Two hundred kilometres of rugged coastline, framed by the dark blue of the Cantabrian Sea and backed by the green of the mountains with their maze of valleys: this is the most typical image of the Basque Country. The coastline features beautiful bays, sheltered beaches, fishing ports and seafaring towns that have, for centuries, been the summer destination choice of kings, nobles and the well-to-do. Inland, the mountains seem to dominate; their stunning scenery is dotted with villages and stretches to the sea. Each of the three main cities of the Basque Country has its own particular charm: the aristocratic coastal elegance of San Sebastian, the refurbished and renovated Bilbao, and Vitoria, capital of the region, calm and well-kept. The renowned cuisine, festivals, local sports and wineries are testimony to the great traditional and cultural wealth to be found in these lands.
North of the Iberian Peninsula, washed by the Cantabrian Sea, bordered by France and the regions of La Rioja, Castile and Leon, Cantabria and Navarre. There are three provinces in the Basque Country: Alava - home to the capital, Vitoria - Vizcaya and Guipuzcoa. The Basque coast stretches for over 252 kilometres and the territory is crossed by over 700 kilometres of rivers. There are four peaks that exceed 1,500 metres, and six over 1,400 metres, an indication that the area is very mountainous. However, there are also vast areas of lowlands, such as la Llanada and la Rioja Alavesa.
Atlantic, with its typical txirimiri - the local word for drizzle. The moderate temperatures rise gradually towards the south in the region of Rioja Alavesa. The average annual temperature is 14º C, with maximum of 35º C and minimum minus 3º C.
Euskadi (the Basque name for the region) has always been characterised by its exquisite cuisine and this is no less true today with modern gastronomic developments. The richness and culinary diversity stems from the geographical situation which provides high quality local produce from both coast and mountain. In addition to this, though, we must consider the character of the Basque people who are devoted to tradition and have a great love of food both in itself and as an major part of social life. Among the long list of foods and beverages produced in the area are many types of fish, wines from la Rioja Alavesa, and Txakoli, a slightly sparkling, dry white wine. Txangurro (spider crab bake), marmitako (fresh tuna and potato stew), and salt cod dishes such as bacalao a la vizcaina and bacalao al pil pil, are all unmissable experiences from the Basque kitchen.
© 2000-2008, HOLA S.A., Madrid – Miguel Ángel, 1 – 28010 – Madrid (España)