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Basque Country

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Travel Guide Europe Spain Basque Country

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Introduction

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

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Basque Country is an autonomous region in northern Spain on the Atlantic coast near the border with France. It is home to the Basque people, an ancient ethnic group with significant national aspirations. About 2.1 million people live in Basque Country, which is devided into the three smaller regions of Guipúzcoa, Biscaja and Álava. The capital of the autonomous region is the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz.

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Cities

(in brackets is the name in Basque)

  • Bilbao (Bilbo) is the largest city and capital of the region of Vizcaja (Biscay|Bizcaia).
  • San Sebastian (Donostia) capital of the region of Guipúzcoa (Gipuzkoa).
  • Vitoria (Vitoria-Gasteiz) capital of the region of Álava (Arabe), and the capital of the autonomous region of Basque Country.

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Sights and Activities

Guggenheim Museum

Bilbao-4

Bilbao-4

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One of the top attractions of the Basque Country is the Guggenheim in Bilboa. The museum is a museum for modern and contemporary art. The architecture of the museum itself, can be classified as just being that. The design of architect Frank Gehry was opened in 1997 and lies along the river Nervion right in the center of Bilbao.

The museum can be reach by tram there is a stop (Guggenheim) a 100 metres from the museum. The nearest metro station is Moyúa. By bus you can reach the Guggenheim on line 18.

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Events and Festivals

Clasica San Sebastian

The Clasica San Sebastian is a cycling event that takes place in August, just after the Tour de France. Since the first race in 1981, the race has been moved around on the cycling calender and for now has landed in August. It is part of the UCI World Cup. As the Basque Country is a mountainous region, the race is suited for climbers and the list of winners has some big names, including Miguel Indurain, Gianni Bugno and Paolo Bettini. More than once the race was decided on climb of the Jaizkibel, which lies about 27 kilometres from the finish line.

Jazzaldia

Jazzaldia is a 5-day jazz festival that takes place in San Sebastian in the second part of July. The festival takes place at different venues, including the Teater Vitoria Eugenia, the Auditorium of the Kursaal and on the Plaza de la Trinidad, but also in smaller clubs and bars. Besides jazz there is also room for some other genres of music.

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Getting There

By Plane

Bilbao Airport (IATA:BIO, ICAO:LEBB) is the most important airport in Basque Country and northern Spain. The airport is located 5 kilometres north of Bilbao in the municipality of Loiu. The new terminal, designed by Santiago Calatrava, was opened in 2000 and handles over four million passengers a year. The airport has regular connections to almost every city in Spain, most major cities in Europe and limited service to northern Africa.

To/from the airport:
It is possible to take BizKai public bus 3247 every 30 minutes from Moyua square to the airport and the trips takes 15 to 20 minutes. Currently there is a plan to extend the train to the airport. The bus travels from 5:25am to 21:55pm from Bilbao to the airport, and from 6:15am to midnight from the airport to Bilbao. From March 16 to October 31 the frequency is every 20 minutes.
A bus operated by PESA to Donostia-San Sebastián departs hourly at between 07:45am and 11:45pm. The trip takes approximately 75 minutes.

If you can't find flights into Bilbao, an alternative can be to fly into nearby Santander in Cantabria, and take the train or bus from there to Basque Country.

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This is version 17. Last edited at 10:48 on Jan 17, 11 by Utrecht. 14 articles link to this page.

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