Please sign in to post.

July trip with teens-Madrid and San Sebastián?

We are planning a trip July 3-13 with our daughters (16,20) We want to visit Madrid and originally planned on Seville but have reconsidered due to the typical heat at that time. We are considering San Sebastián but I’m concerned about crowds. I understand that summer is popular for travel but don’t want “spring break at Disney” crowds. We are looking to experience history, culture, and good food/wine. We do not need beaches, it would just be a bonus. Any suggestions appreciated, thanks!

Posted by
5593 posts

I’ll throw out León and Burgos. Both are good sized cities and won’t be as busy as the coastal cities. Logroño is in La Rioja and one can get to many wineries from it. The city is overlooked by many and is known for its lively tapas scene. For smaller cities good for a couple nights at most, then Zamora, Ponferrada, or Lugo.

Much of Spain is sweltering in July, so I’d avoid Extremadura region (Cáceres and Badajoz) and Zaragoza province too, both of which I recommend visiting at some point.

Posted by
496 posts

Well, Donostia-San Sebastian is a relatively small, compact city, 185,000h, that may be crowded in the old town but not in other areas of the city. It´s a very rainy area, so beach weather is not always an option, I would not worry about that. Lots of history, culture and great food and wine. Temperatures in northern Spain are very mild, normally.

Posted by
24821 posts

The historic center of San Sebastian was packed during day-tripping hours when I stayed there for a few nights in 2016. That (small) area of the city has been turned into one restaurant or pintxo bar after another. I found it not pleasant to be in that part of town. The beach is impressive to look at, for sure, and it's a pretty city. As a place to spend more than about one day, I much preferred Bilbao. It has a larger historic district, and--except for the Guggenheim--not a lot of foreign tourists.

That part of Spain is an excellent area to visit in July. (Note that Madrid will probably be very hot then; your odds would be better in Barcelona, but no guarantees even there; it can be humid.)

If you opt to stay in San Sebastian, I'd recommend researching possible side trips so you have options for escaping the crowds if you decide you need to. Among the possibilities are Hondarribia (roughly 1/2 hour by bus), the small coastal towns of Zarautz/Getaria/Zumaia (each accessible by bus and/or train) and Bilbao (fastest by frequent bus, about 1-1/2 hours).