Northern Spain, this corner of the Iberian Peninsula seems like an entirely different country, here you get a real feel for Spain. It encompasses four marvelous provinces: Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, and the Basque Country (Pais Vasco). Well-preserved medieval villages full of history, a picturesque wine region, the beautiful Biscay coastline, and the unique city of Bilbao are waiting for you to be explored.
San Sebastián (Basque Country)
With one of the best urban beaches in Europe (La Concha), some excellent restaurants, and elegance that rivals many European capitals, San Sebastian fully deserves to be called the shining jewel of the Basque Country. Learn more >
The tiny area La Rioja is home to more than 500 wineries, from small family owned bodegas to industrial wine producers. For more than thousand years, vintners have perfected here the art of making red wines, which have become known internationally. The area is beautiful year-round, but is at its best in fall, when the leaves change color, and you drive through miles of golden, red and yellow vineyards.
Apart from wine and stunning landscapes, La Rioja has a significant number of magnificent monasteries, quaint ancient villages, an award-winning local cuisine, and a calm atmosphere that delivers with ease an authentic Spanish experience for most visitors.
Pamplona is a historic city located in the overlooked but beautiful and diverse region of Navarra. It is known for its annual “Corridas de San Fermin” during its Bull Festival in San Fermín, where persons try to outrun a herd of bulls in an outlined route through the city. On other days, these streets lined with historical buildings and dotted with beautiful parks are just perfect for a relaxing stroll.
Santiago de Compostela (Galicia)
The green (and rainy) Galicia, nestled in the top left corner of the Iberian Peninsula, is different from the other regions in Northern Spain, not at least for the fact they have their own official language, Gallego. The most famous attraction of Galicia is its capital city, Santiago de Compostela, with its imposing cathedral. Not only it marks the end of one of the world’s most renowned pilgrimage routes, but the "Camino de Santiago" (Way of St James) it is also home to the tomb where the apostle St. James is supposedly buried.
Nevertheless, the small and compact Santiago has more to offer. The charming Old Town, with its arcaded medieval streets and quaint squares, is an excellent spot for a nice city walk and to breathe the cool university vibe that hangs around the city.
Picos de Europa Mountains (Asturias)
The region Asturias is famous for its unique green landscape, beautiful coastline, charming cities like Gijón and Oviedo and the amazing mountains known as "Los Picos de Europa".
Once it was the only Nation Park of Spain, today the high mountains of the park attract hiking fans from all over Europe that may enjoy an incredible variety of flora and fauna, an abundance of adventure opportunities, and stunning landscapes. Non-hikers can ride the Fuente Dé cable car that goes to the top of the Picos Massif providing incredible panoramas of the park.
Besides nature and outdoor recreation, the area offers plenty of history and an array of lovely secluded villages that still preserve their traditions.
Gaztelugatxe (Basque Country)
Gaztelugatxe is a small peninsula on the coast of Biscay that is connected to the mainland by a man-made footbridge over the rocks. Learn more >
Bilbao (Basque Country)
Once an unglamorous industrial city, Bilbao is now the new modern face of the Basque Country. The city has transformed itself successfully and blends today the traditional Basque culture with modern architecture. It is an absolute must for design, culture and food lovers. From world-class museums (including the internationally famed Guggenheim Museum), its charming Old Town, and many interesting hot spots for art and architecture, Bilbao has it all. Together with its renown Basque cuisine (ranging from the finest restaurants to local bars for eating tasty pintxos), proximity to the coast and green hills make this North Spanish city a dynamic and authentic place to go.