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Travel from San Sebastian to Madrid Barajas

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Feb 24th, 2013, 01:38 AM
  #1
THR
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Travel from San Sebastian to Madrid Barajas

Hi all,

So, I'm at the very final stage of our trip planning. We fly into Madrid and stay a few days, before picking up a rental, travelling to Toledo, Granada, Cordoba and Seville. We then catch a plane to Bilbao, and a bus to San Sebastian.

The final leg of our trip is to get from San Sebastian to Madrid for our return flight. Our flight leaves at 10pm, so we have plenty of time during that day to get to Madrid.

My current thinking is to pick up a rental and drive via Burgos. The route here suggests it's ~ 450km. Reason being, the flights that leave San Sebastian or Bilbao are generally early flights (e.g. leave 8am), or otherwise very expensive; and we don't want to arrive in Madrid too early and waste a day at the airport.

Is this route do-able in a day? We could leave San Sebastian early (pick up the car in the morning or the day before), and it's only a couple of hours to Burgos, where we could look around and have lunch before trekking on to Madrid.

Alternatively, we have 5 nights in San Sebastian, so we could instead spend 4 there and 1 in Burgos...

Any thoughts appreciated.
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Feb 24th, 2013, 01:40 AM
  #2
THR
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For reference, this is our itinerary:

Thu, 30 May 2013 Fly from Sydney
Fri, 31 May 2013 Arrive Madrid
Sat, 01 Jun 2013 Madrid
Sun, 02 Jun 2013 Madrid
Mon, 03 Jun 2013 Toledo
Tue, 04 Jun 2013 Granada (via Ubeda); Alhambra night visit
Wed, 05 Jun 2013 Granada (visit Alhambra)
Thu, 06 Jun 2013 Cordoba
Fri, 07 Jun 2013 Seville
Sat, 08 Jun 2013 Seville
Sun, 09 Jun 2013 Seville
Mon, 10 Jun 2013 Fly to San Sebastian
Tue, 11 Jun 2013 San Sebastian
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 San Sebastian
Thu, 13 Jun 2013 San Sebastian
Fri, 14 Jun 2013 San Sebastian
Sat, 15 Jun 2013 Fly from Madrid
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Feb 24th, 2013, 04:15 AM
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It's about a five hour drive, so it's easy done in a day with a stop for lunch in Burgos.

But there are also 175/186€ flights from Bilbao to Madrid at 16.50 and 17.40 on Saturday June 15th. In Madrid Barajas 18.10 and 18.55. The cheapest morning flight is 136€.
http://www.momondo.no/multicity/?Sea...false&NA=false
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Feb 24th, 2013, 07:33 AM
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Flying from Bilbao's international airport is a viable option and that city is worth a day or two anyhow, maybe reducing your time in San Sebastian. Instead of purchasing a separate ticket, you can look at the Bilbao-Madrid leg as an extension sold by your main carrier from Madrid to Sydney. The price will be almost the same as Madrid-Sydney alone and you probably will be able to check your bags all the way through.
It might even add a few frequent-flyer points to your tally on this long itinerary.
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Feb 24th, 2013, 09:07 AM
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There is a bus from SS to Madrid - Barajas T4. Takes under 6 hrs. The most suitable for your schedule is 9:45am to 3:15pm. Next one arrives at 9:30pm See http://www.alsa.es I think car rental is the best option for time saving.
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Feb 24th, 2013, 11:19 AM
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You have a lot of time in SS...a rather small place.
Staying a night (day?) in Bilbao or somewhere on the way to Madrid seems a good option.
I would not wish to spend six hours on a bus or train before a flight .
Or you could skip Toledo on the firs part of your trip...drive to Toledo from SS, stay the nigh , ditch the car and take 1/2 hour train to Madrid Atocha. there is a direct bus to the airport from Atocha. (or train if you are going to terminal 4)
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Feb 24th, 2013, 11:39 AM
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Or a night in Burgos, about 2 1/2 hours from the airport. S.S. to Burgos, perhaps just under 3 hours.

Or Segovia, perhaps just over an hour from the airport. Perhaps four hours from S.S.
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Feb 24th, 2013, 12:28 PM
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I would agree with previous posters. Try to see the rest of Northern Spain; it's beautiful. SS is very small and just one part of the whole picture. Plus it's easier to get to Madrid from Bilbao, faster & more transportation options. If you care you can check out videos from http://www.youtube.com/user/Olonnais

01 - El norte del camino (Gipuzkoa, Bizkaia y Cantabria)
02 - Camino de perfección (Cantabria, Asturias, Lugo y A Coruña)
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Feb 25th, 2013, 03:24 AM
  #9
THR
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Thanks all for your tips and advice. Still very conflicted!

Reason we were planning on spending 5 days/nights in San Sebastian was it is the last leg of our trip and we didn't want to be rushing around in our last few days/nights. But I take it on board that this might be too much time in San Sebastian; perhaps three or four nights will suffice (leaning towards four) and we spend some time elsewhere.

As we don't fly out until 10pm, we could leave on the 14th and have a full day + night elsewhere, and travelling time slowly back to Madrid the next day.

Thinking of perhaps travelling back to Segovia, via car, and spending the day/night there. Or perhaps another part up north on the way back.

We don't really want to fly or bus because the times aren't particularly convenient - we essentially lose an entire day.

So, is four nights really too much in San Sebastian? If you could pick a place to spend one more night, where would you go? Burgos? Segovia? Bilbao? Santander?

Thanks everyone so far.
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Feb 25th, 2013, 04:18 AM
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I would spend the night in Bilbao. If you absolutely need to see Santander it's only 1 hr 15 min from Bilbao by bus that goes along the coast and scenery is quite nice. You can see Segovia from Madrid if you have time, easy day bus trip from Principe Pio bus station.
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Feb 25th, 2013, 04:36 AM
  #11
THR
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OK, I think that's what we'll do - spend the night in Bilbao and fly from Bilbao to Madrid, spending four nights in San Sebastian... I think we'll have done enough tripping around, to be honest.

Once again, thanks for your help everyone.
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Feb 25th, 2013, 05:27 AM
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THR; Have a great trip. Your itinerary looks perfect.
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Feb 25th, 2013, 09:04 AM
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Four nights is not much in San Sebastián, will enable you to wind down and enjoy a fantastic city towards the end of your trip. I've spent at least a week almost every year since the late 80's, and leaving is always very hard.

Having said that, Bilbao is great and a very different vibe. Would very much second the idea to spend the last night in Bilbao before flying to Madrid the next day.
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Feb 25th, 2013, 06:14 PM
  #14
THR
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OK, thanks all. We've decided to spend the full five nights in San Sebastian. I managed to get OK priced flights (200 Euro total) from San Sebastian to Madrid - by also booking a multi-journey return to Bilbao (the price of doing so was considerably lower than booking a one-way each, or to return to San Sebastian).

We might do a day trip from San Sebastian; and I am sure we can otherwise comfortably find things to do (restaurants, pinxtos, etc!).

Thanks to everyone that contributed! Over the course of the last four weeks so many Fodorites have made our trip planning so much easier.
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Feb 26th, 2013, 01:22 AM
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All about going for pintxos in San Sebastián, bar guide, suggested routes, top ten pintxos of the month etc. http://www.todopintxos.com/home/home.php?lang=en

But much of the fun is just go where the evening (or lunch time) takes you from bar to bar. You can't do much wrong in food crazy San Sebastián. Be sure to go for pintxos also in the Gros district across the city river Urumea, 5-10 mins walk from the more famous Parte vieja/ Old town. Many of the best and more local feel bars are over here.

Casa Urola, my favourite restaurant in town for decades and a true classic in San Sebastián, reopened its doors last August under the famous chef Pablo Loureiro after one year closing. Can't wait to go there this fall. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restauran...e_Country.html
http://www.lomejordelagastronomia.co...nte-casa-urola

And I can highly recommend the down to earth classic Casa Vallés just behind the Cathedral in C/ Reyes Católicos, 10 when you want a change from the gourmet hype. http://www.barvalles.com/
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Feb 26th, 2013, 01:45 AM
  #16
THR
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Thanks Kimhe! You've given me a night's reading! On an empty stomach, no less. I can't wait to be there.

We will probably try book for one fancy three Michelin star too.
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Feb 26th, 2013, 02:22 AM
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Have had two nights to remember for life at Arzak (1996 and 2006), three stars for more than twenty years and constatnly ranked as one of the ten best in the world.

There are nevertheless as you know plenty to chose from in this category in the area, and perhaps nothing would be more spectacular than Akelarre with the spectacular views on top of it all. http://gastronomyblog.com/2010/06/04...san-sebastian/
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Feb 27th, 2013, 08:04 AM
  #18
 
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Your stay in Madrid coincide with the world's most cutting edge flamenco dancer Rocío Molina's "Afectos" in Teatro de la Abadía Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, May 30th-June 1st.
http://www.rociomolina.net/agenda/?lang=en

I saw the premiere of this performance in Barcelona in late October. Extremely powerful and highly recommended. She performs together with flamenco singer Rosario Guerrero "La Tremendita" and double bass player Pablo Martín.

28 years old Molina was voted best flamenco dancer 2007 and 2008 by Spanish critics, and in 2010 she recieved the Premio Nacional de Danza, the most prestigious dance prize in Spain as the youngest flamenco dancer ever.

"one of the finest soloists in the world today"
New York Times 2009

"Molina has genius: irresistible, all-consuming, all-powerful"
Financial Times 2011

This spring she tours theaters in New York, Washington, Miami, London, Moscow, Paris, Toulouse and several Spanish cities, among them Madrid, the flamenco capital of the world on your dates.

Press: http://www.rociomolina.net/prensa/?lang=en

Clip from "Afectos": http://vimeo.com/60348557
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Feb 27th, 2013, 05:19 PM
  #19
THR
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Thanks Kimhe,

I'll keep that in mind - we do want to go and see a good flamenco performance (and were thinking we could do that in Seville). I can't see how to buy tickets yet - perhaps it's too early though.
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Feb 27th, 2013, 11:52 PM
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I've toured Spain for flamenco the past ten years, and I can assure you that this is beyond good flamenco performance. Another and ten times more interesting world than seeing flamenco in a typical tablao/flamenco restaurant down in Sevilla together with lots of tourists.

Both Molina and Tremedita are very much Andalusian. Rocío Molina is from small, seaside Torre del Mar in the Málaga region. It has been said that she's the best that has happened to flamenco dance in Málaga for a hundred years. And Rosario "La Tremendita" is from the Triana district in Sevilla, a true cradle of flamenco culture. She comes from a family of important flamenco singers for generations.

And even though flamenco very much comes from the South, Madrid is the flamenco capital of the world. Everybody has to conquer Madrid to get to the top. There will therefore be a mostly local and knowledgeable crowd on these performances, and that is very good because flamenco is also very much about the contact and "tension" between the artists and the audience.

These Madrid performances were announced just yesterday on Molinas homepage, and the tickets can eventually be bought online on:
telentrada.com
Or contact the Abadía theater directly: [email protected]

Here's a clip of Molina and La Tremendita on Andalusian TV (Canal Sur). They did a stripped down and beautiful version of this when I saw "Afectos" in Barcelona in October. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYaY4zZgTas
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