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Low budget/low hassle destination - Bilbao, Spain

Low budget/low hassle destination - Bilbao, Spain

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Old Apr 21, 19, 8:03 am
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Low budget/low hassle destination - Bilbao, Spain

Often flights to some small relatively nearby cities are just a little more expensive than to big major cities. But then there are things about those destinations that more than offset that little extra cost.

I recently flew Skyteam from MSP to BIL (Bilbao, Spain) for $670 return. The particular routing was via Amsterdam, but there were also similar flights via Madrid.

Bilbao was a delightful place to explore for a little over a week. Easy public transportation, walkable in the main area. Guggenheim museum, river boat trips, Basque bar food (pintxos).

AirBNBs, hotels, food and transport were definitely not big-city prices. A bus from the airport to within easy walking distance of my AirBNB was 3 or 4 Euro.

My return through the airport was a particular treat. With a 7am flight, I was braced for the usual 3 hours early for international. It is tiny - something like 12 gates. Turns out it is only open for business at 5:30 am, so that was the earliest that would do me any good. (The doors are open before that and people probably had slept in the outer lobby area.) Anyway, doing my usual Nervous Nelly thing, I was first in line to go through security. Popped through the entire process in less than 5 minutes. Found the KLM lounge and enjoyed a Basque/Dutch breakfast and great coffee. Strolled to the gate and got on the plane. Minimal line.

Lots of little factors in this, but they add up. I sincerely recommend considering those smaller cities a few $$s and one more short leg on. For budget reasons, and because they are worth a visit in the first place.
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Old May 5, 19, 1:50 pm
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AAdvantage miles can get you to Madrid on New Iberia without onerous fuel surcharges. Connect to Bilbao if you wish. Just another way to skin this cat. I tend to avoid urban areas, so I like your suggestion. Would love to see the Guggenheim.
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Old May 6, 19, 5:51 am
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Originally Posted by pierre mclopez View Post
AAdvantage miles can get you to Madrid on New Iberia without onerous fuel surcharges. Connect to Bilbao if you wish. Just another way to skin this cat. I tend to avoid urban areas, so I like your suggestion. Would love to see the Guggenheim.
I'm saving up my AA miles right now for a trip to Barcelona . Barcelona isn't budget, but ... a Pullmantur cruise from there is.
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Old May 12, 19, 7:54 am
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Originally Posted by pierre mclopez View Post
AAdvantage miles can get you to Madrid on New Iberia without onerous fuel surcharges. Connect to Bilbao if you wish. Just another way to skin this cat. I tend to avoid urban areas, so I like your suggestion. Would love to see the Guggenheim.
The Guggenheim is awesome, and well worth the trip to Bilbao. The airport also has a wow factor, having been designed by Santiago Calatrava.
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Old May 12, 19, 2:25 pm
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Originally Posted by DavidDTW View Post
The Guggenheim is awesome, and well worth the trip to Bilbao. The airport also has a wow factor, having been designed by Santiago Calatrava.

The same architect that designed a couple of bridges in Dallas, where one of them is unable to support the pedestrian walkway
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Old May 14, 19, 11:18 am
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Small quibble- BIO is Bilbao
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Old May 19, 19, 12:10 am
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Maybe people are more inclined to skip it because of the history with the Basque separatists and the occasional flare-ups, though I'm sure safety-wise you're taking much more risk just by going somewhere like Albuquerque.
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Old May 19, 19, 5:23 pm
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Originally Posted by BuildingMyBento View Post
Small quibble- BIO is Bilbao
Oops. Thank you!

Just fixed my original post also.
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