The Basque country is one of Europe’s oldest and most culturally rich regions. Home to some of the world’s finest food, beaches in natural settings, and avant-garde architecture, it’s simply breathtaking. The coastal region of the Spanish and French Basque country is stunning: it offers spectacular, sheer cliffs, pretty fishing harbours and some of the very best beaches in Spain. Local culture and traditions are so strong and important in this region, it’s no surprise that the Basques have long claimed independence! One thing is certain: private Basque country tours led by experts will help you to encounter the region at its authentic, and luxurious, best.
The region has an exceptionally high concentration of restaurants with Michelin stars, making it an ideal destination for food lovers. The local gastronomy of the Basque Country is a combination of French and Spanish dishes, including pintxos (tapas). Cured ham from Bayonne is world-famous, the rind rubbed with crushed pimentos from nearby Espelette. You will find all kinds of scrumptious charcuterie, as well as sausages, snails, grilled calamari, Basque cakes, delicious sheep’s milk cheese, and fine wines from the Irouleguy vineyards.
French Basque Country is in close reach of the Atlantic Ocean, so it is litte surprise that fresh fish, oysters and all kinds of shellfish form the core of regional cuisine and gastronomy. Should your taste buds long for the unknown, surely here they will find unsurpassed delight. The Basques enjoy their spices and uncommon blends of flavours. Want to enjoy a food tour in the region?
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The Basque Country has been an independent nation for much of its history and has more in common with the nearby regions of Spain, including language, architecture, symbolic colours, and sports.
When the Romans arrived they were met by the Basques, who had settled there centuries earlier. There are important Neolithic remains in French Basque Country. In the second half of the fourth millennium BC, megalithic culture appeared.
Fiercely protective of their history and culture, the patriotic people of the Basque Country are among the most welcoming and proud in Europe and enjoy a relaxed, festive way of life. It is not unusual to find hand-crafted embroidery among the artisan products available in markets and boutiques in the region.
The local people have their own language, whose origins remain obscure to this day. The culture of both Spanish and French Basque country is rich; the Romans already spoke of it two thousand years ago. Their music is especially unusual to our modern ears: bewitching and unforgettable, it evokes the ambience of centuries long past.
If new and unusual wines interest you, you will find many in native to Basque country which are quite out of the ordinary. The local vineyards are vast, whether it be on the French or the Spanish side of the border. They have been developed and carefully cultivated since the Middle Ages. However, their history goes back much further, well before the Romans set foot in the region.
The Bituriges established their cultivation by selecting plants of quality which grew well in coastal areas in a damp climate. Their success has proved to one and all the extent of their forward-thinking practices.
The rosés, thirst-quenching, round and fruity, are pleasantly fragrant. Finally, the whites, a minority in terms of volume, are no less interesting. Between fat, freshness, exotic fruits, spices and floral touches, it is difficult not to be tempted.
All these wines are generally characterized by a particularly present acidity and bitterness, a delight when balance is reached.
Irouleguy is the most produced wine of the region, unique, confusing and of an irreproachable quality. It is particularly appreciated by enthusiasts who don’t hesitate to make it discover during meal tasting.
Discover the stark contrast between the modernity of Bilbao and the untamed rugged areas of the Basque hinterland. If you take the time, you will find people using methods long since surpassed by machines in the rest of Europe. It is not unusual to find hand-crafted embroidery among the artisan products available in markets and boutiques in the region.
Edged by the brilliant blue Bay of Biscay and the craggy foothills of the Pyrenees, the Basque Country feels one step removed from the rest of France.
Should you be looking for breathtaking natural landscapes, you will find everything you are looking for here. Wild animals still roam the mountain slopes, and birds soar overhead searching for their prey. Wildflowers, which have disappeared in much of the country, still flourish here in total unhampered peace.
From the majesty of its rugged mountains, its beautiful gorges to its stunning coast and some of the very best beaches of the country, from rivers and waterfalls to well preserved forests and verdant hinterland, the region remains a world unto itself.
A hiking tour in Basque country is always an excellent idea, as are tours by bike or 2CV car. The area is ideal for peace seekers, as it is much less touristy than in many other regions. The possibilities for outdoor adventures are nearly endless…
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