Did you know that over 1,000 years ago, the original Way to Santiago wove along the Northern Coast, passing through the fabled Basque Country? This Way is now called the ‘Camino Norte’, or Northern Camino.
This mysterious corner of the Iberian Peninsula is known for its proud people and marked contrasts. A culture that has always been tied to the land, to their distinct language and their heritage. The Northern Camino strolls over lush rolling hills, wanders by imposing coastal mountains, and skirts the tides of the rocky coves. We’ll also get a glimpse of sophisticated cosmopolitan centers and centuries-removed hamlets.
The Basque are likewise world-renowned for their cuisine. En route you’ll get a chance to try it, including their full-flavored cheeses, freshly caught seafood, delicious pintxos (Basque tapas) and crisp subtle wine. Indeed, the best red Riojas in Spain are actually produced in the Basque Country!
The Northern Camino
It’s a Fresco Tour, so make sure you bring comfortable footwear and appropriate hiking gear as we roughly walk 60 miles/100 kilometers following the Camino Norte from the French border to the town of Guernica. Like the rest of the Camino trails, the Camino Norte is well marked, with well groomed trails and lots of coffee and pintxo opportunities!
The Basque Country remains a bastion of a distinct thousand-year-old culture and language unlike any other in the rest of Europe. Indeed, Basque language, still widely spoken throughout the region, draws no roots from any other European language and continues to baffle linguists. Wedged between the foothills of the Pyrenees and the Bay of Biscay, the Basque have thrived, explored the seas and welcomed people from abroad without losing their idiosyncrasy.
BIlbao and San Sebastián
Heritage and modernity go hand-in-hand throughout in the Basque Country, and the towns of Bilbao and San Sebastián are perfect examples of this symbiosis. The former carrying out a complete makeover at the end of the twentieth century led by the Guggenheim Museum concession, the latter less dramatically, combining avant-garde, modern city planning and tradition.
Pintxos and Picnics
Tapas in the Basque Country are called pintxos, and we’ll have ample opportunities to savour them. Dining out tends to be an amalgam of simple local produce and innovative world-class cuisine. However, our lunchtime gourmet picnics on the trail, are still our favorite mealtimes!