My husband and I are in the process of planning a 10 day trip to Spain. We'd like to try to hit three cities. We have done a great deal of research or restaurants in Barcelona and San Sebastian, so I'm all set in that department. What I could really use help on is planning our travel itinerary and determining what other city we should visit.
We're thinking of flying into Bilbao and spending the day there so my husband can see the Guggenheim.
Next we plan to travel by train to San Sebastian and spend three days there.
From San Sebastian we plan to go back to Bilbao and fly down to Barcelona where we will spend about five days, before flying home to the States. We wanted to do Barcelona last since the other portion of the trip will be more hectic. We're looking forward to Barcelona the most and figure it will be nice to end the trip by staying five day straight, and getting to relax and enjoy the city- especially after the first half of the trip, which could get a little crazy since we'll be traveling a bit.
My questions are the following:
1) Is it worth it to spend the night in Bilbao, or are we better off just getting on our way after the museum and lunch?
2) This is where I could use the most help- Does it make sense to go somewhere in La Rioja for a day or two between Bilbao and San Sebastian or before Barcelona? If so, any recommendations and can we do this by train? We live in NYC and neither of us drives a lot and I don't know how comfortable we'll feel testing our skills in a foreign country. That said, I've read that they train systems are not always the most reliable. I don't want to waste too much time on delays, etc. Are we making a big mistake trying to do this by train?
3) if La Rioja does not make sense, is there another city near Barcelona that we should visit as either a day trip or overnight?
I realize my second question is complicated, so a huge thanks in advance for any help you can provide. We're so excited about this trip and really want to make the most of it.