SPAIN travel advice

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1) Underground chino (Chinese restaurant) in Plaza de España is incredibly cheap and tasty and pretty close to the Universidad. Just go down the stairs next to Calle Princesa/Gran Via. As for actual Spanish food, I'll get back to you when my friend reminds me the name of this one amazing spot.

2) Haven't tried this one, but looks pretty useful:

Charles de Gaul (Whitey on the Moon), Tuesday, 24 April 2012 00:11 (five years ago) Permalink

Here's that great Spanish restaurant: El Lacón Not exactly cheap but wonderful and a good value. I would recommend going for the tablas (platters of a wide variety of fish, seafood, veggies, etc) if you'll be with several people. 2 tablas and the complimentary bread was more than enough food for 4.

Charles de Gaul (Whitey on the Moon), Tuesday, 24 April 2012 21:37 (five years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Boy you werent kidding bout alhambra tix huh

bob_sleigher (darraghmac), Tuesday, 4 June 2013 02:12 (four years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

I can't wait to see that thing. I've booked a ticket for next month.

Does anyone have tips on other stuff to do in Granada? I have two days. It looks like some of the Alhambra grounds don't require tickets, so maybe there'll be more than enough to see once my hours there are up.

jmm, Friday, 24 October 2014 01:58 (three years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Hotel I'm staying in is pretty cool, I guess:

Had a terrific two days in Madrid and was sorry to leave. The Prado is a delight and going early on a Monday morning meant I had the best part of an hour with a dozen Raphaels and Goya's black paintings to myself. Also really loved the Reina Sofia, which seemed like a model of how a challenging contemporary art gallery should be curated - much more engaged politically than the Punta Della Dogana or the Centre Pompidou, which are amazing in their own way but feel more like a repository of stuff most of the time.

Idk why I have been to Moldova and Venezuela but it has taken this long to come to Spain.

Wristy Hurlington (ShariVari), Tuesday, 27 January 2015 22:43 (two years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

In May and June I will be residing in San Sebastián as a writer in residence. I'm beyond stoked, and ever since the news got out I've been given plenty of tips about what to see, what to do. According to the Lonely Planet of Bilbao/SanSeb there are 17 (SEVENTEEN!) Michelin starred restaurants in San Sebastián alone. That's just crazy, and impossible to choose between.

I won't be traveling outside of the Basque Country a lot (I need my time there to write) but please give me some tips on things outside the obvious, to see, do, or where to eat. Looking at LG and LL especially since you both know the turf. (I've been to Spain loads - Catalunia, Almeria, Costa Del Sol etc) but never to Basque Country. Hit me up!

Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 27 March 2017 19:41 (nine months ago) Permalink

I've only spent a few days there but they were filled with the most amazing food.

(•̪●) (carne asada), Monday, 27 March 2017 20:21 (nine months ago) Permalink

wauwauwau congrats LBI

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 27 March 2017 21:38 (nine months ago) Permalink

tytyty tracer :)

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 09:06 (nine months ago) Permalink

That's awesome, LBI! I still haven't been to San Sebastian, despite having a friend who lives there and everything.

ailsa, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:38 (nine months ago) Permalink

Thanks Ailsa! :) You should come over!

Really looking forward to suggestions and tips here. C'mon people!

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:46 (nine months ago) Permalink

you're the one who will be there for months -- we are going to rely on you to give the tips! my trip there only lasted a few days.
you def gotta go to the haunted rollercoaster ride on the cliff over the ocean, i can't remember what it's called but there's a funicular that takes you up there iirc

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:48 (nine months ago) Permalink

Keep your eyes open for exceptional musician/English teacher Cecile Schott/Colleen!!

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 19:51 (nine months ago) Permalink

here is one of her best most recent songs

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:02 (nine months ago) Permalink

yes the roller coaster! bummed i didnt get to go on it.

(•̪●) (carne asada), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:10 (nine months ago) Permalink

so i've been like 3 or 4 times - amazing place. i haven't been to any of the michelin star restaurants - i'd like to go back and do that sometime but the times i went in the past it wasn't really possible, expensive and also some are kind of remote, at least the famous ones.

ll is right about the rollercoaster, also climb up the other mountain and say hello to massive terrifying jesus. on the way up there are great views and also a british military cemetery which is interesting if you like cemeteries.

for food, you can't go too far wrong just wandering around the cobbles of the old town drinking txakoli everywhere, or the local cider, or just a tiny glass of beer (zurito!) , and eating what looks good. but some places definitely stand out.

some general advice:

imo most places have a few speciality dishes and it's best to wander from bar to bar having one thing in each, and a zurito or txakoli as you go. it's v tempting to stay in a bar and order a few more things but if you want to be really anal about it and get the best spread of stuff, move around more. also, the things on the bar are majorly tempting and even though they're great (what could be wrong with bread and cheese/meat/fish/peppers) a lot of the best stuff is made to order. check the blackboards.

with that in mind i'd say make a point of going to these bars, though you really can walk into almost anywhere and get a snack that would be worth telling your friends about in many other cities:

la cuchera de san telmo - slightly pricier than the other places at about 4/5 euro per plate, but the food here is incredible. it can be elbow-to-elbow busy, and a bit intense, and hot, but the food is memorable. the risotto is a signature dish i think, there's usually suckling pig also. i've never had anything bad there though.

borda berri - former la cuchera chef runs this - it's prob got more heart to it than la cuchera, not that the latter is without charm. also gets very busy. incredible canneloni and spider crab. i was sat at the bar here gawping at the menu with my basic spanish one time and this fisherman danny trejo lookalike just looked up and said "my freng, spider crab" in an ultra-deep spanish accent. i just nodded at the barman who brought a piece of bread covered in spider crab. "good, yes?" "very good, thanks!" "good spider crab"

bodega donostiarra - dunno if this area counts as the old town or not, it's about two mins away from old town across a bridge to the east. read about it in a cookbook by the chef jose pizarro - nice outdoor benches, it's a bit less like a bar if you get sick of standing while eating, which you prob will. great food - chicken wings is one speciality here for sure. everything is good though and they are friendly, it's on a lovely street also.

gandarias - very traditional, great bar pintxos if you go early while they're fresh. nice made-to-order stuff too. they open very late and there's a good buzz here late on as a result.

la vina - famous for baked cheesecake. i recommend it :)

a fuego negro - kind of trendy in sort of 90s way, they play jazz and it's a bit more muso than other places. the food is a bit conceptual and silly at times, like "fish and chips" in a little box or something. but as bad as that might sound there is great stuff to be had here. it's also nice for a drink early evening, good tunes and friendly staff.

zeruko - they do normal pintxos here but also some kind of ludicrously presented things. it's all very white decor-wise and less homely than some of the bars, but not insufferably ritzy. the food is great. the main thing i got here is they do this weird lobster infusion thing in a shot glass with what looks like dry ice pouring out of it. it was delicious and also a bit lol. three other people ordered when i chanced upon it. think it's called rosa di bogavante all the pintxos are nice here.

other general stuff: go to the beach! it's really nice and the atmosphere there is incredibly friendly and fun when the waves get big.

things i'd advise not to do: vomit into a metal bin in a hostel after a lengthy day of eating and drinking, moments after listening to steven gerrard trod on the ball and slip against chelsea, throwing away liverpool's best chance of the league title in 20 years. i mean not unless you need a key scene for a fever pitch type novel about being a liverpool fan : /

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:30 (nine months ago) Permalink

dunno if you like cooking but this book would prob be a good companion for you while there even if you never cook a thing from it. it has a lot of background and cultural info, and he'll casually recommend a restaurant many times throughout:

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:33 (nine months ago) Permalink

or more generally this is good, and might inspire further trips:

i prob have some bilbao recommendations too if i have a think about it.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:35 (nine months ago) Permalink

i forgot bar nestor - that's the best tortilla place. they have some system where they only make one per sitting so you need to get there on time, if you care about such things. i actually had a better tortilla at a place in london but don't tell them that :)

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:37 (nine months ago) Permalink

Jesus man how do you remember this stuff so clearly

The night before all about day (darraghmac), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:38 (nine months ago) Permalink

i had to open google maps but it was a pleasant trip down memory lane. as i say though i've been 3/4 times and once was for nearly a week so i know it fairly well.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:39 (nine months ago) Permalink

AHHHH Colleen lives there? Holy shit! She's one of my musical heroines! Oh man... Ok I will try and make a meeting happen. I'm a total fanboy but that is seriously amazing.

xxxxxxxp OMG so many replies God yes

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:44 (nine months ago) Permalink

Ronan you are a god! Amazing. Bookmarked and printed.

(apart from throwing Stevie G in this, goddamnit, don't taint my Donostia experience!)

Seriously amazing though, will keep you all posted on going to these places. Bless.

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 28 March 2017 20:49 (nine months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Ostia! The spider crab at Borda Berri did not disappoint. Amazing place. Ty LG. Just been here for a couple of days, but already I do not know how other people resist the pull of all these taverna's with their lush food lined up straight on the bar. The hosting organisation has taken me out for pintxos (and wine), and pintxos (and more wine) during lunch hour. They go to work right after, nbd. Wine in the early afternoon makes me sleepy, but I'm going to work hard on that.

As an aside for Ronan and the ILF cru: the guy who's in charge of my stay here, played in Basque youth teams for three years when he was young, playing alongside Txiki Begiristain and the likes. He ultimately didn't make it to pro football, but will make sure I will see Sociedad's last home game - against Malaga, with an EL place on the cards and v high finish (6th in La Liga) - from premium seats :)

On Some Faraday Beach (Le Bateau Ivre), Friday, 5 May 2017 20:45 (eight months ago) Permalink

Le Bateau Ivre, I live here and would be happy to meet up some time if you fancy it.

I keep meaning to put together a document of my top advice for visitors, but I haven't go round to it yet.

I have had the honour of accompanying Ronan on his adventures a couple of times.

The best (so far unmentioned) place is and also the adjacent park. I live just beyond the far side of said park.

My email is pjmiller68 AT gmail DOT com

Peter Miller, Tuesday, 9 May 2017 08:15 (eight months ago) Permalink

Hi Peter, thanks so much for your generous offer. I'm here for two months, and the organisation (Donostia Kultura) really front-loaded my visit; ie. I've meetings every day for the first two weeks probably. After that things ease, giving me time to do what I'm here for, writing, and to enjoy myself. I would def like to take you up on your offer second half of May or in June, thanks for your email, I will be in touch!

(got vip box tix for the Sociedad-Málaga match on Sunday :D )

On Some Faraday Beach (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 9 May 2017 21:38 (eight months ago) Permalink

OK, good stuff.

I will be opposite you and to the right at the football. I hope it goes well.

Peter Miller, Wednesday, 10 May 2017 07:29 (eight months ago) Permalink

earlier this month we were walking through the basque country doing the first seven days of the camino de santiago, which took us from the french side of the pyrenees to logrono via pamplona. had a really great time and would recommend getting out into the country for walking and visiting some of the smaller towns. so many pelota courts, even in very small villages, plenty of basque nationalist graffiti, lots of rolling hills covered in corn and dotted with poppies. pamplona is definitely worth a day trip to wander round the old town, the walls of the citadel, the cathedral. like everyone else we were v charmed by bilbao, had lots of great food, and of course the guggenheim is amazing, was v struck by the richard serra sculptures that you can wander into, and they've got a great abstract expressionism exhibition on atm

ogmor, Wednesday, 17 May 2017 13:16 (eight months ago) Permalink

That sounds like a wonderful trip Ogmor! Not too far from where I'm residing right now. You are damn right about the graffiti, the many flags, the pelota courts. I have been inland a bit already (cider farms, Rioja country), but still have Iruña and the Guggenheim high up the list.

(Can the camino be done in more than one way? Bcz I'm in an old fisherman's town just outside Donostia, and this is also part of the camino to Santiago, but you describe a different path?)

It's been a dream, so far. Really, *really* easing into the rhythm here of two/three hour lunches and in the evening just a small dish, makes me feel better and more fit working all day, too. Preferably when the sun is shining but it works even when it rains, too. Wish I could bring that into Northern Western Europe but know that can't happen. Just feels so much more pleasant.

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 18 May 2017 20:10 (eight months ago) Permalink

very jealous!

(•̪●) (carne asada), Thursday, 18 May 2017 20:13 (eight months ago) Permalink

Are you in residence close to Deba? I spent a lovely week there a few years ago.

droit au butt (Euler), Thursday, 18 May 2017 22:51 (eight months ago) Permalink

Not close-close, though Deba is certainly not far away from Donostia (55km). I really want to go to Bilbao along the coast one day, preferably by bike if that can be done in a day, otherwise taking my car, so will def come across it. Any Deba things I need to know on forehand?

View from my balcony two minutes ago:

Le Bateau Ivre, Saturday, 20 May 2017 19:37 (eight months ago) Permalink

No, nothing particular about Deba, just a village with a lively centre ville, where the wine is 0,50€ a glass.

droit au butt (Euler), Saturday, 20 May 2017 22:18 (eight months ago) Permalink

sounds heavenly. there are indeed lots of camino routes though the one we did - 'the way of st james' - is the most popular

you get to stay at some rad places such as roncesvalles, which has meters-thick walls and was a v welcome sight after our very stormy first day:

ogmor, Wednesday, 24 May 2017 15:52 (seven months ago) Permalink

Are you staying in Pasajes San Juan? Heavy!

The Santiago path here is the "coastal route".

Peter Miller, Friday, 2 June 2017 12:33 (seven months ago) Permalink

"The way of Saint James" is just a translation of "el camino De Santiago", encompassing all the different paths. The most common route, dark red in the map image above, is usually called the French way.

I've been living in Catalunya this academic year and I'm planning on doing the Northern (coastal) route when my work finishes 3 weeks from now. Starting in Asturias and going to the end. Looks incredibly beautiful and will be my first time in that part of the peninsula.

ƒ©˙∆˚¬ (Whitey on the Moon), Friday, 2 June 2017 12:48 (seven months ago) Permalink

Cadaqués is enchanting. At least it was years ago, last I was there. The "coastal route" was not so straightforward though.

Josefa, Friday, 2 June 2017 15:39 (seven months ago) Permalink

xp this is obv right, I was getting muddled. it does indeed look gorgeous up there and hopefully you'll have some good weather for it too. everyone seems to say the last bit to finisterre is well worth it

ogmor, Friday, 2 June 2017 15:50 (seven months ago) Permalink

Are you staying in Pasajes San Juan? Heavy!

Yes, well spotted! It's great.

Peter, can I ask you a question? I find that there are surprisingly few bars/cafe's suited to do some work (ie. writing on laptop). The small taberna's obviously aren't suited for this. I have been working in Tabakalera a couple of times which is nice, but do you know of any good cafes with ok coffee and wifi who are not Starbucks to get some work done? Doesn't matter if it's in the old town or in Gros.

Le Bateau Ivre, Saturday, 3 June 2017 14:22 (seven months ago) Permalink

Try the bar/café at San Telmo Museum.,-1.9844947,18.29z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0xd51affe3b68fe15:0xe43ec55994864649!2sSan+Sebasti%C3%A1n,+Gipuzkoa,+Spain!3b1!8m2!3d43.318334!4d-1.9812313!3m4!1s0x0:0x178723f034036ead!8m2!3d43.3253148!4d-1.9848266?hl=en

It's usually quite quiet inside, and there is wifi from the library upstairs. Said library is also quite good, although it might be a bit too quiet, and is not open in the afternoons. A good procrastination resource though.

Not sure about wifi, but Café Artess just across the square is usually quite quiet in the mornings. It used to be "atmospheric" but they've modernised it, stripping it off all character in the process.,-1.9842142,19.29z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0xd51affe3b68fe15:0xe43ec55994864649!2sSan+Sebasti%C3%A1n,+Gipuzkoa,+Spain!3b1!8m2!3d43.318334!4d-1.9812313!3m4!1s0x0:0xa6794037d659e930!8m2!3d43.3249567!4d-1.9838865?hl=en

Peter Miller, Saturday, 3 June 2017 15:54 (seven months ago) Permalink

Dabadaba has wifi and big tables, but I'm not sure about its suitability as a workplace:,-1.9761317,19.92z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0xd51affe3b68fe15:0xe43ec55994864649!2sSan+Sebasti%C3%A1n,+Gipuzkoa,+Spain!3b1!8m2!3d43.318334!4d-1.9812313!3m4!1s0x0:0x871976c5077fefff!8m2!3d43.3155042!4d-1.9763408?hl=en

(By the way, I am hoping to see MOON DUO there next Sunday, if you're interested.)

Peter Miller, Saturday, 3 June 2017 15:57 (seven months ago) Permalink

Thanks so much man, will update you about my findings!

Le Bateau Ivre, Sunday, 4 June 2017 11:28 (seven months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I miss a lot of things Euskal Herria, but what I miss the most is probably the Txakoli. Joder.

Le Bateau Ivre, Sunday, 16 July 2017 16:56 (six months ago) Permalink

Any hotel/pension/airbnb recs for San Sebastian? I am trying to pull of trip for 4 nights to see La Femme at Dabadaba.

Hey, a ('merican) girl can dream, right?

Mid September, would be nice to be in Old Town I suppose? Need not be fancy, just comfortable and well located to great food/drink.

Flights to/within Spain is another matter. Need a friend with a Gulfstream, really.

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Friday, 21 July 2017 21:57 (six months ago) Permalink

Dabadaba, nice! :D

Old Town, Gros, or even Antiguo, it doesn't really matter because "everything's a 20 minute walk away" as they say over there, and it's true. The great food and drinks are everywhere.

For flying, Bilbao is obv your best bet, but there probably aren't (m)any direct flights from the US? Otherwise you'll end up having a stop at Barcelona or Madrid. Bordeaux could be an option as well.

Le Bateau Ivre, Friday, 21 July 2017 22:10 (six months ago) Permalink

Oh I had forgotten that Bilbao may be an option! I need to find a good balance between cheap/time-efficient as I am dealing with a short frame of time I can get off work.

I have been dreaming of San Sebastian since I visited in 1997 or '98? It made a huge impression on me, the food in particular but really everything about the place was just enchanting and so, so fun.

You are still there, LBI? If I can pull this off I hope to meet you in person!

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Friday, 21 July 2017 22:20 (six months ago) Permalink

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