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Lodging suggestios in Vitoria-Gasteiz and Bilbao?

I will be in the Basque Country in May. I've got a room for Bayonne and San Sebastian, but am still looking for Vitoria (one night, a Thursday) and Bilbao (three nights, Friday through Sunday).

I'd like to stay around €60 a night, but could go to €100 if needed. My San Sebastian room will be €90 per night, but my Bayonne room is only €52, so I have some money to spend if needed on the other cities.

I'm traveling alone and need an ensuite bathroom, but am fine with a modicum of stairs. While a breakfast served in the hotel is nice, I'm fine without it. I'd prefer not to stay in a place where earplugs are recommended. A central location is key. Otherwise, I'm flexible.

To show you places I like:
In Bayonne, I'm staying at the Temporesidence Cathedrale (superior studio)
In San Sebastian I'm staying at the Pension Edorta
In Bilbao I had hoped to stay at the Iturrienea Ostatua, but it's sold out for my dates

I thought I wanted to stay in the Old Town area of Bilbao, but maybe I need to expand my search area. In Vitoria, there's the problem that many places that get good reviews on TripAdvisor are far from the center; with only one night, I don't want to be too far from that area.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Posted by
78 posts

We have reservations at the Hotel Conde Duque in Bilbao next month.

Posted by
25557 posts

I think in Bilbao a spot that's sort of between the Guggenheim and the Casco Viejo would be OK. I stayed over near the bus station (not necessary for people traveling light, but the walks to the museum and CV were very nice if a bit long). I found central Bilbao, the area sort of around the large oval plaza you'll see on the maps, to be full of very handsome buildings (I guess late-19th/early-20th century), and I enjoyed seeing that area as well as the CV. But the CV is very nice, and not overrun with foreign tourists. Which makes a nice change after San Sebastian.

I had trouble with lodging in Vitoria-Gasteiz myself (couldn't find something in my price range) and had to visit it on a day-trip. The city has trams (which, oddly, accepted the same Barik card used in Bilbao), which may open up more areas of consideration, though I would prefer to be in or near the historic district. I hopped a tram that whisked me from the bus station (not terribly centrally located, not near the RR station) to a spot within reasonable walking distance of the hilly old town--though now that I look at the map, the entire distance was less than a mile and thus easily walkable.

Posted by
11294 posts

Thanks for the quick replies.

The Hotel Conde Duque has only larger rooms with higher price tags still available for my dates (it does look nice). I'll keep looking for Bilbao - thanks for letting me know that I don't have to stay in the Casco Viejo.

It's nice to get confirmation that I'm not missing anything about the hotel situation in Vitoria. I'm going to book the Hotel Desiderio; it's central and very inexpensive (€35), and for one night should be fine.

By the way, acraven, in one of your other posts you mentioned something about the bus station in San Sebastian having moved - can you clarify? I don't mind taking a taxi if it's going to be a a hike to my hotel.

Posted by
25557 posts

Yes, finding the bus station was tricky as of last summer. When I was there, the signage was lacking and the place was essentially invisible after dark.

The bus station is underground and quite near the main train station (not the station for the local train to Bilbao). Take a look at a map of the city. (On Google Maps, search for "San Sebastian Renfe.") The RR station is on the right side of the river with a bridge nearby. If you approach from the other side of the river, across that bridge, you'll see a small building labeled "i" on the left side of the street. I assume it's some sort of tourist office, but I didn't check it out. Near that building is a ramp down to the bus station. There are pillars at the end of the bridge that block your view, but if you know the ramp is there, you're fine. In addition, there are some steps nearer the train station (don't remember whether they are inside or outside), but they weren't marked last year. It was a bit like being in the Twilight Zone. Who ever heard of an invisible bus station?

Posted by
738 posts

On the RS Basque Country tour last year, we stayed at the Hotel Abando. It's not in the old town, but it's maybe 10 minutes of walking. Also, a pleasant walk to the Guggenheim.

Posted by
513 posts

I have stayed at the Conde Duque and it is an excellent facility with a great location - at the foot of the pedestrian bridge, across from the Guggenheim. The rooms are large and comfortable and they have a decent restaurant on premises. A hard combo to beat!

Posted by
11294 posts

Eric, thanks for the recommendation of the Hotel Abando - it looks good and actually had a vacancy for my dates. I booked it, and will cancel the other two I booked as back-ups. According to multiple online reviews, one of my back-ups is near a red-light area, and the other has rooms with ashtrays and strong smoke smells despite the no-smoking signs! This show you how much trouble I had finding a room for my dates (May 19-22), as lots of places are booked solid, or only have very expensive rooms left.

I'll post follow up on these hotels after my trip.

Posted by
11294 posts

Just a quick follow-up - I'll post a longer trip report in the future.

The Hotel Abando is great - really nice and in a perfect location, right near a branch of the tourist office, a tram stop, a metro station and the train station. Many places are a 10-15 minute walk away, or a few stops on the tram or metro. And for once, my single room was designed as a single, so it's well laid out (except for the lack of clothing storage). So, thanks Eric for the recommendation!

It appears what made hotel rooms crazy to find in Bilbao this weekend was the Triathlon. Or maybe not - the tourist offices weren't sure, but one person suggested this. Something was definitely going on. Rick says his recommended splurge, near the Guggenheim, is €200, but "rates vary widely with demand." Well, when I looked last month, all they had left were suites starting at €700!

The Hotel Desiderio in Vitoria-Gasteiz is also a find. My room was almost as nice as the Pension Edorta in San Sebastian, at almost one-third the price! It's got a great location right in the center, a one minute walk to the modern art museum and five minutes to the museums of archeology and playing cards. In front of the modern art museum is a taxi stand, so getting back to the bus station is easy. The only potential problem is the shower - a stall shower, but with curtains instead of doors. If you don't like having the shower curtain touching you while you're showering, stay somewhere else. And if you're telling the name to a cab driver, note it's pronounced Deh-zih-DEHR-ee-oh. I said Deh-zih-deh-REE-oh, and the driver literally had no idea what I was saying! Of course, I always have my hotel info in writing and handy to show drivers, so I got where I wanted to go.

Finally, the bus station in San Sebastián is now labeled with Day-Glo yellow signs. I didn't see it at night, but by day you can't miss it.