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Spain --- What would you do???

Old Mar 12th, 2011, 05:26 AM
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Spain --- What would you do???

Going to Spain but we have a dilemma!

PLEASE CHIME IN...

Our true destination is Bordeaux (visiting family) but we will fly in & out of Madrid (renting a car).

We have 3 nights to spare after Bordeaux before flying out of Madrid.

We have NEVER been in Spain & thought we could either:
1) drive from Bordeaux to San Sebastian (2.5 hrs), stay overnight & drive to Madrid (5 hrs) & stay 2 nights & fly out....OR
2) drive from Bordeaux to Madrid (7 hrs) & stay 3 nights.

Two important things to note:
1...We don't mind driving 7 hrs straight
2...Our 5 yr old son will be with us. He's a fabulous traveler - goes with us everywhere (just went to Bordeaux & Paris in December). He's good in the car, plane, eating new foods (we are Cuban-American & eat tapas at home all the time --- he LOVES chorizo, bread, olive oil, manchego, etc) & he's a total trooper - tons of energy - will stay up late without a problem, so we should be able to take him anywhere with us.

I've received incredible feedback on San Sebastian from fodorites & it sounds/looks like our kind of spot (good food, nice walking city center, & we found reasonable hotel).

I think the real question is, since it is our first time in Spain, should we focus on 3 nights in Madrid or only 2 nights Madrid with 1 night in San Sebastian?

What would you do????
psy_dr is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2011, 06:17 AM
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I would leave Bordeaux a day early and have two nights in San Sebastian and 2 in Madrid!

Honestly, both cities are fantastic. I do not think you can wrong with either plan, although there is the issue of the car.

Will you drop the car at Madrid airport on your way into the city? You do not want to have it while at your hotel in Madrid.

What time does your return flight depart Madrid?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2011, 06:21 AM
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Unfortunately, our budget only allows for 3 nights in Spain, so we can't stay an extra night in Spain.

We'll have the car from the day we arrive in Madrid (which we drive straight from the airport to Bordeaux), while we're in Bordeaux, & then we are returning it when we arrive in Madrid - there's a car drop-off spot in the city. So, we won't have it during our stay in Madrid but we will have it if we stay in San Sebastian.

I'm fairly certain our flight departs around 11am or noon from Madrid.
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Old Mar 12th, 2011, 06:32 AM
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Vueling flies from Bordeaux to Bilbao which is a shade over an hour drive to San Sebastian. I would not visit Madrid during this trip. The Basque coutnry is rewarding unto itself.
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Old Mar 12th, 2011, 06:38 AM
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I would take full advantage of the car and visit small villages and castles between S.S.(definite stopover) and Madrid, perhaps staying the last night at Alcala de Henares, leavig Madrid and its museums for another trip.
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Old Mar 12th, 2011, 07:00 AM
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Early in the morning drive from Bordeaux to San Sebastian (1 night), then to Madrid (2 nights).
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Old Mar 12th, 2011, 07:53 AM
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Several great play grounds in San Sebastián, even one right in front of the town hall in the middle of everything (Parque de Alderdi Eder). Old fashioned amusement park up at Monte Igueldo, you can take the funicular up to the top: http://www.monteigueldo.es/eng/

Kids are everywhere in bars and on the streets until late at night. Lots of kids playing in Plaza de la Constitución in the hearth of the Parte vieja/Old town. Beautiful plaza with several nice outdoor cafés and pintxos bars.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonys_gallery/3826174158/
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Old Mar 12th, 2011, 08:01 AM
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It's a shame to spend one night in San Sebastian. This is a tough choice, normally I would say spend all 3 nights in Madrid and really enjoy it. But, if you're going in the summer, San Sebastian is a special place. You will be sad to leave after only one night though.
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Old Mar 12th, 2011, 08:14 AM
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I like breaking the trip up even if you can only do 1 night in San Sebastian. I haven't been there but it would be on my list of places to see and it just seems a nice way to break up the drive while seeing something. We were in Madrid ourselves for 3 nights a year ago and REALLY loved the city, so you won't go wrong either way, but since San Sebas is on the way, I say stop and see it!
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 08:14 AM
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I agree. Skip Madrid on this trip. find out what time your flight departs MAD and get back for more ideas..
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 10:45 AM
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I would spend the time in San Sebastian and on the road to Madrid and leave the latter for another trip. But then, I'm not a big fan of Madrid and love SS.
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Old Nov 9th, 2011, 07:39 AM
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Thank you to everyone and the wonderful suggestions. Our final itinerary included: arrive in Madrid by plane, rent car and drive straight to Bordeaux where we stayed for 10 days. We then drove back to Madrid and stayed there 3 nights. Along the way to Madrid we stopped in San Sebastian - but only for a few hours. How I wish we would have stayed overnight. Everyone was right...it was lovely. We plan to return and this time, we will stay in San Sebastian overnight. Madrid was nice and we enjoyed el Parque de Retiro and the Prado. But, I agree with some of the suggestions...next time, I'll spend less time in Madrid & more time in San Sebastian.
Thanks again to my fellow fodorites!
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