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Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. We were limited in time and really wanted to travel around more rural and smaller places.
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Please, include something related to Portugal. I have plans to travel to Europe next year and I am reading your blog to take some tips. Fantastic post about Basque Region. I would like to read something about Galicia.
Here we have a lot of interest places, for example the Cies Islands and Rodas Beach which is considered one of the best beaches in the world. Thanks for your posts. We love this part of northern Spain and it looks like a great 3-day itinerary. We were there on our epic 8 week summer road trip in Spain, 2 years ago and loved the Guggenheim Museum. I was pleased our teen and tween were interested. Summers are glorious and the sea is so beautiful.
It is also worth a quick dip down to do some wine tasting in La Rioja. Great article Margarita! I noticed that you still haven't explored Eastern Europe what I highly recommend. I'm originally from Ukraine and have recently made a guide to my hometown Lviv. Check it out in case you're interested. San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Image: DepositPhotos. Accommodation in Basque Country Booking. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee. Flights to Spain Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights.
The terrain isn't rocky but there will be lots of steps to climb! The rest of the hike lasts for 7 km and while it is more moderate, you will need to navigate your way across a few rocks, which can be challenging for some.
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During each section, the total gain of altitude is about m m in total. Serving up pintxos, a Basque variation of tapas, the bars are rammed to the rafters with locals and visitors alike who go to eat and be merry. Try artisan cheese, cider and even seafood delicacies such as txangurro, a spider crab dish. The three bars are different in style, giving you a glimpse of the many types of pintxos bars in town.
Learn the difference between a sagardotegi and sociedad gastronomica, and marvel at the creative flair shown in each one. You will not receive a full meal, but will get to sample 5 snacks pintoxs throughout the tour. In addition to learning about Basque gastronomy and digging in to the pintxos, you will enjoy a walking tour of the city and get to know San Sebastian like a local — by walking and eating!
The culinary heart of the city, Parte Vieja is where the most popular — and reportedly the best — pintxos bars are found. While similar to traditional Spanish tapas, pintxos are smaller and are often served on a small piece of bread with a toothpick pierced through the middle. These beautifully prepared, bite-sized morsels are a Basque Country specialty, and best when paired with a refreshing glass of wine or cider. Navigate your way through the bustling streets of the Old Town with your guide. Walking through Parte Vieja in the evening is a real feast for the senses, with bar after bar bursting with hot and cold pintxos and the smell of rich meats and fresh fish rising in the air.
It is a pleasure to stroll down its streets and take in the unique scenery while stopping once in a while at the stores and boutiques that sell not only the famous peppers but also many more local products such as chocolate and cheese. Jean Pied-de-Port. It is a walled village and has numerous gates.
Jean Pied-de-Port is also a popular starting point for many pilgrims traveling along the Camino de Santiago. The camino is also listed as a World Heritage by Unesco. The Basque coast is full of beaches and there are far too many to even mention here. However, whichever kind of beach you are looking for, whether it is a city beach, a wild isolated beach, or anything else in between, you will find it in the Basque Country.
Laida is quite special because it is located in the middle of an estuary and changes depending on the tide to reveal more or less of the sandbanks. Lekeitio - A small town with a few special beaches and crystal clear turquoise water. In the bay lies an island that can be reached via a sandbank during low tide. Hendaye - A 3km long sandy beach located on the French-Spanish border. Biarritz - Posh beach resort that is popular among surfers.
Saint Jean De Luz - Small beach resort that has a gentle bay and a beautiful old town. Good for families with small children. Zarautz - Home to the longest beach in the Spanish Basque Country, known as "the queen of the beaches," and also to famous waves that attract surfers from all over the world.
La Rioja is synonymous with Spanish wine and for good reason. Although Spain in general has very good wines, the bulk of the best wines are without a doubt coming from La Rioja. Only Rioja Alavesa is located in the Basque Country and most points of interest are located within this region. However, if you are really into wine, it might be worth it to explore the entire region as the wine from the three different parts have their own particular characteristics.
Not only is the wine amazing, but there are also many points of interest to be explored. Laguardia is a small, walled town set atop a hill in the heart of La Rioja Alavesa. The town once held a strategic military position and, because of this, tunnels and cellars were built under the houses. After it was no longer of any military value, the villagers began to take advantage of the cellars perfect conditions for creating wine. And the rest is history. Today, there are several wineries that still use the cellars and it is possible to tour them. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of bodegas in the region.
Some are very traditional and some very modern. The village of Hondarribia is located on the Basque coast and is situated on the border with France. It is full of perfectly manicured houses with colorful wooden balconies. The architectural features reflect a kind of mixture between Spanish and the French Basque Country characteristics and make it of particular interest. Hondarribia is packed with a huge number of amazing restaurants and bars — some of the very best in the region in fact.
The well-preserved Old Town, a relaxing maritime atmosphere and fantastic food are only some of the reasons why Hondarribia is one of our favorite places in the region. It is an awe-inspiring island located just off the shore along the Bay of Biscay. The views to, from, and around the island are simply beautiful. San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is accessed by a man-made stone bridge. The bridge transitions into a narrow path that contains steps and zigzags its way back and forth to the top. At the highest point of the island there is a tiny church dedicated to John the Baptist. The island also has an intriguing history.
Throughout the years it has housed a convent, served as a prison for Basque witches during the Spanish Inquisition, been used as a defensive outpost for the lords of Biscay, and was even ransacked by Sir Francis Drake. Txakoli is a slightly sparkling, young and fruity white wine that is produced in these unique vineyards overlooking the ocean.
Although txakoli has been around for centuries the first mention of it dates back to , it has just started to become popular in recent years, and not only in the Basque Country but also all over the world. Some of the txakoli bodegas offer tours, while others offer tastings and almost all of them offer direct sale. However, to fully experience txakoli, you must visit one of the many restaurants at the harbor where you can enjoy a bottle with some freshly caught fish that is grilled outside over charcoals. The lovely setting along with great food and wine is one of the reasons we love Getaria so much.
But Getaria has more to offer, especially if you are into fashion design. Balenciaga, who was born in , was a true fashion innovator and was respected throughout the fashion world for both his techniques as well as his perfectionism. In , the Balenciaga Museum was opened in the Aldamar Palace and today, proudly displays many of his haute couture creations.
The activities and events of the festival consist of concerts, rural sport competitions, Basque dance and music, nightly fireworks shows and much more. This is a very dangerous activity and while some people train all year preparing for it, others decide to join at the last moment, convinced by the amount of alcohol drank during the night before. This makes the running even more dangerous and unfortunately 15 people have died doing it since Nevertheless, the running of the bulls is an extremely popular activity and something unique that is worth seeing at least once.
Biarritz and Bayonne are separated by a mere 8 km, however, they are two very distinct places of interest. Biarritz Biarritz is famous for its beaches, therapeutic water and a thriving surf scene.
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Today the town is full of grand summer houses and has an up-scale feel to it. However, the atmosphere in Biarritz has been balanced off by a laid back surf culture that has deep roots in the area. It is reminiscent of the San Fermin festival of Pamplona, where the bull plays an important role in many of the events throughout the week. However, during the rest of the year, Bayonne is a relatively quiet and stress free city. It is a picturesque place with a nice mixture of Basque and French architecture as well as a massive gothic cathedral with a cloister from the 13th century. And if you are into food, then you might also want to check the local chocolatiers and the infamous Bayonne ham.
In general, the Basque Country is pretty sparsely populated. Outside of the cities and towns, life still revolves around the Basque farmhouse, known as a baserri. Whether they are tending to a flock of sheep, raising livestock or making cheese, the Basques of the baserris still have a strong connection with the land. It is a land full of natural wonders and thankfully many are protected natural parks. Not only can you experience the beauty of the parks but there is also a good chance you will come across a Basque shepherd with his flock or see some Basque ponies pottokas.
Although there are far too many parks to mention here, we are listing a few of our favorites. Urkiola - This nature park is situated in a mountain rage with the highest point being the Anboto at m. It is possible to hike to the top of the Anboto and to a few lower peaks. The views are impressive. Urbasa-Andia - The highlight of this park is the Nacedero del Urederra — the birthplace of the Urederra river. A path runs along the river into the forest where pool after pool of clear blue water lead to a waterfall.
It has its own language
The water color is simply amazing and even in person, looks surreal. There are several unique geological formations and some lovely landscapes. Explore the park by car or get in a little deeper by hiking or riding a bike on one of the many paths.
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Great for those who want the views without having to hike. This path goes along the coast between the towns of Deba and Zumaia and offers amazing vistas of the coastal flysch rock formations.
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This is the most beautiful hike of the entire Basque Country in our opinion. However, San Sebastian and Hondarribia are probably the two places with the highest concentration of quality establishments. If you are interested in visiting a Michelin starred restaurant, be sure to check out our Michelin page that contains all of the Michelin restaurants located within the Basque Country. Pintxos The Basque Country has its own unique food culture that revolves around the bar.
Pintxos bite-sized appetizers, similar to tapas can be found in nearly every bar. Often the bar counter will be filled with plates of all different varieties.
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They range from being rather traditional to very experimental in nature. It is typical to find the locals out enjoying a drink while sampling different pintxos and then going on to the next bar to do the same thing all over. This is sometimes done before a meal as a kind of aperitif or it can take the place of a normal meal.
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