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Madrid - San Sebastian - Barcelona

Madrid - San Sebastian - Barcelona

Old Nov 25, 18, 10:09 pm
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Madrid - San Sebastian - Barcelona

I’m planning on a trip to Spain next spring for 12 days, to the above mentioned cities. How many days should I allot for each city and what’s the best way to go from one city to the other.

I can fly in to either MAD or BCN and fly out from the other city. But upon checking the fares, it would be cheaper to arrive and leave from the same airport. I would be flying with CX.

Last edited by boybi; Nov 26, 18 at 4:26 am
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Old Nov 26, 18, 12:12 am
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You're not saying how long your trip is. Is it your first trip to all these cities? If so, I would spend as little time in Madrid as reasonably possible, but do give it at least 2 days.

BCN - spend as long as you can, but at list 4-5 days. But then, I'm biased, I'm in love with this city. I could stay there for a month and never get bored.

San Sebastian - a fascinating city, but in spring, you'll be missing the beach scene. Spend at least 3 days.

Fly everywhere; intra-Spain air travel can be dirt cheap.

The real question, once again, is how much time you have. If you do have some extra time, I'd consider Bilbao to the west and Biarritz in France to the east. 1.5-2 hours by bus in each direction. All three (Bilbao, San Sebastian, and Biarritz are incredibly interesting and picturesque, each in their own right, with plenty of things to see and do).

Hope it helps.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 4:29 am
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Sorry, first post edited.

I don’t think bus trips will be easy for us, unless it will be a day trip from one of our destination cities. We will have at least 2 large sized luggages with us.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 4:35 am
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I have and would drive, from Madrid to San S.
Stop in Leon, for me an even nicer experience than Madrid or Barcelona.
I like driving. It's more convenient ( with luggage) and is the only way to get off the tourist tracks.
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Old Nov 26, 18, 1:37 pm
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Donostia is definitely nice, but add a day in Bilbao to the list.
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Old Nov 27, 18, 3:34 am
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Originally Posted by wxman22 View Post
I have and would drive, from Madrid to San S.
Stop in Leon, for me an even nicer experience than Madrid or Barcelona.
I like driving. It's more convenient ( with luggage) and is the only way to get off the tourist tracks.
I can consider driving. But won’t it be hard to find parking spaces in the cities?

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Old Nov 27, 18, 8:44 am
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Originally Posted by boybi View Post


I can consider driving. But won’t it be hard to find parking spaces in the cities?

In June, I drove from Madrid to Segovia, Salamanca, Leon, Santiago de Compostela, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Burgos and back to Madrid where I stayed overnight before returning the car at the airport the next morning. Parking was not an issue in any of those places, although it was kind of expensive in Madrid (but cheaper than two taxi rides from and to the airport, had I chosen the return the car there the previous night).
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Old Nov 27, 18, 9:19 am
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Ok, here’s my tentative itinerary:
Day 1 Madrid (flight arrives early morning)
Day 2 Madrid
Day 3 Madrid (Good Friday)
Day 4 Madrid
Day 5 Madrid to San Sebastian (rent car) (Easter Sunday)
Day 6 San Sebastian
Day 7 Bilbao (day trip)
Day 8 San Sebastian to Barcelona (return car)
Day 9 Barcelona
Day 10 Barcelona
Day 11 Barcelona
Day 12 Fly back to MAD

So I’ll only be driving when I leave Madrid for San Sebastian, and will return the car when I reach Barcelona.

It will be Good Friday when I’m in Madrid. Will the stores and restaurants be open that day?

Also, my drive to San Sebastian will be on Easter Sunday, is there anything I should be concerned about along the way?
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Old Nov 27, 18, 10:44 am
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Semana Santa is a bit of madness all over the country - everyone's traveling. Expect large crowds.

It will be Good Friday when I’m in Madrid. Will the stores and restaurants be open that day?
Restaurants should be open that day.
Also, my drive to San Sebastian will be on Easter Sunday, is there anything I should be concerned about along the way?
Nothing out of the ordinary.
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Old Nov 27, 18, 4:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Palal View Post
Semana Santa is a bit of madness all over the country - everyone's traveling. Expect large crowds.
Is it advisable to travel to Spain during Semana Santa?
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Old Nov 27, 18, 8:43 pm
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Semana Santa can be a great time to visit - many special celebrations happening around the country. You just need to be aware in advance of events, crowds and closures which will vary by city.
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Old Nov 27, 18, 10:31 pm
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Originally Posted by spainlover View Post
Semana Santa can be a great time to visit - many special celebrations happening around the country. You just need to be aware in advance of events, crowds and closures which will vary by city.
How about road traffic? Will it be advisable to travel by car on these days?
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Old Nov 28, 18, 4:36 am
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Looking at your schedule, the only day you have driving planned during Semana Santa is on Easter Sunday itself. Later that day, some people will be traveling on the roads, but generally after eating with their family (people generally eat between 1 and 4pm, more towards the middle of that time).
Esrly in the day should be fine. If anyone has different experience, please share.
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Old Nov 28, 18, 5:42 am
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Originally Posted by boybi View Post


Is it advisable to travel to Spain during Semana Santa?
It's fine, the only issue is they may take away a lane from the A1 leaving Madrid for awhile to get extra traffic going south into the city because everyone will be going home, but it shouldn't be an issue. I honestly know they do it on the highway to Valencia but don't think they do it on any others.

Make sure you email your hotels asking if there are any access restrictions on the cars. I have never been to San Sebastián so I don't actually know, but they may have to add your car to a list of guests to allow you to drive into the old city. I don't believe this is an issue in San Sebastián, but it could be in Barcelona.
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Old Nov 29, 18, 7:25 pm
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Donostia doesn't seem to have heavy traffic or any traffic zone restrictions (though I haven;t been there in ~9 years). Stayed in a agriturismo outside of town and drove in when needed. Parking availability wasn't too bad.

Warning about Bilbo is to use a GPS and make sure the maps are updated. Miss one turnoff (or get on the wrong way) on the autopista and you may end up having to go on it for several (as much as 20) Kms before you can turn back. No LTZs there either when I was there but is is a lot harder to navigate around compared to Donostia. Parking can be a bit harder to find here.

My favorite in the area is the French side of the Basque country. Seems just that much more charming and quaint.

Try to fit in a visit to a sidreria.

https://www.sansebastianturismo.com/...t/cider-houses
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