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Overview Basque Country and La Rioja
Worldwide famous for the quality of its vineyards, wine is truly at the heart of La Rioja´s identity. But this his region has many more charms than the varied wine cellars that bear its international PDO. La Rioja showcases more than 500 wineries nestled in vast vineyards. While you’re here, you can discover tiny family owned and operated bodegas alongside massive industrial producers.
The Basque Country is a territory that will satisfy those who wish to feed the spirit as well as the body, with the revamped Bilbao, or San Sebastian, an elegant seaside resort near the border of France that is the gastronomic capital of the region.
The city is most famous for the spectacular Guggenheim Museum, and the cultural and architectual renaissance the city is experiencing.
However, there is much more to see and learn about the city. Settled along the Nervion River in the early 14th century, this city has some serious history! The famous 7 Calles or 7 Streets of the old quarter of Bilbao contain some of the oldest architecture found in the city. Many of the structures that make up the old quarter date back to the 1300s.
Specifically, the Church of San Anton along the Nervion is one of the oldest religious building in Bilbao. Construction began on the church in the late 15th century and was finished in 1510.
San Sebastian is one of Spain’s loveliest cities and also quite the Gourmet Mecca, with its numerous Michelin starred restaurants and groundbreaking chefs. It’s also in easy distance to the wine country, with the vineyards of Txakoli less than half an hour away and the mythical wine region of Rioja less than a two hour drive. San Sebastian has one of the most glorious settings you could imagine- a small, pretty Belle Époque city nestled between the Bay of Biscay and the lush green hills of the Basque Country. The half moon bay of La Concha (meaning the shell, as this beach looks like a scallop shell) is one of Spain’s nicest urban beaches and leads into the Casco Viejo (Old Town). The old quarter is jammed pack with quaint tapas and pintxos bars, Basque cider houses and traditional restaurants.
La Rioja is without a doubt Spanish wine’s heartland, an absolute treat for the foodie, but specially for the wine lover! It is the sort of place where you could spend weeks wandering along quiet roads in search of hidden villages that shelter amazing wine museums. The region is world known for its red wines, which are matured with a vanilla mellowness. Aside from the wine attraction, among its many interesting historical spots are the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, or the san Millan monastery. While heading to the south, you can cross endless vineyards and cross medieval villages and and little towns placed around venerable romanic churches and benedictine monasteries.