Encased in its own microclimate, there is no doubt that Euskadi (as it´s known by the locals) / El Pais Vasco (Basque Country to the Spanish) is markedly divergent to the rest of Spain. It´s ancient roots run deep between the fertile green landscape surrounding the Pyrenees and the rugged, rocky, weather beaten coast of the Atlantic. The culture is one of the earliest known in Europe and the language is unrelated to any other on earth!
Barcelona has the brothers Adriá; Madrid, Muñoz; but when it comes to gastronomic excellence Basque is King of them all. If falling stars were Michelin, this would be their final resting place - you can find more here than anywhere else in Europe. Tantalize taste buds bite by bite and infuse your guests with incredulity at the heavenly experience of dining in Bilbao & San Sebastian.
Bilbao is that tough kid from the wrong side of the tracks, that had a hard time of it growing up, but manages to catch the eye with a pure sparkle that can come only from a rough diamond. It is industrial and has had a problematic past, but now masterpieces of design such as Calatrava´s Sondika Airport and Zubizuri bridge, Norman Foster´s underground and of course the Guggenheim shine like gems and draw the world´s attention to this coming of age destination.
It is not only famous for gastronomy, it is also an important European art centre. This new found fame has not however gone to its head. Bilbao keeps its ugly feet on the ground and its heart still beats with grit and character, which when you look past the surface of galleries and restaurants is the true attraction of this stoic and cultured city.
San Sebastian (or Donostia as she is known at home) is its little sister. Refined and amiable during the day; gorgeous, graceful and enticing at night; she is impossible not to fall in love with! Pintxo (tapas) culture here, along with aforementioned culinary feats put San Seb constantly in the top slots on lists of the world´s finest eateries. The beaches are stunning and the summer sun creates a fun atmosphere before sultry starlets flock here in September for the annual film festival.
So, if you are bored of Barcelona, or feeling that Madrid is mundane; If you have done it all and are a little Spain-weary - this is the destination for you. Not only to create an inspiring incentive with a difference, but also for the big stuff, the Bilbao Exhibition Centre contains the largest multi-purpose hall in Spain, accommodating up to 26,000 pax.