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San Sebastian to Madrid, car or train?

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Jul 22nd, 2012, 07:06 AM
  #1
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San Sebastian to Madrid, car or train?

Well, seeking Fodorite advice again for our Oct/Nov trip to France/Spain.

We have rented an apartment in San Sebastian with the plan of renting a car for a day or two to see some of the area. After leaving San Sebastian, we have 6 nights before flying home out of Madrid.
Our original plan was to train to Madrid for the 6 nights in an apartment with daytrips to Toledo and Segovia.
Am now wondering if we should drive with stops in Vitoria, Burgos and Segovia, dropping off the car in Segovia and train to Madrid for our last 3 nights?
We will have had a relatively slow travel trip with 10 nights in Paris, a week in Sarlat and then the week in San Sebastian. Several years ago we spent 5 nights in Madrid and enjoyed that city.
Wondering if briefly visiting Vitoria and Burgos in November is a good idea and if the drive from San Sebastian to Segovia is interesting or better to stick to our original plan of home base in Madrid and excursions to Segovia and Toledo?
Thank you for responding.
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Jul 22nd, 2012, 07:25 AM
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You can spend less time in Donostia and more time exploring the north and then amble down to Madrid. Well Donostia is a beautiful city and has the best food in Spain, a week there is far too much unless you are a beach person.
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Jul 22nd, 2012, 08:38 AM
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Auduchamp1, 1 week too long? Even with a day trip to Bilbao, coastal towns, possibly forays into The French Basque? We are definitely not beach people especially in November.
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Jul 22nd, 2012, 08:49 AM
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First, be prepared for some dreadful weather-rained for 3 days straight last visit in October 2011.San Sebastian is miserable in the rain-not drizzle ,the kind that soaked me thoroughly-I couldn't get my shoes dried out!
Instead of flying to SS I took the train-never again,very boring,not much in the way of scenery and it took almost 10 hrs!I don't know about the drive but at least you would have the option of stopping or continuing on if the weather is not cooperating.
I would stick with your original plan and use Madrid as a home base. Easy to find things to do in Madrid even if the weather is bad and on goood days do day trips to Salamanca, Segovia, Toledo and El Escorial.Save SS for another trip in t spring or early fall -fly in,out of Barcelona.
Back in Madrid with a few days of sunshine ,the weather was also nasty! I decided to go in September this year and hope the weather is better in Santiago de compostela, Galicia.
Fingers crossed!
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Jul 22nd, 2012, 09:53 AM
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Funny about the weather...Oct 2011(early) was great.. beach sitting weather and no rain for the 3 days we were there. Train from Salamanca passed through some interesting towns which we explored in late April/ early May on trip 2. This time the weather in Madrid and Salamanca was COLD and WET.. but such interesting places..Sun in Avila, sun in Burgos, sun in Segovia but windy. Traveling and worrying about the weather is just not productive.. Go and take an umbrella/poncho/gortex jacket and enjoy yourself.
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Jul 22nd, 2012, 10:14 AM
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You do not have to return to Donostia to use it as a base. There are many towns to see without the need of all that driving.
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Jul 22nd, 2012, 11:56 AM
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Cindy: I've never driven that route, but from what I've been reading, it runs straight through the heart of roast lamb country-- places like Aranda del Duero, Penafiel, and also the glorious village of Pedraza could make worthwhile overnight stop.

See if these are any help:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-and-rioja.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...k-in-april.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-everyone.cfm



ON this one, look at the posts by Julie Vikmanis, about her planned trip:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...aquestions.cfm
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Jul 22nd, 2012, 02:49 PM
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A weeks in San Sebastián is not long, should be given on prescription at least once a year.
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 01:32 PM
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kimhe-stop encouraging people to visit SS-it's getting way too popular,expensive and CROWDED and therefore losing/lost its charm..................!
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 02:51 PM
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Yes, TOO popular,expensive and CROWDED, especially the Parte Vieja. Some of the places have lost touch with reality and cater only to foreign tourist.
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Jul 23rd, 2012, 11:04 PM
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kimhe is offline  
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Jul 24th, 2012, 06:23 AM
  #12
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Thank you for all the replies. As usual, opinions are divided but appreciated.

Tending toward just 4 nights in San Sebastian, 2 on the coast, 1 in Bilbao before catching the train for our week in Madrid with day trips to Toledo and Segovia.
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Jul 24th, 2012, 07:07 AM
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"First, be prepared for some dreadful weather-rained for 3 days straight last visit in October 2011." - was just there 2 weeks ago, it rained for 3 days straight as well then of course on the day I was leaving the sun came out in full force. It was also about 17-20 degrees (celsius) at night and this is July!
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Jul 24th, 2012, 09:22 AM
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It was very warm in SS this past June with the temperature reaching nearly 38ºC at the end of the month, but it's been cool and wet in July the last few years.

Who knows what October will bring this year, but you can always expect it to rain sometime during the week. It's why the region is known as Green Spain.
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Jul 24th, 2012, 01:17 PM
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Whatever the weather...JUST GO!!!!
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Jul 25th, 2012, 02:46 AM
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The shifting weather adds to the enormous charm of San Sebastián. Predominantly afternoon and often, sudden and heavy rainshowers. People flock under the archways and rush into bars, and in one minute the atmosphere changes completely, and in very good ways.

If you are lucky enough to have a late night thunderstorm, there are no better place to watch the spectacle than from Café de la Concha, right in the middle of the La Concha promenade. http://www.cafedelaconcha.com/home.htm
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