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Spanish Basque Country
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Spanish Basque Country, A Destination with Character

Wherever you go in Basque Country, you will see this word: Euskadi. What does it mean? Simply it’s the name of this proud northern Spanish community in their own language. A land that is today politically peaceful but where identity remains strong and essential, even beyond administrative boundaries. Thus, while the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country includes only Álava (San Sebastián), Gipuzcoa (Vitoria) and Bizkaia (Bilbao), the Basque Cultural Region extends to  Navarre  (Pamplona).


As one of the oldest and most culturally rich regions in Europe, Basque Country has many beauties to unveil: from the seaside tranquillity of San Sebastián to the cultural and architectural treasures of Bilbao, and from the raw nature of the Bizkaia coast to the picturesque villages with their verdant landscape surroundings. Basque Country is as famous for its sense of celebration as its internationally renowned cuisine. From the smallest bar to the most prestigious Michelin starred restaurant, this is taste-bud paradise. 


Euskadi is a delight for the senses with a character as special as its people. Let our hoteliers guide you through Basque Country. Discover its main attractions, things to do and what to visit thanks to our top hotels in Basque Country.
 

Nature, Culture, Gastronomy
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Spanish Basque Country: THE HOTELS

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Hotel & Spa Etxegana,
The Originals Relais
(Relais du Silence)

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Spanish Basque Country: Be inspired

What to do, to see, to hear...

Transports in Spanish Basque Country

There are two main ways to get to Basque Country – by road or by air. The first option will likely take you through the beautiful landscapes of Iparralde (include the French Basque Country ) via the A63 and then into scenic Hegoalda (Spanish Basque Country, CQFD) on the AP-8. Those who love taking their time on back roads, can head into a network of small roads that criss-cross the Pyrenees. Of course, if you’re in a hurry, then hop on a plane and fly into Bilbao or San Sebastián. If you are flying into San Sebastian from outside Spain, then our hoteliers recommend allowing a little extra time because the airport only serves domestic flights and a stopover in one of Spain’s main cities can’t be avoided. 

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Best time to go to Spanish Basque Country

Like its landscapes, the Basque Country offers a climate of contrasts. The Atlantic coast of Biscay and Guipúzcoa, enjoy an oceanic climate which is soft but windy with grey skies being more common than you might like. Álava and northern Navarra however enjoy a sunny and warm (summers in Navarra can get very hot) Mediterranean climate. In general, Basque Country is characterized by its high rainfall, so our hoteliers strongly recommend bringing an umbrella because even in the middle of summer showers are not uncommon.  For the best holiday weather June to October are the most conducive for outside exploring. But, if you’re headed to Navarra or more southerly, then spring and autumn offer less oppressive temperatures.  
 

What to do in Spanish Basque Country ?

Paddle out into the surf break or leave footsteps in the sand on the beaches of Basque Country’s coastline, march with Roland in the valley of Roncesvalles, find your way back to nature in one of the regions many beautiful parks, bring out your inner foodie and indulge in a few (too many) pintxos, and engage in a little linguistic Olympics as you try your tongue at Basque – whatever you choose to do in Basque Country the experience opportunities are endless. Let our hoteliers guide you through this special region from the curves of the Guggenheim to running with the bulls in Pamplona.  Find out here the main attractions, things to do and what to visit in the Spanish Basque Country.

Vitoria-Gasteiz 

 

The capital of the Spanish Basque Country (seat of the Government and Parliament of the Autonomous Community). In addition to its one-of-a-kind medieval quarter, its 2 beautiful cathedrals and its many museums, Vitoria-Gasteiz stands out with its quality of life afforded in the six large parks that surround the city. A visit to any of them on foot or by bike is a chance to get up close to some of the region’s prettiest fauna and flora. Understandably this “green ring” of natural parks earned the city the certification of "Biosphere Responsible Tourism".

Pamplona

 

The former capital of the Kingdom of Navarre is a glorious city made even more vibrant by its calendar of festivals and celebrations. The best known are the festivals of San Fermin in July. Dressing in white and red in the typical Pamplonica costume is all but compulsory. Between the fiestas take time to relax in one of the city’s many parks or explore a little of the historic centre nestled in the shadow of the its medieval fortifications. Stroll in the beautiful Catillo square and stop at Cafe Iruña, one of the oldest in Spain.

Hondarribia

 

This little piece of Spanish land faces the French commune of Hendaye across the bay. The town’s fortifications have protected the Kingdom of Spain since the days of Charles V and now hide a labyrinth of cobbled streets and monuments. Head to the waterside and spend some time in the fishermen’s district where the traditional Basque houses with their window shutters and colourful balconies mingle with the many bars and restaurants. 

Go Green

 

 Nature lovers will find their happiness in Basque Country. Not far from Bilbao, by the sea, the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve reveals its amazing colors between holm oak forests and aquatic vegetation. Those who prefer steeper terrain will appreciate the Gorbeia Nature Parks (Álava Province) or Aizkorri-Aratz (between Álava and Gipuzkoa). For a total change of scenery head to Navarre where the desert of Bárdenas Reales and its lunar landscape is breath-taking. 
 

Bilbao

 

The most important city in the Basque Country is worth much more than a detour. Heavy industrialisation and a crippling economy crisis shaped the city right up until the 1980’s. But then the city experienced a turnaround so significant it’s actually called ‘The Bilbao Effect’. Starting in the 90’s the city began its evolution into a world famous architectural and design hub. The Guggenheim Museum of course must be visited, but don’t neglect the Zubizurri footbridge as well the old town that is full of charming shops, trendy bars and artists studios. 

San Sebastián

 

 Welcome to one of the chicest seaside resorts in Spain. Donostia (its Basque name) has retained remarkable Belle Epoque architecture, narrow streets perfect for strolling in the old town and magnificent La Concha for bay-side relaxing. Head up to Mount Igueldo via the funicular or Mount Urgull on foot for the best city views. And, as for cuisine "in San Sé'" you’ll eat the best pintxos in all of Basque Country. 

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Basque Gastronomy Has Its Head in The Stars

Markets are the bastions of the Basque soul. So much so that a folk song lists the most beautiful: "Monday in Guernica, Wednesday in Ordizia, Saturday in Tolosa". What ends up on your plate in the region’s best restaurants started its life as a chef’s inspiration here in the markets. And what an inspiration! 16 Michelin stars spread over 9 restaurants in San Sebastián alone! If the starry flavours aren’t enough to lure you in, then our hoteliers insist you indulge in the ritual of txikiteo. This is serious business in Basque Country and consists of a tour of your favourite bars indulging in as many pintxos as possible, all accompanied by txakoli (regional white wine) or sagarnoa (cider).

Spanish Basque Country

eMe Be Garrote

Housed in a former cider house in San Sebastián, this restaurant offers traditional and regional cuisine brought bang up to date. Surrounded by impressively sized old casks, you will enjoy Michelin star awarded dishes that are presented in the wonderful style of "Euskandinave". 1 Michelin star.

Spanish Basque Country

La Cuchara de San Telmo

If you eat pintxos in only one place in San Sebastián, then this is the place. Invariably crowded the restaurant offers you an opportunity to practice your patience and how to fit your elbows in to the dining area but the inventive miniature cuisine is worthy of the best restaurants in the city. And in San Sebastián that’s saying something.

Spanish Basque Country

Etxanobe

Located on the 3rd floor of Palacio Euskalduna in the modern district of Bilbao, this restaurant offers something unique. Exquisite flavours, a harmony of colours and cleverly conceived texture pairings are firmly in the spotlight. The decor, like the dishes is amazing and imaginative. 

Spanish Basque Country

El Portalón

Housed in a 15th century house. (with a chapel!), this restaurant in the historic district of Vitoria offers traditional Basque flavours with vegetables and game prominently featured. The setting seduces as much as the flavours with its ancient décor and its showroom of antiques and sculptures.

Spanish Basque Country

Rodero

The cosy and family atmosphere in this renowned 1 Michelin star Pamplona establishment has a menu of varied and original flavours that is modern but relies heavily on making the best of the best local produce. How about some ice cream with asparagus and caviar?