Subject: Northern Spain in August
- Madrid in August is HOT, although there is a good thing about it. Many people go on holidays in Madrid during August (obvious reasons), and there will be less traffic jams. I wouldn´t stay long in Madrid, unless I really wanted to visit it. A good option are the NH hotels. I know, it is a chain, but sometimes they have good offers.

- Travelling north. Driving lets you stop any place you fancy (Burgos would be one of my first picks), but if you don´t want to drive you have a couple of options: bus, train and plane. We usually get the bus when we go to Madrid. The buses are modern, fast and cheap. The train takes longer, and you don´t have so many as buses. Planes... you might find good offers with Air Europa or Spanair, but Barajas in August can be a nightmare.

- Plan well your days in the different places. You don´t have so many days, and the 15th of August is a big holiday in Spain. That means festivals in many places, but also many people travelling around for the long weekend (from Friday the 11th to Tuesday the 15th).

- A tentative itinerary, by bus or plane:

Madrid - Santander (by bus) - 1 day in Santander, relaxing by the beach and a day trip to Santillana - Bus to Bilbao (around 1 hour) - A couple of days (museums, old town, beaches) - Day trip to San Sebastian (there are many buses and on top of that it´s their festival) - Bus or plane to Barcelona - another couple of days (never enough) - fly over to Madrid and back home.

This is just a mere idea, if you still plan to see the three cities... I think it can be a bit fast, but it will give you a general impression. If you want to relax, I would just do Madrid and the North, but you are the best judge.

- There are a couple of new hotels in Bilbao. A just renovated three stars hotel is the Barceló Hotel Avenida. Not in the city centre, but just 5 minutes from the tube station, and located in a populous part of the town that will give you an impression of how we live. You can either take the tube or walk down into the Old Town. Just accross the Guggenheim Museum, you can find the Hotel Nervión, and also belonging to Barceló. Also renovated, and with 5-, 4- and 3-star rooms to choose. And they hire bikes (not that I would do it, with all the traffic). Regarding public transport, I think the Avenida is much better.


If you want beach (but not swimming, the water is not exactly clean), the Hotel Los Tamarises in Las Arenas. It is a bit shabby, but straight on Ereaga beach.

- I´ll post more info about the Guggenheim, so you can decide.

Well, enough for today, I´ll post more during this week.

Rgds from Covadonga in stormy Bilbao.