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Couple admiring a lovely view of the city from the hillside park above the old quarter

5 hidden corners in the cities of the Basque Country that you absolutely must visit

Basque Country

Located in the north of Spain this is one of the oldest autonomous regions in the country dating back over a thousand years. And we know very little about its origins. The people speak Euskera, the oldest living language in Europe, and there are lots of secrets hidden away on its ancient streets, now side-by-side with some of the most modern contemporary buildings. These are spaces that are still frozen in another time and are right there that just waiting to be discovered.

  • View of the colourful houses in Barrio de Irala, Bilbao

    The Irala district, Bilbao.

    In Calle Zuberoa in Bilbao you'll find a bunch of brightly coloured houses that are sure to grab your attention. These homes were built by a local man in what can clearly be identified as an English style. He was a baker by trade and the owner of a large company, and his aim was to make it possible for working people, the workers in his factory, to be able to live in better conditions. More than a century later these houses and the beauty of this district still attract the attention of everybody who walks down Calle Zuberoa, a hidden corner that is definitely worth discovering.

  • The English cemetery, San Sebastián.

    The English cemetery, San Sebastián

    At the top of Monte Urgull you’ll find a tucked away place that's a little piece of San Sebstián's history. A place where many of the English soldiers who came to fight and die in the Carlist Wars were laid to rest. A cemetery full of sculptures, mausoleums, and funerary architecture, now enveloped by the lush vegetation of Monte Urgull, adding a touch of magic and charm to this enchanting place.

  • View of Plaza del Machete square, Vitoria

    Plaza del Machete, Vitoria

    A survivor from medieval times. Between the church of San Miguel and the Villa Suso Palace you'll find this square where you'll discover an inscription and a machete in a glass case. This is because in the past the procurator and the members of the council had to swear to serve the city faithfully, on pain of death.

  • View of the city wall in the Boulevard car park, San Sebastián

    Boulevard car park, San Sebastián

    One of the city's oldest secrets is to be found under the La Bretxa market. In the depths of the car park you'll find the remains of the wall built to defend the city in ancient times - right next to the place you park your car. The remains were discovered when work began on building the car park, and they’ve been preserved and respected, which means that there’s a space on the lower floors beneath the market where you can admire the wall.

  • Front view of the txikiteros money box, Bilbao

    The txikiteros money box, Bilbao

    The txikiteros money box is to be found in the heart of the old town in Bilbao. This is one of those secrets that’s hidden in plain sight, and one that’s all too easily passed by. It’s the money box where the txikiteros, groups of friends who go out for drinks together in the centre of Bilbao, leave the small change they have left over after a night out. A sculpture of their patron saint holding a txikito, the traditional drinking glass of Bilbao, adorns the money box. The best part is that once a year on 11 October the money box is opened, and its contents are donated to charity.

In the Basque country you'll find lots of secret, tucked away places just waiting to be discovered. Hidden corners that have resisted the passage of time and are still there for you to enjoy.