The Basque Country

The Basque Country is the Spanish and French territory which is historically, ethnically and culturally called Basque. The Basque Country is the Spanish and French territory which is historically, ethnically and culturally called Basque.

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.

Notes and Must-do's in the Basque Country
  • The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao is been one of the main attractions together with the new Aquarium in San Sebastian.
  • While everybody speaks Spanish, 37,5% of the population speak Euskera (Basque language) as well. Basque is an extremely old language and one that is not only not Latin but not even Indo-European! As Basque is completely different than normal Spanish, it does not get in the way of a Spanish education. The Basque population is well educated and therefore they speak a clear and correct Spanish that many find easier to understand than the type of Spanish spoken in the southern cities.
  • From San Sebastian, Lacunza organizes excursions to little fishing villages, the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao, the new Museum of sculpture of Txillida Leku, Pamplona, etc...
  • 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. Day trips are a great possibility. The organized trips include all the necessary equipment and can be organized for some amazingly low prices.
  • The Basque gastronomy is one of the most varied and complete world-wide. The bars are always full of pinxtos and exquisite tapas while the restaurants offer world class food.
  • 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...

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