My husband & I are planning a 10 days' trip in Spain around late Jan to early Feb next year. We've been to Barcelona years before. This time we want to spend a day to visit wineries somewhere near around the northern Spain like La Rioja. Other than that, we're still thinking to pick some other places such as the biggest city Madrid, Biblo or may be San Sebastian as well. Since we have totally no idea of these places which are the most worthy to go visit, could you give us advice how the best routing will be or any other itineraries can be suggest us? Thank you very much.
Dear Oscar S, Madrid can be a bit rainy in the winter, and it might be quite cold, but it is worth a visit. If you have been to Barcelona years ago, you might wish to visit it again. If you were there before 1992 it has changed much! Anyway, if you skip Barcelona, I would fly into Madrid. You can spend five days in Madrid and include day trips to Toldeo, Avila, San Lorenzo de El Escorriel and El Valle de los Caidos, and Segovia. You can spend two nights in Salamanca (it is too far for a day trip from Madrid, I think). You can take the high-speed AVE train to Cordoba and Seville for the next three days, and fly back from Seville. Please email me if you have any questions. Happy travels, Will
After you finalized your destinations, don't rule out flying the regional airlines like Vueling since it could be cheaper than taking the AVE train. That's what we did 2 weeks ago and saved. The only drawback is you have to pack light since checked-in luggage fees can be very steep on these regional airlines. Good luck.
Bilbao and San Sebastian are both cold and miserably wet in the winter. Bilbao is largely an industrial city with a museum that is better for the architecture of the building than the contents. Bilbao also has a remarkable suspension ferry across the mouth of the river. San Sebastian has long been a summer beach resort for the wealthy. Both have interesting food, but i'd skip them at that time of year. If you do visit the Basque provinces, however, be sure to stop in Guernica for a few hours.
I would definitely put the great pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela on any itinerary to northern Spain. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The historic Cathedral of St. James is a magnificent place. I would also recommend the beautifully preserved medieval village of Santillana Del Mar and the nearby Altamira caves, with their prehistoric cave paintings. You can only visit a full-sized replica of the actual caves, but the replica is perfect. Santillana Del Mar is about a half-hour drive west of Santander.
My boyfriend and I did Southern Spain last Christmas. We stayed mainly in the South ... and absolutely loved it. We did Ronda (3 nights), Granada (2 nights), Cordoba (3 nights), Cadiz (2 nights), Arco de la Fronteria (1 night) and Tarifa (2 nights). Ronda is an absolute must. It was a gem. We had planned on also going to Seville, but just never made it ... I'm actually going there next week. If you would like any information about the places we went to, please let me know. I'd be happy to pass on any info I have for those locations.