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Northern and Regional Spain


Northern and Regional Spain

story by: Inspire Spain, Portugal, Greece & Turkey

Spain’s north-western corner, pounded by the Atlantic Ocean and separated from France by the ramparts of the Pyrenees, is a little off the beaten track. However, this was not always so. During medieval times the town of Santiago de Compostela and its cathedral once attracted throngs of pilgrims. They were drawn to the tomb of St James the Apostle, which even today is regarded as the third most important Christian site after Rome and Jerusalem. This region, including the capital of San Sebastián, is also the gateway to the Basque country. Many Basques still speak their Euskara language, wear distinctive berets and are fiercely determined to have independence from Spain. Bilbao, on the shores of the Bay of Biscay, is home to the Guggenheim Museum. Housing a 20th century art collection, including works by Picasso and Warhol, the building itself is fascinating.

  • San Sebastian - This vibrant coast town has loads of great fish restaurants and tons of pintxos bars (kind of like tapas bars, but you eat with toothpicks) that crowd the narrow and noisy streets of the historical old town. It also boasts some fantastic designer clothes shops, many of them being surf labels as San Sebastián has some of the best surf beaches in the whole of Spain.
  • Bilbao - A very popular tourist destination, most famously known as home to the architectural masterpiece, that is the Guggenheim Museum. It also possesses many more fantastic ‘museums’, historic churches and palaces as well as a fascinating historic city centre, making this little Basque town the culture capital of Northern Spain.
  • Santiago de Compostela - Located in the province of Galicia in northwestern Spain, its mighty Cathedral is the final destination of the legendary pilgrimage route, the Way of St James. Its old town is so special that in 1985 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a town firmly rooted in its historical past but embracing a bright future.

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