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Aug 19, 2012 07:35 PM

Barcelona / San Sebastian - Sep Itinerary

Hi chowhounds - first off, a BIG thank you to all the contributors on this board. Chowhound and tripadvisor has been a great resource whilst planning for this trip.

My wife and I (both of us are fr SouthEastAsia and speak no Spanish) will be travelling to Spain for the first time in early September. Would have loved to spend more days, but time and money will not allow. For eating options, we are In any case, itinerary as follows :

Day 1 (Sat)
- Arrive Barca 8am. Check-in. Staying at Barri Gothic.
- Grab a bocadillos from BO D B (barceloneta) and head to Passieg de Gracia.
- Late lunch (2.30pm) at CALDENI - followed by Sagrada Familia
- Late dinner at TICKETS

Day 2 (Sun)
- Early lunch 12noon at TAPEO - then to Parc Guell
- (looking for suggestions for snacks/tapas place around Parc Guell to Nou Camp area)
- 8pm at Nou Camp for Barca vs Valencia match at 8pm
- Late dinner at KIOSKO BURGER

Day 3 (Mon)
- LA BOUQUERIA in the morning (will probably eat light)
- Early lunch at QUIMENT & QUIMET – then explore Las Ramblas/Gothic area/beach
- Late dinner at HISOP

Day 4 (Tues)
- Depart Barca and arrive Bilbao around 10.30am
- Lunch at ASADOR ETXEBARRI – will try not to get lost on the way there
- Leave for San Seb after lunch - staying around old town area
- PINTXOS crawl – (used as a guide)

Day 5 (Wed)
- Simple breakfast/walk around San Seb town/check out
- Long lunch at AKELARRE – then drive back to Bilbao – try to catch Guggenheim at dusk
- (have not decided on where to have dinner in Bilbao – any suggestions for simple, not too pricey options?)

Day 6 (Thurs)
- Leave Bilbao and Spain in the morning .. boo …

That’s the plan so far. There are so many places and things we want to try but keeping in mind our budget (cant do the Akelarre, Mugaritz, Arzak trio) and the limited time (wanted to do lunch at Gelonch, Embat,Sauc, Gresca!) also did not want to overeat (heading to Italy and france to eat more after) – we’ve narrowed it down to the options above. Any suggestions on improvements to the above is greatly appreciated, Gracias!

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  1. What an absolutely cracking itinerary. Shame you have to little time but you are definitely squeezing the best out of those six days.

    The one red flag is that if you are going to the Boqueria on day 3 then you must stay there and perch on a stool and eat at El Quim instead of slogging across to Quimet & Quimet where everything except the decor will be a crushing disappoinment. You also have the option of hot food at El Quim. The prawns, mushrooms, cod we had there were all incredible. Quimet tastes like they scoured the supermarket 'going out of date' aisle for tasteless canned food.

    12 Replies
    1. re: ManInTransit

      " if you are going to the Boqueria on day 3 then you must stay there and perch on a stool and eat at El Quim instead of slogging across to Quimet & Quime."

      Totally agree.
      In general, if you try to squeeze in too much, you risk falling into the trap or allotting so little time in your large number of visits that you don't have enough time to get into enjoying any of them.

      Am very envious of your Camp Nou visit. Barça's win last night makes things look very good. Please yell to Gerard Piqué that Parigi hearts him. If he's not there, then Cesc. If Cesc is not there, then Puyi.
      You are in Barcelona for only 3 days. Don't go to a burger joint even if it's a socalled good burger joint . Think of it this way: When you are home and missing Barcelona, the best socalled tapas joint in whichever illustrious city you live probably won't do. Don't waste your extremely brief stay in Barcelona.
      If you stay in the old town, why not a late tapas crawl in the Born?

      1. re: Parigi

        Agreed on Quimet. Even if you have had breakfast at El Quim, I would try Pinotxo at La Boqueria. I'd also give the burger joint a miss and go to Gresca or Gelonch or an arroz place or trad Catalan place like Fonda Gaig.

      2. re: ManInTransit

        El Quim is closed on Mondays, however, Pinotxo is open.
        As of today, the time of the Barcelona-Valencia game was changed from 8 to 9:30.

        1. re: caga tio

          Caga : mucho gracias !! thats a big change to the plans .. now we have more time for a proper early dinner (if there is such a thing in spain) -

          Parigi : I will try my best to deliver your 'heart' to them from the 2nd tier rows ... judging fr los che's performance at bernabeu - might be a tough night for barca. I am seriously considering the tapas crawl at the Born - which bars would you recommend? Also since the game starts at 9.30pm, what is the best way to get from Camp Nou to the Born?

          I am considering Paco Meralgo as an after game option (closes at 1am) - is it worth it ?

          ManInTransit / Mikey : Thanks for the heads-up on Quimet - part of why we wanted to go was to taste the canned food ! we are however keeping options opened - perhaps grab a bite or 2 at bouqueria, another few bites at Quimet (then depending whether we are staying longer) may move to La Cova Fumada (at Barceloneta area).

          I doubt we have time for a full meal at Gresca or Gelonch ... but reading more on Fonda Gaig now !!

          btw ... as i am writing this reply, bourdain pops up on tv - episode of no reservations where he is in spain - and .. at quimet ... so maybe its a sign .. haha

          1. re: cyberK13

            Last night Los Che was quite good. Barça was more than quite good. You are in for a good game.

            "I am considering Paco Meralgo as an after game option (closes at 1am) - is it worth it ?"

            Very good, and actually more practical for - and shorter distance from - Camp Nou.
            Remember Piqué, then Ces, then Puyi.

            My fave tapas bar in th Born is Euskal Etxea. The Paradeta in Born - half market half eatery - is a good seafood option too, inepensive, fresh, simple.
            The Born tapas bars are concentrated on Montcada, Argenteria and around Pla de les Olles.

            1. re: cyberK13

              Hi there are you based in SG? I bet we were watching the exact same episode where Bourdain had his orgasmic Palamos prawns at Etxebarri. Is it really necessary for you to spend a night in Bilbao? I had 2 days in SS (actually 1.5 since half of it went to lunch at Etxebarri) and felt it was woefully inadequate.

              1. re: deadstroke86

                I agree with you.
                As much as I admire the beauty of Bilbao, 2 days in San Sé is too short. This is what I mean that when one wants to do too much, one ends up having the kind of zipping-around travel that sabotages one's enjoyment wherever one goes.
                If I were so short for time, I would spend all 3 days in San Sé.

                1. re: deadstroke86

                  deadstroke : yes i am based in SG / KL. i think i must have watched that episode several times already but sight of bourdain sucking on that prawn head is one of the reasons we'r going to brave getting lost in order to get to etxebarri.

                  Bilbao was more of a convenience than anything as we have a flight out early next morning and thought it'd be easier if we were to spend the night before. I agree that 2.5 days in San Se is 2 short .. actually our whole Euro trip is too short ! but c'est la vie .. gonna try and make the best of it.

                  Btw, any recs for late casual dining in Bilbao ? We would have finished a late lunch at Akelarre and reached Bilbao late on that day

                  1. re: cyberK13

                    Makes sense. For a short trip, you will have a good time with all the rigorous research you do.
                    After Akelarre? I'd just go easy, have a couple of pintxos for the last supper.
                    In Bilbao, if the Gugenheim place is closed, or if we just want a user-friendly pintxos hop in the old town, we go to Bar Bilbao.

                    1. re: Parigi

                      Not a food-related critique, but I'd sub the Museo des Bellas Artes for the Guggie. The former features some terrific artists whom you probably won't encounter outside of Spain.

                      1. re: zizouz

                        zizouz : unfortunately we wont have time to do either .. only hoping to catch the guggie outside at dusk for a picture moment (do need to do some tourist stuff). will keep your rec in mind the nxt time we are at bilbao.

                        parigi : you mean cafe bar bilbao on calle nueva?

                        1. re: cyberK13


                          And indeed the Gug may be more wowey outside than in.

          2. Would love an update/trip report if possible! I'm going to copy much of your itinerary, which looks amazing! We've got 2 days in Barcelona and three days in San Sebastian...reservations currently at Tickets and then, while in SS, we plan to drive to L'Auberge Basque (dinner), Etxebarri (lunch), and Rekondo (lunch). Of course we'll also hit pintxos using

            Specifically, what should we order at the smaller places you list on your Barcelona itinerary? And were you happy with your choices?

            4 Replies
            1. re: nutella

              Hi nutella , yes my trip report is long overdue !! havent had the time to write ... will do so in the next week or so ... when are you going ?

              caldeni and akalerre were both disappointing ..

              the rest were really yummy w etxebarri hitting the highest notes ...

              will write more soon ... attached pic excellent squid noodles w burrata , truffles and pistachio (i think) fr hisop

              1. re: cyberK13

                Most important: Did you tell Geri/Cesc/PuyiI heart (one of) them?

                1. re: Parigi

                  hahahaha .... Parigi ! i did better ... delivered to both geri and cesc ... not to puyol only because he was not playing. Valencia's tight defence made the game slightly less exciting with messi not doing much ... but the nou camp experience was still fantastic !