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San Sebastián & the North vs. Granada & the South (or Both)

I will be traveling to Spain in October 2017 and will be starting and ending my trip in Barcelona. I plan to spend just 2 days in Barcelona, as I have been there previously, and will then have 5-6 days to spend in other parts of Spain. I am debating between doing a northern route that may include San Sebastián, Bilbao, and the Basque Country versus going to the south and spending time in Granada to see, primarily Alhambra, and also potentially visiting Córdoba. (I have already been to Seville so I do not plan on going back there on this trip.) A third option also occurred to me which would be to fly to San Sebastián for a couple of days, then fly to Granada for a couple of days, and then fly back to Barcelona. My questions are these:

1) Between the northern option and the southern option which would you recommend, particularly for October? I realize it's a personal question, but the two of us like both of what those places would have to offer (we're foodies so San Sebastián would be appealing but would also appreciate the castles, culture, and experiences that Granada would offer).

2) Would you recommend doing only one of the two options (which might allow us to do some side trips to places like Bilbao or Granada or is it possible to combine spending 2-3 days in San Sebastián with 2-3 days in Granada, flying between those cities and Barcelona?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Posted by cslh324
146 posts

I love all of Spain, but especially adored the time I spent in the North. I think you'll be happy whatever you choose, but as a foodie, the North is a gem. I took a food tour of Northern Spain this past summer and ate, and ate, and ate. And it's not just San Sebastian; Cantabria, Asturias, and Galicia all have rich culinary traditions too. Also, the North is very different from what many people think of when they think Spain--very green, mountainous, and with lots of Celtic influences.

Having said all that, the North is rainy, which may or may not bother you. I'd check the typical rainfall and temperatures for October before making a decision.


Posted by djp_syd
David in Brisbane, Australia
6944 posts

Complete a Moorish trifecta by adding a stop in Zaragoza, which has some wonderful Mudejar architecture.

1. Fly from Barcelona to Granada (2N)
2. Visit Alhambra
3. Train to Cordoba (2N)
3. Visit Mezquita
4. Train to Zaragoza (2N)
5. Zaragoza
6. Train to Barcelona

You currently have x3 direct trains from Cordoba to Zaragoza, with no change necessary in Madrid.