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Travel between Barcelona and Bilboa

Old Mar 14th, 2003, 03:37 PM
  #1  
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Travel between Barcelona and Bilboa

I will be spending about 12 days in Spain splitting time between Barcelona area and Bilboa/San Sebastian region. Any suggestions on how best to travel between the two? Are there enough sights/stops in between to do it by car roundtrip? Is overnight train the way to go? Train one way and then car? Appreciate any insight.
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 12:30 PM
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You can forget about taking the train on anything except the main routes. It takes far too long to get to San Sebastian/Bilbao from Barcelona and the same with the return trip. You could end up spending 4 out of your 12 days of vacation on, or waiting for the train to arrive.

The best way to get to Bilbao/San Sebastian is to fly from Barcelona into Bilboa and pick up a rental car at the airport so you can tour the Basque country. There is a lot to see and do in the area between Bilbao and Hondarribia, on the border of the French Basque country.

If you have the time, you could drive back to Barcelona through Iruna/Pamplona, then north to St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, connecting to the E80/A64 and head east to Pau and Tarbes, or take the E5/A63 out of San Sebastian connecting to the E80/A64 just south of Bayonne.

After Tarbes you head south to Vielha in the Vail d'Aran. This is a beautiful summer and winter resort area for both the Spanish and French. From Vielha you follow the road east through the valley and the road back to Barcelona. This is both the fasest and most scenic route. If you drive back, plan on spending at least three days on the road. It's worth your time.

Remember to pick up a couple of Michelin maps. You'll need #442 and #443.
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 02:45 PM
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RAR
 
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My friends highly advise taking the bus between San Sebast. and Bilbao. Twice as fast as the train apparently.
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 03:06 PM
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I agree that the bus is better than the train, but having driven the area, a car is a realistic option as well. However, be wary of the Basque region given our immenent state of war, there's a lot of domestic terrorism in that area. I can't speak with much authority, but I would think twice about going anywhere near the place in the next several weeks. Hopefully you aren't going for several months.
 
Old Mar 19th, 2003, 03:08 PM
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gordiemonster
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imminent, I should say
 
Old Mar 20th, 2003, 12:56 AM
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RAR
 
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Um wouldnt the "domestic terrorism" in the Basque region be against the French and Spanish.. not tourists? I don't think they are exactly blowing up sidewalk cafes and beaches and hiking trails =p
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 01:42 AM
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Basque terrorism is targeted on the Spanish government not on tourists visiting their beautiful land. There is an overnight train from Barcelona (www.renfe.es). Between Bilbao and San Sebastian, buses are faster but the railway is scenic, so I'd suggest using both if you can. The schedule for these trains is on www.euskotren.es.
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