Spain Day and Night in the Basque Country

Get a dose of the innovative cuisine of San Sabastian or a feel of the Old Quarters of Bilbao
Spain Day and Night in the Basque Country

There are many reasons for you to visit the Basque Country. It is home to among the world&rsquos finest food, beaches in natural settings and avant-garde architecture. This area in northern Spain is an ideal place for an all-round visit, with its privileged location in the south of Europe, in the green north of Spain, and with everything close at hand.

The three Basque regional capitals are good examples of how this identity is expressed. Donostia/San Sebasti&aacuten is a cosmopolitan city to enjoy the delightful pace of living at the seaside. Bilbao is a culturally rich and stimulating city, which competes with leading European cities in terms of quality and modernity. Vitoria has a rich heritage and modern, well laid out user-friendly urban planning.

The Basque Mountains and Valleys and the quintessential villages dotted around, reflect the thousand-year-old history and traditions kept alive. The Basque Coast with its 250 km of beaches, estuaries, marshlands, cliffs and fishing villages, reflects nature which is abrupt yet generous with a living and intensely blue sea.

Designated the European Capital of Culture 2016 and featured by over 100 travel guides and media outlets across the world, the city also boasts of the most Michelin Stars per square metre 16 Michelin Stars and three restaurants with three Stars each.

Any excuse to visit San Sebastian is good. Besides the unequalled beauty of La Concha Bay, the city is the place to come to for innovative cuisine that has made it famous across the world, and a wide range of festivals that have made it a genuine cultural phenomenon worth experiencing.

Make sure to explore the Old Town, eating wonderful pintxos (Basque tapas) where the bars are an irresistible temptation or buying local products in the traditional market. Do Drop by the &lsquoWind Comb&rsquo, the emblematic sculpture of Eduardo Chillida and visit San Telmo Museum, the oldest in the Basque Country, to learn about Basque Society. For the sea lovers, take a dip in the sea at the delightful La Concha beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Finally, Wave-spotting in the Paseo Nuevo, alongside the sculpture by Oteiza, where waves of over 10 metres in height crash against the walls and leap into the air will certainly keep you enthralled.

At nighttime, there many excellent restaurants in a city to enjoy. One of the best sunsets can be experienced from the pier of the fishing harbour. Then proceed to visit the lighted up Kursaal Conference Centre, a spectacular architectural work by Rafael Moneo. Attend concerts at the International Jazz Festival, held at the beach in July and finally enjoy the view from Tabakalera&rsquos fifth floor terrace, former tobacco factory turned into an International Centre for Contemporary Culture.

Bilbao awakens and during these first hours of daylight, the R&iacutea invites us to stroll along its banks and enjoy the architecture, the art, the parks. The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has become an authentic catalogue of architecture and open-air art. Going for a walk allows us to admire sculptures by contemporary authors such as Dalí, Chillida, Koons, and Bourgeois. And works by internationally renowned architects such as Pelli, Isozaki, Ferrater, Siza, Moneo, Calatrava and Ghery.

The morning draws on and there are a number of options. Discovering the city&rsquos old quarter, visiting the Transporter Bridge or Puente Colgante, a World Heritage site, or going for a dip and enjoying the beaches and fishing towns on the coast, just 20-30 minutes away by metro.

If we continue through the city now&rsquos the time to go into the Old Quarter or Casco Viejo, the heart of Bilbao. We&rsquore now in the historical centre, and its architecture and monuments tell us the story of the city. Food purchases require a stop off at the Ribera Market and if we&rsquore looking for something with an atmosphere that&rsquos more hip, with pavement terraces and varied bars, the best thing to do is go to the Bilbao la Vieja neighbourhood.

The afternoon envelopes the city and the bourgeois mansions of the Ensanche district await us, overlooking Gran V&iacutea, the city&rsquos commercial artery. Walking around the streets allows us to discover caf&eacutes with history, magnificent patisseries where you can try local delicacies, and modern bars.

When night falls, Bilbao offers us the chance to enjoy its cuisine and cocktails. To dine on Basque cooking in any of its forms, from the most traditional to the cutting edge, is a treat. Evening plans take us to the opera and classical music at the Euskalduna Conference Centre, performances at the Arriaga Theatre, the Casino, or simply relaxing stroll to enjoy the charm of the city lights.

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