Summer is here. I started my summer vibes with a trip to the Basque region. You can get here easily by plane (and climate compensate) or by train. When here it is really easy to travel through the destinations. I was here for a week and could have stayed for seven years…
Biarritz is a gorgeous small town in France. The town was discovered by Napoleon III and normally 25 000 people live here. Over summer it multiplies. I guess it is best known as a surfer’s paradise.
And there are surfers everywhere. At any time of the day. If you want to go swimming on your own – remember that this is the Atlantic Ocean with about 17 degrees in the water. But amazing beaches.
It is a quaint small town. Beaches, harbour, pretty posh…
Yes, you can even buy your surfboard at Hermes…
But it is a very pretty town.
And Biarritz love to make quirky mementos.
Noone is buying anything any longer, but if you want to scout something pretty unique, you could always look for “espandrillos”. Espandrillos were invented in the Basque region.
But Biarritz is wonderful for just chill walking. Looking at stuff.
And of course eating…
In Biarritz you will find the Basque food of “pintxos”, but I encourage you to try some of their seafood.
And night life…
After two nights in Biarritz we did a few hours in the boarder town of Saint Jean de Luz. If Biarritz was small – this is even smaller. Around 13 000 people live here but a very lively small town just on the beach. The flag by the way, is the Basquian flag even though we are on the French side.
Ravel was born here and wrote Bolero in this town.
Robert Mallet-Stevens and Le Courbusier built a house here and the silhouette can be found on many posters.
No shopping but why not just look at these wonderful cans of sardines.
Third stop is San Sebastian – now in Spain. This town is bigger than the ones before and almost 200 000 people live here. It is a town with a clear Old Town district and some more contemporary buildings.
Here you see the concert hall design by Rafael Moneo in the background.
You can go swimming in San Sebastian. There are some really nice beaches. But people come here for the food. Yes. A lot of food. The Basque version of tapas is called “pintxos” and normally consist of a piece of bread with some yummy stuff over it.
If you google for places with pintxos in San Sebastian you will get millions of results. Some are closed and some are better than expected but still – the Old Town in San Sebastian is perfect for just chill and eat as mush as you desire. My advice is to not obsess with finding the restaurant someone wrote about two years ago. Just follow your own senses.
It’s really a lovely city. I fell in love with oldhouses and old store fronts. Wonderful.
A store with only ropes…
After a few days at the coast we decided to go further down in Spain and head into the Rioja district. Lots of wine, lots of vineyards. An important note – check what time the vineyards and tasting ends. They end earlier than you would think.
A vineyard designed by Frank Gehry.
On our journey we did a daystop at the capital in the Basque region – Vittoria.
Beautiful old house, just in the middle of the region, so no water.
Last stop for our week in the Basque region – Bilbao. This is a really big city. The same size as Stockholm with around a million people living here.
Very authentic and rustic.
I would say this is the livliest of all cities we went to. Every night there were street parties everywhere. Very casual, very fun and friendly.
Bilbao is of course known for it’s Guggenheim museum. And it is big. Very impressive. Here Puppy by Jeff Koons.
Sculpture by Anish Kapoor.
And more by Koons. All very insta-friendly.
A nice old wine storage turned in to a culture house designed by Philippe Starck.
Interior by Starck.
But just like San Sebastian and the other towns in this region – it is all about food. Yum, yum.
Eight days in the Basque region. We had a lot of food, some wine, a bit of culture and saw some surfer dudes. My favourite?? Biarritz. I did enjoy the relaxed beach atmosphere most there.