The Basque Country, Euskal Herria in Basque, is a region in the far north of Spain that represents Spain out of the ordinary, the one "you don't expect". Fertile hills and a rugged coast are the protagonists of a wild and poignant landscape, whipped by the wind for most of the year. They are an autonomous region and this is reflected in the proud and proud temperament of its inhabitants, almost jealous of the millenary traditions of their land and their very particular language, Euskera.
A vacation in this region will allow you to combine visits to futuristic contemporary art museums, quaint villages and historic districts, lazy mornings on the beach and trekking along the famous Camino de Santiago. Here's one guide on the Basque Country, Spain: where they are, when to go and what to see.
- Travel informed: useful information
- Where are
- How to reach us
- When to go? Info on climate and best time
- The main cities
- 10 things to see: the places of interest in the Basque Country
- The main routes in the Basque Country
- What to do in the Basque Country: excursions and tours
- How much does a holiday in the Basque Country cost? Prices, offers and advice
- User questions and comments
Travel informed: useful information
- Inhabitants: 2.164.311
- Capital: Vitoria Gasteiz
- Languages: euskera, Spanish
- Local currency: euro (€)
- Weather: cool and humid on the coast; in inland areas it becomes colder with increasing altitude; a little more continental and arid in the southern area. Along the coast the wind blows frequently - find out more
- Travel / health insurance: recommended.
The Basque Country is one region of northern Spain. They border to the east with the Navarre region and for a short distance with France, to the south with the region of La Rioja and Castigia and Léon, to the west with the region of Cantabria. On the north side it is entirely bathed by the Cantabrian Sea. IS one of the smallest regions in Spain, in which less than 5% of the population lives, but it is very important from an economic point of view. The region is divided into three provinces: Álava, Biscay and Guipúzcoa.
How to reach us
Vueling, Iberia, Ryanair, Lufthansa, Air France, Air Europe and Alitalia are the main airlines that reach Bilbao and Vitoria Gasteiz. The the most frequent routes are those to Bilbao (3 h flight from Milan). The airport is located about 12 km from the city and to reach it you can use the Bizkaibus A-3247: it leaves every quarter of an hour from the city center (and the airport), the journey takes about 45 minutes and the ticket single costs € 1,35, the one to San Sebastián € 16,50 - compare flights
By bus or train
You can reach Bilbao in bus starting from Milan and making a change in Geneva. The combined ticket is offered by Eurolines Ch + Flix Bus companies. The journey takes on average 24 hours and the price ranges from € 78,00 to € 178,00. Please note that this route from Geneva is only scheduled 3 times a week. The alternative is direct from Milan with BlaBlaBus: 23 hours of travel starting from € 110,00, 3 departures a week.
By train there is no direct; it is necessary to make several changes, the main ones in Grenoble, Valence and Barcelona Sants. The Spanish railway company Renfe carries out the route. The average journey time from Milan to Bilbao is 35 hours; during the week there are 2 trains a day, tickets start at € 144,95.
Recommended option if you have at least 10 days to dedicate to the trip; very beautiful landscaped and that allows freedom in timing. From the Ventimiglia pass, cross southern France along the A8 to Salon de Porvence; from here continue on the N113 to Arles and then on the A54 to Nimes where you take the A9 to Narbonne. Continue on the A61 to Carcassone, where you take the A64 to Pau and Pey-rehorade, from where in 10 km you are in Bayonnee, in another 10 km in Biarritz. From Biarritz, the A63 leads to San Sebastian and from San Sebastian Bilbao to the A8, or Vitoria to the A68.
Considering starting from Milan, to get to Bilbao it takes just over 12 hours, not counting the stops along the way, for a total cost of € 138,00.
When to go? Info on climate and best time
- Weather: oceanic, cool and rainy along the coast; colder in the inland areas and with increasing altitude and a little more continental and more arid in the southern area. The wind blows frequently
- Best time: from June to early September, the warmest, sunniest and least rainy period
- Period to avoid: late autumn and winter, very rainy and especially windy
- Advice: clothing according to the season but, always and in any case "in layers", even in summer there can be cool evenings. Windproof, rainproof and / or umbrella must never be missing
The main cities
- Bilbao: a privileged destination for those who love contemporary art, home to one of the most famous and visited museums in the world: the Guggenheim in Bilbao, inside a futuristic building that has become the icon of the city itself - discover the smart guide of Bilbao
- San Sebastian: the quintessence of the Basque Country. Located in a picturesque bay surrounded by green mountains, it mixes quaint old neighborhoods with new modern areas with art galleries and entertainment for young people. Its city beaches are among the most beautiful in the world - discover the micro-guide of San Sebastian
- Vitoria Gasteiz: the capital which has an exemplary urban structure; in fact, it has a medieval center where it is possible to discover numerous picturesque corners
- I must: an important place where you can savor the essence of traditional tourism: the sea and the mountains offer a variety of resources for leisure and tourism. The church de la Asunción has been declared a National Monument
- Onati: nicknamed "the little Toledo" for its exceptional architectural heritage
10 things to see: the places of interest in the Basque Country
- Guggenheim Museum Bilbao: very famous museum of contemporary art located in the iconic building designed by Canadian architect Frank O. Gehry, which has become the symbol of the city itself
- Concha beach: wonderful beach near San Sebastian. The name means shell and is due to the shape of the bay with the island of Santa Clara in the center. Elected among the 12 treasures of Spain, it is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe
- gaztelugatxe: islet connected to the mainland by a winding path of 231 steps. On the highest part of the island there is a hermitage: Gaztelugatxeko Doniene in Basque and San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in Spanish, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist
- Vizcaya bridge: transporter bridge connecting the cities of Portugalete and Las Arenas in the Spanish province of Biscay, crossing the Nervión river. An icon of the industrial revolution, the locals call it Puente Colgante
- Castle of Butròn: medieval castle located in Gatika, in the province of Biscay. It has a fairytale-like look inspired by Bavarian patterns. Today it is privately owned but you can visit it and enjoy the surrounding Gatika nature.
- Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve: natural environment where it is possible to admire the most intense landscape variety of the Basque Country
- Bermeo: picturesque fishing village characterized by a group of colorful houses that surround the marina. A recommended stop for those who want to breathe the typical atmosphere of the region's seafaring and fishing tradition
- Zumaia: picturesque seaside resort where spectacular cliffs allow you to get to know the geological phenomenon called flysch up close. The most panoramic point is the Church of San Telmo Ermita
- Guernica: city where you can admire the reproduction of the homonymous work by Picasso as well as a city considered holy for the Basques because it is here that, under a symbolic oak tree, the oath to the autonomous laws of the Basque Country is held
- Almendra Medieval: the historic center of Vitoria Gasteiz so called for its "almond" shape. Here you can dive into the past of the city walking among the centuries-old medieval walls and the suggestive gothic cathedral of Santa Mar
The main routes in the Basque Country
The territory of the Basque Country is so varied and heterogeneous that it lends itself to organizing very different itineraries and able to satisfy the tastes of various types of travelers.
Fans art and architecture contemporaries will find their 'paradise' in Bilbao and its surroundings; the most sporty e nature lovers they will be able to devote themselves to trekking and other adventurous activities in the open air traveling through the towns along the Ria to Getxo; and finally, the most curious travelers who love to discover e confront with other cultures, will have fun in the villages in the heart of Pis Vasco.
- From San Sebastian to Guernica: itinerary between art and nature. San Sebastian, la Concha, Hondarribia, Zumaia and Guernica. Approximate duration 5-6 days
- The Renaissance of the Basque Country: itinerary concentrated in Bilbao and its surroundings. Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Begoña (stage of the French Way to Santiago), Axturi Railway Station, Casco Vejo, Mecado del Ribeira. Indicative duration 4-5 days
- Along the Ria to Getxo: adventurous naturalistic itinerary. Arenal, Isozaki towers, Zubizuri bridge, puente de Bizcaya, Getxo, Barinatxe beach. A week is recommended to take it easy
- In the heart of Pais Vasco: immersion in Basque culture: Lekeitio, Deba, Zumaia, Getaria, Zarautz, Orio, Pasaje San Juan. 5-6 days recommended
What to do in the Basque Country: excursions and tours
How much does a holiday in the Basque Country cost? Prices, offers and advice
The Basque Country is not exactly the cheapest part of Spain, especially to get to your destination.
Given and considered the climatic conditions, to be (almost) sure to enjoy a good stay, it is recommended plan a trip in high season, a moment during which the prices of flights (but also trains and buses) go up. Rarely can you find a return flight under € 100,00. The best way to explore the region is on the road; a week of car rent starting from € 130,00.
For the LodgingHuge modern and luxurious hotels are rare, apart from the larger cities; you will find mainly small family-run hotels, guest houses, B & Bs (average for a room, night and breakfast € 70,00). For meals you can save money typical inns of the villages (€ 10,00 / 15,00), as well as if you opt for the rite of pinxtos, Basque tapas. In the most touristic places the prices are typically European: high in relation to a questionable quality; high figures even if you want to treat yourself to fish in elegant places.
- Hotel and b & b starting from € 40,00 per room -
- starting from € 76,00 -
- Return flight + 5 days / 4 nights from € 585,00 per person -