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Base for Northern Spain exploration

Base for Northern Spain exploration

Old Jul 5, 17, 9:04 am
  #1  
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Base for Northern Spain exploration

I am planning on spending an entire month exploring Northern Spain. My definition is the entire area between Porto (I know it is not Spain) and Lourdes (I also know it is not Spain)
I would prefer NOT to rent a car and use bus/rail or flights if needed
I would like to stay in one place and then do some day trips and overnight trips with minimal luggage.
I posted separately a question about an apartment in A Coruna but I am wondering about other options.
I am looking for a "smaller" city but with a "vibrant" core center where I can find markets, restaurants, bars. I also want a "nicer" 1-2 bedroom apartment with a/c and wi-fi as a must. Would like a city with reasonably good transportation options (buses and train) or very close to good transportation hubs.
Any suggestions on smaller cities I can choose from? I would like to avoid Bilbao and was thinking something more central than A Coruna.
Also would appreciate any comments about using public transport to do one or two day trips around the north of Spain. Is renting a car a must?
Thank you in advance for your suggestions
keisari is offline  
Old Jul 5, 17, 9:38 am
  #2  
 
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I know this isn't what you want, but I think you should have at least a couple of different bases for your month. You could stay places for ~10 days which would involve minimal moving, and it would be a tremendous amount easier to explore the region from there. Especially without a car rental.
Even with a car, if you pick a central location, you could be 6 hours from Porto or Lourdes. By public transportation, you could be a couple times that, or more if you want to avoid staying in a larger city.
My suggestion would be to stay the 1st 10 days in Porto or Santiago de Compostela or Vigo as base. Then spend the next 10 days with base of Leon or Oviedo or Santander. Then make San Sebastian your base for the last 10 days. That will cut down on travel distance tremendously.
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Old Jul 5, 17, 9:47 pm
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@spainlover;
thank you very much for your recommendation; as I am exploring flights and trains between the different cities I am realizing it not as convenient as travel in France or Germany. Last time I stayed in the north of Spain I was on a short vacation and traveling by car. This time I would try to avoid cars so staying in 3 places may be a good option.

Do you think Santander, Oviedo or San Sebastian offer enough restaurants/bars/markets for 10 days?
I have not been in any of these cities.
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Old Jul 6, 17, 4:39 am
  #4  
 
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Sure, happy to help. San Sebastian is a very popular tourist destination, and IMO a jewel among places to visit in Spain. Terrific food (close to, if not, the highest per capita Michelin star restaurants in the world, but even just simple spots for pintxos or mini-tapas are great), beach, gorgeous setting, culture. You can also take short day trips from there going into France, heading over to Bilbao or Pamplona (about an hour each) or visiting smaller towns and beaches.

I have not been to Oviedo but have heard great things. Santander is another interesting city right on the sea. If you like to do outdoors-type things, it's a great base point for the Picos de Europa National Park and hiking/exploring.
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Old Jul 7, 17, 5:00 pm
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thank you so much for the suggestions.
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