2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

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2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:04 am

After last years brilliant drive to our place in Andalucia we are doing the same again shortly, just so much more relaxing than the grief of airports and as I was told a great way to get there and an experience.

We will be using the same crossings again, ie arriving at St Malo and departing via Caen.

I'm not just saying it but the tips and advice I got on here last year formed the backbone of the trip and we visited/stayed in most of the places mentioned or advised, it was fabulous. Also the tip of not to book in advance for stays was a gem, with tripadvisor etc it is a doddle to book as you go and read reports of where you plan to stop in advance, so easy.

So, last year after leaving St Malo we had 3 overnighters, allowing a relaxing drive, meals in glorious towns and relaxing evenings.
We stayed at Royan for the first night, St Jean de Luz the second night and Brinas in La Rioja for the 3rd, all stunning places too but the coastal towns were all basically shut lol, so difficult to find anywhere open.
So this year we'd like to stay further in land and avoid the coast, also the Brinas stay was the only overnighter I booked before we left home, and although a stunning hotel it was a mistake as the short hop from St Jean de Luz leaving a huge stint to Andalucia was misplanned in hindsight............so this time I want somewhere south of Burgos but North of Madrid for our last stop over this time, any ideas please of a really nice place you've experienced personally?

I think our first stay will be around Saints by the way, so tips for the second stop welcomed too, somewhere inland from Biarritz etc.

On the way back home last year we stopped over in Aranada, very nice but basically a large motorway complex, then the highlight of the trip was a stay in Saint Savenien in a gite, then a final night in Ouistraham.......basic but in sight of the ferry port.

The only thing we did not do last year that we said we would was to have half day looking at some WW2 historical sights in Normandy, hopefully we'll put this right this year.

Hope the ferries are as good as last year, we've never been as relaxed going to Spain since we bought over there, chalk and cheese from flying.

Many thanks again guys, appreciated as always.
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Enrique » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:18 am

Hi D.A.,

33km south of Burgos is Lerma........ Hotel Alisa

http://www.hotelalisa.com/lerma%28i%29.html

Old Historic Town nearby, river walks just outside of Hotel.

Hotel restaurant is good and priced OK, some of the restaurants in town can be expensive.

Use this one every time I do my Spanish trips, its a comfortable 7-8 hrs to my base, Last used in July this year.

Its also dog friendly.
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:29 am

Enrique, many thanks mate and long time no speak, hope all's well with you and the family.

Really appreciate that tip on Lerma, it sounds great and well good enough for me the way you describe it, I think we will give this a go now without doubt.

Also your advice on the M50 and toll road last year was fantastic, we sailed through Madrid with ease.

Many thanks once more
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Beachcomber » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:11 pm

I always stayed at the Alisa. The first time was before the motorway was built and the main road went through the centre of the town and I was looking for somewhere with a secure covered car park because I had a soft-top loaded to the gunnels.

From then on I always stayed there and it was even better when the motorway by-passed Lerma. The last time, though, was in 1997 because I haven't been back since then.

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:25 pm

Thanks Beachy. We've decided we will 100% stay here now guys. Is it a town centre position, easy to find etc. Are there restaurants within walking distance or do you dine there if not wanting to use the car?

Many thanks
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby markwilding » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:33 pm

You could do a triangle route around Madrid, although the capital is always worth a visit.
Segovia, then Avila and finally Toledo all absolutely magnificent Castilian towns.

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Beachcomber » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:44 pm

Lerma town centre is a five or ten minute walk but there were no restaurants, just cafe/bars. However, remember, that this was more than twenty years ago so there may well be restaurants now especially as it seems to have become a favourite stopping off place for people travelling the length of the country. I understand that the restaurant in the hotel has improved considerably over the years.

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:54 pm

Thanks guys, yes Segovia and Toledo were mentioned last time but we just went direct from Burgos to the Med in the end, maybe that should be an option this time.

Shame about that Beachy but thanks for the info. Although it's only a stop over it's nice to not have to rely on staying in the hotel, it is nice to have a few hours in a local town too and maybe a nice evening meal. This is where Brinas scored last year. Tiny town but breathtaking beautiful, stunning hotel but with a boring looking menu.......so we went to a nearby restaurant for the evening for some typical La Rioja fayre. Thanks again chaps.
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Enrique » Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:43 pm

Hi D.A.,
Beachcomber's way out of date as he says...............a lot has changed in 20 years.

Restaurants in the town can be expensive especially the ones in the old part of town.
Hotel signed from motor way junction km203
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:43 pm

I've made a note of that. Thanks again Enrique.
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Gasman » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:37 pm

Segovia and Toledo each need at least a day to view, but you might like Avila ...

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Sat Sep 15, 2018 11:19 am

Guys. Booked our first nights stay in Saint Jean D'angely which is inland from La Rochelle/Royan.

Second night stay we'll probably book on the move but would love a couple of suggestions please for a nice and not too large a town with a few restaurants and bars to enjoy and choose from.

Would ideally like it to be in the Bayonne, Bilbao area although not on the coast. Not fussed if it's just inside France or over the border in Spain, if I had to choose though I'd rather it be in France.

We stayed in Brinas last year and it was stunning but don't want to repeat our trip step by step.

So, any ideas for a good town on the border please.........will probably head for Lerma the next day as suggested, nice short blat leaving time to explore the place.

Many thanks.
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Gasman » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:16 pm

The problem at or near the border is that the main roads do follow the coastal area because of the rapid rise of the mountains, an alternative would be to go across to come down into Spain via Pamploma but that really is out of your way if you are set on Burgos as part of the route, So inside France, have you considered Mont de Marsan, or perhaps more interesting is Dax - ancient spa town and not too far off the route? Do a Wiki or Google search and see if you think it might be suitable.
Has anyone stopped at Dax?

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:27 pm

Thanks for this. Yes you are correct there, it seems you need to stay near the coast to make the easier crossing across the mountains.

I'm not set on having to go to Burgos and would love to do the Pamplona route, rejoining the main E5 north of Madrid if poss, I just can't get a feel of what those roads are like though.

I'll look at Mont de Marsan now and thanks for that. I looked at DAX but it seems quite a big place, which can be a pain for an overnight stop.

Strange thing is it would not bump the mileage up much if at all if we swung "left" at Bordeaux and went through Toulouse and down to Perpignan and up the Med coast.

We may actually do that route on the way back and probably stick with current plans to get there. Many thanks again
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Wicksey » Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:51 pm

When I lived in SW France we used to often go into Spain through the Bielsa tunnel south of St Lary Soulan. We used to visit Ainsa for the day which is a pretty little mountain town. On our trips to Andalucia we would continue on via Huesca and Zaragoza then Madrid and south. We often had our cats on board for those trips though so unfortunately could not do any sightseeing, only stopping off outside Madrid for a night to break up the journey.

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:18 pm

That does look an interesting route and certainly one to try in the future. Many thanks.
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby ashtondav » Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:34 pm

Although a longer distance we had a spectacular tour through extramadura this year. Salamanca, caceres, Trujillo, zafra, Merida all places worthy of a visit. We also stopped in Burgos this year at the NH Palacio. What a lovely town with FANTASTIC tapas bars where you can graze contentedly all night long.

When staying in Lerma we splash out at the parador, asking for views over the plaza mejor. Last year in April there was a young family of storks in a nest a few metres away on the top of the church steeple.

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby 1bassleft » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:53 am

Apologies, DA, I didn't see this thread until too late to be of use for your current trip. I've done the Chunnel to Malaga return trip a few times, most recently coming down in June. I shall be returning in late Oct/early Nov on the Atlantic side this time (I came down the Med route) and any swaps of advice/opinions would be welcome - at least for me.

Like you, I've varied it around for the fun and don't often stay in the same place more than once. I take it leisurely, though; 1st time was 5hrs/day, second time even less but this time down I went for 7hrs between stops. I do recommend a Med route at least once for the fun of it; it didn't add a great deal for me but, of course, the Chunnel is a different matter. For St Malo, you'd be adding nearly 5hrs on the total, unless you then veer west through Carcassone (this route has a lot to recommend it). If do you don't mind paying French toll charges, fine, but trying to avoid them was a bit torturous compared to the Atlantic route, although the Spanish side of toll avoidance was not bad at all. My wife has an Ibis fixation, so I won't get into actual hotels much.

For the Med run back, Valencia is a great first (or last, if coming down) stop; both for its distance and the place itself. Although it's a large place, I never had any trouble locating the hotels and pulling up there. The first time, the Ibis allowed an extra night stay for peanuts so we took it and it's well worth allocating a few hours to before moving on. The two "I'm a tourist" open top bus routes are actually good, although I felt like a pleb in the open top. The old city one and the fancy-dan new area (incl the F1 route) were a good way to look around. We have stayed in Barcelona, but I wouldn't do it again for just passing; complex to navigate and just can't get a good look in time. Carrying on across the border takes you to my favourite part of France in around 7hrs from Valencia. Narbonne, Beziers (slightly out of the way) Carcassone (not in the August season) you can't go wrong. From there, Agen, Angouleme, Poitiers, Le Mans I've enjoyed stopping off at all of them.

For the Atlantic route, I can second the mentions for Toledo (short run, so plenty of time to look around and well worth it) and Burgos although both places had hotel parking at a premium. I'm heading this way in November. I shall avoid Pamplona as I stayed there outside of the San Fermin season and thought it was dull. I'm aiming to get just north of Madrid on day 1 (Guadalajara?) and spending the next night just over the border around Bayonne or Dax, Bordeaux wasn't my cuppa. If anyone has suggestions in this area I'd appreciate them.

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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby Devils Advocate » Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:32 pm

Many thanks for the further replies guys appreciated.
We are now on the journey. We stayed in Saint Jean D'Angeley near La Rochelle after driving fron St Malo on Tuesday. Nice central hotel with a good French restaurant which we used. As per usual France closed at 8.30pm so it was a good job the hotel had a kitchen lol

Last night we stayed in Miranda de Ebro. What a lovely place the old town is. Loveley evening and excellent meal at a great little restaurant. We shall return.

Today though has topped the lot. Wow wow wow. Thank you for the suggestion of Segovia. What a stunning place. Stopped in a small bar for lunch and the lovely couple suggested a town called Pedraza.....anybody been there? I am typing from Hotel la villa at present in Pedraza. What a stunning place. Problem is for such a small town the choices of restaurants for tonight will be awkward. They all look beautiful and it'll be a flick of a coin I reckon as to which one to use.....incredible place and it has made the trip for us.

Again thanks guys. Suggestions on here this year and last have made the holiday what it is

Andalucia tomorrow. Cheers and thanks :thumbup:
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Re: 2018 road trip to the Casa. More ideas like last year please.

Postby olive » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:34 pm

Yes, yes , yes but how many punctures have you had? :lolno:

I have added Pedraza to our Segovia itinerary.


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