VISIT BASQUE COUNTRY
‘Your journey begins’.
Visit Euskadi with Maria Flames
Basque Country, Spanish País Vasco, Basque Euskadi or Euskal Herria, comunidad autónoma (autonomous community) and historic region of northern Spain compounding three regions of Vizcaya (with its capital Bilbao), Guipuzkoa (with its capital San Sebastián) and Alava (with its capital Vitoria). Population density is highest along the coast; some four-fifths of the Basque population is concentrated in Greater Bilbao.
The Basque Country is one of the world’s top culinary destinations, with key gourmet centres.It is also popular for its beaches and green scenery. Hiking, trekking and cycling are common sports. You will easily come across some pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela as Saint James’s Way route is through the Basque Country.
Temptation to eat everywhere, from Pintxos to Txakolis and Cider, traditional cooking based on the quality of its products and their roots in tradition and simple preparation in which seafood, cheese and wine are present in each menu. In the seventies, the so-called New Basque Cuisine, are today some of the leading chefs in Spain.
BILBAO- cutting-edge city
Designed city, cosmopolitan life, tradition and architecture is what Bilbao offers as an internationally recognised town integrating its industrial past planning landmark because the strength of its cutting edge famous city, is based on respecting and integrating its industrial past.
The icon of the transformation of Bilbao from a grey industrial city built on the iron trade to a green home where art and culture – and tourism too – is in high demand. The inauguration of the Guggenheim Museum in 1997 made a huge impact in the city with its stunning architecture, the work of Frank Gehry.
The ‘Puppy’ is a permanent installation by Jeff Koons, but twice a year, in May and again in October, all of the colourful plants that decorate the sculpture’s look are replaced with fresh seasonal flowers, like pansies for the fall and winter, and for spring and summer they place begonias, impatiens and petunias.
After the private tour at the Museo Guggenheim, we enjoyed a city walk alongside the Nervión River and dinner at the iconic Victor Montes in Plaza Nueva. The Hotel NXY Bilbao is pretty central and very close to the Cathedral.
Museo Guggenheim @Tourspain
ZUMAIA-the charm of the Basque coastline
Alongside he Cantabrian Sea, the natural beauty of Zumaia leaves a lasting impression on all those who visit. The coastline is stunning, but there’s more to this part of Guipuzkoa than its landscapes. The town of Zumaia is 34 km from San Sebastián. The area has an outstanding geological importance. Known as the flysch, a strange rock formation to read the history of the 60-million-year record of the Earth and its continual changes, including the extinction of the dinosaurs.
SAN SEBASTIÁN- the film city
Famous for its international wonder and beauty. Fine food everywhere, San Sebastián is considered one of the most romantic cities in the world.
As you arrive in San Sebastián, La Concha beach suggests a pleasant walk along the beach, all year and despite the weather. The elegance of the bay, framed by the massif of Igueldo and the island of Santa Clara, is known the world over.
A Pintxo tour around the Old Town is highly recommended!
Playa de la Concha
GOIERRI- The Basque Highlands
The region of Goierri is located right in the heart of Basque Country, so it’s easily accessible from any of the three main cities: Bilbao, Donostia-San Sebastián and Vitoria-Gasteiz. A wonderful region of natural parks, trekking and hiking routes and plenty of activities for family adventures.
Connecting with nature: Ecotourism. The Basque Highlands offers: cuisine, nature and culture as the three biggest attractions. It’s a tranquil place ideal for sport lovers and rural outdoors activities.
Goierri region is made up of 18 municipalities and we stayed at Beasain in Hotel Dolarea and had a succulent dinner at the Urkiola Restaurant.
Idiazabal cheese has made the Basque Highlands region so famous. The product is made with raw sheep’s milk from the Latxa breed, using the old craftsmanship used centuries ago. It has its own Designation of Origin and receives many awards in the prestigious Cheese World Award International competition held annually.
We visited Ondarre, in the village of Segura, a traditional Idiazabal Cheese maker who won the unique cheese award in 2021.
There is a particulary fascinating six-day walk of 95,7Km through the Idiazabal Cheese Route.
Ondarre, Segura, Goierri
VITORIA-GASTEIZ- Medieval city walls
The archeological excavations on the subsoil of the Old Cathedral during the 2001 uncovered the remains of an old city wall dating back to the second back of the 11th Century. What is open to the public today is an area occupied by primitive Gasteiz during the early medieval centuries.
Construction of the Cathedral of Santa María in Gothic style started in the 13th Century and continued throughout the 14th Century. It was conceived as a fortress-church with an astonishing appearance and being part of the city’s defences.
RIOJA ALAVESA- Enotourism
Rioja-Alavesa is a 300km2 region situated in the south of the Alava region between the Ebro River and the imposing Toloño Mountain Rouge. 300 wineries across 15 municipalities. A region where culture of wine permeates everything.
Rioja Alavesa Wine Route, consists of more than 100 establishments inviting you to discover all the hidden parts of the region and unique experiences.
We started our route at Lanciego to celebrate the Harvest festival. Wine testing in a friendly and popular atmosphere. Continued to Samaniego, the village encourages you to walk between the stone houses to visit the most famous Baigorri Winery and tasted the most wonderful wines. Passion, tradition, innovation, modernity and excellence describe the Baigorri wines. Gravity plays a key role in the Baigorri winemaking process.
The whole process is done by gravity, in a vertical process, to preserve the integrity of the grapes as much as possible, so they reach the fermentation intact. All the movement of the grapes and wine is done using gravity, with no kind of mechanical lifting.
We ended the gastronomy route at the Laguardia, a medieval and intact little village located on a hilltop. This cute and peculiar town is preserved in excellent condition. Dinner at the most famous local restaurant called Los Parajes and stayed at the Mayor de Migueloa Hotel who’s owner surprised us with the most glorious breakfast.