National Geographic offers us an amazing article by Daniel Stables on their UK site guiding us through some of the most interesting ways to spend a weekend in Biscay, the westernmost Basque territory.

And the reason we love this article is because it takes us to some of the places in Biscay that might be considered off the beaten path.  Now, to be fair, the article doesn’t get everything right, such as, for example, how Mari, described as the most important goddess in the Basque mythological pantheon, presides over akelarres; or that Olentzero is a giant as opposed to a coal miner; or that the walkway that joins the town of Lekeitio to St. Nicholas Island is made of woode and not stone.  We’re sure our readers will find more.

But that, as could be said, is nitpicking.  What’s truly important is that when visitors come here, they get to know it well and enjoy it.  It could also be said that our guidebooks and the explanations given therein also need improvement.

We loved the references to Basque mythology, which invite the reader to discover places like Arrazola, which are usually only referenced with regard to their amazing restaurants dotted throughout the breathtaking valley.

The recently reopened Oma Forest; Santimamiñe Cave, which is on a roll; the fascinating chapel of St. Michael in Arretxinaga; and the flysch along the Biscay coast that can be seen in Sopela: all these are places rarely mentioned by tour guides to Biscay.

We did however miss more references to Basque cuisine, in all its forms.  Once again, pintxos are erroneously called a “Basque version of ‘tapas.'”

Nevertheless, we are thrilled with a different take on tourism in our country, one which dares to explore beyond the obvious and thus helps shed the limelight on other gems that usually never make it into articles such as these.

National Geographic Traveller – 26/10/2023 – Great Britain

How to plan a weekend in Biscay, where mythology meets beaches in Spain’s Basque Country

Anchored by the city of Bilbao, the Basque province of Biscay in northern Spain encompasses some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes and one of Spain’s most distinctive cultures. Forest-covered mountains hide alpine cabins and religious sanctuaries where Christianity rubs shoulders with pagan Basque mythology, while the coastline is peppered with coves, caves and islands.

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Last Updated on Feb 12, 2024 by About Basque Country

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