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Jan 10, 2011 12:10 AM

Itinerary help needed for Bilbao, San Sebastian, Hondarribia and Roija eating trip

Hi all,

Would greatly appreciate your input on the best itinerary for a 10 days eating trip in Basque and Rioja.

My husband and I will arrive in Bilbao on Jan 27 and we need to fly out of Barcelona on Feb 06. Our current plan is to go from Bilbao to San Sebastian to Hondarribia to Rioja, then drive back to Barcelona. Travel wise, does the order make sense and if not what's the best order to visit these cities/towns/restaurants?

What are some of the out of way restaurants that we should try? We have booked Etxebarri, Elkano (travel wise, is it better to go from Bilbao or San Sebastian?), Asador Bedua (is it worth going for a traditional grill house experience after Etxebarri), a cider house (suggestions?).

Thanks for your travel suggestions.

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  1. Hi all, any restaurant suggestions? I'm thinking about the following restaurants, any input will be really helpful.

    Jan 27 - arrive at Bilbao, dinner at Azumendi

    Jan 28 - Bilbao, Lunch at cafe Iruna or Restaurante Mina?
    Dinner Pintxos crawl

    Jan 29 - need help to plan this day, are there any restaurants around Bilbao worth visiting? We have a reservation at Etxebarri on Jan 30, so thought best to stay around Bilbao on Jan 29.

    Jan 30 - Etxebarri for lunch (already booked). Think the hotel in Axpe is closed so best to go back to San Sebastian for Pintxos crawl in the old town for dinner? Are bars open on Sunday night?

    Jan 31 - San Sebastian. Any suggestions for a good lunch place? seems like most restaurants are closed on Mondays. Is Bar Zeruko a good choice for lunch followed by pintxos at In gros for dinner?

    Feb 01 - San Sebastian - lunch at Arzak (booked), dinner at Bodegòn Alejandro?

    Feb 02 - San Sebastian - Kokotxa for lunch, Elkano for dinner

    Feb 03 - Hondarribia - Alameda for lunch or dinner

    Feb 04 & 05 - have left 2 days for Rioja region. We need help with suggestions on where to go in this region. We're thinking about spending a night at Marqués de Riscal.

    Your input on above schedule and restaurant suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again

    4 Replies
    1. re: jwc209

      while i wasn't overly prepared for lunch in Hondarribia and had little research, i would suggest that you spend your lunch in SS instead. Hondarribia didn't have a heck of a lot to offer other than the pubs and a beach that wasn't as interesting as SS.

      in SS, i would strongly suggest you hit some of the pintxos places on 31st de Augusto in the old town. there are a few reviews in some of the other SS threads. we also liked Hildago 56 in Gros, but i am not sure if they're open for lunch.

      1. re: atomeyes

        When we were there last March, Hidalgo 56 was open before noon - we stopped in for a bite while waiting for a bus right in front.

        In Gros, we also really enjoyed El Lagar (also open for lunch) and its neighbor Mil Catas. Our other favorite in Gros, Alona Berri, appears to be closed temporarily due to retirement (per website).

        In la Parte Vieja, Bar Zeruko was my favorite, but a close second were A Fuego Negro and Goiz-Argi. La Cuchara de San Telmo was highly recommended and we had a fun time there. Early pintxos at Ganbara one morning - the mixed mushrooms - was fantastic. Another old favorite that we enjoyed was La Cepa. It hadn't changed a bit since my first visit nearly 10 years prior. They treated us to a round of Patxaran, which was lovely. We also enjoyed Txakoli with many other pintxos during our stay - I took a wonderful photo of the server at Munto pouring a glass in her stylish way.

        Enjoy your trip!

      2. re: jwc209

        We had a marvelous lunch at Marques de Riscal during our March visit, and enjoyed coffee up in the library after the meal. I must have taken 100 photos of the hotel. The staff in the bar, restaurant and winery were all so friendly, we had a great experience there.

        We opted to stay in Abalos at the Hotel Villa de Abalos, taking our breakfast and dinner there. The meals there were wonderful, but I believe are only for hotel guests. The hotel recommended an Asador in Labastida, but since we had gone to Etxebarri for lunch the day before, we found it disappointing by comparison. Of course, it's not a fair comparison. Since you're moving to pintxos afterwards, you won't have that problem.

        We really enjoyed visiting Laguardia, the charming walled hilltop town with lots of great bodegas and views of the area. Be sure to visit the wine museum in Briones - the scope of the exhibits there was pretty amazing, especially if wine is of interest to you.

        1. re: MesaChow

          I have had great fun in Laguardia, walking around the small hill town, tasting wines, cheeses and cured meats at a few small bodegas, checking out the spectacular views from the town walls and visiting the cathedral. Just outside the town is a fabulous restaurant called Las Postas located in a gas station. You will question the location but the restaurant is a fine place to try local Riojana cuisine with Basque influences (Pocha beans, Rioja style potatoes, cod cheeks, lamb in all its guises). The owner lived in Florida and speaks fluent English with an American accent. He is very helpful at choosing wines and pairing them with the food. Several wineries in/around Laguardia offer tastings and tours (Ysios, Palacios, Luis Allegre among others).
          For a more urban experience, Logrono (the region's Capital) has a fabulous old town, a beautiful cathedral with a tiny Rembrandt on display (bring change for the lights) and a wonderful indoor public market for food shopping. At night Calle Laurel, a street full of tiny tapas bars frequented by old and young, is the place to go.
          Have a great time and be sure to report back!

      3. The original comment has been removed
        1. they should make it a rule that posters should update us after their trip!