Spain is known all around the world for its sun-kissed beaches, sangria and bullfighting, but if you go further afield there are even more unique experiences to be had.
Pounded by the Atlantic Sea and bordering the Pyrenees, Northwest Spain enjoys an oceanic climate that makes it seem like a different country altogether. Nicknamed ‘Green Spain’ because of its lush landscapes, the region is quickly becoming a favourite with tourists from all around the world who relish its outstanding natural beauty, gorgeous cuisine and compelling history.
There was a time when Santiago de Compestela, the capital of Galicia in Northwest Spain, attracted thousands of pilgrims who came to view the tomb of St James the Apostle. Today it remains a popular religious site, and the 800km Way of Saint James offers a fantastic opportunity to recreate the journey as a contemporary traveller.
This major Christian pilgrimage route can be tackled in sections. For some this can be a spiritual experience as it is very rustic. The trek is over hilly terrain so you do need a good level of fitness to head off the beaten track.
If you’re more of a foodie than a history buff, then you won’t feel alone in the north of Spain, as the Basque countryside is renowned for its cuisine. The locals spend twice as much on food than anywhere else in the country – meals form the cornerstone of Basque social events.
Try the region’s famous pinxtos – miniature pieces of haute cuisine that are available in bars and restaurants up and down the region. The pinxtos bars crowd the narrow and noisy streets of the historical capital of San Sebastian – a vibrant coastal location also filled with loads of seafood restaurants.
It also boasts some fantastic designer clothes shops, many of them being surf labels as the region has some of the best surf beaches in the whole of Spain.