Take a trip to Basque Country
The Spanish Basque Country is located on the southwest border with France, which also has a French Basque Country, with a common language and culture. They are a very old people, dating back before the arrival of the Romans. The whole region is worth visiting, as there are so many landscapes and small villages to discover from San Sebastian to Bilbao. Mountains and green plains will appear throughout your trip, without forgetting the steep coastline, where you will find beautiful seaside resorts. The Basque Country is also very famous for being the first wine region in Spain, and for having a very refined gastronomy.
Tour guides in Basque Country
Five ideas for guided tours in Basque Country
Bilbao, which borders the estuary of the river Ria de Ibaizabal, also known as Nervion, meets in its northern suburbs the Cantabrian Sea, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. The city, long neglected, has regained a strong tourist attraction, with a beautiful architectural harmony, as the old town with small streets in checkerboard, interspersed with beautiful squares where we join the quays of the Ria, or the fishermen’s neighborhoods, which remain very lively and colorful. Not far away, majestic buildings, dating from the 19th century, stand in the middle of wide avenues and more modern buildings. Great contemporary architects have designed beautiful complexes, such as the cultural center of La Alhondiga, designed by Philippe Starck. In addition to the city’s many attractions, Bilbao is world-renowned for housing the magnificent Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art, one of the foundation’s three buildings worldwide. It was built in 1997.
Guernica is located 30 minutes drive from Bilbao, in the province of Bizkaia. This city is forever marked by the Spanish Civil War, and the bombing of the civilian population on April 26, 1937 by the Nazi allies of dictator Francisco Franco. The artist Pablo Picasso created a monumental fresco in memory of this tragic event. Today, the city has been completely rebuilt, and it is a pleasant city full of attractions that travelers who visit it will discover. You will discover a bit of the Basque Country’s history. Under the tree of Guernica, an old oak of almost 150 years, the autonomy of the Basque people was declared in the Middle Ages, which was governed next door in the House of Assemblies, or Casa de Juntas. Gernika-Lumo is also an ideal starting point for hiking in the Urdaibai Natural Park, which runs along the estuary of the river Oka through different landscapes of forests, marshes, and sea dunes. This enchanting universe, which can be visited by boat, accompanied by a guide, is populated by many wading birds and other birds, as well as many wild animals.
Queen Maria Cristina’s old resort town, in the mid-nineteenth century, has kept its fame, and remains one of the favorite areas for tourists who come to visit the Basque Country. The beautiful white sandy beaches of La Concha and La Perla are there to prove it, whose beautiful promenade along them attracts a crazy crowd. It leads to the pretty fishing port of San Sebastian and, if you continue, you can climb to the top of Mount Urgull, which has preserved its fortifications, and from which you can enjoy a panoramic view of the bay. The city is called Donostia in Basque. A little further on, you can walk to the top of Monte Igueldo, which offers another view of the city (you can take the funicular up), and then go back down to the historical center, passing by the Guipuzcoa square, and finally the Parte Vieja district, with its countless bars. This is where you will taste the best pinxos, a kind of tapas of the most refined.
The small fishing village of Fontarrable, or Hondarribia in Basque, has everything you need for a successful vacation. Fontarrable is located on the estuary of the Bidasoa River, which faces France. The city is surrounded by ramparts, which are crossed by old drawbridges. Inside, in the Place des Armes, there is a Charles V castle, now a luxury hotel. The historic center is a tangle of cobbled streets. We like to walk and admire the beautiful colored houses, with beautiful balconies full of flowers. The main street, Kale Nagusi, is home to most of the beautiful historic houses and the majority of the most beautiful buildings in the Old Town. Heading north, you will reach the harbor and its marina, with its many bars and restaurants, by a beautiful walk. Further on, you will be able to relax and have a good time on the beautiful beach of Hondarribia. To have a global view of Hondarribia, go up to the top of Jaizkibel mountain and observe the bay of Chingoudy in all its splendor.
St. John of Gaztelugatxe
The small island of Gaztelugatxe, on the coast of Bizkaia, 35 kilometers from Bilbao, belongs to the city of Bermeo. It is connected to the land by a bridge. It is in this absolutely beautiful setting that some scenes of the series Games of Thrones were shot. The place is famous for having a hermitage dating from the 10th century, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. It is reached by a narrow path that climbs up 240 stone steps. On all sides, there are magnificent views of the ocean, the cliffs, and a prodigious arch that the sea has carved out by the force of the waves.