Euskadi, in its name in Basque, is an autonomous community to know in depth. I had pending this stop. I have now clear that you have to return many times and it will be a pleasure to discover in several visits. It has geography, vegetation, culture and very defining characteristics. It is formed by moderate Sierras that divide the Cantabrian rivers and the bordering waterfalls and riverbeds that flow into the Ebro.
The coast of the Basque Country gave us landscapes, cities and meals of the most surprising. Sandy and extensive beaches, cities that appear between the folds of the mountains and the sea, green much green, and spectacular food. A good temperate climate, ideal for those who fled the extreme heat in summer, sometimes betrayed by a very fine rain, to which locals call Txirimiri.
A perfect trip to do by car and enjoy the nature of the Basque Country. During the trip, we passed mountainous ports, and also I did hiking, taking advantage of its natural paradises like the Urkiola parks, the Biosphere Reserve of Urdabi, Valderejo and the Ria of Guernica. The experience at each of these sites was really nice, without hesitation, I recommend these rides. As well as some more outstanding stop we did:
I enjoyed their peculiar folklore, as autochthonous as the Basque ball games, which they practise already from children in the park. I had fun trying to learn some phrases in Basque: Kaixo (hello), egun on (Good Morning), Arratsalde on (Good evening/night), Laster art (see you soon), Eskerrik Asko (thanks).
Places to discover
My itinerary of visits, something quick but well-taken advantage, did not leave out interesting places like:
The Guggenheim Museum, located in Bilbao, an industrial centre par excellence, with a historic centre in which its Gothic cathedral stands out. The façade is a specimen of titanium, stone and crystal. Not visiting her is a cultural sin. This building opened the way to the works of other international architects in the province.
The locals speak with pride of the bridge, made by Santiago Calatrava, the Community centre, designed by Philippe Starck and the metro system of Sir Norman Foster, among others.
The promenade of San Sebastián. Theatrical arrival by road, going down the curves of the mountains to the coast, to suddenly find this city that breathes sophistication. The most traditional old town, such as the widening of solid cosmopolitan constructions and its fashionable shops, stands out. Urgull Mountain presides over the view of the Cantabrian Bay, from La Concha beach.
Less well-known cuisine and where to try it
A fact that aroused my curiosity was that from 15 Michelin stars restaurants, 7 are in the Basque Country. With this record, where else can you eat richer? Mugaritz, Arzak and Martín Berasategui are among the recognized businesses.
But not only in Michelin star restaurants can you enjoy the spectacular Basque food, in the old Town, tapas or
As for strong dishes, I confess that I still think of the sirloin in cheese sauce combined with idiazábal cheese and typical spices. The steaks and entrecote are popular in Roquefort or pepper sauce. Wherever you are safe you will find a steakhouse, but on the border is the cider bar Ola in Irún, a site that prepares it without competition. The grilled veal loin is also exquisite, as are the baby squid, white beans and cabbage with potatoes, common for the cold weather, the season in which the spoon dishes are suggested.
This territory is a spectacle like its rural hotels, buildings that mix natural elements with modern aspects and real essence. What do I suggest?
- Garaiko Landetxea: It is in the province of Vizcaya (here I stayed to know it), specifically in the village of Gerai, at the foothills of Mount Oiz and very close to the Urkiola Park. It did not lose the charm of the original building (stone walls and white-beamed ceilings) and complemented it with minimalist décor. From the hotel, there are bike rides and if you prefer a car in 20 minutes you will be in Bilbao, add 10 to get to San Sebastián.
- Hospedería of the places: they define their romanticism among medieval walls. The building is exceptional, traversing it is transported in history. It is located in the Rioja Alavesa. Its restaurants can be formal/traditional (the staves) or informal (the draught).
- Hotel Castillo El Collado: In the village of Laguardia you can sleep in a castle. They built it at the beginning of the twentieth century with stones from a 12th-century building.
know the Basque Country, it’s worth
Among many destinations to know, why choose this one? Its three main provinces, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Guipúzcoa (San Sebastián/Donostia) and Vizcaya (Bilbao), offer many alternatives for fun and rest.
It is the simplicity and sympathy of its people a plus to go along this route, profiled by coasts, mountains and forests.
Visit, it’s worth it!