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September visit - some pointers

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Bengaluru...
posts: 15
reviews: 82
September visit - some pointers

Hi. I'm looking to visit San Sebastian in September (third week), driving in from Bordeaux with my family. Have heard so much about it, and was looking for some pointers of not-to-miss stuff. Would 2-3 days be enough to get a real flavour of the city? We are foodies, and I'm a wine writer. I want to spend a couple of days in La Rioja too, after this, as I don't have a lot of time, maybe 5 days in the region in all, before heading to Madrid for a day.

As for stays, which areas would be recommended, and would hotels be better than apartments/B&Bs?

Any general ideas and tips would be appreciated, can get to specifics thereafter.

Thanks in advance!

11 replies to this topic
Bilbao, Spain
Destination Expert
for Bilbao, San Sebastian - Donostia, Basque Country, La Rioja
posts: 1,436
reviews: 3
1. Re: September visit - some pointers

Well, three days is fine, as you´ll have a car you´ll have plenty of time to enjoy SS (no car needed) but also Getaria, Lekeitio, Hondarribia, the inland, Bilbao, Gernika...Food is our religion here and you´ll soon notice, so not much advice needed...this is foodies´ paradise. For Rioja, a couple of days is good enough, what kind of wineries are you looking for? This is nothing like Napa valley or Australia...closer to Bordeaux type of wineries.

San Sebastian is very small...just take into account that the film festival is at the end of September and lodging may be expensive and hard to get.

Bengaluru...
posts: 15
reviews: 82
2. Re: September visit - some pointers

Thanks!

I was thinking of Marques de Riscal and CVNE, maybe RODA. Still making my lists... Perhaps it might be better to do SS and Rioja before Bordeaux - take a train to SS directly from Paris, and drive after SS? Can flip the itinerary around, if you feel that works better, would like to avoid the crowds for the film festival. Also where do you recommend to stay in Rioja - Logrono? We like rustic places like B&Bs or small hotels/vineyard stays with good local food over the 5 stars, as long as its comfy.

Or keep base in SS and drive to Rioja for the day/s?

Bilbao, Spain
Destination Expert
for Bilbao, San Sebastian - Donostia, Basque Country, La Rioja
posts: 1,436
reviews: 3
3. Re: September visit - some pointers

Marqués de Riscal is not one of my favorites...too crowded, too many buses, too touristy. But of course it´s my personal opinion. I think there are smaller wineries with more flavor and real atmosphere to them. I like CVNE, though, being big they keep it quite familiar, as well as Roda.

SS film festival is from 19-27 Sept...prices of hotels will be expensive and rooms scarce. For good B&Bs in the Basque area try www.nekatur.net and for Spain try www.toprural.com. SS and Rioja are almost two hours away...maybe too long a ride...

Biarritz, France
Destination Expert
for Biarritz, San Sebastian - Donostia
posts: 2,956
reviews: 255
4. Re: September visit - some pointers

One thing to bear in mind is that parking can be difficult in San Sebastian so when choosing accommodation try to find one with parking. Alternatively, stay a little bit further from the city centre.

scotland
posts: 220
reviews: 2
5. Re: September visit - some pointers

We stayed at http://www.turismorurallacueva.com/en/ in El Ciego, a 2 min walk from the Marques de Riscal bodega, the restaurant at las cuevas is excellent too with plenty local vino .

Ysios bodega is a few miles up the road as well domecqbodegas.com/bodegas/ysios/la-bodega/…

Malaga, Spain
Destination Expert
for Malaga, Andalucia, Madrid, Zaragoza, Valencia
posts: 36,647
reviews: 2,531
6. Re: September visit - some pointers

ruma:

Last summer I stayed a week in San Sebastian and stayed at the Hotel Londres, which is on the La Concha Beach. This is a very good hotel, a bit expensive, but well worth it. It has the best location in the city.

Bengaluru...
posts: 15
reviews: 82
7. Re: September visit - some pointers

Thank v much, folks, for taking the time to respond. A couple more questions:

Was looking at Haro, as a base in La Rioja, as opposed to Ezcaray, Logrono or any of the other places mentioned by Mikel. Do you think its a good choice? We would have a car.

We also plan to finish up in Madrid for a day after 6 days in SS, Haro and the rest of the region, before flying back to Paris. I think its a 3 hour drive? Recommended? And any thoughts?

I would also love a few reccos for unusual & special wineries in the region to visit, other than the ones I have mentioned. We're not so fussed about the grandness of the winery itself, more interested in thequality of wine made, and the ethos/background of it, as I write/blog on wine, and special ones interest me, and my readers.

Bilbao, Spain
Destination Expert
for Bilbao, San Sebastian - Donostia, Basque Country, La Rioja
posts: 1,436
reviews: 3
8. Re: September visit - some pointers

Haro is just fine, nice size of town, lots of wine atmosphere and many major wineries at a walking distance. Madrid is the Spanish capital, so yes, it´s a must when visiting Spain.

As per the small wineries, there are many in the area but not all them are open to the public except if calling in advance. A small one, in the heart of Laguardia, is El Fabulista, another one is López de Viñaspre, located right underneath the town.

Are you going to miss the Txakoli wineries during your visit to San Sebastián? This is a very special and unique Basque wine worth knowing too.

Bengaluru...
posts: 15
reviews: 82
9. Re: September visit - some pointers

Mikel, only because I'm not sure we would have the time within the short stay at SS! Would love to, do you have any Txakoli favourite wineries? Would make for a fascinating topic to write on.

Bilbao, Spain
Destination Expert
for Bilbao, San Sebastian - Donostia, Basque Country, La Rioja
posts: 1,436
reviews: 3
10. Re: September visit - some pointers

There are three Designations of Origin for Txakoli, Getaria, Araba and Bizkaia. The one in route from San Sebastian is Getaria (beautiful town too, on the upper part is the Balenciaga Dress Museum), and any of the wineries on this link will do www.getariakotxakolina.com/index-en.php, the best known is Txomin Etxaniz, but all are similarly good.

www.txakolidealava.com/ingles/index.php… Araba txakoli

www.bizkaikotxakolina.org/index.php… Bizkaia txakoli

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