Once an unexplored area, the Basque Country is today an attractive region that draws more and more tourists during the summer season. The Basque Country is considered to be one of Europe's oldest and richest regions in terms of culture and heritage and features on many travel itineraries.
Treat yourself to a stay in the Basque Country and a magnificent journey between its modern cities and picturesque villages in the heart of green landscapes. Visit the dynamic cities of the Spanish Basque Country like Bilbao, San Sebastian or Guernica. Enjoy and discover Basque cuisine and its world-renowned gastronomic culture. The Basque Country has plenty to delight its visitors!
The Basques are said to be the descendants of the first men from the west, whose discovery of the dolmens in the megalithic Basque Country and the rock paintings are testimony to the occupation of the region. When the Romans invaded the Iberian Peninsula, the Basque people were immersed in Roman civilisation by collaborating with the empire.
The history of the Basque Country reached its peak around the year 1000 under the reign of Sancho III, which even extended as far as Bordeaux. It is the only time in history when the Basque people were united under a single political entity.
After the First World War, the Basque Country was the most important economic and industrial centre in Spain. The advent of the Second Republic polarised political movements and did not spare the Basque region which, like the rest of Spain, suffered the devastation of the civil war preceding the victory of Franco and his dictatorship.
The Basques paid dearly for their opposition to the General, notably with the destruction and bombing of Guernica killing more than 1,500 people, a tragic scene immortalised by the painter Pablo Picasso. You can admire the remains and Picasso’s work during a visit to the city of Guernica and its Peace Museum.
Straddling France and Spain, the question of the identity of the Basque people has always been the subject of heated debates and numerous conflicts.
A people settled for centuries, the debate as to its exact origin is still current today. The culture and heritage of the Basque Country are found in this character which is so original and specific to the region and its people. Uniquely, Basque culture has retained its identity despite the many administrative, legal and linguistic divisions to which it is subject. As a “country without borders”, the region is defined by the identity of a culture, language and the traditions of the Basque Country.
The name that the Basques give to their territory, Euskal Herria, literally means “the country where the Basque language is spoken”. When you visit the Basque Country, you will discover that this region is identified, in the past as it is today, according to movements in political opinion. Even today, lively debates about the very concept of countries often occur in the Iberian political landscape.
Spanish, French or Basque, this question of identity, which can sometimes unleash collective passions, has animated the political and social life of the Basque Country for decades or even centuries.