"Everyone who has visited the Basque country longs to return; it is a blessed land." - Victor Hugo
The Basque Country is close to my heart, I have moved a lot throughout my life but for the last 8 years my family home has been there and I go back for the holidays. Nestled partly in South Western France and North Western Spain, this lush and green land has dual nationality and speaks three languages (like myself!).
It is both mountainous and coastal. You can spend your days hiking or surfing, but wherever you go, the views are incredible.
St Jean de Luz- small French seaside town.
Hiking the Col d'Ibardin- one side of the mountain is France. The other is Spain! With wild ponies and stunning views, this hike is challenging but so worth the effort.
San Sebastian is a prosperous and beautiful coastal town on the Spanish side of the Basque Country. Fantastic for shopping and the culinary capital of the country, this is the perfect city for a day out!
The Basque language is said to be the oldest in the world with no tangible link to any other in the world. They have a rich heritage and a strong national identity. The Basques are hugely proud and rightly so- it is an ancient part of the world steeped in tradition and history.
La Fete de Bayonne (in Bayonne, naturally) celebrates Basque culture and is a five day street party in August with local music, drink, food and street party. Everyone dresses in white and red (colors of the city of Pamplona, also part of the Basque country) and enjoys the fireworks, fun fairs and party atmosphere. Even during the day it is pretty hectic, so at night it can get a little lairy!
The Basque country belongs in part to France and in part to Spain, however, it is in reality very separate culturally and historically. There is so much beyond the few places I have mentioned that I hope to get round to writing about one day. Quaint rural villages and local traditions, it is a beautiful and truly unique part of the world.