The Basque Country is home to the Basque people, whose language, culture and traditions set the region aside from other areas in Spain while still maintaining the same laid-back way of life. The beaches of San Sebastian give way to cosmopolitan cityscapes in Bilbao, then rolling green countryside around Alava and Vitoria. Whichever you prefer, the area is dotted with Basque Country villas with pools where you can relax and soak in the chilled out surroundings.
Beach lovers will be more than happy with the offerings in the Basque Country, which include the famous La Concha beach in San Sebastian where visitors can sunbathe, swim and enjoy the various water sports on offer such as canoeing and sailing.
San Sebastian and Bilbao also offer a huge variety of restaurants and bars where visitors can indulge themselves with local delights including the local take on tapas and Basque cider.
Arts lovers can get their fix at one of a number of notable theatres across the Basque Country, mostly in Bilbao or Vitoria-Gasteiz. The Bilbao Symphony Orchestra also plays regularly both in Bilbao and other musical festivals which are held regularly across the region during the summer months.
Bilbao is the largest city in the Basque Country and is home to the famous Guggenheim Museum which exhibits world-class modern and contemporary arts exhibits. The best time to visit is in August, which sees the annual Semana Grande festival, where Bilbao’s streets come alive with music, dance, bullfighting and other typical Spanish festivities.
Vitoria-Gasteiz is home to a number of fine examples of Gothic churches, including the Cathedral or Santa Maria. There are also lots of museums in the town devoted to such varied themes as art, natural sciences, archaeology and playing cards.
Miramar Palace at San Sebastian is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon away from the beach, with an intricately designed country house surrounded by beautiful parks and gardens, all of which are open to the public.
The Basque Country has a mild temperate climate with an average temperature of 21C in the summer and 9C in the winter. The region has substantial rainfall year round, with the driest months being June to September. There are, however, still many things to see and do around the region which are indoors, so the odd spot of rain won’t ruin your holiday.
The main airport serving the Basque Country is Bilbao Airport (BIO) which is 5km north of the city. The airport receives international flights on a daily basis from most major European cities including easyJet flights fromLondonStansted. Car hire is available at the airport to get to your Basque Country self-catering accommodation – example distances are 99km to San Sebastian and 65km to Vitoria-Gasteiz.