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Basque Country

The Basque Country is an autonomous region in northern Spain, west of the Pyrenees and the border of France. Vitoria is the capital and the region has a population of 2,170,000 inhabitants.

The green hills and skies filled with drizzle of this region are in considerable contrast to the flamenco filled clichés of the south. The Basques, the people who live in this region, see themselves different. They claim that they are the oldest Europeans, speak the original European language and that they already lived in this region since prehistoric times. One thing is certain; these people live in an area consisting of exceptional beauty and diversity.

The Basque mountains form a natural border between different climates that predominate the Basque Country. The northern valleys are part of the Green Spain with a maritime climate. A humid climate throughout the year with average temperatures. Rainfall is around 1,200 mm per year. The middle part of the country has a continental Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and cold winters with snow. The Ebro valley is dry and has hot summers and cold winters. Rainfall here is not more than 300 mm per year.

Want to learn the history and culture of the Basque Country than you will you need to visit the Museo de San Telmo in San Sebastian. This museum also contains a number of works by famous painters such as El Greco and Rubens. Two beautiful churches stand in this town, the San Vicente from the 15th century and the Santa Maria del Coro from the 16th century. On top of the Monte Urgull you have a beautiful view over the town and coast. Here are also the ruins of the old castle of Santa Cruz de la Mota and the large statue of the Christ. There is also an amusement park that can be reached via a cable car.

Bilbao's Guggenheim museum is a fantastic futuristic building. The exhibition spaces are organized on three floors around the central atrium. The works exhibited range from modern art to works by renowned artists such as Picasso and Salvador Dali.

The Maritime Museum houses a number of exhibitions, an archive, an auditorium and more facilities. Besides exhibitions there are also three docks and a walking path along the estuary.

The Dona Casilda Iturrizar Park is a green oasis in the city. The design of the English garden is over 100 years old and there are beautiful trees of that age to admire.

Interesting towns at the coast with fantastic beaches are San Sebastian, Zarautz and Getxo, while cities like Bilbao and Vitoria offer history and culture.


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