Travel to the Basque Country, for fine living

  • Basque Country, Spain
    © iStockphoto.com / Mimadeo
  • Basque Country, Spain
    © iStockphoto.com / Mimadeo
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Spain

Originally a holiday destination for high society, the Basque Country is a region that exudes history and culture. Try the delicious 'pintxos' and wines, take part in all kinds of sports (surfing, cycling, walking, boat regattas, Basque pelota, etc.), participate in cultural events, get closer to nature... The possibilities are endless in the Spanish Basque Country.

Basque Country: the key figures

Surface area : 7234.0 km2

Population : 2193000 inhabitants

  • Heaven on earth for nature and sports lovers
  • The best chefs in Spain are to be found here
  • The fantastic food served all over the region
  • The towns and villages don't get too crowded
  • To see some of the landscapes, you will have to cross mountain passes
  • The political situation is sensitive and there is pressure from radical nationalists

Basque Country: what to visit?

Landscapes

  • Valleys of the Spanish Basque Country , The valleys of the Spanish Basque Country , Spain
    Valleys of the Spanish Basque Country
  • The Enchanted Forest , Spain
    The Enchanted Forest
  • Mountains of the Spanish Basque Country , The mountains of the Basque Country , Spain
    Mountains of the Spanish Basque Country
  • Rioja Alavesa , Spain
    Rioja Alavesa
  • The Añana salt ponds , Spain
    The Añana salt ponds
  • Ullíbarri-Gamboa and Urrunaga Reservoirs , Spain
    Ullíbarri-Gamboa and Urrunaga Reservoirs
  • Ullíbarri-Gamboa and Urrunaga Reservoirs , Spain

Coasts

  • Fuenterrabía , Spain
    Fuenterrabía
  • La Concha , Spain
    La Concha
  • Zarautz Beach , Zarrautz beach , Spain
    Zarautz Beach
  • Ondarroa , Spain
    Ondarroa
  • Mundaka , Spain
    Mundaka
  • Bakio , Spain
    Bakio
  • Bakio , Spain

The fauna and flora

  • Valderejo Natural Park , A refuge for predatory birds , Spain
    Valderejo Natural Park
  • The Urdaibai Nature Reserve, Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, The fauna and flora, Basque Country
    Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve
  • The booted eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus), Izki National Park, The fauna and flora, Basque Country
    Izki National Park
  • Rocks in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Gaztelugatxe, The fauna and flora, Basque Country
    Gaztelugatxe
  • Aralar Natural Park , Spain
    Aralar Natural Park
  • Aralar Natural Park , Spain

Arts and culture

  • The stained glass window room, 'Casa de Juntas' (assembly house) in Guernica, Arts and culture, Basque Country
    'Casa de Juntas' (assembly house) in Guernica
  • The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Arts and culture, Basque Country
    Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
  • Mediterranean moray (Muraena helena), San Sebastián Aquarium, Arts and culture, Basque Country
    San Sebastián Aquarium
  • Chillida-Leku Museum , Spain
    Chillida-Leku Museum
  • , San Telmo Museum, Arts and culture, Basque Country
    San Telmo Museum
  • , Palacio de Miramar, Arts and culture, Basque Country
    Palacio de Miramar
  • Cultural heritage , Spain
    Cultural heritage
  • The Way of Saint James , Spain
    The Way of Saint James
  • Religious buildings , Spain
    Religious buildings
  • Teatro Arriaga , Spain
    Teatro Arriaga
  • Teatro Arriaga , Spain

Basque Country: what to buy?

There is a great variety and diversity to the products you can buy here, ranging from the antiques on sale in the three provincial capitals to crafts made according to Basque traditions. High quality food products are also available in abundance, and often display the 'K' label awarded by the Kalitatea foundation. The products to look out for include Idiazábal cheese, cured pork meats, pastries ('vasquitos', 'neskitas', filled fried croutons from Bergara, 'tejas de Tolosa', and 'canutillos de Bilbao'), and Rioja Alavesa wines, Astigarraga cider, and Guetaria or Bakio txacoli. The shops generally open from 9:00am to 1:30pm and from 4:00pm to 8:00pm, and lots of businesses are also open on Saturdays. VAT is included in the selling price and stated on receipts, but does not apply to all purchases.

Basque Country: what to eat?

The Basque Country is famous worldwide for the quality of its traditional food and for the concepts behind its nouvelle cuisine. The dishes seen most often are based on fish or meat, which may be braised or served in various kinds of salad, and are often accompanied by pulses, green vegetables, and side salads. Homemade desserts, pastries, dairy products, and cheeses often round of the meal. Rioja Alavesa wine is considered one of the finest in the world, and cider and 'txacoli' are other traditional drinks in the region.

Basque Country: travel tips

If you are travelling to the Basque Country by car, you will be able to access any part of the region's wonderful nature, from the coastlines to the forests and up into the mountains. Whichever province of the Spanish Basque Country you happen to find yourself in, you will always be able to eat well, whether your meal is prepared by an unassuming inn or a great restaurant. The most fun and traditional activities invariably involve enjoying 'pintxos' and tasting other delicious dishes (always prepared the same day) that can be found in all of the bars and inns in the Spanish Basque Country. Meat, fish, pulses, fresh vegetables... The exceptional quality of the ingredients is matched by the mouth-watering recipes in this paradise of good food. The same goes for the wine, as the region has a strong wine-growing culture. For this reason, it is important to choose the label carefully and only drink from bottles that have been opened on the same day. During your time in the Spanish Basque Country, you will most probably see references (paintings, lists of demands) to the ETA group, but none of this, nor the general atmosphere in the region, should detract from your holiday in the slightest.

Basque Country: Latest hotel reviews
  • 8.35 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Silken Gran Hotel Domine
    Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    The Gran Hotel Domine seems to be trying to capitalise on Bilbao's ...

  • 8.3 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Astoria 7
    San Sebastien - Spain
    Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    This quirky and modern hotel is a relatively recent addition ...

  • 8.05 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Miro Hotel Bilbao
    Bilbao - Spain
    Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    This gorgeous boutique hotel is ideally situated just a five ...

  • 7.95 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    NH Villa De Bilbao
    Bilbao - Spain
    Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    This recently renovated, immaculate hotel is so clean and sparkling ...

  • 7.95 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Ercilla Lopez De Haro
    Hotel 5 Etoile(s)

    This five star hotel in one of Bilbao's calm business and residential ...

  • 7.85 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Carlton Hotel
    Bilbao - Spain
    Hotel 3 Etoile(s)

    This grand hotel in the classic Basque style is all about service ...

  • 7.8 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Abando
    Bilbao - Spain
    Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    Hotel Abando is the sister hotel to the five star Hotel Carlton ...

  • 7.6 /10
    Rated by Easyvoyage
    Silken Indautxu
    Bilbao - Spain
    Hotel 4 Etoile(s)

    One of the Silken chain's many hotels in the Basque Country, ...

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