The Basque Country is one of those gorgeous regions in northern Spain that’s so stunning to explore. For me, the name itself makes it sound like it’s a different place entirely. It’s such a stunning area of Spain and you’ll have the best time exploring. Just make sure to pay attention to some of our tips to know before visiting the Basque Country, below. This way, you can make the most out of your trip!
Our trip to the Basque Country most definitely made us realise that this should not be the case.
The Spanish Basque Country is absolutely beautiful. The scenery is very diverse, the food is totally delicious and the people are some of the warmest people you’ll meet in Spain.
With that in mind, take a little gander at some of the main tips to know before visiting the Basque Country, below. Have the best time exploring this region of Spain.
1.) The Basque Country has its own language
Your knowledge of Spanish will do you no good here. 😉
In the Spanish Basque Country, the official language is Basque and it’s very widely spoken here.
Okay, fine, a lot of people here are multi-lingual so you’ll easily find people that speak Spanish as 99 per cent of them do. That being said, if you have even the slightest knowledge of Basque, it’ll serve you well.
Here are a few easy Basque phrases to help you along your way. It’s an amazing language that sounds so different from Spanish.
2.) The Basque landscape is so dramatic
The geography here is unlike most places in Spain. It’s a lot greener and lusher in the Basque Country, unlike the drier and more arid parts of Southern Spain.
Exploring the countryside is easily one of the tips to know before visiting the Basque Country that’s essential. This is especially true if you have a car!
3.) There’s a Basque Country in France, too!
The Spanish Basque Country is actually quite close to France, in fact, in places like Hondarribia, you can literally walk over to France.
4.) Socialising is a must
Making time to socialise is very important here.
Even late on a Friday night, you can still kids hanging out with their parents in the city square and playing with their friends while their parents wine and dine with theirs too.
5.) Basque Cuisine is amazing
Speaking of food, mealtime is not something to be rushed or gotten over quickly.
It is a time to catch up with friends and family over food… and it can last hours! Every meal we had here lasted ages, which was something of a surprise coming from London. 🙂
6.) Bilbao is the biggest city
Bilbao is the biggest city here and most likely the one you’ll arrive in when you visit. Just make sure to visit the Guggenheim Museum which is totally world-class
7.) San Sebastian can be more expensive
The city of San Sebastian is the ‘fancy-pants’ city of the Basque Country. In fact, it’s one of the fanciest in all of Spain.
Plus, it’s such a foodie city and you’ll literally gorge on all the pintxos and fresh seafood.
8.) You have to try a Kalimotxo
You know the way we’ve got a wine spritzer (i.e. white wine and lemonade/soda water), well in the Basque Country (and increasingly in more parts of Spain), you’ve got Kalimotxo which is a mix of red wine and cola.
9.) Eat all the Pintxos
A typical way to spend an afternoon over the weekend is by having Pintxos with friends. It’s one of the most important tips to know before visiting the Basque Country that I can tell ya! Even if you’re flying solo, it’s one of the things you have to in the region. Trust me, they’re epic.
Also, just to give you some context, Pintxos are small snacks which you have in a bar, typically accompanied by drinks.
The best way to do this is to have one snack in each place and move on to the next, hence giving you a chance to spread out your tastes and experiences.