovered ect.

Further West the town of Satiago de Compostela is supposed to be incredible. You might want to follow the ancient Pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela through Burgos, and Leon, the scenery and architecture are said to be amazing. Maybe you could look into a one way car rental and then flying back to Barcelona cheaply. (From what I understand it is possible to fly within Spain for very cheap)

You could copy my idea. I am going to spend a few days north of Barcelona in Genoa, and there are lot's of day trips around that area, and then drive south to the lower Aragon, and see the view the small towns and villages there (Albarracin) and then stay in Cuenca in central Spain. Have you looked into these area's at all?

Also from what I understand all the different areas of spain are very different from one another. This is why I want to sample at least two different regions.
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Apr 20th, 2005, 02:31 PM
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I think our current plan is to fly into Barcelona and pick up our rental car and then drive to Montserrat--a very short drive for the jetlagged and spend our 1st night there. Then we plan on 3 nights in a self-catering in the Tremp area and then 4 or 5 nights at a self-catering in the Basque area since I have heard so many great things about it. Then we plan to just leave 3 nights open and head back towards Barcelona through the mountains. Those nights we will just see what appeals to us and whether we want some true mountains or if we want some foothills. One thought would be to go north of the Pyrenees into France for a few days. We'll then either drop the car in Girona and spend a day there before taking the train into Barcelona or we'll just go directly to Barcelona, get rid of the car and spend 3 or 4 nights there.

To those of you who have actually visited these places, how many night should i allocate to the Basque area if we want to do some active things and more than just drive around and look at sights through the window (we don't plan to go to Bilboa) and how many to Barcelona?
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