Explore Basque Country

Explore Basque Country
This is a unique community in Spain, Basque Country, which linguistically and culturally spans the northeaster part of Spain and southwestern part of France. The Basque people have fought for their designation as an autonomous community, which give them status of nationality in specifically in Spain and doesn’t cover the entire area. Many people are familiar with its fight for autonomy (the Spain-ETA conflict) but know very few know about the culture of the people. It is a fantastic region of Spain to visit with beautiful coastlines, an inspiring culinary scene, and a modern lifestyle.
San Sebastian
Biboa's Flower Dog

Places to Visit in Basque Country

Spanish side

  • San Sebastian
  • Bilbao
  • Barakaldo
  • Vitoria-Gasteiz
  • Irun
  • Pamploma

French Side

  • St. Jean de Luz
  • Bayonee
  • St. Jean Pied de Port

Unique Things to See and Do in Basque Country

  • Tour the Cave of Altmira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain
  • Visit the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao
  • Hit the beach, La Concha, in San Sebastian
  • Admire Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” in Gernika
  • From Spain, you can cross over into the French villages and enjoy eating local chocolates and cheeses. (You’ll need your passport)

The Basque Region

Food Culture
It is really difficult to not mention the amazing Pintxos or tapas that you can get in Basque. Basque has a rich culture of tapas bars, even though it thought that tapas originated in the southern parts of Spain. In Basque the tapas are abundant with seafood from

San Sebastian is famous for its gorgeous beaches and amazing tapas bars in the old town. If you like sparkling wines then the Txakoli is a must try will in Basque. It is the champagne of Spain- very dry and low alcohol content. A great to start the day of tapas hopping. The first Pintxo to try is the Gilda, which is made with Guindilla pepper, anchovy, and green olive all on toothpick. San Sebastian is known for its culinary excellence and the tapas bars range from traditional older world spots, to a hip food culture incorporating different textures and flavours you can’t find elsewhere.

A couple of must-see/do items

San Sebastian
Lay on the beach at La Concha and take in the tapas bars.

This area has been revitalized and features the Guggenheim Bilao in the Old Town. Be sure to look for the flowering dog monument

The most known festival is the Running of the Bulls, but Pamplona is also a fantastic city for those who love history and architecture.

Vitoria Gasteiz
This is the capital of the Basque Autonomous Community. It is best known for its medieval streets and plazas.

Did you know…?

That Idiazabal cheese is from the Basque Region, which is an unpasteurized sheep’s milk cheese.

Idiazabal Cheese

Did you ALSO know…?

The Basque language is officially called the Euskara.

Getting around Basque Country

The best way to get to most of the major towns in the Basque country is by train. The train rides are quick, easy, and comfortable. Y Vasca is a high speed rail network that is being built between Bilbao, Vitoria-Gasteiz, and Donostia-San Sebastian and will be fully up and operational in 2015, or so authorities have advised.

But if you are looking to save a few Euros you can always take a bus as well. If you are travelling from Madrid, busses depart from the Agenda de America station.

Renting a car is a great way to see the countryside, plus if affords some free time to explore the countryside and stop for snacks along the way. Renting a car can be quite costly if you are renting in Spain and out of your home country, so if you can plan ahead and book your car early. Plus the tolls between Baiona and Donostia are pretty expensive.

The only airports are located in Bilbao (Loiu airport), Vitoria-Gasteiz (Foronda airport), and in San Sebastian (Hondarribia airport) which only flys to/from Barcelona and Madrid.

Best time of year to travel to Basque Country

One thing that everyone should know before venturing to Basque is that it rains quite a bit and everyone should bring a raincoat here, particularly in the winter months. The spring through to fall are the best times to travel, although August is the month when all Europeans travel and so it can get a bit crowded. Plus the Pamplona city is very crowded during July for the Running of the Bulls festival that is held in the San Fermin area. There will be big crowds and lots of nighttime partying.

The average temperatures in Bibao reach a high of 26C in the summer time, and low of 6C in the winter time. Whereas a little farther inland the summer temperatures will reach a couple of degrees higher, 28C and in the winter it could drop down to 2C.  Along the coastline in San Sebastian, the summer temperatures can reach a high of 25C, and in the winter months drop as low as 6C. Along the coast it can feel cooler with the Atlantic winds passing through.

Ready to plan your visit to Basque Country? Check out these popular guides and trips.

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