Driving to Spain - where to stop?(6 Posts)
We are planning a trip to Spain this summer. We plan on spending 10 days in total on our trip including travel time. One of the reasons why we want to drive is to spend some time visiting a few places along the way. We can do 2 or 3 nights to get to Valencia and 2/ 3 nights on the way back.
Can anyone recommend great places to visit in France on the way to Spain and a nice hotel to stay in?
In Spain, San Sebastián, Pamplona and Zaragoza. There's also Huesca between Pamplona and Zaragoza, a very pretty small city in the Pyrenees. For Pamplona check that your visit doesn't coincide with the San Fermines (festival with bull running) in early July as you won't be able to find accommodation!
San Sebastián has three lovely beaches including one for surfing (small waves), a beautiful old town with lots of lively bars, an old fashioned square and a lovely church, an aquarium, various uphill walks with a view - of varying difficulty, a cathedral, a spa on the beach front, a couple of small museums, and absolutely cracking food from gastronomic clubs and Michelin starred restaurants to simple pintxos bars where everything looks and tastes amazing.
Pamplona is good for wine tasting (you're also not far from La Rioja, Logroño, etc.) and its local chorizo, as well as history and culture and it's a pretty city with nice parks and places to eat and drink and the people are very friendly.
Zaragoza is the old capital of the kingdom of Aragón and is basically between the desert and the mountains. The drive there from any direction is spectacular with constantly changing scenery. Eating and drinking are cheap there, the cathedral is well worth a visit.
In Spain look for the Parador hotels which were the original inns where mediaeval travellers stopped but are now lovely hotels in scenic or historic spots with excellent restaurants.
I'm glad to see that no one is telling me I am nuts for driving to Spain
When we did the drive we stopped in Biarritz and Angers in France.
Biarritz is a sensible place to stop but I'm not a big fan. The traffic seems to be horrendous everywhere in and around the city (we go to visit friends there every summer) and the city centre always seems a bit grubby and dangerous, particularly near the beach. The prices in the cafés along the coastline are also pretty high. The nearby beach town of St Jean de Luz is absolutely beautiful and much quieter (and cheaper).
Alternatively cross the border into Spain and go to St. Sebastián (about 20km. from Biarritz airport) or another coastal town in the Spanish Basque country like Zarauz or Getaria - Zarautz has a cracking campsite with views over the bay of Biscay and Getaria has the Cristóbal Balenciaga fashion museum. Great local fish and other food in both places. Or half an hour drive west of San Sebastián is Bilbao, slightly off the direct to Valencia, but well worth visiting for the old town, river, food and Guggenheim, etc.
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