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Murcia (southeast spain) to bilbao and basque country to Barcelona

I'm planning a 2 week trip to spain in june to july for my wife and i and I'm looking for some itinerary advice.

We plan on flying into madrid and taking a train to murcia in the southeast of spain to visit a friend for a few days. From there we are thinking about taking a flight from alicante airport (near murcia) to bilbao in the north of spain. Then rent a car, maybe see pamplona, drive to see san sebastian, and eventually drive to montserrat and then barcelona. Plan to stay in barcelona about 5 nights and fly back from barcelona to the USA.

We have already spent time in madrid, segovia, granada so we would not want to tour those places again.

Are there any places people recommend to see in or around murcia? Any suggestions for the trip from bilbao to barcelona? Would people recommend a rental car vs train? Any other cities or things to see from bilbao to san sebastian to barcelona? How many days to stay in bilbao and san sebastian? We like seeing old castles, historic and grand architecture and churches. We both like game of thrones tv show so would love to see some of those sites.

Thanks!

Posted by
1127 posts

a) At some point next year, a new service from Murcia airport to Bilbao is due to be started by Volotea, which might be worth looking into. Otherwise Alicante/Alacant airport is easy to get to from Murcia city as there is a coach service (I think).

b) Your friends probably have ideas of where to visit. But assuming you're based in Murcia city and don't have a car, I'd suggest Cartagena is an obvious place. Cartagena has a sliver of Punic remains, rather more Roman, including a relatively recently discovered theatre, plus some mediaeval sights (including a small castle on a hill), and various modern sights & museums (I especially recommend the Civil War shelter museum and also the Underwater Archaeology museum which is much more interesting than it sounds). Certainly there is enough for a day or so. Alternatively, Elche is nice and an easy day-trip by rail from Murcia city - or, if going to Alicante you can stop off en route. Lorca is an option and has a castle. For the rural and coastal parts of Murcia province a car would be handy.

c) The most impressive church in the region is probably the cathedral in Murcia itself. The city is also a growing "foodie" centre, often recognised as Spain's best for fresh, local ingredients (although the people in Donostia - San Sebastian - might not agree!).

d) There are no man-made uniquely "wow" sights in Murcia such as there are in neighbouring Andalucia. But it's a pleasant, low key destination for a few days. It'll be hot, mind.

Posted by
2660 posts

Murcia city isn’t one of my favorites but is easy to get around with a fairly compact historic center. To me, one full day in the city is sufficient. Since you have a friend there, he/she will know of places to visit. One popular place somewhat nearby that tourists visit is Lorca and its castle. During the summer months there are activities and people dressed in period costumes. Cartagena is also a pleasant day trip. Murcia city and province are not on many tourists radar. In case you didn’t already know, that part of Spain is miserably hot, hotter than Sevilla. When I visited in mid-September 2014, of course there was a heat wave that year, the temperatures were near 100 every day. There’s a reason the beach area near Murcia is named Costa Calida. The terrain and countryside are completely different from what you’ll see in the north. If you have a car, then there are a couple castles worth seeing (privately owned so they are seldom open to the public) in Almansa and Chinchilla de Monte Aragon.

Posted by
72 posts

If you´re fans of GOT, there are three sites in the Basque Country where they taped the 7th season: San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Barrika beach and Itzurun beach in Zumaia.
I would not miss Laguardia in the Rioja Alavesa area, a beautiful medieval city. Two days in Bilbao and two days in San Sebastian, or 4 days in Bilbao or 4 days in SS.