The Basque Country is a mountainous, coastal, and beautiful part of Spain. Today much of the wider Basque Country (that extends into southern France) is part of the Spanish Basque Autonomous Community. The region is recognized as a nationality within Spain and the home of the Basque people.

For those who would like to visit a very different part of Spain that few bother to see, consider visiting this stunning region. One of the many draws to this isolated and historic region, is its internationally famous Basque Cuisine. There is much more to Spain than just visiting the stunning and historic cites of Barcelona, Madrid, and Granada.


What Language To They Speak In the Basque Country?

The Basque Country is part of Spain and everyone speaks Spanish in the Basque Country (or "Castillo as it is called in Spain). But famously the Basque people also have their own native language - called Basque (or euskara in the Basque language).

  • Spanish: Understood And Spoken By Everyone In the Basque Country
  • Location: Coastal Northern Spain and Into France

This language straddles the western parts of the Pyrenees extending into southern France. Basque is a remarkable and unique language in Europe. Almost all languages in Europe are part of the Indo-European language family (others include Hungarian and Ural Altaic languages).

  • Isolate: Basque Is a Language Isolate

But Basque is a language isolate and has not been shown to be related to any other language alive today. It is considered to be the only surviving language isolate in Europe - it is believed to have been in Europe before the arrival Indo-European languages (before Latin or Celtic languages).

The Basque language is spoken by around 28% of the Basques in all territories (the proportion varies by area). Most (93%) of Basque speakers today live in Spain, the rest (7%) living in France. The area with the highest concentration of Basque speakers is in the north by the Bay of Biscay where over 80% of the population can speak it.

In the south of Basque Country Spanish predominates. The influence of Spanish on the language can be seen in that up to 40% of its vocabulary has been borrowed from Romance languages.

Related: Dos And Don’ts When Visiting Spain For The First Time

What there Is To Do In Basque Country & What It's Known For

The Basque Country includes stunning stretches of the Atlantic coast and some of Spain's most stunning mountain ranges - including westernmost parts of the famous Pyrenees.

In the Basque Country one should take time to hike in the mountains and explore this often forgotten part of Spain. The city of San Sebastian is one of the most famous in Spain and is famous for its culnary history and many events throughout the year.

Another thing is to explore the truly ancient history of the Basque region and the pre-historic cave paintings of the region. Just next to the Basque Country is the famous Cave of Altamira with the oldest paintings believed to date back around 36,000 years ago.

There is plenty to do in the Basque Country but over 70% of its visitors come from the rest of Spain. Visit it and discover what the Spanish know about this region that the rest of the world doesn't. Plan one's trip with their official tourism website.

Related: Your Most Common FAQS About Visiting Spain

Visit San Sebastián

The famous coastal Spanish city of San Sebastián is located in the Basque Country. It is famous for being one of the world's greatest dining destinations. Here one will see how the uniqueness of the Basque Country blend with that of the Atlantic Coast and a rich culinary history.

  • Basque Name: Donostia

San Sebastián is a festive city enjoying a calendar of events that brings the city to life.

The city is stunningly set laying along a white sandy bay between the Urgull and Igeldo hills. It is known as one of the most popular tourist locations in Spain and is a destination that blends the sea and the mountains.

  • Famous For: It Is Cuisine And Festivals

The San Sebastián old town is picturesque and filled with history to explore. The oldest parts of the city includes the historic churches of San Vicente and Santa Maria del Coro - the former represents Gothic architecture and the latter Renaissance-Baroque.

  • Tip: Book Accommodation In Advance if Visiting During The Festivals

San Sebastián is a smaller city, but one that is intensely popular, be sure to book one's accommodation well in advance - especially during its prestigious film and jazz festivals.