The Basque Country or Euskadi (in Basque: Euskal Herria or Euskadi) is a Spanish autonomous community, located in the north-eastern part of the Cantabrian coast, bordering to the north with the Bay of Biscay and France (Aquitaine), to the south with La Rioja, to the west with Cantabria and Burgos and to the east with Navarre. The Basque Country is recognised as a historical nationality by its Statute of Autonomy. It is composed of the provinces (called historical territories in autonomic regime) of Álava, Guipúzcoa and Vizcaya.

In the past, the provinces that make up the current Basque Country were also known as Basque Provinces, Regional Provinces, Exempt Provinces (until 1841), Vascongada Provinces, or simply, Vascongadas. Nowadays, the denomination Basque Autonomous Community (BAC) (in Euskera: Euskal Autonomia Erkidegoa [EAE]) is often used, especially in the autonomous community itself and Navarre, as the designations Euskadi and the Basque Country have also been used historically, 6 since its creation with the spelling Euzkadi in the 19th century the first, and before 1897 the second,7 8 to name a different concept of the autonomous community, that of Vasconia or Euskal Herria.

Navarre has the right to form a joint autonomy with the Basque Country, in the event of deciding its incorporation in accordance with the fourth transitory provision of the Spanish Constitution and regulated in the Amejoramiento del Fuero (Improvement of the Regional Code of Laws), although it has never exercised that right. Relations between the two communities have differed in character since the Transition.

The Basque Country has a total extension of 7,234 km², 9 and a population of 2,191,682 inhabitants (INE (Spanish acronym for National Statistics Institute 2013),10 with a population density of 302.97 inhab/km². Officially it does not have a capital, but informally, its capital is Vitoria (Álava), headquarters of the common institutions of the Parliament and of the Basque Government.2 The most populated city is Bilbao.


Points of Interest


The Famous Basque Cuisine

The cuisine of the Basque Country is the set of culinary traditions and recipes typical of this region. It is very broad and varied, prepared with very different ingredients, from the Cantabrian Sea (fish and seafood) and from inland (vegetables, cereals, meats, etc.). In the Basque Country the popularly known pinchos are offered in bars and restaurants, a tradition that is particularly venerated in this region, whose “pintxos” acquire special characteristics and are a special art.

The Basque Country is the region of the Iberian Peninsula with the most Michelin stars, and it has outstanding culinary schools, such as Luis Irizar, the Egibide-Mendizorrotza Catering School and the Gamarra Catering School, the Leioa Catering School, or the Aiala Catering School, backed by Karlos Arguiñano.


Guggenheim Bilbao

The Museo Guggenheim Bilbao (in Basque, Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa; in English, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao) is a contemporary art museum designed by the Canadian architect Frank O. Gehry, and located in Bilbao (Basque Country), Spain. It is one of the museums belonging to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. It was inaugurated on 18 October 1997 by King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

The most striking feature of the museum is the innovative building in which it is located, made up of twisted and curved shapes, faced with limestone, glass curtains and titanium plates. It has a total surface area of 24,000 m², 10,540 m² of which are reserved for the exhibitions, distributed in 19 galleries. It is located on the banks of the Bilbao tidal river, in an area called Abandoibarra, next to the Príncipes de España bridge (La Salve Bridge), which is surrounded by a hollow tower.

On 3 December 2014, the Board of Trustees of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao approved renewing for another 20 years the collaboration with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation of New York, signed in 1994 which expired on 31 December.


San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Gaztelugatxe is an islet of the Vicaya town of Bermeo, Basque Country (Spain). It is joined to the mainland by a two-arch bridge. On the island there is a chapel devoted to Saint John dating back to the 10th century, although some discoveries date it back to the 9th century. Together with another small neighbouring island, Aquech, it forms a protected biotope, which goes from the town of Baquio to Cape Machichaco, in the Bay of Biscay.

It can be accessed from the road from Bermeo to Baquio (BI-3101). The best time to visit is in spring or autumn to enjoy the peace of the place, as it is usually very crowded in the summer.


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