THE HIDDEN JEWEL OF SPAIN
Some time ago we had my colleague Aitor sharing with you the best sites in the Basque Country, his homeland.
Now he’s back to share with you those unusual things to do that will make you remember your trip to Bilbao and its surroundings forever.
5 unusual things to do in the Basque Country
You can live many awesome experiences in Basque Country, but the following ones are on the top of the list:
Visit Pasai Donibane. Near San Sebastian in the middle of an industrial port area, you will find this small and charming town full of colors and Basque flavors. Take the water taxi to get there, as most locals do. In this little town you can visit the house of Victor Hugo, the writer of “Les Miserables” and discover why Marquis de Lafayette chose this place to depart Europe on his way to the US where he joined George Washington’s troops.
Let’s talk politics. If you wish to mingle with locals, head over to one of our special bars: places with mixed clientele but funded and organized by Political Parties. You’ll find them for all kind of political orientations: Spanish, Basque nationalists, right wing and left wing parties. Have a glass of Rioja Wine or a local cider in one of them!
Take a forest stroll through thousands of years of history. Our art is hidden in the forests: From the cave paints of Santimamiñe to the magnificent works of art by Agustin Ibarrola in 20th Century: the Oma Forest, a playful array of symbols, colors and images using trees as a natural canvas.
Pintxos. Food is nearly a religion in the Basque Country. It’s hard to choose one, but here are two of my favorite: Taste a “fried egg” pintxo in Sagartoki, Vitoria-Gasteiz. No, it is not only an egg, it is a flavor explosion in your mouth! Please, do not bite it! You can also eat a pintxo of baby eels (or a fake cheaper substitute, in less authentic places). Are you daring enough?
Unusual reasons to visit cathedrals. Vitoria-Gasteiz hosts a great old medieval center and three Cathedrals, something not very common. Have you ever had to cancel your visit to a monument due to restoration works? Well, in Vitoria-Gasteiz the restoration works of its Gothic Cathedral have become the actual reason to visit the Cathedral: get explanations of the findings whilst they are happening. Hurry up, the works will be soon completed! One more tip: don’t miss the first Cathedral of Vitoria-Gasteiz, in the Armentia neighborhood, famous for its nice religious Romanesque sculptures, but if you look closely you’ll also discover some erotic poses!
Now it’s your turn! What’s the most unusual thing you’ve done when traveling? Let us know on a comment below!
Aitor Delgado is a Vitoria, Bilbao, San Sebastian & Biarritz local expert and private tourguide. He’s got more than 14 years of experience giving tours, and has traveled to more than 50 countries in the world.