The Lands of Basque Culture and Language
When traveling in northern Spain and southwestern France you will undoubtedly encounter regions where Basque language is preferably spoken and used. These regions make up Euskal Herria, which roughly translates as the Land of the Basque People. However, people tend to refer to these Spanish regions as Euskadi (Basque Country in Basque) and Iparralde (Northern Region) in France.
So what’s the correct term to use and what’s the difference between them?
All of the above terms are correct, although nuances must be made.
When referring to political and administrative regions, these are called Euskadi in Spain and Pyrénées-Atlantiques in France. Euskadi is an Autonomous Community divided into three provinces. The Pyrénées-Atlantiques is also divided into three arrondissments. Both regions share a common Basque culture and favor the use of Basque language (Euskera).
However, there’s another region in Spain where Basque culture and Euskera are also widespread and, therefore, can be considered a part of Euskal Herria. This region corresponds to the Spanish Autonomous Region of Navarra. However, Basque sentiment decreases significantly in southern Navarra, making the actual borders of Euskal Herria hard to define.
Euskal Herria is the port of entry of the Camino de Santiago (French and Northern routes) to Spain. The French Camino crosses Navarra and the Northern Camino crosses Euskadi. Both routes cross Iparralde in France.
Needless be said, at Fresco Tours, our heart is in Euskal Herria as we are based in Bilbao, capital of Bizkaia, one of the three provinces of Euskadi!
Fresco Tours allows you to explore Euskal Herria in depth, either on our Basque in the Glory Tour in Euskadi, or our Chapter 1 Tour in Navarra.