Hello–Seasoned travelers husband/wife mid 40′s from Los Angeles, CA looking for some suggestions on a 10-day itinerary in Spain. Travel time early November. Here’s the plan:
Fly into Bilboa
Fly out of Malaga
Rent a car for the week and explore.
We are partial to non-touristy local cultural experiences/neighborhoods, off the beaten path travel…but realize that there are a few “must check off the list destinations”.
Knowing that there are many options with limited time, we will likely skip Barcelona and Valencia this trip and save that for another time. Emphasis more on Basque region, Madrid, and Southern areas (Granada, etc)
We love great food/wine & finding that perfect “locals cafe” while randomly walking through the city.
Haven’t booked anything and would love to hear some suggestions… flexible on time, locations, and budget.
I’m afraid you probably won’t like my advice, but I’ll let you have it anyway.
I really do think that you are trying to cover too large a distance in 10 days. You’ll spend far too much time driving and not enough time really exploring and getting under the skin of Spain.
I would suggest concentrating on one region of Spain and really exploring it in depth. Andalusia, maybe?
jnorthrop not at all...i appreciate your candor & input. In fact, an update, we've decided to add time to the trip (2+ weeks) and schedule for sometime next year. Still interested in thoughts! thanks!
I think 2 weeks is doable. If I were you I’ll probably rent a car whilst you are in the north and would drive to Madrid where you can get a high-speed train called AVE that takes you in just 2 hours to Seville, to save you some driving hours so you can rest a bit.
In the north area I’d recommend: Bilbao (try ‘Txakoli’ slightly sparkgling dry wine, really good and typical from the Basque country) , San Sebastian (Donosti) the greatest pintxos ever, Lekeitio (small beautiful town witha lovely port)
Santander and my beloved Asturias: Gijón, I love this city and its food. Ribadesella, Llanes (small towns). Picos de Europa (stunning mountains).
I’d make a stop on my way to Madrid in places like León (nice cathedral and again food, try ‘cecina’ like curated serrano ham but instead of coming from the pork it comes from the cow).
Salamanca, spectacular major square, students town, nice architecture, very nice for a stroll (it could be quite cold, same as in León).
Madrid!!!! you’ll need 2 days at least, the most amazing city ever! great food again, charming people and traditional bars, restaurants. Nice museums (Reina Sofia my favourite). Lovely areas such as Madrid de los Austrias, Barrio de las Letras, Malasana, Chueca, etc.
Going towards south, and if you take that train, you could stop in Córdoba. In the middles ages was a Islamic caliphate and you can tell, it’s narrows streets in the old town are just beautiful and the Mosque is a must.
Seville, Granada and Cádiz (amazing seafood) are also lovely. Granada perhaps it’s my favourite, with the Alhambra, Sacromonte, cheap drinks and an amazing gastronomy, they normally give you quite a reasonable amount of food for free with every drink you order.
Ending in Málaga is a great idea as you could rest there, there is not as much as historically places to visit so you just can relax and hopefully enjoy a mild weather before you go back to LA. Picasso Museum is worthy. You could go also to a near small town by the sea called ‘Nerja’ but please, avoid the touristy town called ‘Torremolinos’.
I hope this helps,
much appreciated, this is very helpful. Thank you!