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Itinterary assistance for Spain

Hi travelers,
We would appreciate your assistance in planning our trip to Spain and France. We hope to travel for a month by train in May of next year. Roughly 12 nights in Spain, 12 in France and six in Italy, which we have planned.

Presently, for the first leg of the trip we are exploring landing in Paris and traveling southwest to Bordeau, then into Spain.

Our wish list in Spain so far includes San Sebastian, (Bilbao..?) Madrid and Barcelona. Looking for a route with a stop or two from either Bilbao or San Sebastian south or southwest to Madrid.

We enjoy wine and great food; being very interested in wine regions. Ideally, we would enjoy spending two-three nights at each destination and traveling no more than four hours by train to the next destination (we do appreciate that we may have to travel longer distances a few times).

One large question for us is including the Southeast of Spain on this trip Seville, etc.; looks like a lot of travel and backtracking???

Whatever we decide, we envision ending our Spanish leg in Barcelona and then traveling northeast in France to possibly Chamonix then dropping into Italy. So suggestions along the route from Barcelona to Chamonix would be appreciated.

So please help us plan out itinerary, where to go, what not to miss and so forth. If you recommend a destination and can do so, please suggest great accommodations you have enjoyed there. We enjoy B&B's, boutique hotels and unique accommodations. Note: we try to mix up our accommodations; taking advantage of inexpensive places when possible saving money for some luxury stays.

Hotel budget between $100-$300 nightly.

In past we have enjoyed very inexpensive hostels and luxury hotels that fellow Rick Steve travelers recommended.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

Posted by
17 posts

With 12 days in Spain, you can comfortably see San Sebastían, Barcelona, and Madrid. San Sebastían, along with the rest of the Basque Country has an excellent wine culture, called Txacoli. San Sebastían also has some of the best food in Spain, albeit expensive, with all the Michelin starred restaurants. There, you'll find excellent seafood, as well as a gorgeous backdrop. You'll have temperatures in the low 70's, which will be very pleasant.

If you're into wine, don't worry about Bilbao, and go to Logroño in La Rioja. La Rioja is the home of Ribera del Duero, an excellent red, and also home to the namesake of Spanish wine. Tours are fairly cheap, and easy to do. Andalucía is home to sherry (Jerez) and Montilla-Moriles wine as well as excellent meat and olive oil, but is a long trip from the north. You could go Madrid-San Sebastián-Logroño-Barcelona easily in 12 days. Madrid will be a good mix of culture, food, and wine, and Barcelona has excellent seafood. In Madrid, make sure to try Cochinillo Asado (suckling pig) and try to get some Jamón Ibérico de Bellota Cinco Jotas, it's the highest quality.

Andalucía itself could be a whole other 12 day trip, seeing Sevilla, Granada, and Córdoba, with wine stops in Moriles (Córdoba) and Sanlúcar/Jerez (Cádiz). There, you can also tour olive oil factories, and be close to the best Jamón in Spain (Pedroches).

Posted by
104 posts

It sounds like you need more assistance than some quick suggestions from the forum. For in-depth, one-on-one trip-planning assistance, please consider a personalized consultation with one of our experienced travel consultants. We can help tailor your trip to your specific interests, budget and time (but please note that, as we are not a travel agency, we do not book any hotels, flights or car rentals). Our fee is $50 per half-hour for in-person consultations and $75 per half-hour by phone—we charge more for the phone consultations because your consultant will spend time before the appointment looking over your itinerary, which you e-mail to them after we schedule your consultation. If you are a registered Tour Member for the current year, we offer this service at 50% off as a tour benefit. You can find more information about the consultation service at:
http://www.ricksteves.com/about/consulting.htm Please give us a call at 425-771-8303 x298 if you'd like to set up a consultation, and please keep in mind that the consultations can book up a few weeks in advance during our busy season. Happy Travels!

Posted by
1267 posts

Our good friends utilized the RS consultant and rave about the value added to their trip as a result of using this expertise. No, I get nothing for the endorsement. Coincidentally they planned a trip with Spain and France as their destinations.

Posted by
63 posts

Thank you aagrych, just the kind of response needed, thanks again. May I lean on you in future planning?

Posted by
63 posts

Thank you wonderful, for your response and the info link. Yes, to using local transport or tours when needed.

Posted by
17 posts

Sundance - absolutely. If you need more assistance, feel free to send a PM whenever.

Posted by
4535 posts

I too would recommend against trying to do Andalucía on this trip. But you could do Basque region (yes, do stop in Bilbao), then Madrid. You could easily take the AVE to Valencia for a couple of days, then up the coast to Barcelona. An overnight stop in Tarragona is a good idea on the way to Barcelona. That would make for a good 12 day trip.

Posted by
63 posts

Thank you Douglas for your good recommendations. Can you rec any accommodations for Valencia or other places mentioned?