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Overview

The region known as Basque Country consists of Vizcaya, Álava, and Guipúzcoa, which are nestled on the northern coast by the Cantabrian Sea, bordering France to the east along the Pyrenees. Named for its location on the Bay of Biscay, most of the coast itself is covered in sharp, high rocky cliffs. The rest of the area's geography contains the peaks and valleys created by the Basque and Cantabrian mountains, although none with impressively high altitudes.

The cuisine of the Basque Country is one of its most celebrated attributes, especially seafood dishes. Numerous cod preparations have become regional specialties, ...

The region known as Basque Country consists of Vizcaya, Álava, and Guipúzcoa, which are nestled on the northern coast by the Cantabrian Sea, bordering France to the east along the Pyrenees. Named for its location on the Bay of Biscay, most of the coast itself is covered in sharp, high rocky cliffs. The rest of the area's geography contains the peaks and valleys created by the Basque and Cantabrian mountains, although none with impressively high altitudes.

The cuisine of the Basque Country is one of its most celebrated attributes, especially seafood dishes. Numerous cod preparations have become regional specialties, accompanied by traditional sauces like Biscay sauce, pil pil (a fresh garlic mixture), ajoarriero, and others. In addition to the fresh spider crab, bonito, haku, and anchovies, eel is a delicacy in coastal towns, and so is local tuna. Native dishes like marmitaco, zurrukutuna, and barbells provide a good sampler of the local catch and should not be missed. Red meat and game are taken just as seriously in the Basque culinary world, and any beef lover must sample the villagodio which is always cooked rare.

History aficionados will want to make time for a stop at Guernica’s Peace Museum, which not only explains the local events but also stands as a symbol of pacifism. Bilbao’s Guggenheim, designed by American architect Frank O. Gehry is a breathtaking edifice that has given rise to an entire tourism phenomenon — architectural tourism.

Lura Seavey
About the Expert

Lura Seavey is the author of Fun with the Family in Vermont and New Hampshire and she has contributed to several Thomas Cook guidebooks, including Drive Around Catalonia, Travellers Mallorca, and Travellers Barcelona.

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Lura Seavey for Triporati

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Now Happening in Spain's Basque Country

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Basque Country is an autonomous community of northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa, also called Historical Territories.
  • Language: Castilian (Spanish), Catalan, Galician, Basque
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Basque Country | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring and fall: fewer tourists and lovely weather; summer: perfect beach weather