recs for 2012 March Hondarribia-Gijon-Oviedo trip
Asking for recs from those who know the area well or have travelled thru the area:
Three of us (food and wine buddies) will be heading to that area for 10days in late March 2012. We are flexible in terms of itineraries, and we will be renting a car. We like the Gijon/Oviedo area b/c we had heard that is an area that Spanish people go to vacation and we'd like to find great food/wine/cider environments that are off the beaten track. Hondarribia is a great little town that was reviewed by the New York Times, so we thought we might go there for a couple of days.
However, we would like to ask for suggestions in terms of towns/restaurants/food and wine shops/lodging gems that you might know of and recommend. We travel light, eat anything, and some of our best experiences have come from renting rooms in someone's home and sharing dinner/wine with them.
Your help is always appreciated and I promise I will write a summary of our trip on this board.
I've only been to Hondarribia once but I loved it. We stayed overnight at the Hotel Jauregui, which has a nice little restaurant too. Bar Gran Sol is a fantastic stop for pintxos. It's won a few pintxo competitions and the owner also has a fancier restaurant in one of the bigger hotels.
Hondarribia is closer to France and most people we met spoke French as their 2nd language. It has a different 'feel' to it. Maybe the lack of surfing eliminates the surfer dude crowd that leaves all the nasty McDonald's garbage around San Se. You'll see elegant people strolling along the streets, stopping for a tasty morsel etc. It's not so frantic (or drunken) as San Se is increasingly becoming.
A picture of Hondarribia, near Bar Gran Sol:
On the outskirts of Gijón we had a fabulous lunch, guests of some local professors, at La Pondala (www.lapondala.com), classic style. And we've had two excellent dinners at the high-end La Solana (www.restaurantelasolana.es), farther outside town.
We're going back in a couple of weeks, flying to Santander, then probably driving to Oviedo (just read in H.V. Morton about a local bean dish) for a night, then Gijón (my husband is giving a lecture, but it's an attractive, pleasant town), then we have two nights in Santander or Bilbao or S. Sebastian, still to be chosen. Perhaps we should try Hondarribia.
Hondarribia has a small-town feel, which you may or may not like. There's a nicer hotel with a pool and the hotel restaurant is also run by the folks from Bar Gran Sol.
I have another name on my Hondarribia list now: Bar Goxodenda. It placed 3rd in the recent pintxos competition.
(see article entitled, "Iñaki "Rodaballo...."
Departure date is coming up. We've clarified out itinerary. Looks like:
1 night in Hondarribia
2 nights in San Sebastian
2 nights in Arriondas Asturias - we're trying to dine at Corral del Indianu (Jose Campoviejo) and Casa Marcial but they're only open for lunch on the 2 days we are there........bummers
4 nights in Gijon area
4 nights in Oviedo area
Any other thoughts on places/things to see or do in the Gijon/Oviedo area that we must try? We will have a car, so we can drive out of the cities to nearby towns...........in fact, on a tip from a small hotel owner in Santiago de Compostela, we found out about El Costina de Rincon...........fabulous experience
Thanks again to everyone who has posted and please reply if anybody else has suggestions.
We stayed in a wonderful little hotel in Arriondas a few years ago. Very close to Arriondas is the town of Cangas des Onis, which has a great farmer's market on Sunday mornings. The unique aspect of it is that it is a market in which many of the local Cabrales cheese makers sell their wares. It was really amazing to taste the differences from one to another. We also enjoyed the local cider, and especially the local apple brandy, which was like good calvados, but much cheaper. We ate our dinners at the hotel, and they were very good and fresh, although not star-restaurant quality.