SPAIN travel advice

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"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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

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

Le Bateau Ivre, Sunday, 4 June 2017 11:28 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

I'd love that and I wish I was, Quincie, but I'm back home again... It's been three weeks since my return and I've still not re-adjusted to life at home. I cannot get back into my rhythm here. Never thought it would affect me so severely, but still long for that city and life every day.

From Bilbao airport it's just one hour by comfy coach to San Sebastian. When it comes to time efficiency you can't beat that, really.

Also you must be La Femme's biggest fan in the whole world to fly over for their concert there! :)

Le Bateau Ivre, Friday, 21 July 2017 22:31 (one year ago) Permalink

Well La Femme is an excuse, also I have two vacation days that I have to use between now and Sept 30; the world is a big place and it is hard to decide where to go when, so sometimes I have to just create tight boundaries and work within them!

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Friday, 21 July 2017 22:41 (one year 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.

i've stayed in a few of the pensiones in the old town - they vary from v basic and cheap to quite fancy for a little more cash. i wouldn't distrust any of them, if you're in the old town you're surrounded by pintxo bars.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Saturday, 22 July 2017 10:29 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I’m reviving all he Spain threads because we’ll be there for two weeks starting Friday. We’re going to Barcelona for the end of the Bowie exhibition and then???

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 19 September 2017 06:26 (one year ago) Permalink

You'll be there at a truly historic moment. So jealous.

Are you planning on staying in and around Barcelona or will you be able to travel around more (rental car?)?

Le Bateau Ivre, Tuesday, 19 September 2017 09:21 (one year ago) Permalink

barcelona is the best. can drop a few restaurant recs in if that appeals. how far are you willing to travel in your two weeks? i am not so familiar with the places in the immediate vicinity of barcelona, more with the north or south. depending on what you're into, i would try to see madrid as well, personally. barcelona gets all the hype but madrid imo is not to be missed. many spanish cities have a very distinct character and culture though - that is what makes it such a great country in which to travel.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Tuesday, 19 September 2017 09:36 (one year ago) Permalink

Our habit is to just rent a car and take off somewhere... Definitely would like to go to San Sebastian and then loop around through Portugal and Andalucía and back up into Barcelona but really we're just letting ourselves wander around for a couple of weeks.

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 07:19 (one year ago) Permalink

i've travelled that route before, i'd recommend it. vigo is v nice. a coruna too and gijon. it's quite a big gap from barcelona to san sebastien so you might want to think of stops along the way. never been to zaragoza but i'd be curious enough. same with pamplona. i dunno, i've ended up really enjoying some places others say are more backwatery, in spain.

biarritz across the border might be worth a day after san sebastien. it's a bit glitzy but it has its charms. bilbao is nice and v close to san seb. guggenheim etc. santander kind of boring imo but you would be passing through if you go along the north coast.

possibly not great weather this time of year, the north coast can be kind of rural and green, reminds me of ireland a little. there are some beautiful and affordable hotels on the cliffs outside gijon, with amazing views and nice paths along the sea into the town. (maybe a few miles' walk)

if you make it to porto the douro valley wine tours can be really good, a boat up the river and a lot of nice little stops along the way.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Wednesday, 20 September 2017 08:47 (one year ago) Permalink

the pamplona old town is lovely to walk about and impressive with the citadel and cathedral, definitely worth a stop, and bilbao is obviously classic

ogmor, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 09:36 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah, Pamplona, Bilbao (Guggenheim) and obv San Sebastian are great. Popping over to Biarritz is a good idea. Following the north coast from San Seb to Bilbao/Bermeo is a delight, wonderful scenery.

Ronan otm, it does look like Ireland at times. The climate makes it one of the greenest areas of Spain. In stark contrast with the heartland around Madrid.

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 10:40 (one year ago) Permalink

Not to contradict any of the above, because it's all good advice, but Seville is one of my favourite places in the world and I will never stop recommending it.

Tim, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 11:07 (one year ago) Permalink

i love the south as well - can't disagree with that. and prob good weather in seville at the moment. malaga is underrated also, lovely little city.

Bein' Sean Bean (LocalGarda), Wednesday, 20 September 2017 11:17 (one year ago) Permalink

Seville is beautiful. And so is Cordoba. And Ronda. Man, two weeks just isn't enough.

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 11:42 (one year ago) Permalink

Absolutely love Bilbao. Santander is not too exciting from the little I've seen. My partner's family live nearby but we never go there. Smaller interesting places in that coastal vicinity that I'd personally recommend, moving east to west from Bilbao through Cantabria to Asturias... Castro, Santillana del Mar, San Vicente de la Barquera, Llanes, Ribadesella.

brain (krakow), Wednesday, 20 September 2017 13:41 (one year ago) Permalink

The “no” demonstration outside our hotel right now isn’t nearly as big as it looks on EuroNews. Probably should have read more Graham Greene books...

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 1 October 2017 13:40 (one year ago) Permalink

Not to contradict any of the above, because it's all good advice, but Seville is one of my favourite places in the world and I will never stop recommending it.

― Tim, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 11:07 (one week ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink


passé aggresif (darraghmac), Sunday, 1 October 2017 16:21 (one year ago) Permalink

Video of La Femme at Dabadaba for mom tossed in kimchee:

Peter Miller, Tuesday, 3 October 2017 06:22 (one year ago) Permalink

^^^god I would have loved to have seen that show! Alas, I could not make San Sebastian logistics work out :( Did a long weekend in Montreal instead, so no La Femme but at least *some* french!

mom tossed in kimchee (quincie), Monday, 16 October 2017 02:00 (one year ago) Permalink

Not to contradict any of the above, because it's all good advice, but Seville is one of my favourite places in the world and I will never stop recommending it.

― Tim, Wednesday, 20 September 2017 11:07 (one week ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink


^^^^ indeed. Spent a few weeks in the Alameda de Hercules (iirc) neighborhood last year and loved it. My kids loved the plaza and touristy stuff; city is very easy to walk and skate around, and the food rules like Pink Floyd. Took some weekend side trips to the Sierra south of Ronda, can’t remember the town names right now, but would highly recommend. Also great hiking and running and eating in the hills around Aracena, to the NW of Sevilla. Ugh thanks for bringing this up - wish I could go back rn!!

tobo73, Monday, 16 October 2017 02:21 (one year ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

Went to Cuchara de San Telmo today. I had been dreaming of pulpo all week while in Spain and hadn't had the chance to get it. They delivered. I realize that I have never really been in Europe in July (at least not in a while). Throbbing with tourists. It kind of ruins it when people are shouting in english everywhere. We took the train from Barcelona (coming from Toulouse) and did a stopover in Haro/Rioja. Which was kind of oddly a ghost town.

Yerac, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 15:29 (six months ago) Permalink

I will go to Figueres next month, for Dalí but also for the vibe (we’ll be nearby in the south of France for a few week).

droit au butt (Euler), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 15:42 (six months ago) Permalink

We thought about Figueres but already were side stepping train strikes in France for the previous two weeks and totally got our train from Toulouse to Barcelona canceled the night before. Luckily, I guess you just get on whatever train and stand or hang out in the dining cart when this happens. Instead of going to Bilbao though to go back to Paris we are being tired and just doing the bus/train route through Hendaye.

Yerac, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 15:52 (six months ago) Permalink

The buses between Bilbao and Irun are lovely fwiw

droit au butt (Euler), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:03 (six months ago) Permalink

We're going to be in that neck of the woods in a couple of months (Santander - Bilao - San Sebastian), I haven't been for the longest time and I'm really looking forward to it.

Tim, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:10 (six months ago) Permalink

I went to Santander once maybe over a decade ago? I keep thinking it's not worth a revisit but I can't really remember much? We drove from Madrid and I got carsick.

Yerac, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:18 (six months ago) Permalink

We drove from Bilbao to Santiago a few years ago but skipped Santander for the Picos de Europa and Oviedo, both terrific.

droit au butt (Euler), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:22 (six months ago) Permalink

This was my second time in Barcelona and it is seriously one of the most pleasant cities to get around. Walkable, easy/quick transport, abundance of small streets with residents out and about. I kept saying, "why can't more spanish speaking cities be more like this?" Prolly me being annoyed that I live somewhere that is too sprawling and far from swimmable water.

Yerac, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:23 (six months ago) Permalink

glad to hear cuchara was good but yeah can imagine san seb would be p oppressive with other tourists in july. bad enough any other time.

I will go to Figueres next month, for Dalí but also for the vibe (we’ll be nearby in the south of France for a few week).

i was in figueres earlier this month, tho only on the way from girona to roses. i liked roses a lot btw - a tiny bit trashy but a beautiful compact seafront and a good beach. spent a night in portes-vendres across the border also, i had been in collioure up the road which is prettier but i enjoyed the working port feeling of vendres. a thing i noticed for the second time in these parts is how beautiful the train journey from spain into france on the east side is, you go through some lovely marshland, then fields on the other side. different strike but similar to yerac my flight home from toulouse got cancelled and i ended up getting a train to bordeaux and then paris, and then paris to london, but that was actually a nice way to spend a day in a weird way. another earlier fuck-up meant an afternoon in narbonne watching france beat argentina. narbonne was a bit non-descript but i still enjoyed arriving there and walking around. i love the feeling of disembarking the train, the place doesn't have to be too nice. even getting off the eurostar in london i felt like i was visiting my own city and stayed around bloomsbury for a bit.

xpost santander is boring imo. gijon or a coruna much nicer.

xxxpost i was also in barcelona before girona - each time i visit there i like it more, from a low base of my late teens visits when i never saw daylight cos we went to razzmatazz all night doing drugs and stayed in hostels on larambla with people walking dogs on strings and offering you more drugs.

i stayed in el born this time and i loved everything about it - i love how it combines such a cavernous old town with a gridded metropolis. and the food is obv completely amazing.

FernandoHierro, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:26 (six months ago) Permalink

we could go to Barcelona this summer too but I don’t really feel like dealing with another giant European city, we live in on already and that’s enough, Europe’s real charms are in smaller charms imo

droit au butt (Euler), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:27 (six months ago) Permalink

Narbonne is actually where we’ll spend most of our time next month, close to the sea with good Gascogne cuisine. Plus we’ve found a house with a pool...

droit au butt (Euler), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:30 (six months ago) Permalink

i presume the city itself isn't the point of narbonne.

FernandoHierro, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:32 (six months ago) Permalink

tho that was all i had time to see.

FernandoHierro, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:32 (six months ago) Permalink

No not really, it’s more its location and house availability (for nine people without a car but who want to get about)

droit au butt (Euler), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:34 (six months ago) Permalink

what was strange was how few people were watching the football. i mean i know that is deep into rugby country but i still would have expected it to be say, shown in bars, or to even notice it was on. had to actively seek it out.

FernandoHierro, Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:38 (six months ago) Permalink

Could you hear the drums Fernando?

he's one of our pwn (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 11 July 2018 16:40 (six months ago) Permalink

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