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Overview

Guernica (Gernika in the local Basque language) is better known to art lovers than to travelers, as the title and subject of Pablo Picasso’s compelling work commemorating the anguish of the town after its almost complete destruction by Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s Nazi allies in 1937. The original hangs in Madrid, but a replica of it in glazed tile is at an intersection near the Peace Museum, which also commemorates the event, along with other acts of savagery, with a plea for peace. Less known is the excellent Euskal Herria Museum, a beautifully presented exhibition/collection illuminating the history and culture of the Basque region ...

Guernica (Gernika in the local Basque language) is better known to art lovers than to travelers, as the title and subject of Pablo Picasso’s compelling work commemorating the anguish of the town after its almost complete destruction by Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s Nazi allies in 1937. The original hangs in Madrid, but a replica of it in glazed tile is at an intersection near the Peace Museum, which also commemorates the event, along with other acts of savagery, with a plea for peace. Less known is the excellent Euskal Herria Museum, a beautifully presented exhibition/collection illuminating the history and culture of the Basque region since prehistoric times. Along with art and artifacts, interactive exhibits explore music, folk customs, dance and sports. The nearby Santimamine Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, contain 12,000-year-old cave paintings and although the painted chamber is now closed to visitors, the entire cave is explored in an audio-visual presentation at the visitors center. Also north of the city is the Roman settlement in Forua, dating from the times of emperors Claudius and Nero. To the northwest is the Forest of Oma, where Basque artist Agustin Ibarrola has painted 45 figures among the pine trees so that they change and move as you walk among them. The entire region is part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Urdaibai, known for its migrating birds. For surfers, the Left Wave at Mundaka is among the world’s greatest challenges.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Barbara Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Guernica is a town in the province of Biscay, in the the Basque Country of Spain. It is best known as the scene of the 1937, bombing, one of the first aerial bombings by Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe. It inspired the painting Guernica by Pablo Picasso.
  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel | Guernica painting by Picasso
  • Weather: Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The weather is mild year round, but winter can be gray and damp.