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Spain is a renowned tourist destination for a plethora of reasons: its stunningly well-preserved architecture and historical landmarks, Mediterranean atmosphere, diverse landscape, tasty food, and passionate culture. Yet within Spain lies an oft-forgotten region in the northwest corner called Basque Country. This unique area has its own language, customs, and history separate from the rest of Spain, making it a truly special place to visit. I first learned of this at the Tbex Marbella conference. while during lunch I sat next to Lander from Basque Country Tour and I was intrigued.

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Photo by Antonio Gabola on Unsplash

If you find yourself in Basque Country, there are plenty of things to keep you busy. Let’s chat first about a bit of cultural info and then things to do in Basque Country.

travel to basque country covid

According to the Embassy website you need one of the following 3 things and also fill out a health form on Spain’s website.

U.S. citizens can travel from the United States to Spain if they show that they are vaccinated  against COVID-19, or have a recovery certificate , or show a negative diagnostic test result  (NAAT or RAT) performed either within 72hours prior to departure to Spain for a NAAT (e.g. – PCR test) or within 24 hours prior to departure to Spain for a RAT (e.g. – rapid antigen test).

Minors up to 12 years of age do not have to show proof of vaccination, a recovery certificate, or a negative COVID test.

Vaccines are valid from 14 days after the last dose up to 270 days. If more than 270 days (9 months) have passed since receiving the last required dose of their COVID-19 vaccine, U.S. citizens must show proof of having received a booster shot. The booster shot certificate is valid since the day it was administered.

Recovery certificates that are issued at least 11 days after the first positive COVID test, and up to a maximum of 180 days after the date of sampling are accepted as valid.

Additionally, U.S. citizens traveling from the United States to Spain must present upon arrival in Spain a QR code generated through the Spain Travel Health portal , obtained through the website or by downloading the “SpTH app” in Google Play Store or iTunes App Store for each traveler, regardless of their age and duration of the trip, unless they have a EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC).

What is the history of Basque Country Spain?

Basque Country has a rich and unique history dating back centuries. The region has been populated since the Stone Age, and its people have always been fiercely independent. In fact, Basque Country was never formally conquered by the Romans and later resisted repeated attempts by the Franks, Visigoths, and Muslims to control it.

The Basques have always been a proud and determined people, which is reflected in their history. Today, Basque Country is an autonomous region within Spain, and its people continue to maintain their own unique culture and traditions. If you’re interested in learning more about the fascinating history of this region, there are plenty of museums and historical sites to visit.

P.S Scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed there. You can check it out here.

What is the basque Country language?

Basque is the native language of the Basque people, and it is one of the oldest languages in Europe. It is not related to any other known language, which makes it a linguistic mystery. Some scholars believe that it may be a remnant of the ancient language spoken by the people who inhabited Europe before the arrival of the Indo-Europeans.

Although Basque is not widely spoken outside of the Basque region, it is an official language of Spain and France.

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Photo by Raúl Cacho Oses on Unsplash

What is the basque culture?

Basque culture is a unique blend of Spanish and French influences. The region has its own language, cuisines, music, and customs. Basque people are known for their fiercely independent spirit, which is reflected in their culture. There is also a new Netflix show that takes place in Bilbao, it is called Intimacy and it is a pretty good show.

Typical Foods in Basque Country

Basque cuisine is a delicious blend of Spanish and French influences. The region is known for its tasty dishes, including pintxos (Basque tapas), txakoli (a local white wine), ( Cod dishes) and cheeses from the region. There is also:

  • Marmitako which is a tuna stew
  • Alubias de Tolosa – a pork stew
  • Bacalao a la Vizcaína – Cod smothered in Tomator Sauce
  • Merluza en salsa verde
  • Txipirones are baby squid cooked in their own ink
  • Baked txangurro – Baked, stuffed spider crab 
  • Percebes-  known as goose barnacles
  • Torrijas ( French Toast version dessert)
Photo Cultural Trip Blog

Read more on Cultural Trip

What is the basque sport?

The most popular sport in Basque Country is pelota, a game similar to tennis that is played with bare hands or using a basket. Basque pelota is a very fast-paced and exciting sport, and it’s a great way to experience the Basque culture.

What is basque music?

Basque music is a unique and lively blend of Spanish and French influences. The region is known for its traditional folk music, as well as its more modern pop and rock genres. If you’re interested in listening to some Basque music, there are plenty of great bands and artists to choose from.

Bilbao – Basque Country

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Photo by Eduardo Kenji Amorim on Unsplash

Bilbao is the largest city in Basque Country, and it is a great place to start your exploration of the region. The city is home to a number of museums, including the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, as well as a vibrant nightlife scene.

Things to do in Bilbao

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  • Visit the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao: This world-renowned museum is a must-see for anyone interested in art and architecture.
  • Explore the Old Town: Bilbao’s Old Town is a great place to wander and explore. Be sure to check out the Basilica of Begoña and the Plaza Nueva.
  • Go for a walk or bike ride along the Riverwalk: This scenic path runs along the banks of the River Nervión and is a great place to get some fresh air.
  • Visit the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum: This museum is home to a collection of Basque art, as well as art from other parts of Spain.
  • Sample some delicious pintxos: Bilbao is known for its tasty pintxos, so be sure to stop by a few bars and try some!
  • Take a ride on the Artxanda Funicular: This funicular railway takes you up to Mount Artxanda, where you can enjoy stunning views of the city.
  • Visit the Puppy Cemetery: This unique cemetery is home to the remains of over 800 dogs.
  • Check out the Bizkaia Bridge: This iconic bridge is a must-see for any visitor to Bilbao.
  • Shop for local goods at the Mercado de la Ribera: This market is a great place to find Basque clothes, food, and souvenirs.
  • Grab water at the fountain of dogs
  • Explore the Painted Forest of Oma
  • Visit Azkuna Zentroa, For tickets and schedule visit here
  • Have a drink at the Celtic bar Residence Cafe

Where to stay in Bilbao Spain

  • Indautxu: This neighborhood is home to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, as well as several great restaurants and bars.
  • Deusto: This neighborhood is located on the banks of the River Nervión and is a great place to stay if you want to b close to the action.
  • Barakaldo: This neighborhood is located just outside of Bilbao and is a great option if you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere.

Some unique places to stay in Bilbao

Caravan Cinema. As per Fodors:

Hiding within the enchanting Old Quarter of Bilbao is a movie lover’s paradise unlike any other. This boutique hotel dedicated to Spanish filmmakers is anything but tacky; the vintage design of each room is tasteful and authentic with attention down to the finest detail. While guests won’t find big-hotel amenities here, the romantic lodging is in one of the best locations in town.

Bilbao City Center by abba Suites

Monappart Cristo

Respira Guggenheim pinchos y Cultura by Urban Hosts

Inside Old Town by Eba Homes

Hotel Miro

Ilunion San Memes

Bed4 Bilbao

Petite Palace Arana

NYX Hotel Bilbao

Nightlife in Bilbao

Bilbao has a vibrant nightlife scene, with plenty of bars and clubs to choose from. If you’re looking for a place to dance the night away, be sure to check out some of the city’s best nightclubs.

– Dabadaba: This club is located in the Deusto neighborhood and is a great place to dance to all your favorite tunes.

– Guggenheim Bilbao: This club is located in the Indautxu neighborhood and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

– Klubbing: This club is located in the Barakaldo neighborhood and is known for its great music and a friendly atmosphere.

I can not wait to go on our trip so I can update you all! This is a fascinating area in Spain!

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