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Cruising the Basque Country

The Basque Country is one of the most culturally rich regions of Spain and remains a must-see for all foodie types. This beautiful Northern region is far removed from the commercialism of the package-orientated Costas. And, a holiday here doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With a bit of extra planning you’ll discover authentic Spain is much more accessible than you think. There are lots of great car hire options in Spain and driving is the best way to get out and explore this region. You’ll have complete freedom to roam between cities and cruise the scenic coastline. Bilbao’s port has great motorway connections for ease but take the smaller country and mountain roads and you’ll experience a much more picturesque drive. A good time to head here is during Basque Week, in September each year. Celebrations take place in towns across the region, where you will get chance to see traditional dances and games and even take part in a bit of cider tasting.

Bilbao

Do you ever feel like you spend a lot of your time on holiday eating? One of the best things about travelling abroad is that there are plenty of delicious new foods to try. The Basque Country is renowned for its top-notch food. Wander around the Old Town’s narrow streets and you’ll find it hard to resist all the tempting tapas restaurants. Bilbao is the largest city in the region and the nightlife here is pretty lively. The Guggenheim Museum is definitely also worth a look. With its striking modern architecture and art exhibitions, it has become a key attraction for visitors looking to add a bit of culture to their lives.

Mundaka

Not quite active enough for you? Tour out to the Basque coast and you can stop at the several picturesque beach spots or find the optimum conditions for catching the best waves. Drive just 45 minutes from Bilbao and you’ll reach the town of Mundaka, a surfer’s mecca that attracts visitors from around the world. It also hosts a round of the World Surfing Championship each year. The diversity of beaches means there is something for every skill level.  So, come here to catch your first wave, beat your personal best or just watch the professionals do it.

Lekeitio

Just 45 minutes’ drive east along the coast is the little town of Lekeitio. Fishing has always been big business here and if you’re looking for a slower pace of life then you can take lots of leisurely walks or marvel at the sunsets. Aside from the Gothic architecture other attractions are the two great beaches overlooking the island of San Nicolas. When the tide is low, it becomes an island no more and you can walk across on foot. You can carry on the sea theme with a visit to the Lighthouse of Catalina. The Navigation Interpretative Centre on site lets you put your sailor cap on, experience a virtual voyage and learn those essential navigation skills. When you’re done you can take in sweeping views from the terraces.

San Sebastian

San Sebastian offers the best of both worlds. You can party in the city’s many bars or go for a slap-up meal in one of the fancy restaurants. This is also one of the best places to nibble some pintxos, the region’s version of tapas. Common ingredients of these small snacks include seafood and peppers and bread usually held together with a toothpick or skewer making them great for sharing. So you can gather together a group of you and hop from tavern to tavern, sampling all the tasty pintxos options. You’ll also find fine sandy beaches to lounge around on and Le Concha is one not to be missed.

Author Bio: Melanie is a freelance writer and blogger with a passion for travel.

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