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The seigneuriale towns

The seigneuriale towns

By car, 419 km, 6 days

A note for fans of urban architecture: are you a fan of seigneurial towns, walks by the sea, art and eating well? Why not explore the charm of some one of the most beautiful cities of the north of Spain.

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Donostia-San Sebastián (Spain)

Donostia-San Sebastián
No exploration of San Sébastien is complete without a walk along la Concha, its shell-shaped bay, a stroll through its old town or a sample of delicious tapas in one of its bars. If you're travelling with children, don't miss the aquarium and if you're a fan of contemporary art then be sure to visit Chillida-Leku.

Bahia de La Concha   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

20000 Donastia/San Sebastián
Nature and gardens

San Sebastián owes its nickname, "pearl of the Cantábrica", to its scallop-shaped bay, La Concha. Partially closed by the islet of Santa Clara, it stretches from Monte Urgull to Monte Igueldo. Two vast sand beaches follow the curve of the bay: La Concha, and beyond the promontory, the fashionable Ondarreta, offering a choice of pleasant strolls along the beach lined by luxury apartment blocks. Beyond the beach, at the foot of Monte Iguelo, is the Peine de los Vientos, the work of sculptor Eduardo Chillida.


Panorama of Mount Igueldo   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

Paseo de Iqueldo 20000 Donostia
Nature and gardens

The summit is occupied by an amusement park and restaurant, and affords splendid panoramic views over the sea, the harbour with the Isla de Santa Clara, San Sebastián in its cirque of mountains. In the evening, the illuminated town is a fine spectacle.



Zabalaga 66 66 20000 Donostia-San Sebastián

Bilbao (Spain)

There’s far more to Bilbao than its exceptional museums...not forgetting its industrial heritage. Bilbao has managed to transform itself into a modern and dynamic city in which internationally renowned architects such as Gerhy, Norman Foster and Calatrava, have all left their mark.

Bilbao Fine Arts Museum   Worth a detour Worth a detour

pl. del Museo 2 48009 Bilbo
Museums and art

The two buildings that make up the Museo de Bellas Artes, one built in 1945, the other in the 1960s, house the second largest collection of Spanish art after the Prado in Madrid. The ancient art section is dedicated to Spanish painters from the 13C-17C, as well as Flemish artists from the 15C-17C: Morales, El Greco, Zurbarán, Ribeira and Goya for the Iberian peninsula; Quentin Metsys, Ambrosius Benson, Gossaert for northern Europe. The rooms dedicated to contemporary art, in a vast, high-ceilinged space lit through huge bay windows, are particularly remarkable.


Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

av. Abandoibarra 2 48005 Bilbo
Museums and art

The Guggenheim Museum is Bilbao's star architectural attraction. The building designed by Frank O. Gehry (winner of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture in 1989), is considered a masterpiece with its amazing half-sculpted curves and walls of yellow limestone, glass and titanium with their extraordinary play of light. Occupying an area of 10 000m2, it houses one of the greatest collections of 20C art in the world, from classic avant-garde to abstract expressionism, Pop Art, and more modern trends.


Santander (Spain)


El Sardinero   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Architecture, castles and historic districts

Santander's seaside resort hs four beaches, the largest two of which, the Primera Playa El Sardinero and the Segunda Playa El Sardinero (separated by the Piquio Gardens), extend over 3km of golden sand, in a bay running from the Magdalena peninsula to the south to Cape Menor to the north. The seafront is bordered by characteristic early 20C resort architecture: the all-white casino, the Grand Hotel and numerous other establishments.


Península de la Magdalena   Worth a detour Worth a detour

39000 Santander
Nature and gardens

The beauty of the landscape, and the sublime views it offers, have made this peninsula one of the town's most sought-after districts. Take a stroll through the park, an oasis of greenery, as far as El Sardinero where there is a small zoo and replicas of the galleons in which Francisco de Orellana explored the Amazon. In the rear of the park stands a palace built by the town for Alfonso XIII (1886-1941), today an annexe of the Menéndez Pelayo International University.


Oviedo (Spain)

Oviedo merits a stroll with its charming historic quarter. It's a very pleasant town for walking, quiet plots and pedestrianised streets adorned with a number of sculptures. A little higher up (5 minutes on foot) is San Miguel de Lillo church, the remains of palais de Ramiro which was once the royal chapel.

Oviedo's Cathedral   Interesting

Pl. de Alfonso II 33003 Oviedo
Religious buildings

Built between the 14C and the 16C, the Cathedral has all the features of the flamboyant Gothic style. Inside, take time to admire the altarpiece at the high altar, the chapel of the Rey Casto and the cross- ribbed cloister. When you reach the reconstructed Holy Chamber, built in the reign of Alfonso II in the 9C, you will find an astonishing collection of column-statues (12C), and of course the Treasury, with remarkably fine gold and silver work (9C-12C).


Santa María del Naranco   Worth a detour Worth a detour

33003 Oviedo
Religious buildings

A listed World Heritage Site since 1985, this former audience chamber turned into a sanctuary was part of the summer residence built by Ramiro I of Asturias in the 9C on the south side of Mount Naranco. The harmonious quadrangular edifice is lit by vast bays. On the upper floor, two loggias open off the main chamber. The interior decoration has been cleverly adapted to architectural necessity with clusters of slender colonnettes, as well as Corinthian and polygonal capitals. Equal attention has been paid to appearances outside.


Santiago de Compostela Cathedral   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

Pl. del Obradoiro 15705 Santiago de Compostela
Religious buildings

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela dates almost entirely from the period of the 11C to the early 13C, although the so-called Façade do Obradoiro is a richly sculpted Baroque masterpiece. In the narthex is the Pórtico da la Gloria, with its exceptionally beautiful statues. Inside, the huge Romanesque cathedral is still intact and displays the typical features of pilgrimage churches: Latin cross floor plan, vast proportions, triforium, and an ambulatory for pilgrims to move around. The main nave and huge transept, itself also with aisles, are admirable in their blend of simplicity and incomparable majesty.

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