The Basque Country is one of the most beautiful and diverse parts of Spain, offering everything from architecture to shopping, from food to history, and from wine to beaches. It is a pity that many visitors sometimes miss this region altogether or spend too little time compared to other parts of Spain.
San Sebastian, Bilbao, and La Rioja make up the main parts of Basque country and for a proper visit of the region you should plan in a way that you get to see all the highlights:
- San Sebastian : You should visit San Sebastian for the beaches and shopping, for the pintxo bars and cider houses, and of course for the huge number of Michelin starred restaurants. You can also explore French Basque region , the border town of Hondarribia, and the cider houses outside San Sebastian.
- Bilbao: Apart from the Guggenheim which should of course be a big part of your trip, you should also spend time walking around to appreciate the rejuvenated industrial town. And plan to spend an evening in the old town, which retains traditional Basque buildings and charm. Bilbao acts as the gateway to Basque country and most end up spending just a day at Bilbao
- La Rioja: This wine region is world famous for its red wines and the wineries that make them. Make your plan to visit the towns of Haro, Laguardia, or Logrono, and book your winery visits in advance.
- Coastal Basque towns on the Bay of Biscay will provide you with a refreshing change of scene from the Mediterranean coastal towns of the rest of Spain. The coastline between Bilbao and San Sebastian is dotted with gorgeous beach towns all the way up to France. A popular itinerary is the Flysch route starting at Zumaia then going to Getaria and Zarautz. There are also many txakoli wineries en route.
- The food: Basque country has its own unique cuisine and tapas version called pintxos. But it is well known for its high end restaurants especially in San Sebastian.
When you plan your Basque country visit you will have to decide how to split your time between the various parts. There is a lot to see and at some times of the year, Pamplona and Navarre region become worth a visit. The ideal itinerary for Basque region should be 7 to 10 days