We recently spent our first and last nights in Spain near Bilbao’s Sondika Airport, and thought we’d share our impressions. The first night was spent in the Hotel Andrea in Derio, just minutes from the airport. It’s in a huge building that used to be a monastery. It’s kind of lonely, though, in the middle of nothing special. The room was large and adequate, and the bathroom was spacious, but had a problem in the bath with mold growing on the wallpaper near the window (odd, since most Spanish bathrooms are completely tiled). We weren’t too thrilled until breakfast the next morning. It took a while to find it, but the luxurious buffet-style breakfast was in a gorgeous banquet room, complete with extremely high ceilings, stained glass windows, giant oil paintings, chandeliers, flower arrangements, etc. It was the best hotel breakfast we had anywhere in Spain. (Price: 87.74 € for a triple, tax and breakfast included, more expensive Monday through Thursday)

The last night we went to Getxo, 15 minutes north of the airport on the coast, since it was an infinitely more interesting place to be. Getxo has beautiful old mansions that have been converted into hotels, and we stayed at one called Hotel Artaza . I loved this place. It had thick stone walls, and our room, with three beds, was an absolutely enormous corner room with high ceilings and simple, elegant furniture. The hotel is in a park, and the beautiful restaurant and bar are very popular with the locals, who fill the terraces in the evening. The people who worked at the desk were exceptionally friendly and helpful. Even though it was the most expensive hotel we stayed in, it was well worth it. (price for triple: 108.54 €, tax and breakfast included)