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San Sebastian and Northern Spain!

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Jun 25th, 2013, 03:50 AM
  #1
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San Sebastian and Northern Spain!

Me and my fiancée are going to Barcelona the 6th of september for 2 weeks, after that we're thinking of going to San Sebastian, I'll be in spanish school those two weeks in Barcelona and would like to stay a week in San Sebastian in school and after that spend another week traveling around, we're thinking of renting a car and taking day trips but always returning back to the city for the night.

What city do you recommend we stay in that one week where we'll be sightseeing and driving around? Should we continue to stay in San Sebastian after having been there a week in school or should we drive to different city?

Or should we stay in 3 different citys after San Sebastian? Staying 2 nights in each city?

We'll be staying in apartments that we'll rent off of airbnb.com so I'm thinking that it's more comfortable to just stay in one city for a week and take day trips..

What do guys think?

Best wishes!

PS. After Northern Spain we'll stay 2-3 nights in Madrid and from there fly to Bolivia
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Jun 25th, 2013, 05:27 AM
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Northern Spain is gorgeous and offers so much. Pamplona, Bilbao, Santiago, Sarria. I actually would advice to get on the car, draft a itinerary and hit the roads. Have you consider possibly taking some days to walk some portions of the Camino de Santiago?

We drove last May from Logrono to Andorra and loved the scenery and towns.
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Jun 25th, 2013, 10:16 AM
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Stay in San Sebastian and take side trips in your car. There are lots of delightful towns nearby perfect for day trips. Head east into France and go to Biarritz and Bayonne, too.
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Jun 25th, 2013, 10:22 AM
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You may get some ideas from my trip report of June 2012, Three Weeks Driving Through Northern Spain.
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Jun 25th, 2013, 12:33 PM
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I could spend 2 mos. in San Sebastian but if you're going to be there already for a week why not rent a car and drive to Santiago? You could drive along the coast and maybe even hit Leon or Burgos inland, or drive along the coast of Galicia.
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Jun 26th, 2013, 03:21 AM
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I would definitely stay in San Sebastian for a week. At the end of September (20th-28th), the city hosts its 61st International Cinema Festival and its a great week to be there!! Besides what other travelers have suggested, from there you can visit the Basque area which is amazing and very authentic (in this website you can find great info; www.turismo.euskadi.net): Bilbao (1h drive) and its avant-garde Guggenheim Museum, the coast and its top gastronomy (Michelin star restaurants, etc), you can go to the Rioja wineries (Marques de Riscal, Ysios, Baigorri...) and villages (Laguardia).
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Jun 26th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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Have you read this thread about airB&B?
http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/airbnb-scam.cfm
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Jun 26th, 2013, 11:53 AM
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I'm sorry but July 6 is THE DAY every year to be in Pamplona. I'lll be in San Seb July 3-5 then heading down to Pamplona and staying until the 9th.
!Viva San Fermìn!
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Jun 26th, 2013, 11:54 AM
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Oh, crud. You said September. Never mind. Enjoy your trip.
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Jun 27th, 2013, 11:49 PM
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High season runs throughout September in Donostia-San Sebastian, so plan accordingly. Most apartments do not have parking, but there are a few that do. If not, then expect to pay €25 to €30/day to park your car.

You can take the bus from SS to St-Jean-de-Luz, Biarritz and Bayone, but plan on a long day, or a short stay. Traveling by car is much better.

Hondarribia is only 20 minutes away by bus. Getaria is an easy bus ride. And Bilbao is only 1 hour by bus, with buses running nearly all day long.

If you're going to have a car while in the area, then I would consider staying at a country home outside of the city.
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Jun 28th, 2013, 06:35 AM
  #11
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Decisions decisions! I'm not paying 25-30 € a day for parking that's absurd! But say I find an apartment with parking, what citys/towns would you visit if you had 2 weeks in San Sebastian? Mind that the first week I'll be in school from 09.00 - 13.00.

And regarding the film festival, I'll be there from the 21st so that's perfect, thank you
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Jun 29th, 2013, 02:21 AM
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My preferred choices for day trips (in no particular order) for Spain; Getaria, Hondarribia, Bilbao.
In France; Saint Jean de Luz and Biarritz. If you have more time drive into Pays Basque and go to towns such as Espellette, Saint Jean Pied de Port (start of the Camino de Santiago). While there go on the Petit Train de la Rhune to the top of the Rhune mountain for great views of the area.
http://www.rhune.com/uk/index.aspx
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Jun 29th, 2013, 06:29 AM
  #13
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Thanks a lot everybody
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Jul 11th, 2013, 11:26 AM
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Alright, I'll be staying in San Sebastian from the 21st of september until the 28th, I'll be attending spanish school and the film festival is taking place at that same time.

After San Sebastian I want to rent a car and stay for another week at a different city and take day trips from that city and see beautiful northern spain, I'm thinking Zaragoza or Santiago de Compostela.

What city would you recommend?
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Jul 11th, 2013, 11:35 AM
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First of all I'd look into renting an apartment immediately in San Sebastian for this time. It will be very busy with the film festival and you may already have trouble finding a central place.

Personally for the week after San Sebastian I'd stick with the Basque Country or maybe La Rioja(it will be during the wine harvest). There's so much to see and do in this area in a week. You could spend a couple of nights in a smaller village along the coast (ie. Getaria, Lekeitio), or 2-3 nights in Bilbao, 2-4 nights in La Rioja. Also you could visit Pamplona, Vittoria or the French Basque area (St Jean de Luz, Bayonne, Biarritz and the small inland villages).
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Jul 11th, 2013, 01:26 PM
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I very much second Cathy's suggestions. Tons of varied options in the wonderful Basque Country. I recommend you don't make any definite plans before researching this site: http://tourism.euskadi.net/en/
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Jul 11th, 2013, 04:57 PM
  #17
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Thanks for the heads up Cathy, I'll get going on renting an apartment in San Sebastian.

And thank you kimhe for that website!

I'm really interested in staying the Basque Country, what city/town would you stay in for a week if you were on a car and wanted to explore the Basque Country?
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Jul 11th, 2013, 05:37 PM
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Stay in San Sebastián, a short ride to wonderful coastal villages such as Getaria and Donibane/San Juan and inland Hernani, Tolosa, the old university town Oñati and the Arantzazu monastery. Besides, San Sebastián itself might become also your favourite city on the planet.
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Jul 13th, 2013, 11:22 AM
  #19
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I'm still kind of sceptical about staying both weeks in San Sebastian, I would imagine it being more fun staying in two different citys but I've been recommended staying in San Sebastian both weeks 3 times now so I guess that's what I should do..
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Jul 13th, 2013, 12:09 PM
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When in San Sebastián, make sure you also explore other areas than the center and the wonderful Parte vieja/Old town. Some of the best vibe, pintxos bars and clubs are in the Gros district on the other side of the city river Urumea close to the surfers beach Zurriola. 5-10 mins walking from the Parte vieja.

I also very much like the very local feel Antiguo district at the western end of the La Concha beach promenade. Also here you'll find great restaurants and bars and many real bargains.

I recommend to go wild in the fantastic La Bretxa food market in the Parte vieja and walk the 15 minutes up to Monte Urguell for a picnic with stunning views of both the city and the sea.

Great walks along the coast in both directions over respectively Monte Igueldo and Monte Ulía. You will eventually run into fabulous places to have lunch regardless of which way you go. I use to take first time visitors to San Sebastián to lunch in Donibane/Pasajes San Juan a couple of hours walk towards France, also frequent buses from Plaza Guipúzcoa in the center of San Sebastián. Several great seafront restaurants with excellent value three course lunch with drinks included for some 15-25€: http://www.euroresidentes.com/eurore...s/san-juan.htm

And here is great info about going for the world famous pintxos in food crazy San Sebastián: http://www.todopintxos.com/home/home.php?lang=en
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