Picos de Europa and western Pyrenees
missed your post saying you were decided already – could have saved myself some bother! 😀
Also, I messed up the links and now I’ve missed the edit window. Hope it’s decipherable for anyone who’s interested!Posted 9 months ago
Really fancy this as summer family trip after reading these recommendations. I went there as a kid and loved the picos mountains but also experienced a flooding campsite and a pretty shocking rough trip back across the bay of biscay. Unfortunately Mrs P knows these stories so it may be a tough sell!Posted 9 months ago
Bookmarked this thread was thinking of cycling el camino de Santiago next yearPosted 9 months ago
Walk it, Gordimhor. The people you meet and move along with are part of the experience. You’ll also spend more time in and get more out of places of interest as it was such an effort to get there. You can relate to the Middle Age pilgrims. On a bike you’ll move much faster and never see anybody twice. On the Camino Francés we did it from Le Puy en Velay on foot except for Decazeville – Orthez. A very different experience from the walking. It was just cycletouring with no feeling of being on a pilgrimage.Posted 9 months ago
Thanks all – we’re booked.
A week between Bilbao and Donostia-San Sebastien.
A week just outside Potes at eastern end of the Picos.
The ferry seems expensive and slow, but calculate taking bikes and a car with us and it’s actually cheaper than flight + hire car + hire bikes. It’s no slower than when we’ve driven to southern France before.Posted 9 months ago
It might not be any quicker but you’ll arrive completely fresh (unless there’s big storms of course). I really enjoyed the ferry there and back, got a decent cabin, spent time on deck when passing France, read a bit, nice food and some beer.Posted 9 months ago
My brother was on this boat in 2019 😱
It ended up in Brest and they were given just €50 for petrol to get them to Santander. Frankly I’d just be glad to be alive but it was a bit of fiasco.
Having taken the Hull-Rotterdam ferry many times it never even entered my mind that this can happen. I’m sure it won’t happen again for 25 years but it must have been very scaryPosted 9 months ago
Get in touch with Penny at adventurecreators.com who organises tailor made multi activity holidays in the central Pyrenees. It’s an under the radar mountain biking mecca (2 stages of the Enduro world series were held there in September) and there’s tons of hiking and other stuff to do too. She’ll even arrange accommodation for youPosted 9 months ago
The ferry seems expensive and slow, but calculate taking bikes and a car with us and it’s actually cheaper than flight + hire car + hire bikes. It’s no slower than when we’ve driven to southern France before.
Seems. It works out about £50 more expensive by the time I’ve allowed for all fuel and tolls on the drive down, also it saves 2 overnight stays somewhere if you book the right ferry. We go on the poshest boat and it’s no chore at all, certainly better than driving 2 or 3 days to get there.Posted 9 months ago
We had a good trip to Potes a few years back. It’s a nice little town with some decent places to eat and a couple of good bars.
You need to drive for most of the better walks but it’s not a bad run up to Fuente De for the cable car. We also hired a local guide one day to do a multi pitch climb.
Didn’t cycle on that trip but it seemed like there would be some good road routes. The Vuelta had come up through the gorge and past Potes around that time.Posted 9 months ago
We go on the poshest boat and it’s no chore at all, certainly better than driving 2 or 3 days to get there
It’s amazing how often I’m surprised that driving is tiring.
It’s just sat on your arse, moving your feet and hands a very small amount and looking out of the window! And if you’re sharing the driving, you’re doing even less than for half the time!Posted 9 months ago
We’ve been Santander/Bilbao and back 3.5 times – 7 crossings. All but one were fine – the one that was bad was really bad.
I’m ok as I don’t get sea sick but Mrs OD was pretty much just in bed for 24 hours – sliding from one end of the bunk to the other in a haze of misery occasionally being sickPosted 9 months ago
Me and Mrs BF are looking at a very similar trip. Going for a week. She wants to go to San Sebastian but also likes the look of Bilbao. Would those of you that know both places stay in one over the other? or would you stay in both for a few nights each?Posted 9 months ago
All but one were fine – the one that was bad was really bad.
*crosses fingers*Posted 9 months ago
If you are just visiting for a short time and you have to pick one place, then San Sebastian – prettier than Bilbao.
But, Bilbao is worth a visit, the exterior of the Guggenheim is great (and Puppy) – the inside depends on what’s on show, usually meh – I prefer the museum of Fine Arts.
Both places are obsessed with the pintxo poteo. (pub crawl with pintxos)
San Sebastian – Parte Vieja
Bibao – Siete Calles
Both places have easy access to beaches and nature.
Bob Summers is your man for San Sebastian ( Donostia)Posted 9 months ago
I lived in the Bilbao area for 10 years
Worth getting a map for the area that shows the green lanes. The ride up out of Fuente De west, over the top to Puerto de Pandetrave is good fun. And for a road challenge the ride up to the Lakes of Covadonga is a proper slog.Posted 9 months ago
A map is on the way.
Our accommodation for second week has a 2600m peak and ridge from the door. 😎Posted 9 months ago
San Sebastián is excruciatingly expensive to stay in so that might make the decision for you, maybe three nights would be enough anyway. I priced up a week in an AirBnb for my sister and she hasn’t got back to me on it yet!
OP – did you decide on Durango? Handy for Urkiola, Anboto, Oiz, and not far to the coastal villages, can’t go wrong all the way from Bermeo to Mutriku. Maybe ride the steps to Gaztelugatxe 😉
Downside to Durango is the boiled cabbage smell of Smurfit Kappa….Posted 9 months ago
We’ve done the ferry to either Bilboa or Santander 8 out of the past 10 summers. Used the two day ferry for the first time this year, which was great as you arrive in Spain early morning and can push on a long way, we arrived in Ainsa Mid-afternoon with a couple of hours lunch in Pamplona. It saves a night in a hotel which is a nightmare with 6/7 bikes on the van. The only problem was for the first time the sea was really rough so we had 36 hours of people vomiting. Mrs pants had to spend most of the journey laid down.
It hasn’t put us off we are doing the same for Easter and heading back to Ainsa.
This thread is great, I’ve booked next years hols and the Mrs has always wanted to do the Picos, so I’ll bookmarking this for 2023.Posted 9 months ago
She wants to go to San Sebastian but also likes the look of Bilbao.
…visitor (few times to both) impression rather than locals insight, but agree SnSn mainly on the basis you get great town plus great beaches, one of which gets okay surf. It’s expensive for a reason 🙂
Last time we flew to bilbao (few days stay before picking up a hire car and, later, offspring blimey, in 2017!) I had midlength surfboard plus bike in a massive borrowed box. Arrived in the evening to find we had to get two taxis from the airport, my wife travelling in solo stonyfaced splendour, as I got a big taxi with my kit, which I obviously loved more… So yeah. Get the ferry.
(Driven a fair few times to the Basque country from north of england. Not too bad with a stop somewhere nice, quirky and French on the way there and back making it more two half day drives across France. This summer did it in a oner, overnighting to San Marlo and getting to St Jean de Luz by about seven. Works okay and cheaper but not much fun.)Posted 9 months ago
IANAS but spring/autumn get the best conditions for surfing. It’s a city beach though so sharpen your elbows – the best break is the east end of Zurriola so there’s a fair bit of competition when the conditions are right!Posted 9 months ago
We had 4 days in San Sebastian in June this year, long enough for me. We took the train from our home in Cataluña as RENFE had a deal for €19 each way. We paid €240 for an apartment for 3 nights. I’ve stayed in and around Bilbao several times as it’s the finish of a bikepacking trip that I run in May. I prefer Bilbao, nice city and beach, if you stay somewhere out along the metro line, it’s a lot cheaper and 70 cents for the 20-30 min trip into the city centre. The surfers village of Sopelana is really nice.Posted 9 months ago
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