The Basque Country is a very distinctive area in Spain, far removed from the clichéd images people tend to conjure up when they think of Spain.
Its language is the oldest in Europe, and the gorgeous mountain landscapes, rich history, delicious food and wines make this special area a must for visitors who are looking to see a different and unique side to Spain.
There are several wines which are unique to this area, the two most representative being Txakoli and Rioja Alavesa wines. Txakoli is a special Basque wine with three different D.O (Designation of Origin). It is generally white, but also available as a red and rosé. And wines produced in Rioja Alavesa are some of the best Riojas produced.
On top of the great wines, there is also the extraordinary natural cider. Do not miss tasting it directly from the barrel in the Ciderhouses along with a good T-Bone steak and great music.
WHEN TO GO & HOW LONG FOR?
Weather in the Basque Country is very unpredictable and it rains frequently, but the good thing is that there are no crowded areas and few tourist traps, if any at all.
Spring is beautiful, as well as September and October during harvest time.
A minimum of three nights in the area is recommended, to enjoy and discover the great gastronomy and passion for wine in the area.
WHERE TO GO?
The coast is outstandingly beautiful, full of quaint fishing towns like Getaria (home of great Txakoli wineries) and cities like San Sebastian, the pearl of the northern Spanish shore.
Bilbao is renowned for its famous Guggenheim museum, but it also has a wonderful Old Town, full of pintxos bars. Pintxos bars are all over the Basque Country, but San Sebastian and Bilbao are the major sites to enjoy them.
And of course, Vitoria and its historical Old Town, with great pintxos bars, is best enjoyed with a glass of Basque wine.
WHERE TO EAT
In the Basque Country there is the highest concentration of Michelin starred restaurants per inhabitant! Food makes up a large part of the culture and lifestyle.
There is a wide variety of great quality restaurants and it is a Mecca for foodies. Almost any restaurant will make a great meal, so don't be afraid to give anywhere a try.
All must be part of your visit to the Basque Country.