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Κυριακή, 16 Ιουνίου, 2024
ΑρχικήEnglish EditionThe Basque Country: A place you didn’t know about

The Basque Country: A place you didn’t know about

By Anastasia Aleiferi,

The Basque Country is a place that I believe not many people know about, especially in Greece, or there aren’t many people talking about it in general. So, with this article, I want to talk a bit about that beautiful place, about its history, culture, and also its potential to be your next destination for your vacation.

The Basque Country or the Basque autonomous community is an autonomous community in the northern part of Spain. But it should be clear that, geographically, the Basque region covers two countries, Spain and France. It covers a part of the northwest part of Spain and the southwest part of France. Because the habitants of the region are divided between the two countries, the Basque people have their own language called “Euskara”, which is recognized as one of the most ancient languages in the European continent, but it doesn’t have the same meaning for both sides. On the Spanish side, the language has been recognized officially with Castilian in 1979, but on the French side there hasn’t been such recognition yet.

When someone goes to visit the Basque Country, they should know that no matter what kind of vacation type you like, a relaxed person who wants to sit back and relax, someone who wants to keep moving, or someone who enjoys being near the beach or up to the mountains, the Basque Country can offer you all of these things and more. Once one arrives to the Basque Country, they can recognize its uniqueness from Spain and France and that is transmitted in the culture and traditions that were shaped by its history and geographical particularity.

Image Rights: Pexels/ credits: Guerrero De la Luz

The Basque Country is a region that consists of seven provinces where people can enjoy all types of sceneries. Due to the combination of the beaches and the mountains, the region has a very particular climate, and it is suggested that people should visit the region during the summer months, when the rains have lessened and the weather is nice enough for people to enjoy the walks and benefit from the natural environment. If you are someone who enjoys the beach, know that the Basque country has a lot of beautiful sandy beaches. The most known towns for their beaches are Saint Jean de Luz and Biarritz. Both of them are on the French side of the region. Saint Jean de Luz is a beautiful city with traditional architecture and a big resemblance to the Spanish architecture, with many festivals during the summer months. It has a long tradition in rugby and the Basque football, so it is considered a relaxing vacation destination with beautiful surroundings that combine the green of the mountain and the beauty of the beach.

Biarritz is more of a luxury summer resort destination that many French people choose. Biarritz has big impressive buildings that remind you of small castles, and the first time someone sees them they’re left speechless. Also, the town is well known for its wild coast line, which is enchanting from its roughness and its magnificent beaches to its surfing tradition.

Bilbao is the largest Basque city and the most well-known. It is mostly known for the Guggenheim museum, which is renowned for its architecture and contemporary art collection. Bilbao, in the old city center, has a lot of traditional buildings so people can have an idea of how the city used to be and a lot of historical monuments to see. A walking tour in the city is worth it, to learn more. Also for the wine lovers, almost an hour out of Bilbao is the Rioja wine region, which has a lot of medieval villages that offer wine tasting and a picturesque view.

Another destination that no one should skip is Saint Sebastian. It is a beautiful city that Queen Maria Cristina made known. The architecture of the city is inspired by the Belle Époque, but it always stays true to its Spanish roots. The city has a lot of castles and rough views, because of the three bays that surround it. When visiting the city, one should visit the three main districts, the old town, the Gros District, that is home to many bars, restaurants and a surfing beach, and lastly, the Amara District, that is the residential area where you can see and interact more with the locals.

Pamplona, or else the city of bullfighting, is also a notable location to visit. With its beautiful parks and squares, unique traditional buildings and its history, it is a city that no one should skip when visiting the region. After all, it’s not strange that Hemingway loved the city. Pamplona is a city that you need to walk in order to understand its beauty and history.

Also, it is notable to say that the coastline road is also a beautiful trip for someone to make because in that way, someone can see the unique view of the edge of cliffs, the Atlantic and rough views that you only see in movies or nature documentaries. So, for the people who like hiking, there are a lot of mountain paths near the cities that people can take and enjoy, so, hikers and nature lovers, do your research and enjoy nature!

In addition, the food in the Basque Country is delicious. Now, I should warn you that the Basque Country has a lot of mountains, therefore the shepherds primarily raise sheep, goats and cows, but because it is also near the sea, there are a lot of seafood options too. So the traditional Basque food in the area is primarily based on different types of cooked meat or fish. The traditional dishes have as base ingredients these types of meat that are raised in the mountains and fish that exist in the Atlantic Ocean. As per Spanish tradition, the Basque people also have in their culture, apart from, of course, dining, to share small snacks with others. Those snacks that are called tapas in Spain, in Basque they are called pintxos. So, without a second thought, I suggest to anyone that considers visiting the land to eat as many pintxos as possible!

Image Rights: pexels/ credits: Jose Francisco Fernandez Saura

The Basque Country is one of the most interesting places for someone to visit, because it not only has a very rich cultural background, but the people are also friendly. So, someone can sit back and enjoy the natural beauty of the country. Personally, if someone decides to visit one of the said regions, I believe that they should rent a car, so they can drive from one city to the other and enjoy as much of what each city can offer, because all of them have their own beauty that needs to be witnessed.

  • Epic basque itinerary- see all highlights. BMEITINER. Available here
  • Basque Country. Institut culturel basque. Available here
  • Basque country. Britannica. Available here
  • Basque Country. Spain.info. Available here
  • Basque Country is unlikely the rest of Spain- here’s 10 reasons to visit. Lonely planet. Available here



Anastasia Aleiferi
Anastasia Aleiferi
She was born in 2001 in Athens where she still lives today. She is a student at Panteion University in the Department of International and European Studies. She has participated in seminars on international law and politics. She knows English and French, and she is learning Spanish. She spends her free time with her friends, playing board games and reading books.