Spain in March?

Jul 29th, 2007, 09:01 PM
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Spain in March?

We are attending a wedding in Bilbao, Spain on March 1st next year, and plan to spend a week in Spain afterwards. Since we have such a limited amount of time, we'd like to isolate our trip to a small region of the country, and the Basque region seems ideal since we'll already be there, assuming the weather isn't too horrible. For those who know the country better than I do, is it better for us to 1) explore the Basque region and if so, should we fly in and out of Bilbao, or should we make a loop (into Bilbao and out of Madrid or Barcelona) or 2) after the wedding fly south to Seville or Costa del Sol? I have been to Spain once before (Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla), but my husband has not. I have seen several suggestions for trips around the Basque country (including Maribel guides, which are terrific), but seems like most suggestions are in summer months. Ideas? Reactions?

Thanks for your help!!
kwat is offline  
Jul 29th, 2007, 09:16 PM
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I was in Seville last year in March and it was perfect weather..some days even warm...have fun wherever you decide to go.
angy400 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 12:10 AM
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if you could count on the weather behaving itself, the north would be great.

however, march is a very volatile month, and we have had some horrendous snowstorms, especially across the north ( perhaps not the coast so much) in the past.

i would probably suggest you stay in bilbao for a couple days max, then fly to sevilla, making that your departure city if possible, skipping madrid and barcelona this time.

go to a flamenco show, take a carriage ride and see the alcazar, casa de pilates, etc.

OR.. hope for o.k. weather ( which of course, is always a possibility) and see the northern gorgeous coast.. with the help of maribel´s guides.. should be a nice trip whatever you decide.

lincasanova is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 12:55 PM
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Sounds like we're ending up in the south! Another option is to go to portugal - fly from Bilbao to Lisbon after the wedding and spend a week. Any thoughts on taking this option vs. southern spain or islands off the coast?
kwat is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 06:18 PM
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Next year Semana Santa is March 16-23rd. If you are planning on visiting Andalucia, particularly Sevilla, during this time you'll pay a premium for hotels and will need to reserve far in advance.

That said, this is my favorite time of year to visit Spain. The processionals are emotional, passionate, historical, traditional....I can't even describe.

CathyM is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 06:54 PM
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You have only a week, so stay in the Basque region (Gipuzcoa). Stay in Lekeitio and visit Bermeo, Mundaka, Gernika and San Juan de Gastelugatxe. Go visit Azpeitia and the Basilica de Loiola where the founder of the Jesuit order was born. Finish your trip in San Sebastian, have lunch in Pasajes de San Juan (Pasai Donibane) on your way to visit Hondarribia. Fly out of San Sebastian.

Enjoy the magnificent views and the food which the Basque country is famous for.

Luhimari is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 07:28 PM
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Yes Semana Santa is wonderful but it is also an extremely crowded time and lots of things in the city shut down during this time.
angy400 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 09:13 PM
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Your ideas sound great and are what I planned for initially, but I'm worried about the weather. Do you have any experience in Basque in March? My worst fear of course is driving through snowstorms, I'm not very familiar with the terrain or climate.

kwat is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 01:26 AM
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it will be impossible to know about the weather until closer to the date.. it may be perfectly mild. the north is beautiful, so maybe you can think of a flexible itinerary allowing you to change mid-stream.
lincasanova is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 01:49 AM
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There will be snow on the mountains the first week of March: bet on that!

Bilbao is nice, except for the fact that it's in a geologic 'bowl,' and sometimes the cold air just hangs in there. Laredo (45km west) is a nice beach resort; Santander (100km west) is a larger city / fishing port. You can't beat the seafood in Santander's Barrio Pesquera.

You can daytrip to either from Bilbao on fast & frequent bus (ALSA) or you might try FEVE (much more expensive).

I concur with those who recommend the Basque cuisine; but, for me, a trip to Bilbao wouldn't be complete without a visit to the 3-story Mercado (across the river from the Casco Viejo).
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 05:02 AM
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In March 2006 the average temperature was:
Bilbao 14.4ēC
San Sebastian 12.7ēC
Revulgo is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 09:04 PM
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Thanks for all your suggestions! I think we'll plan to travel around the basque region for the week.
kwat is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 09:15 PM
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My husband & I visited Granada and Ronda in late March/early April of '04 and had a fabulous trip. We were in Granada for the beginning of Holy Week and then in Ronda; ironically we flew out on Good Friday. I would avoid Seville during Holy Week, though -HUGELY crowded. We stayed at Hotel San Gabriel in Ronda, and it was FABULOUS. This year it is still only 113E for a "junior suite." Perfect location in the historic district, much more reasonable than the pardor. Only negative: breakfast. Instead of paying extra, walk into town, where many cafes offer excellent breakfasts at very reasonable prices.
gshlaw is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 01:03 AM
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I agree with gshlaw. Chances are the weather will be good.
josele is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 11:23 AM
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Here's the link to Hotel San Gabriel: Be sure to attend some of the Holy Week processions, they are different in each town, but incredibly moving. It's also pretty amazing to visit the neighborhood churches and watch the men decorating and preparing the "floats" that they carry during the processions. I'd read that in Ronda the tradition is for the crowd to be silent while the procession passes, and it is absolutely amazing --- families w/ members of all ages are out, kids running around, lots of visiting, then you hear the hush falling from a block or two away. As you can tell, this was one of my "once in a lifetime" memorable events!
gshlaw is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 12:33 PM
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Am I right in assuming these recs are in southern spain? I won't be there during holy week, just the first week of the month.
kwat is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 03:19 PM
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Oops - Sorry, kwat, I read the earlier posts too fast and thought you were going to be there during Holy Week.

No matter what time of year, I would recommend Ronda, which is in southern Spain. We'd spent a week in Lisbon, then flew to Granada for a few days. We picked up a car there when we were ready to leave & drove to Ronda along the Costa del Sol; spent a day in Nera, then drove up through the "hill towns" and spent a night on the way to Ronda, where we spent 3 nights. Spent a day driving from there to Seville to fly out, stopping at a couple of lovely little towns along the way. Seville was too crowded during Holy Week, so we just spent the night near the airport 'cause our flight left at dawn.
gshlaw is offline  
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