Spain, the sun-drenched destination on the Mediterranean, has been popular among vacationers for as long as anyone remembers. Palm trees on the sandy beaches of the Costa del Sol, the hip nightlife of Madrid and Barcelona, the breathtaking natural landscape of Galicia, “Green Spain”, and then there’s Basque Country: between Spain and France lies this special region, one that is politically, culturally, and scenically among the most interesting in the country. Dive into the autonomous culture and fascinating history here in a very special way: in a specifically-Spanish type of hotel maintained by the government. See for yourself why paradores are an alluring option for those looking to stay the traditional way.
Paradores in Basque Country
Historic meets modern
© Parador de Olite The Basque Country is known and loved for its magical countrysides, sprawling wineries, and the lovely confluence of mountain and sea. Discover the many ancient buildings converted into comfortable and stylish hotels by the Spanish kings at the beginning of the 20th century. These paradores provide the perfect ambience for a historically and culturally enlightening visit to Spain’s Basque Country. Add to that great service, stylish amenities, and comfort as a top priority, and you’ll be feeling like royalty in Northern Spain. Paradores are generally broken up into three categories: esentia or historic, civia or urban, and naturia or hotels close to the coast or nature. A parador right on the coast, housed in a well-preserved castle in a small historic town brings together all your favorite aspects of vacation. For a city stay, try another castle-like hotel in the historic city center of Olite or just outside of Bilbao or San Sebastian. Just a stone’s throw from world-class museums and restaurants, hit the town after a full night’s sleep in cozy interiors. Finally, for a true escape, lose yourself in nature, tucked into the mountainous landscape with no interruption aside from the knocking of room service. These paradores are where historic meets modern, sure to have you feeling the energy of a bygone era while relishing in the comfort of state-of-the-art amenities and facilities. The in-house restaurants offer regional cuisine from a menu curated with the utmost care. The rooms are tastefully appointed and well-equipped, surrounded by thick stone walls and large windows opening up to gardens or even a view of the French Coast. Basque Country is known for its wine, so make sure to schedule in a tour of the nearby wineries, or at least an afternoon spent sipping a young white or aged red on the rooftop terrace. Active travelers will find a suite of lovely hiking trails that wind through the Pyrenees mountain range, past waterfalls and local flora and fauna galore.
Good to know
Getting there: Basque Country is accessible by flight or ferry from the UK. Many budget flights and other major airlines fly into Bilbao, from where an around-2-hour drive will have you to your hotel. Renting a car is not only convenient when you’re staying in the more rural spots, but also allows you to cruise through the coast and the countryside—a road trip not to be missed. If that’s not of interest, there are plenty of cheap busses and trains that run through Basque Country from the Bilbao Airport or city center, though some may require transfers or a quick taxi ride at the end. The ferry sails from Portsmouth to Bilbao in 24 hours. It is recommended to book this ticket early.