Basque Country

Spain
Bilbao showing modern architecture, night scenes and a city
Proudly unique in its cultural heritage, this region has ancient traditions and a fascinating lineage woven into its cuisine, cities, villages and archaeological sites.

Discover the millennia-old history of Basque Country when you explore this mountainous region that nudges the Atlantic Ocean in the north of Spain. Known to its inhabitants as Euskadi, this fiercely proud region has a distinct language, world-renowned cuisine and time-honored traditions. Check out ancient religious monuments, gorgeous beaches and gleaming modern museums or treat yourself to gastronomical delights in the Basque Country’s winemaking region.

The captivating old town of Vitoria-Gasteiz is the Basque capital, though its larger counterparts Bilbao and San Sebastián often overshadow the romantic medieval city.

Explore Bilbao’s revitalized waterfront to visit the monumental Guggenheim Museum and admire the city’s metropolitan skyline. Travel east to Guernica, a city whose near devastation in the Spanish Civil War was immortalized by Picasso’s famous painting of the same name.

Check out Donostia-San Sebastián to experience the Basque Country’s fabulous coastline. Stretch out on the sand at the lively Playa la Concha or wander around the city’s spacious and historic plazas. The San Telmo Museum is a fantastic resource for learning about prehistoric and contemporary Basque culture.

Go on a coastal road trip to explore the captivating seaside towns of Zarautz, Sopelana, Getxo and Plentzia. Visit the town of Bermeo for the dramatic chapel of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, perched on an island. Experience the surf scene on Laga Beach in Ibarrangelu.

The Basque Country’s rugged interior has captivated trekkers for centuries, from the prehistoric painters of the Ekain Cave to the pilgrims of the Way of Saint James (Camino de Santiago). Follow this trail to Santiago de Compostela via medieval villages, including Markina-Xemein. Alternatively, explore the riverside hiking trails in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve.

All over the region, you’ll be enticed by traditional Basque delights, including regional wines and pintxos, which are similar to tapas.

Basque Country is easily accessible via the region’s international airports in San Sebastián and Bilbao. The region has a good network of local trains and buses however, you may need a rental car to reach the mountainous landscapes of the interior.

Popular cities in Basque Country

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao which includes night scenes and modern architecture
Bilbao
Known for Museums, Poolside bars and Walking
This former industrial city is now a major European arts center, home to cultural attractions including the famous Guggenheim Museum.

Reasons to visit

  • Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
  • San Mames Stadium
  • Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
San Sebastian which includes a city, a bay or harbour and a coastal town
San Sebastián
Known for Beach view, Poolside bars and Walking
Explore the charming streets, experience the dynamic culture of the city and soak up the Spanish sun while enjoying the view over the Bay of Biscay.

Reasons to visit

  • Donostia-San Sebastian Aquarium
  • Monte Igueldo
  • Concha Promenade
Plaza Gipuzkoa showing a park, flowers and heritage architecture
Hondarribia
Known for Historical, Poolside bars and Castle
Near San Sebastián, discover a picturesque town with a charming fisherman’s quarter, a sandy beach, historical sites and excellent restaurants and bars.

Reasons to visit

  • Plaza Gipuzkoa
  • Calle San Pedro