December Holidays are the last opportunity of the year for a trip away. Adventure, culture, gastronomy or art; what’s your preference? By car, train or plane… pack your bag and get ready to discover northern Spain.
What to do: Txakoli wine, pintxos (small snacks), the Puppy statue at the Guggenheim entrance, the estuary… Bilbao has an endless list of thing to do and see day and night. Try local cuisine at Casco Viejo and the eateries known as “7 streets”: Somera, Artecalle, Tendería, Belosticalle, Carnicería Vieja, Barrencalle and Barrencalle Barrena, the gastronomic and leisure axis of the Basque capital. If you also want to take home the best produce so you can cook you own dishes, visit La Ribera Market next to the Estuary of Bilbao.
Where to eat: Fish and seafood every way … Ibaizabal restaurant has cheek of hake in green sauce on its menu, one of the most authentic Basque dishes.
Where to stay: Occidental Bilbao and Barceló Bilbao Nervión
Things to do: The only thing in San Sebastián as famous as pintxos are the mountains that surround it: Urgull, Igueldo and Ulia. Don’t restrict yourself to the downtown area; be sure to get some sea and mountain air. At the top of Mount Urgull you can visit the 12th century La Mota Castle, and the Aquarium at its skirts.
At the other end stands Mount Igueldo, with the romantic Amusement Park, which you can enter by taking the legendary red railway (the oldest in the Basque Country) from Ondarreta Beach.
Mount Ulía stands at San Sebastián’s easternmost point and is one of its largest public parks, where locals play sport.
Where to eat: Make a note of pantxineta and goxua. The first is a delicious puff pastry filled with cream and covered in almonds, while the second is served in an earthenware bowl and eaten with a spoon. Its main ingredients are cream, sponge, custard cream and caramel. Be sure to try both these delicacies.
Where to stay: Barceló Costa Vasca
Things to do: The streets of the historic center take the traveler to the Vetusta described by Leopoldo Alas Clarín in La Regenta. Fans of this novel can do the Clariniana Route, which takes you back to the 19th century to discover scenes from the work in an original way: La Rúa Palace, Campoamor Theater or La Balesquida Chapel… You mustn’t leave Oviedo without tasting Asturian cider and traditional (and exquisite) confectionary: marzipan princesitas, almond moscovitas and chocolates.
Where to eat: This is the best time to try the local mushroom dishes. The chef at the La Galatea restaurant makes a mushroom and cod risotto, which showcases the region’s surf and turf stars.
Where to stay: Barceló Oviedo Cervantes