Travel to and from San Sebastian

Mar 9th, 2012, 11:59 AM
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Travel to and from San Sebastian

I am planning a trip to Spain in mid-September. Recently I saw a trip offered to San Sebastian that suggested travel to Paris by plane, then a 4-hour train trip to San Sebastian. I was thinking about 1 night in Paris, then onward to Spain the following day. From looking at the map and checking the Eurail information, it seems that it will take much longer than 4 hours, and that there may not even be a possible connection between those 2 cities that makes any sense. Any suggestions? Maybe a flight to Madrid or Barcelona with an overnight, then a train to San Sebastian?

From San Sebastian, we will be goint to Marbella for a week. It seems that a flight may be the best way to go, judging from other comments on the message boards. Would it be best to travel from Bilbao to Malaga, or is there a better route? Renting a car and driving is also a possibility, since we will need a car in Marbella, but it looks like a pretty long drive.

Any travel suggestions would be appreciated.
dhack is offline  
Mar 9th, 2012, 12:57 PM
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From Paris, you can fly to Bilbao ( Vueling) and stay a while or take a bus from the airport to SS ( about 1.5hours
The train from Barcelona or Madrid to SS is more than 5 hours
There are cheap flights to Bilbao from both cities.
danon is online now  
Mar 9th, 2012, 01:07 PM
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No train that I know of can get you from Paris to San Sebastian in 4 hours. Checking the SNCF site, it takes at least 7 hours 10 minutes, with a change of train in Irun.
But I don't think landing in Paris, spending one night, then moving on to Spain is a sensible plan anyway. You'll have part of one jetlagged day in Paris and then back on the road again - not fun. Personally, I like to get to the farthest point in my travels first, even if it's a very long day of traveling.
StCirq is online now  
Mar 9th, 2012, 01:24 PM
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I agree; skip Paris (although I'd stop and stay there) and fly into Madrid for a few days. Train and bus connect San Sebastian-Madrid. A number of low-cost airlines go from Madrid to Bilbao airport which serves San Sebastian.
Or if you are flying trans-Atlantic and don't want to spend time in Madrid, Air France/KLM, Lufthansa and Iberia all have connections straight through to Bilbao which sometimes add very little extra cost to the trans-Atlantic fare.
For your travels in Spain,, while clunky to use, can help you sort out airlines.
Southam is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 01:10 AM
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A big airport in Bilbao, direct bus from the airport to San Sebastián in 70 mins.
kimhe is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 01:41 AM
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StCirq, I´ve travelled the TGV from Hendaye to Paris in 5 hours...
mikelg is online now  
Mar 10th, 2012, 07:33 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions! I've been to Paris twice before, but never to Madrid or Barcelona. Those will probably be better ideas considering the connections to San Sebastian.
dhack is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 08:30 AM
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San Sebastián is out of this world, the culinary capital of Spain if not all of Europe and European Capital of Culture 2016. A favourite for Spanish and French vistors for some 150 years, and for good reasons. Mid September might be just before the beginning of the film festival dating back to 1953, and if you overlap you should be very early with hotel reservations.

Bilbao is as said a major airport and there are seven daily flights with Vueling alone from Paris to Bilbao in 1h 30 mins, some 100€. Direct bus from the airport to San Sebastián in 70 mins.

San Sebastián in New York Times recently:

"Is San Sebastián the best place to eat in Europe?" in The Guardian:

In one word, reconsider!
kimhe is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 10:03 AM
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Even if you have to take ankle express DO NOT skip SS..I can't imagine an inclusive Spanish experience without this place included. Food,,outstanding/ scenery, outstanding/ people/ outstanding. Tapas are a work of competitive art and resonable.Do you get the picture that I, among thousands, love SS??? Trains are better than buses because you can walk around. Try to get to Bilboa then SS then off you go on your continued adventure. I will be there in 3 weeks and am chomping at the bit..You will have a great tine.
amer_can is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 11:18 AM
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I hope it's ok to piggyback a question. I will be in San Sebastian later this month and thinking of going to Hondarriba on Saturday or Sunday. The guidebooks does not give enough info to decide pros and cons of visiting on Saturday vs. Sunday. I suspect the buses are less frequent and more restaurants are close on Sunday. Any other thoughts?
greg is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 12:11 PM
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Sundays at lunchtime are huge in both San Sebastián and Hondarribia. In many ways the main family/friends event of the week, things slow considerably down into the evening/night.

Perhaps go to Hondarribia on Saturday night and wind down with the crowds in San Sebastián's Old town/Parte vieja on Sunday at lunchtimes?
kimhe is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 08:54 AM
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I'll start looking at flights to Bilbao. Have heard wonderful things about it. Will start another thread when it gets closer to the time to ask about hotels and restaurant suggestions. Thanks a million!
dhack is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 09:20 AM
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You can fly to either Bilbao (Vueling from Orly) or Biarritz (on AF from Paris Orly) or EasyJet (from Paris CDG). From either airport there are buses to San Sebastian run by PESA
hkto is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 09:22 AM
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OMG! Just checked the dates of the film festival and it is when we will be there. We should be in town the first weekend - around the 21st of September. I'll check for lodging and post a new thread. Thanks for the update!
dhack is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 11:43 AM
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Good luck! Grab any lodging available and be prepared to pay $$$$
chapla is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 12:39 PM
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tdk320n is offline  
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