Did you hear about our electric road trip trough the Basque Country? We took our electric Volkswagen ID4 for a spin to get a glimpse of this beautiful region. There’s so much going on in the Northern part of Spain that you can easily get overwhelmed. So we made a list to help you out. Here are 6 things to do on your trip to the Basque Country.
1| Catch the waves in Zarautz
There’s no way you can travel along the coast of Spain and not touch a surfboard or at least witness some surf lovers do their thing. San Sebastián is a fan favorite for a lot of surfers and during your stay you’ll be seeing a lot of barefoot people running to the beach to catch the perfect wave. It can be pretty crowded in high season so we moved up a couple of towns and headed to Zarautz to create some surf vibes of our own. Shelter surf hooked us up with a real surfer dude to teach us the ropes. It took us a few tries but we did manage to catch some waves and by extent enjoy the surfer lifestyle. There’s footage to prove it!
2| Visit the local food market
History learns us that markets used to be a necessity to trade products and spread news. As today it’s more of a social event where you meet people and buy your fresh produce from local farmers. But either way we’re always happy to stroll by a food market. Pretty much every town has their own version of a food market. You have the big indoor mercados like the ones in Bilbao and San Sebastián. But you also have the weekly outdoor markets in smaller villages like the one in Ordizia. Every Wednesday you can find organic groceries to make yourself an authentic Basque meal. Another hidden gem we discovered on the market is that sometimes local chefs prepare some pintxos and let you taste the beste products on the market.
But wait, there’s more! What about a wholesome market experience? You can go to the market, buy your produce and cook it afterwords with a real Basque chef using all the fresh ingredients from the local farmers. You can ask the tourist office to set something up.
3| Walk the Way of St. James
The Way of St. James is an ancient pilgrimage route which partly runs trough the Basque Country and eventually will lead you to Santiago de Compostela. The path brings you through a scenic route of the Northern part of Spain where you will be mesmerized by the green views and old villages that cross your path. Yellow arrows will guide you trough narrow streets and fishing villages. Be sure to bring your hiking shoes. Not a fan of hiking? You can also explore the route by bike.
4| E-bike along the green belt
Vitoria-Gasteiz proudly carries the title of green capital. Back in 2012 the city was praised for bringing nature into the city. Vitoria-Gasteiz became a role model for other cities throughout Europe and an ideal stop on your route trough the Basque Country. The city started to connect their different parks with one green ring. The Green Ring now surrounds the town and connects six different parks and is about 33 km long. The perfect loop trail to get your blood flowing and to put your mind at ease.
So hop on a bike and ride the full green circle. On your 2 hour and a half bike ride you’ll find vast fields, cultural sights, forest views and of course green parks. You can go old school or rent electric bikes in the neighborhood. And if you’re not in a hurry we advice you to bring a picnic and take in all the natural beauty of the Vitoria-Gasteiz landscape. Enjoy the Green Ring!
5| Hiking in Urkiola Nature Park
It’s an understatement to say that hiking is a national sport here in the Basque Country. Hiking is as Basque as it gets, people see it as a way to connect with the nature all around. And by going on a hike yourself, you get to appreciate the region’s beauty. You can find the mountains of Urkiola Natural park between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean sea. Here you’ll find a lot of natural walks through the green mountains.
You can walk next to wild cows, horses and sheep who’ll lead you to the mountain top. No trails, no boring directions or touristic snack stands. The only way is up and roam free between the mountain peaks. Just be sure to respect the surroundings. Basque people make a big effort to maintain the balance between protecting the nature and leisure activities.
Bonus! If you haven’t found love yet, start your hike at the sanctuary and circle around the symbolic stone 3 times. You never know maybe you’ll find yourself a husband or wife. If you believe in that Basque mythology.
6| Wine and dine
Ah the Basque identity. Food and wine that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Rioja Alavesa it the place to be if you want to indulge yourself in wineries, vineyards, wine tastings,.. You get the picture. Our trip trough the Basque Country lead us to the oldest original winery in Spain: Casa Primicia located in Laguardia. Want to know more about this beautiful car free town? Read our article about our electric road trip trough the Basque Country.
You may think that wineries are not sustainable but we happend to find a winemaker who’s doing everything he can to give back to mother nature. Starting by creating organic wine, even if it is a more expensive and harder process for wine making. They harvest the grapes by hand, don’t use pesticides and give back to the land by creating botanical gardens between the vineyards and let nature do its thing. But there’s more, the residu of the wine (like grape skins) is being used as compost for the vineyard and is being incorporated in natural cosmetics. They even use old wine branches for grilling their local meals.
There you have to guys, 6 things to do on your trip to the Basque Country.
You want to find out more about delicious Basque culture? Then read our article on how to eat your way trough the Basque Country or watch our impressions in the YouTube video below.