Road trip adventure to San Sebastián and Bilbao

streets of san sebastian

After flying into Madrid, and spending two nights in Zaragoza, the next stop on the road trip was San Sebastián.

San Sebastián is a beautiful city located on the Bay of Biscay in the Basque Country in Spain. Our drive from Zaragoza took just over 3 hours, including a brief stop in Pamplona (famous for the running of the bulls) on the way. What’s interesting is how the scenery changes so much as you drive further into Northern Spain. It somehow doesn’t ‘feel’ Spanish any more and being just 20kms from the French border would explain this. The climate is much cooler and even the language is quite different to in other parts of Spain.

Being that it was March, there wasn’t much opportunity to truly appreciate the beautiful bay in San Sebastián, however we did enjoy a stroll along the main promenade. The area feels very exclusive and expensive. I’d say it’s definitely quite an unspoiled holiday destination. As the rain started we took that as an excuse to dive into the shops and spent the next hours browsing stylish boutiques and drinking coffees. We also visited the impressive San Sebastian Cathedral. In the evening we had dinner and wine in the old town and soaked up as much of the Basque country atmosphere as we possibly could in one night.

bay of biscay

san sebastian promenade

san sebastian spain

san sebastian cathedral

Next morning it was another early start and straight after breakfast we headed to Bilbao. This was a nice easy drive of just over an hour, but we wanted to leave early as we had plans to spend a few hours at the Guggenheim Museum! You can read more about that here!

bilbao view from guggenheim bilbao spain

After exhausting ourselves at the museum, we headed to the old town in Bilbao for lunch. There were lots of lovely restaurants to choose from and we spent a couple of hours just resting with our delicious food and wine!

For me the road trip ended here and I took a Renfe train from Bilbao back to Madrid to get my flight the next day. I had booked the ticket online in advance and reserved a first class seat for less than 30 EUR! The train journey was 5 hours but it was comfortable, I had stocked up on snacks (although they did serve food) and I watched a couple of movies. The train arrived at Madrid Chamartin station and from there it was a 20 minute metro ride to the centre of Madrid where I was staying. My last day in Madrid was spent sightseeing and shopping … the perfect end to a very nice vacation!