Hugging the Atlantic Ocean in Spain’s far north, the Basque Country is an autonomous community renowned for its rich cultural traditions and gastronomy. It’s home to the lively cities of Bilbao and San Sebastian, as well as the atmospheric walled fishing town of Hondarribia.
Things to do in Basque Country
Spend a day marvelling at the architecture and design icons of Bilbao, the most famous of which is the striking Guggenheim Museum. Clad in titanium, it was designed by Frank Gehry along the banks of the Nervion River and stands as one of the largest museums in Spain. Step inside to admire the Spanish and international artwork showcased in its light-filled galleries or attend one of the regular concerts and workshops held here.
You can escape the hustle and bustle in picturesque Alava, which is nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. It’s dotted with wineries producing excellent reds, many of which feature architecturally designed cellar doors. Marvel at the futuristic buildings of the Marques de Riscal winery and admire the impressive Bodegas Ysios, which was envisioned by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
Foodies shouldn’t miss a visit to San Sebastian, a world-renowned gastronomic destination overlooking the Bay of Biscay. Hop between the pintxo bars that cluster in its cobblestoned old town where bite-sized tapas are paired with local wines. You can walk it all off on the waterfront promenade that backs Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta.
Getting around Basque Country
Bilbao Airport is the largest airport in Basque Country and has flights to destinations across Europe. Regular trains connect from the Bilbao and San Sebastian railway stations to Madrid and Barcelona while buses travel to towns and villages throughout Basque Country. The centres of Bilbao and San Sebastian can easily be explored on foot.