A Day Of Fun Traveling From Santander to La Rioja Spain

Continuing on with our 8 week summer road trip, Alan requested the Guggenheim-Bilbao be included in our travels.  See, I do let the family contribute!  While we didn’t have plans to stay directly in Bilbao, I knew we would be passing on our travel day from Santander to La Rioja.  It was going to be a short 2 hour drive and Bilbao would be just about half way.  So let the travel day begin!

From Santander to La Rioja, make a stop at the Guggenheim Bilbao Basque Country Spain

 

Traveling from Santander to La Rioja

We really don’t usually like travel days.  It often consists of us waking the kids up early, 10 or 11 am!  Then a quick bite to eat of the food we have handy or perhaps we seek something out along the way.  During this trip, I tried to ensure we had no more than 4 hours of driving on any given travel day.  Sometimes, I would even plan on things to see or do along the way, which does tend to drag out the dreaded travel day.  This day was one of those occasions.

Driving through the Basque Country Spain

We spent about an hour of driving through the incredible green rolling mountains, which are of course green because it often rains.  This travel day was no exception.  I even enjoyed the road signs with little storm clouds on them.  I just had to get a photo.

Driving through the Basque Country Spain - Cloud road signs

In no time at all, we made our way to Bilbao.  Bilbao is a gorgeous city and port town in the Basque Country.  We had just a little taste of the city, but we will be back to explore more.

The last stretch of the drive before our Guggenheim exit was through a long tunnel.  Just when we popped out of the other side, it was as if we drove into the land of modern art.  There was an amazing bridge with the Guggenheim museum just to the right.  It was a beautiful and refreshing vision, after being in “traditional Spain” for so long.

Guggenheim Bilbao Basque Country Spain

We were all very excited, but there was one problem.  This happened to be one of those travel days when we really didn’t have breakfast and said “we will just stop along the way”.  Well, there wasn’t much along the way, so we had some very hungry travelers.  We parked near the museum and then sought out food.

As it was about 12 noon, Alan and the kids opted for kebabs and I walked around in search of a bakery.  I was successful with my quest and the other family members were also happy with their selection.  Next it was on to the museum!

The Guggenheim in Bilbao, the perfect stop from Santander to La Rioja

Guggenheim Bilbao Basque Country Spain

Website for the Guggenheim Bilbao, just in case you want to add to your itinerary.

The first thing we noticed was the gigantic puppy dog sculpture made from fresh flowers.  It was absolutely amazing.  We were a little concerned with the kids being bored in the museum, but it turns out that we had nothing to worry about.  We were there a few hours and not once was there a complaint.  In fact, there were times when we had to rush them along.

Guggenheim Bilbao Basque Country Spain Andy Warhol exhibitWe had a bit of fun taking photos in the Andy Warhol Exhibit and going through the mazes on the lower level as well.  There were some really weird and dark exhibits as well, but we enjoyed them all.  We even loved hanging out around back, along the river.  There is so much to see inside and out, so we would recommend a stop by for sure.

Guggenheim Bilbao Basque Country Spain fun outside

Continuing on our trip from Santander to La Rioja

Next it was on to La Rioja, Navarrete to be exact.  This was a little bit of a dip south off of the coast, but we need to drop Lars off for his week of volunteer work.  Yep, Lars was volunteering at a teen camp for the week.  He was offering up his native English-speaking skills, in exchange for a memorable week at camp.  He will write-up a bit more about his adventures for that week, but he left with many lifelong friendships.

Alan, Anya and I stayed nearby in an apartment right in Navarrete as well.  When I booked the apartment, I had no idea how close it would be to Lars.  I just didn’t want to have to do loads of driving when we dropped him off or picked him up.  Turns out, it was less than a 10 minute walk from our place.

What is there to do in Navarrete?

Next up on the blog, we will share with you what we did as a family of 3 for a week in La Rioja Spain.  If you don’t know about La Rioja, then I will tell you it is a famous wine region in Spain.  I bet you won’t have to think to hard to figure out what types of activities we enjoyed.  Stay tuned.

Here is another look at the Spain map for you.  The Basque Country is the little coral colored bit up in the top center, with La Rioja in a pale cream just below.Spain map- visit Galicia, visit Asturias, Visit Cantabria, Visit La Rioja, Visit Northern Spain.

Have you visited Santander, Guggenheim or La Rioja?  Tell us about it below.

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