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Barcelona to San Sebastian by car

We plan to drive and one night overnight on the way, any suggestions for routes and places to stay. Would like to see Pyrenees. Plan on doing Rioja region later.

Posted by
262 posts

We did this drive a couple of years ago. we rented a car and a gps. When the gps asked if we wanted to avoid toll roads, I made a mistake and said "yes." It turned out to be a memorable drive through the mountains. So beautiful. I don't remember the route, but I'd do it again. On the way back, we took the toll road. It was about an hour faster, but much less beautiful and memorable.

On another note, the rioja wine region -- we went to the Vivanco vineyards and wine museum. The museum was much more than we expected - very interesting and lots of great art. I recommend it. Buen viaje!

Posted by
1488 posts

Be sure and obtain an IDP from AAA as it is required by law.

Posted by
12154 posts

We rented a car in Barcelona the morning we left. First stop was Montserrat, then spent a night in Zaragosa (during Easter week, which was amazing). Afterward we drove north stopping in Olite to tour a great castle, then overnight in Pamplona - and San Sebastian the next morning.

It wouldn't be hard to cut that to one overnight in Zaragosa with daystops in Montserrat and Olite (Pamplona isn't particularly special). We stayed at Hotel Catalonia El Pilar, one of our nicest rooms in Spain at just under 100 euros for a double.

Routes through the Pyrenees are likely to be much more time-consuming.

I went no toll most of the time, unless I felt the time difference justified the tolls. "A" routes are great, "N" routes are fine. The "AP" (toll) routes are only marginally faster and not worth the cost IMO.

Here's a trip report from our trip, it covers a wide range of topics:

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/spain-clean-toilets-affordable-lodging