Spain
Gipuzkoa

Here you’ll find travel reports about Gipuzkoa. Discover travel destinations in Spain of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

83 travelers at this place:

  • Day55

    Donostia-San Sebastian

    October 27, 2016 in Spain

    Although it was a 5 hour train journey from Barcelona, we decided to go to Donostia-San Sebastián in northern Spain to get a taste of the Basque culture which is very unique. The Basque people actually at one point wanted to be independent from Spain (like many regions in Spain) and continue to retain their identity with their own language, traditions and more importantly food! This is also why this city has two given names: Donostia in Basque and San Sebastián in Spanish.

    This region is well known for it's culinary expertise. We enjoyed going to typical Pintxos (pronounced Pinchos) bars where a wide array of tapas would be displayed to choose from. The selections are heavily focused on seafood as San Sebastián is located on the coast but you can also find some good meat as well. We enjoyed trying both hot and cold Pintxos like veal cheeks, octopus, and sea urchin to name a few. Everything we ate was so unique and different and definitely very fresh!

    San Sebastián reminded us a lot of California with its beaches, surfers and chill atmosphere. It was a nice stop to explore this unique region in Spain and we highly recommend it for any foodies.
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  • Day668

    Adios España!

    April 25 in Spain

    We toured Spain for just over 100 days from January to April. For a fortnight we volunteered at an organic farm in the Sierra Nevada and for a week we stayed in a villa near Ronda with our friends Cath and Paul.

    Vicky, having spent less than 24 hours here previously, was particularly dubious about what we'd find. Neither of us liked the idea of spending much time in high rise resorts occupied predominantly by sun seeking brits who demand full English breakfasts and a good chippy. Whilst we did find areas like this, they were easy to avoid and we discovered so much more in this beautiful and characterful country.

    We are very fortunate to have been able to spend so much time in one country, but Spain is a big place with very different areas and so we'll just have to do our best to summarise our thoughts on it succinctly!

    So, how will we remember Spain?

    🗑 Things we'll be happy to leave behind:

    Scary speedbumps and huge kerbs - we don't like speedbumps at the best of times but the ones in Spain seemed gargantuan. Unless we slowed down to about 10kph they would scrape the underside of van and flip the back end up, so anything that wasn't bolted down would find itself in mid air!

    Lunch time shutting - although things seemed to get better the longer we spent in the country, Spain's shops has the longest lunch time closing of any we'd so far found in Europe. From noon or just before, the town centre shops remain closed until 5:30pm or later. The large out of town supermarkets are open but we missed the interactions with small shop keepers, because we found it difficult to adjust.

    Parking vs camping - Spain has campsites and it has aires and wild camping spots. You are allowed to camp in campsites and but only park in the others, meaning that in the vast majority of places we stayed, we weren't allowed to leave anything outside, such as chairs, drying clothes, mats, the bike or canoe. It was our choice to avail ourselves of the free accomodation and we can see the sense in the regulations, so did adhere to them (many didn't), but it meant we felt more restricted than in some other countries.

    👍 What got a thumbs up?

    Great bins and recycling - All domestic refuge and recycling is disposed of via communal bins so we were never far from a place we could empty our rubbish. There are also standard bin colours throughout the country, which made things easier for us.

    Free places to stay with free services - we spent a grand total of €74 on parking and services and 60 of this was for 2 nights secure parking in central Barcelona. There were some beautiful wild camping spots and plenty of free areas de autocaravanas whose services remained accessible throught the winter. There were only a few urban areas that were struggling to cope and had 'no van' signs up.

    Good quality roads - having spent last winter in Italy, we were super impressed by the quality of the roads. On the whole they had smooth surfaces, were well layed out and other drivers were reasonable. The low population density meant we often had the highway to ourselves. The only difficulties we encountered were the pull offs used to cross the carriageway (like roundabouts with the main road running through the centre), these were fine once we got used to them. Torrential rain in March also caused road closures and meant you needed to keep your wits about you.

    Eating out - we really enjoyed the tapas culture and it was cheap enough for us to eat and drink out regularly. The food wasn't spectacular like it had been in Italy, but it was tasty and changed with the regions, so there were often new dishes to try. Bars would open from 12noon or 1pm and everywhere gave the option of alcohol free beer, sometimes on tap. Excellent for when you are keeping an eye on your weight and health.

    Access to Nature - Spain has a huge number of national parks, regional parks and natural parks, all with good parking and walking trails. The countryside was beautiful and often stunning. We loved watching the numerous Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, as well as spotting more birds we'd never seen before, including a Wallcreeper and Iberian Magpies.

    Cleanliness - on the whole we found only small amounts of litter and rubbish. Some areas had a problem with dog mess, but we saw a lot of street cleaners and litter pickers in towns and cities and they made a big difference.

    Open throughout winter - in other countries, many shops, attractions and services shut down out of season, but apart from a few hyper touristed areas such as the Costa Brava resorts, places remained open.

    Low population density - where the UK ranks 10th highest of all European countries in terms of population density, Spain comes in at number 34. Sure, there were places like Madrid and along the south coast where the high rises seemed endless, but for the most part it was sparsely populated and very easy to find some rural patch of peace and quiet, even at the beach.

    Fuel costs - we travelled several thousand kilometres in Spain, but it didn't break the bank because on average we paid €1.19 for a litre of diesel. We could have bought it for less, but chose to pay extra at stations with van facilities and those that employed people at the pumps. Spain's youth unemployment is high at 36% and this was one of the ways we contributed to the economy.

    Horse culture - ok, so this was more a thumbs up from Vicky than from Will, but we may well have seen more horses in Spain than in all the other countries we've visited put together! We saw a lot of men riding, as opposed to just women and girls we'd expect to see in other places and many of the horses were of arab descent, making them a joy to watch.

    👀 Overall observations:

    》The weather was mixed while we were in Spain. Although undeniably warmer than in the UK, we had our share of snow, sleet and ice, even experiencing one night at -12.3°C; the coldest temperature of our trip. In March it warmed, but the rains came, causing landslides and road closures. This being said, we still got our fill of southern sun!

    》Before we entered Spain, Will had learned a good amount of Spanish on Duolingo. However, this was Mexican Spanish and the language it is most similar to, Castilian Spanish, wasn't the first language in the regions of Catalonia or Galicia, nor was it the only language in Basque. It was interesting to see the changes, but they often made communication and comprehension more difficult for us.

    》As we left Northern Spain and entered the central band, we were shocked by the vast areas of exposed, dry earth that seemed, to our eyes, almost like desert. Many of the reservoirs we'd seen were well below expected levels and had been for some time. We feared the further south we went the worse it would get, but to our relief the mountains and the change from sea to land brought about more precipitation. The soil type also changed and plants were able to get a foothold. We found the these changes fascinating and thought provoking.

    》The police had more of a presence on motorhome aires here, than in any other country we've visited. The Guardia Civil would often drive by on a morning and evening, noting down number plates and checking on the state of the aire. They were friendly enough and we were never made to feel unwelcome.

    🤔 Our Treasured Memories:
    (In no particular order)

    ☆ City visits: bar nights in Barcelona and Madrid and spontaneous street dancing in the latter. Will fulfilled his ambition of visiting the remarkable Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and we were both captivated by Seville's Alcázar.

    ☆ Stunning Sierra Nevada mountain landscapes covered in almond blossom. Vicky will always remember riding through it!

    ☆ Charming Alpujarran white villages

    ☆ Tapas culture

    ☆ Sand, Sea and yes, Sun. Will got in plenty of swimmimg, snorkelling and even a little surfing.

    ☆ Countryside walks and the wildlife we discovered on them

    If you've managed to get to the end of this lengthy outpouring, well done! As you can probably tell, we think Spain is brilliant. Sure, it has some drawbacks, but these are outnumbered and outweighed by the huge list of wonderful experiences the country has to offer. We felt very relaxed living in the van here and if it wasn't for the impending heat, we would have found ourselves very tempted to stay!
    Gracias España!
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  • Day666

    It had been a long day, but the sight of the parking place at Listorreta lifted our spirits. Set in a Natural Park the rest area with a 2 place van aire was a green haven, surrounded by oak, ash, elder and hazel all bursting forth with bright new Spring leaves. A central meadow area sat behind a wooden post fence, speckled with buttercups and an array of other wildflowers. Picnic benches and brick bbq areas were provided and used by a trickle of people during our stay. What a lovely peaceful place to spend our last few nights in Spain!

    There were plenty of walks in the surrounding woodland (a beautiful black horse came along one of them each evening to canter in the meadow). We'd planned to do a hike but late on our first morning, a British van pulled up and we met Sandie. Sandie had retired and together with her old Springer Spaniel Rosie, they'd been travelling in the van for a year. We made coffee and tea and sat out on one of the picnic benches putting the world to rights. Rosie was deaf and fairly blind and we were really pleased that Poppy got on well with her, even having the confidence lay down in the long grass and enjoy the sunshine.

    Sandie was very easy to talk to and we got on so well that we occupied the picnic table again in the afternoon- this time with red wine, sangria and strawberries. When comparing motorhoming experiences we found she had written a book: 'A Blonde, a Dog and a Motorhome'.

    Although it wasn't what we had planned, it was a fitting and enjoyble end to our time in Spain/ beginning of our journey home, to be sitting in a meadow surrounded by familiar woodland trees and chatting to a friendly Brit. It seemed even more fitting that overnight it began to rain and a steady drizzle persisted as we filled, emptied and said goodbye to Sandie, who was also making her way towards the UK, although over the course of a month instead of a week like us.
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  • Day48

    Stage de voile!

    July 6, 2016 in Spain

    Stage evolution avec Spi en tête Hendaye. Pendant 1 semaine sur un Grand surprise, nous étions que tout les deux alors c'était un peu comme un stage particulier! C'était génial et Laurent était un prof incroyable. Très complementaire avec mon stage à Hyere!

    Sail training "evolution" with Spi en tête ar Hendaye. During 1 week we sailed on a boat Grand Surprise, we were just the both of us so it felt like a private training! It was great, Laurent was a wonderful teacher. Really complementary with my training in Hyere!Read more

  • Day10

    From Ondarroa cue all sorts of up & down except now with the constant accompaniment of a fishy smell - Ondarroa was a big fish port and numerous boats came in while I was eating. Wagons were loaded & departed. At every bend or slope fishy water / juice streamed out the back - nice. At Orio I managed to find a cycle trail along the river - for once a useful way mark. All the way from Santander I've been seeing Camino signs though i can't think why - I'm going the wrong way. Anyway this was going the right way but created a dilemma - do I follow to the end & take the dodgy route (but shorter) or do I leave half way, add 3 miles and probably have slightly less climbing but busier road. Gambled on the dodgy - & lost. It was epically steep. Ended up pushing for probably 1 out of tge 3 miles of climbing. Then when finally the final 3 miles down hill to San Sebastian came I hit a pot hole & had a blow out. Not HP. Still with all that, got in at 5.45.Read more

  • Day11

    A tale of 2 vistas.

    April 18 in Spain

    The plan for the day was to take in the two hills at either side of San Sebastian's main bay. Initially to go up on the funicular before it got too busy. However the sun dictated otherwise so Monte Urgull & yet another JC statue. Breakie & then a wander & paddle along Onderrata & Concha beaches. The sea unsurpringly was just a little chilly. There were a range of paths up & decided on the most scenic - less steep. Learn from your mistakes. Where-ever you looked there was a stunning view of the beaches, city or sea. At the top was a free museum which I hoped led to a viewpoint, not that they gave any hint of this. Worth a try. Indeed, tucked away was a small sign suggesting there was a vista up a small winding flight if stairs. Result. On the way down balanced on a wall to get a view of the waves, slipped took a chunk if skin off my foot - which was nice.Read more

  • Day11

    Shade hopping

    April 18 in Spain

    Had a rude shock on getting down. Text message from LFC saying payment for the semi had failed. Stands to reason since Nationwide cancelled my credit card the first day I was away - great timing. Spent the next half hour trying to fixnd wifi so the booking could be completed. Ended up back at the hostel. Not the end if the world since the tram was in those parts. The Funicular was a bizarre set up - just get on - ticket office closed - pay at the top, and yet you have this fancy big building at the bottom. Picked my spot away from the kids - surprised how quiet it was, considering the beach was packed. The views from the top were, again very good. Decided against returning on the tram and walked back down. The lady on the entrance gate warned me of the journey time - whatever it was would've suited me. Back to the hostel to cool off & found that I'd been joined in the dorm by snorers - nice. Popped out to have a look at the Miramar Palace and gardens - lots of shade which was handy.Read more

  • Day10

    A very lumpy one.

    April 17 in Spain

    Was worried about a late start - as it happens there was someone at reception sorting breakfast - not that I was aware breakie was included (may have been extra) For all that only got away at 8.50 but every little helps. On the plane coming over I saw Mundaka & Guernica and it looked flat as a pancake between the two. It was not. And that kind of summed up the day. Guernica is infamous for being where first tried out his Blitzkreig strategy during the Spanish Civil War, however rather than targetting miltary or industrial areas they tragetted civilians. The Air Raid Musuem based at a factory that wasn't targetted looked an interesting stop but was closed. Pushed on & upwards - 3+ miles of climbing. Then down to the first of numerous ports with attached vast expanses of sandy beach. Quick explore & then on to the next - Ondarroa - likely lunxh break, assuming it had a supermercado. It did & a beach side picnic did the job even though it was a shade under half way.Read more

  • Day4

    About 22kms to Albergue Izarbide

    September 15, 2017 in Spain

    A tough day, with lots of hills, rain and mud. It felt like much more than 22kms. However, we stopped in a few places along the way and (mostly!) enjoyed the journey.

    This is my second time to stay in this 'middle of nowhere' albergue. It's in a converted cowshed and there's a mix of nationalities here tonight. Great to have a hot shower, a clean bed and hopefully a nice dinner.

  • Day2

    Appreciating the simple things

    September 13, 2017 in Spain

    The waves were huge this evening on La Concha beach. As I enjoyed the childish pleasure of swimming into each one and being thrown around as if in a washing machine, I realised how lucky I am to get such enjoyment from the simple things in life. Swimming in the sea, walking all day, laughing with new acquaintances .... and a hot cup of tea when it's most needed. Thank you @Laurie Reynolds for introducing me to this wonderful little gadget that boils a cup of water in no time at all. Truly life-enhancing!Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Gipuzkoa, Provincia de Guipuzcoa, Guipuzcoa, Guipuzcua, غيبوثكوا, Guipúzcoa, Província de Guipúscoa, Γκιπούθκοα, Provinco Gipusko, استان گیپوسکوا, Guipúscoa, Guipuscoa, Gipuskoa, Գիպուսկոա, ギプスコア, გიპუსკოა, Гипускоа, 기푸스코아 주, Ipuscoa, Provinsia de Gipuzkoa, Gipuskoa provincija, Gipuskoja, Prowincja Guipúzcoa, Provincia Guipúzcoa, Guipúzcoa eanangoddi, จังหวัดกีปุซโกอา, Guipúzcoa ili, Гіпускоа, GUI, گیپوسکوا, გიპუსკოაშ პროვინცია, 吉普斯夸省

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