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Spain’s north-western corner, pounded by the Atlantic Ocean and separated from France by the ramparts of the Pyrenees, is off the beaten track. During medieval times the town of Santiago de Compostela and its cathedral attracted throngs of pilgrims, 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, 2016 City of Culture, is the gateway to the Basque country. Many Basques still speak their Euskara language, and La Rioja is a landscape of vineyards and its very famous Rioja wines. Bilbao is home to the Guggenheim Museum, a fascinating building, housing a 20th century art collection including works by Picasso and Warhol.
Stroll along the elegant Playa de la Concha and admire the beautiful architecture in the “Belle Epogue” style. This resort town has golden beaches sheltered by lush hillsides, picturesque promenades and a cobblestoned old town. Pintxo bars serve the local wines with bite-size regional specialities.
Enjoy the art galleries, shows and art exhibitions. Surrounded by the green mountains of the Basque Country, Bilbao receives the most attention for the Guggenheim Museum which opened in 1997 in a curvy, titanium-clad building, and the excess of 40 Michelin-starred restaurants in the area.
The historic journey on foot across the North West of Spain follows the pathways of European priests, monarchs and peasants whose pilgrimages to the tomb of St James at Santiago de Compostela, spawned a Christian Renaissance. There is also a Northern Route along the coastline.
Accompanied by an expert gastronomical guide, discover the history behind the miniature morsels known as pintxos and local delicacies like spider crab while sipping fine Basque wines and locally brewed beers.
Walk along the medieval Christian pilgrimage trails around Ulia Mountain and admire breath-taking coastal scenery. Gain insight into the area from your guide, enjoy a boat ride around Pasaia San Pedro and taste delicious Spanish specialties in Santiago Square.
Ride through the diverse sections of beautiful San Sebastián on a 2.5 hour bike tour to learn about the city’s rich and layered history from your local guide. Pass beaches, villas, the river, modern shops and the Royal Palace for a great overview and orientation of the city.
Take a guided tour led by an art expert through one of the world’s most respected museums to see the architecture and artworks inside as you discover and share along the way.
Travel along the Costa da Morte, the Coast of Death, on this day tour that combines breath-taking landscapes, visits to authentic fishing villages and the castle of Vimianzo, and local gastronomy. Along the way learn about the history and culture of the Galician regions.
Hear about the city’s impressive history as you visit the oldest University in Europe, and sightseeing places such as Cathedral Museum, Medieval Towers, House of Shells, Old Market, Saina Palace and Mill Museum.
Visit the bodegas (wine cellars) and have a relaxing walk through the vineyards learning about the wine-making process.
There are five stages to the Camino de Santiago and you can choose to do one, two or all of them. The full journey is 800km passing cathedrals, vineyards, stone villages, and orchards.
Here's a taste of some of our favourite hotels and lodges in the the Basque region.
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Are you planning your next trip to Northern Spain? Want to learn more about this destination? Or looking for ideas and inspiration for your next holiday? Here is where you can find our featured articles on Northern Spain.
This is just a taste of the information and advice we have available through our House of Travel consultants.
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