Basque Country

Basque Country consists of three Provinces: Alava, Guipúzcoa and Vizcaya

Capital: Vitoria-Gasteiz

This area is known as País Vasco in Spanish and Euskadi in Basque. The Basque people have preserved a unique culture and language, Euskera, is a pre-Indoeuropean tongue whose origin has never been established. Today it is one of the most industrialised regions of Spain. Despite this there are still many natural parks, amongst them are; Valderejo, Urkiola and Urdaibai. This makes the region especially good for hiking, riding, golf and all kinds of mountain sports.

The Cities:

San Sebastián: The City overlooks the superb La Concha Bay. The town has a delightful Old Quarter with excellent `pinchos´ bars. There are fine monumental buildings to be found here including the Miramar Palace, Paseo de la Concha, the Town Hall, Mount Urgull Castle, and San Telmo Museum. San Sebastián was, in the last century, one of the summer places most frequented by the Spanish aristocracy.

Bilbao: Is the Basque Country’s largest city and founded in the 14th century it is also recognised as an important industrial and economic centre. Bilbao houses the Guggenheim Museum of modern art, which has achieved international renown. It also has a beautiful Old Quarter that boasts a Gothic cathedral and its City Hall building. Also remarkable are the Basilica of Begona, Church of San Anton, the gothic Santiago Cathedral, the old town, Fine Arts Museum, Dona Casilda Park. Vitoria-Gasteiz: Capital of the Basque Country with remarkable monumental buildings such as the Gothic Santa Maria Cathedral, the Churches of San Pedro and San Miguel. Also the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca, and the Palaces of Escoriaza-Esquibel and Montehermoso.

Food and Cuisine of the Region: Basque cuisine consists primarily of products from the sea: baked sea bream, spider crab, salted cod, baby eels, marmitako (a stew made from tuna and potatoes) and sardines. Cod recipes such as la zurrugutina, bacalao en salsa verde and bacalao al pil-pil. Meat dishes la tripotcha, chuletas de cordero a la guipuzcoana. Other typical dishes include dried beans from Tolosa, green peppers from Gernika, truffles from Campezo, sardines from Hondarribia, cheese from Idiazabal and marmitako from Bermeo and Lekeitio. Wines from Rioja Alavesa are outstanding as are liqueurs such as pacharan (made from anise and sloe berries), txakoli white wine and traditional apple cider.