The Basque Country is the territory which is historically, ethnically and culturally Basque. Spanish and French may call Basque Country (Pays Basque, País Vasco) only to a portion of the country, not the whole nation. Nevertheless, Basques conceive their country as embracing the area of the traditional seven provinces: Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, Araba and Nafarroa on the Spanish side, Lapurdi, Nafarroa Beherea and Zuberoa on the French side.
These provinces are divided among three politico-administrative structures. Two are within the Spanish State: the Basque Autonomous Community (formed by Araba, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa, blue on the map above) and the Autonomous Community of Navarre (Nafarroa alone, yellow on the map). The three provinces within the French State (red on the map) are not autonomous. They form, along with Bearn, the french department of Pyrenees Atlantiques (capital Pau, in Bearn), which is part of the region of Aquitaine (capital Bordeaux). In 2003 over a million and a half tourists chose the Basque Country as their main destination in Spain. 68,9% came from the rest of Spain, mainly Madrid, Barcelona and Zaragoza. The other 459.231, came from all over the world, the main nationalities being France, UK, Germany, USA and Italy.
Source: Basque autonomous government.
Things to do and see in the Basque Country
- The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao has been one of the main attractions, together with the new Aquarium in San Sebastian.
- While everybody speaks Spanish, 25% of the population speaks Euskera (basque language) as well. This language is not rooted to Latin, not even Indo-European. It does not interfere with the learning of Spanish. Basque population is educated and therefore, they speak a clear and correct Spanish.
- From San Sebastian, Lacunza organizes excursions to little fisher villages, to the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao, to the new Museum of sculpture of Txillida Leku, to Pamplona…
- France is only 20 minutes away, this allows us to visit beautiful cities like Biarritz and the magnificent nature of the French Pyrenees.
- Also, take into account the possibility of skiing during wintertime, on holidays or weekends. The organized trips include all the necessary material.
- The Basque gastronomy is one of the most various and complete one, world-wide.
- The bars are always full of pinchos and exquisite tapas. The restaurants offers various food of high quality.
- Next to San Sebastian you can also get to know other places of our province, Gipuzkoa, like Hondarribia, Pasaje, Orio, Zarautz, Getaria, Zumaia, Deba, Santuario de Loyola, Oñati… In the Bizkaia province, you can visit Bilbao, Gernika, Mundaka… or also Navarra, Pamplona, Olite...