Basque Country

The Basque Country, known as País Vasco by the Spanish, is a region stretching 100 miles from Bilbao, Spain to Bayonne, France. From the sweeping peaks of the Pyrenees to the sparkling beaches of San Sebastian, Spain’s Basque Country includes some of the most physically and culturally beautiful regions on the northern coast of Spain. As one of the oldest surviving ethnic groups in Europe, the Basques are enormously proud of their land and their ways. The Basques know their country as Euskal Herria, “the land of the Basque Speakers,” and about half a million people there speak the common Basque language called Euskara.

Some of Spain’s most vibrant cities lie within these provinces, such as, the beautiful seaside town San Sebastian, the city of Bilbao immersed in Basque tradition, and the historically rich Pamplona. As the capital city of the former Kingdom of Navarre, Pamplona has an abundance of medieval architecture, and The Running of the Bulls is a Spanish tradition that draws thousands to Pamplona every summer.

The Pyrenees mountain chain, spanning the border between France and Spain on the Atlantic Coast, are the major geographic feature of the Basque Country. Outdoor enthusiasts from all around the world travel to Spain to hike and witness the breathtaking views from atop the Pyrenees peaks. Basque Country is, not only known for its dramatic scenery, but also for its culinary innovations. La Rioja, located towards the southeastern part of the Basque Country, is the prestigious wine-producing region of Spain. Almost exclusively produced and consumed in the Basque Country, Txakolina is light, fresh wine that goes well with the regions’ love for seafood.

Traditional Italian food served as tapas

Traditional Italian food served as tapas

Share San Sebastian’s Bar Malandrino blends two culinary concepts by serving traditional Italian dishes as Spanish-style tapas. Inspired by their Italian roots, Marco Marradi and partner Paolo Ghezzi opened Malandrino in July 2012. Knowing the Basque people are traditional, the concept of the bar was to introduce Italian cuisine and customs in ways the Spanish…

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Anchovies Maisor: Keeping local traditions alive

Share In the tiny coastal village of Getaria, the fishing industry is present in nearly every facet of life. In the local port, which is dominated by large fishing boats and the Salanort Fish Factory, it is easy to miss the tiny gourmet fish shop off to the side. Sorkunde Iribar began Anchovies Maisor 15…

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Pamplona traditions: Running of the Bulls

Share A sea of runners in red and white flood the narrow cobblestone streets as thousands of feet pound the uneven pathways. The July sun bears down, streaming in between the rooftops. As they round a sharp left-hand turn, known as dead man’s corner, a runner slips. Six bulls barrel the bend, and there’s only…

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Basque Culture: A Modern Mystery

Share No one knows from where they came. Their language has no origin. Their history wasn’t recorded until 1600. They are the Basques. The Basque homeland lies near the western Pyrenees Mountains, bordering France and Spain. It’s made up of the Spanish communities of the Basque Country and Navarra and the Northern Basque Country in…

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Balenciaga: A Revolutionary of Couture

Share Born in Getaria, Cristóbal Balenciaga, a Basque fashion designer and founder of the Balenciaga fashion house, had a vision that transformed the fashion industry. Now known as one of the most admired designers of haute couture in the 1950s and 1960s, he made history by designing, cutting and sewing his own models. In his 31…

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Flamenco: Unwavering art of Spanish culture

Share Embedded in the Gypsy community of Andalusia, flamenco remains an unwavering part of Spanish culture. Here, young girls begin lessons at age six or seven, and parents pass down tales of famous Spanish dancers, sharing stories and the meaning of flamenco between generations.   But, as professional dancers enchant tourists with smoldering gazes, vigorous…

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Txakoli: Wine of the Basques

Share With a coastal breeze from the sea and humid air year- round, the climate surrounding the small fishing village of Getaria allows for a different kind of wine to ferment. Sitting on the slopes, the region’s wineries are shielded from the harsh Atlantic weather. Joseba Laxkauo, a fourth generation winemaker, said 24 wineries utilize…

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Casa de Labores: Century of history in every thread

Share Casa de Labores, or Eskulanen Etxea in the Basque language, has an unassuming window display of yarn and knitted baby clothes that entice knitting fanatics inside. The Aldalur sisters, Marga, Inés and Gotzone, and their mother Kontxi, own the store and are proud of the rich heritage of Casa de Labores. In a side…

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Arzak offers innovative lunch

Arzak offers innovative lunch

Share From the reception area, it could be any other gourmet restaurant in Europe. The three Michelin stars on the wall suggest more, but seeing the real distinction requires a few flights of stairs.The difference is hidden past the dining rooms, a brightly colored box called the testing kitchen. Here is where Arzak Restaurant comes…

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Save money abroad with these grocery store favorites

Share By Erin Armstrong, Tara Bullock, Courtney Davies and Anna Rae Gwarjanski When traveling abroad for weeks at a time, it can be economical to pick up snacks and even meals at a local grocery store. After visiting grocery stores in Spain and Portugal, these are a few of our favorite snacks. Portuguese Milanos –…

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