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Itinerary check: October honeymoon Northern Spain

Los Angeles
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Itinerary check: October honeymoon Northern Spain

We want to enjoy the restaurants and incredible food of Basque. We're doing 7-8 days Lake Como/Venice to start honeymoon and spending the other 12 days in Spain. (3 weeks total)

What do you think of this plan?:

Fly in to Barcelona from Italy - stay 2 nights or 3 nights or skip and move straight on to Bilbao??

From Barcelona - fly to Bilbao

Spend 5 or so nights in San Sebastian

2-3 nights in Rioja wine country driving through

1 or 2 nights Madrid - fly home

Hermosa Beach...
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1. Re: Itinerary check: October honeymoon Northern Spain

2-3 nights in Barcelona is not long enough, particularly when you won't arrive until at least mid-day from Italy.

Honestly with 12 days total in Spain and at least one night needed in Madrid at the end I'd stick with the Basque country and Rioja, particularly since you're on your honeymmoon! I wouldn't try to do all 3 areas in 10 nights.

You could easily spend 4-5 nights in the Rioja area basing yourself in a little village and visiting wineries during the day. In my opinion this would be a great way to spend some relaxing days for a honeymoon - find a charming hotel, country drives surrounded by vineyards, great food and wine!

I'd spend at least 3-4 nights in San Sebastian but also consider a few nights (2-3) in a smaller fishing village (Getaria, Lekeitio, Hondarribia all come to mind). Definately spend time in Bilbao, which is so often overlooked or just visited for the Guggenheim.

Have you seen Maribel's guides? They are a wealth of information on all these areas:

http://maribelsguides.com/

Los Angeles
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2. Re: Itinerary check: October honeymoon Northern Spain

Thanks for your post Cathy! The reason I'm including Madrid for a night or two is because that's where we'd be flying out of back to the states.

We really only want to concentrate our time in the Basque region SO do you think we should just dare I say, SKIP Barcelona and arrange a commuter flight right away out of Barcelona straight to Bilbao en route from Italy?

We could leave out of Bilbao to go home but will have a layover in Madrid anyway so was thinking it might be fun to spend a few days driving down to Madrid and stopping along the way?

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3. Re: Itinerary check: October honeymoon Northern Spain

Cathy, once I reread your post I see you do recommend that we skip Barcelona and just concentrate on North leaving a day or two to depart out of Madrid. However, as I think about it, maybe we could depart out of Barcelona instead if MAD and that way at least see Barcelona on the way out. It sounds like from you say, 12 days will just cut the surface for the North so we should just apply more time in one region and then head out from either Bar or madrid rather than trying to "squeeze" 2 or 3 nights in Barcelona as well. Thanks for that! I agree...I don't want to feel hurried and rushed on this trip but would appreciate the romantic feel of the small villages.

Hermosa Beach...
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4. Re: Itinerary check: October honeymoon Northern Spain

Actually this was exactly what I was going to recommend!

I love Madrid and there are some great daytrips and surrounding cities (Segovia, Toledo, Avila) but to try to do Barcelona, the Basque country, Rioja and Madrid in 12 days (nevertheless on your honeymoon) is a little much.

Don't know if this is possible but could you get a flight from Italy to Bilbao without having to stop in Barcelona?

You will absolutely have to return to Spain in for future anniversary's as you would be visiting 2 regions that are truly unique and not what most people think of as "typical" (if there is such thing) Spain!

Los Angeles
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5. Re: Itinerary check: October honeymoon Northern Spain

That's what I'm really trying for...but it's tough. I see nothing direct...:( Venice to Barcelona is easy but it's the Barcelona to BIO that's the challenge as it requires a long layover and I hate to waste such precious time at an airport. I'll keep searching.

I agree with you - 12 days in one or two areas is much better.

Perhpas I can fly from London to Bilbao and out of Bilbao to Milan and do it the reverse way. Milan or Venice to Bilbao only connects through Barcelona.

Thanks again for your input!!

Northampton, MA
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6. Re: Itinerary check: October honeymoon Northern Spain

Cut out Barcelona or Madrid it doesn't matter. I'm a Madrid person but most people prefer Barcelona. However for a honeymoon I think places like the Rioja country, Hondarribia, Getaria, Lekeitio and especially San Sebastian are so much more romantic and relaxing than Barcelona or Madrid.

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7. Re: Itinerary check: October honeymoon Northern Spain

Cuthbert, I like your suggestion very much. Makes sense. I love your "it doesn't matter" approach - just great. ;) Thanks for that. We'll take it slow in the north and we're adding one more day to the trip now and departing (merely flying) out of Barcelona back to the states. But we're going to concentrate strictly on the north for this trip....can't wait!

cheers!

Los Angeles
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8. Re: Itinerary check: October honeymoon Northern Spain

Hey guys,

Just found this post again and will follow the village ideas for places to stay when we're there.

Quick question! When arriving to Bilbao in the evening by air, is it best to start in San Sebastian first or Rioja area and then drive up to SS? Or is it one half dozen of the other?

As it stands, I have Marqués de Riscal Hotel booked for (2 nights) but think I'll change it to 3 nights and then I have Maria Christina in San Sebastian booked for 4 nights after that. That will leave me 4 or 5 nights to spend somewhere else....before we head back to Bilbao to fly out.

Please let me know your thoughts! I'd like to stay in quaint, quiet places as well since we'll have car and be on our honeymoon.

Am also considering to include: Navarra - Hotel Peruskenea

Best wishes!

J

Hermosa Beach...
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9. Re: Itinerary check: October honeymoon Northern Spain

I'd spend at least 4-5 nights in La Rioja - it's just such a perfect setting for a honeymoon - sleep in, go wine tasting, eat a fantastic lunch, siesta, wonder around little villages, nice relaxiing dinner, enjoy spa treatments (offered by several hotels).

Regarding the Basque country:

There is a lovely hotel in Getaria, Hotel Saiaz, that would be wonderful for a honeymoon (splurge on a suite with an ocean view). Your other hotel choices are much larger and although very luxurious don't have the quaint charm a place like this hotel offers.

Similarly, the Hotel Zubieta in Lekeitio is an absolute gem, but doesn't have the ocean view.

www.saiazgetaria.com/ENGLISH/english.htm

http://www.hotelzubieta.com/

I have another recommendation in Lekeitio but it is relatively new and I've never stayed here - I'll be spending 2 nights in September here and will review at that time. It's located in the port area of Lekeitio and looks like another great place to spend a honeymoon.

http://www.oxangoiti.net/

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10. Re: Itinerary check: October honeymoon Northern Spain

Thanks Cathy! I love your rec's. Yes, the two hotels so far are large Starwoods (which I can't stand corporate chains especially a honeymoon BUT both these spots I hear are pretty nice - although I may still consider Villa Soro for San Sebastian.

Maybe then, I should just leave it with the Gehry hotel in Rioja for just 2 nights...and then move over to something smaller in the area for another 3 nights.

But question: Landing in Bilbao is Rioja a good 1st stop before San Sebastian or should we do Rioja last before flying out of Bilbao? Not sure once we rent the car in Bilbao which area to hit first, middle and last that will make the most sense.

So far this is what I'm thinking -

Marqués de Riscal in Rioja (2 nights)

(3 more days somewhere in Rioja at a smaller inn)

San Sebastian

Lekeito

Hondarriba Parador

Fly out of Bilbao....will that work, you think?

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