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10 extra days in Spain -- what to do?

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by Kati Bosch, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Kati Bosch

    Kati Bosch New Member

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    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Pamplona to (I hope!) Burgos October 2017
    So I'm going from Sarria to Santiago, starting October 5th and ending October 17th, my birthday. (I know that's very short days, but I'm very slow (chronically ill with pain issues) so I want to give myself plenty of time). I've gone ahead and booked about half my albergues and I'm going to wing it the rest of the time. I don't go home until the 29th, so I don't have to be back in Madrid until then. I think I want to spend an extra day or two in Santiago, but that still leaves me more than a week. Recommendations for what to do with that time? I love art, I'm quite religious so churches/cathedrals are always great, I love animals (good zoos?), I love the ocean/beach.

    Thanks!
     
    David and natefaith like this.
  2. november_moon

    november_moon Veteran Member

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    Wonderful - and extra 10 days to play with.

    If you wanted to stick to northern Spain, you could check out some of the cities on the Camino Frances to the east of your start point - Astorga, Leon, Burgos, Pamplona - all really interesting places. If you want coastal, Bilbao and Santander, maybe some smaller coastal towns along the way.

    A couple years ago I spent a little time in southern Spain - Seville and Cordoba, which I really enjoyed - would love to go back and spend more time in that area - it's a long way by train from Santiago, but you can probably get a flight to Seville - it has a decent-sized airport.
     
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  3. Paddington Bear

    Paddington Bear Active Member

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    David, HighlandsHiker and natefaith like this.
  4. natefaith

    natefaith Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    León-Ponferrada (2014)
    Camino Inglés (2017)
    Ditto @november_moon's and @Paddington Bear's suggestions, plus Finisterre and Muxía are worth seeing and accessible from Santiago by bus. If you wanted more time by the ocean you could take a short train ride up to La Coruña and spend time walking its famous Paseo Marítimo (ocean walk) or just sitting by its lighthouse or on one of its beaches. Beautiful Porto, Portugal, is also accessible from Santiago and you could spend a couple nights there - it has museums, ocean, river, bridges, colorful buildings, boat tours, and port wine. Lots to see and do there.

    It's great you have so much time to play with! Enjoy all the research and planning!
    Faith
     
    David likes this.
  5. Purky

    Purky Active Member

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    Camino Ingles (2017)
    If you're up for it, providing you find your groove, keep going from Santiago to Finisterre and/or Muxia...
     
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  6. Charlotte Helbig

    Charlotte Helbig Member

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Francés Sept. 2017
    Ditto the above. Also since you are going back to Madrid and you love art, you might allow a day or two there (at least) and visit El Prado and the Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia.
     
    David, marylynn, natefaith and 3 others like this.
  7. Jersey

    Jersey Active Member

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    I'll throw my 2 cents behind La Coruna.
    Great small seaside city. About an hour or so train ride from Santiago.
    I was there last year for two weeks, going back again this summer and a few years down the line hope to live there for 6-12 months.
     
  8. Bala

    Bala Active Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    Camino Frances (Burgos-Santiago 2018)
    So many great suggestions, but I will definitely second these two. The Prado is world-class, Reina Sofia houses Picasso's masterpiece, Guernica. Must sees! Also, plan an extra day and take a day trip to Toledo. The cathedral is breathtaking, and the collection of El Grecos unsurpassed. Oh, and while I'm at it .... in Madrid take the audio tour of the palace, then walk across the plaza for a visit to the cathedral. Spain is wonderful. You can't go wrong no matter what you decide.
     
    marylynn, domigee, natefaith and 3 others like this.
  9. Kati, if you decide that the Guggenheim in Bilbao and/or the northern coast is a goal, and you don't mind the train, you could get easy trains from Santiago to Ourense, then Ourense to Leon, see Leon's Cathedral, stay in the Parador on a pilgrim discount, then head north on the FEVE to see historic Oviedo and continue on on the FEVE to Bilbao.
     
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  10. oursonpolaire

    oursonpolaire Veteran Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
    If you end up in Bilbao to see the Guggenheim, just hit the souvenir shop and then go to the Bellas Artes, the gallery just down the street from the Guggenheim. It contains an extraordinary collection of Spanish painting from the 1880s on, with an emphasis on Basque art-- I think that the collection is more memorable than the Guggenheim (which, by the way, is an utterly splendid building). Northern Spain is full of wonderful romanesque churches-- devout RCs can always check out the largest piece of the True Cross at Liebana, south of Potes, south of San Vicente de la Barquera (local buses!) west of Santander, or Avila, where Saint Theresa used to hang out.
     
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  11. jo webber

    jo webber Active Member

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    Barcelona has all the things you love, including a zoo.
    We spent a week there a couple of years ago and didn't get to see everything. After our walk we plan to go back and spend some time seeing what we missed and visiting again a couple of places we loved.
     
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  12. BillyJane70

    BillyJane70 Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances Sept 2017
    A Coruna... Beautiful. Bilbao...amazing food. Madrid...superb art. Leon...very special. Barcelona...sensational street life. Granada...my favourite.Rias Altas...rejuvenating. Espana....so much brilliance in one country. I wish I had a spare week up my sleeve. Enjoy:)
     
  13. FLEUR

    FLEUR Active Member

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    Santander is great as train and bus stations are in the middle of town. A pleasant, easy place to potter around in with some fabulous old cafes / bars.
     
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  14. FLEUR

    FLEUR Active Member

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    October last year we took the train for Santiago to Santander (train at 08.30 one change at Palencia with enough time there to buy and eat a picnic lunch) . Finally arrived in Santander at 17.30 I think . Good clean trains, Spanish film was shown on one, they give you ear phones, just like being on an aircraft. Useful snack bar on board so you can walk about from time to time and have coffee / sandwiches etc. Take a good book to read. If you are over 60 using a Spanish senior rail card travel Monday to Thursday to get a 40% discount. Fri-Sunday you only get a 25% reduction.
     
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  15. linkster

    linkster Nunca dejes de creer!

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Francés 05/17 brazo roto Portomarín
    Francés 09/17 SJPdP - Santiago
    (Portuguese: 09/18)
    We just decided to do Sarria to Santiago when my youngest son graduates in May. We thought we would rent a car and drive to Cambados for 4 days when we are done. Looks like there are a lot of wineries (Albariño), and good seafood. There is a parador in Cambados. If you sign up to become a parador amigo (frequent traveler card for free), you can a breakfast voucher for 2 for free. I think we are going to use ours in Santiago.
     
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  16. Thank you for the recommendation for Bellas Artes, Ourson! I'll make sure to plan time for it.
     
    natefaith likes this.
  17. waveprof

    waveprof Enthusiast

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    The Basque country. Especially San Sebastian/Donostia. Google it, it checks all of your boxes. And easily accessible from where you'll be. And lots of organized day hikes if you miss the camino
     
    natefaith likes this.
  18. Kati Bosch

    Kati Bosch New Member

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    I loved the Basque country so much; that's definitely what I'm going to do for at least part of the time. Thanks everyone for the recommendations!
     
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  19. mylifeonvacation

    mylifeonvacation Active Member Donating Member

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    Camino Portuguese (from Tui May 2015)
    Coruna is a lovely small city to visit pre-or post Camino. I've spent quite a bit of time there over the past couple of years (going back next week!) and just love how charming it is.

    The Rias Baixas area of Galicia is also wonderful. Along with the Albarino, the beaches are just beautiful. Cambados was mentioned above, and there are gorgeous places all along the coast there. O Grove is nearby and another great area to explore - one of the best seafood restaurants in Spain is located there (dBerto).

    If anyone would like more info on visiting Galicia, I've created a pretty robust Google map with all of the places marked that I've visited and enjoyed, along with places that I would like to get to. In our trip over the next two weeks I'll be adding lots more information to the map. Just PM me and I'm happy to share!

    I'd also second a tour of the Basque country. We are also going there in the next couple of weeks and already have planned to visit the Museo de Bellas Artes, so appreciate the info above that it's worth it. I love the Guggenheim too, the building itself and some of the large sculptures on the first floor that you walk through are an amazing sensory experience! Not to even mention the pintxos and txakoli!
     
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  20. jefferyonthecamino

    jefferyonthecamino http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks

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    Portugal! Jump on a train/bus and do the Portuguese Camino in reverse: Padrón, Pontevedra, Tui... Porto.

    Also day trip from Santiago: Muxía and (of course) Finisterre

    Good luck and Buen Camino!
     
    natefaith likes this.
  21. mcopeland

    mcopeland Active Member Donating Member

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    Ditto for Portugal. After our Camino we spent 2 days in Porto and could have spent a week.
     
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  22. Mike Savage

    Mike Savage So many friends to meet . . . so little time Donating Member

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    Muxia/Finisterre
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    Sanabrés
    I could easily spend 10 days in Galicia. Oh, wait I'm already spending 3 weeks there again this year! (I can hardly wait!)
     
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  23. Susan in GA

    Susan in GA New Member

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    Kati, I don't have suggestions for your extra week, but I needed to respond anyway because October 17th is my birthday, too! If all goes according to plan (not actually expecting that to happen... lol), I'll be somewhere around Sarria on my birthday, and then going on to Santiago. I will also have extra time at the end of my Camino. I'm leaning towards spending some time in Portual before heading to Madrid to fly home.
     
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  24. Montana Jayne

    Montana Jayne Active Member

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    ? Camino Ingles
    I'd go to Burgos and the cathedral there is awesome. The stainglass windows are remarkable. I also liked Astorga a great deal and you can visit a number of very beautiful smaller churches there. Leon is worth a visit too. I extended my stays in each of these several days, and attended masses in each a lot. I think my favorite little village was O'Cebreiro. So pretty. Truly you cannot go wrong in making a plan. It is a beautiful country with beautiful prople.
     
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