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10 extra days in Spain -- what to do?

Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to (I hope!) Burgos October 2017
#1
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!
 

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#2
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.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017
#3

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
#4
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
 

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Bala

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Oct 2015, SJPdP-Burgos)
Camino Frances (Burgos-Santiago 2018)
#8
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.
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.
 
H

HighlandsHiker

Guest
#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.
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
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
#10
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.
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
#11
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.
 

FLEUR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012 - 2016
#14
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.
 

linkster

Nunca dejes de creer!
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 05/17 brazo roto Portomarín
Francés 09/17 SJPdP - Santiago
(Portuguese: 09/18)
#15
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.
 
H

HighlandsHiker

Guest
#16
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.
Thank you for the recommendation for Bellas Artes, Ourson! I'll make sure to plan time for it.
 

waveprof

Enthusiast
Camino(s) past & future
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
#17
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
 

mylifeonvacation

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés (from Ferrol June 2014)
Camino Portuguese (from Tui May 2015)
#19
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!
 

jefferyonthecamino

http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (1994)
Camino Francés (2013 - 2017)
Camino Portugués (2015 - 2017)
#20
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!
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!
 

Mike Savage

So many friends to meet . . . so little time
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés,Inglés
Muxia/Finisterre
Português Coastal
Português Central
Sanabrés
#22
I could easily spend 10 days in Galicia. Oh, wait I'm already spending 3 weeks there again this year! (I can hardly wait!)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Future - Frances (Sept/Oct 2017)
#23
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!
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.
 

Montana Jayne

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2015 - Camino Frances
? Camino Ingles
#24
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!
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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