Merbatur ... Language immersion

Activities in Basque Country

The Basque Country is an autonomous community in northern Spain with celebrated cuisine, strong cultural traditions and a distinct language that pre-dates the Romance languages.

The vibrant riverside city of Bilbao is a hub of architecture and design, where gritty factories and shipyards give way to cutting-edge landmarks such as the titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum along a revitalized waterfront.

Bilbao is a great place full of variety and of friendly people. Here are some areas that may give you ideas about what you will be able to do during your stay in the Basque Country.


The Basque Country is autonomous region with its own parliament. It includes the Basque provinces Alava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa of and. Bilbao is the major Basque city. The official languages in the Basque country are the Euskera (Basque Language) and Castillian (Spanish).

Bilbao is famous for its wonderful museums. Bellas Artes Museum, Guggenheim Museum and Torre Loizaga (Galdames Bizkaia) Ancient 13 th century defence tower with an unique collection of Rolls-Royce cars.

Arts and Music
The Basque country has a long tradition of authors and composers of operas followed the most important names and works. Juan Crisóstomo  de Arriaga - Basque composer. He was nicknamed "the Spanish Mozart"Jesus Guridi  - El Caserio, Amaya. Pablo Sorozabal Born - Katiuska, La taberna del Puerto (Port Tavern). Jose Maria Usandizaga San Sebastian - Las golondrinas (The Swallows). Iparraguirre - Guernikako Arbola, Nere amak baleki (Beautiful girl).

Jesus Guridi  - El Caserio - Basque Symphonic Orchestra

You can see/listen all type of music concerts and others here: Palacio Euskalduna Bilbao

Basques have a long musical tradition as well of unaccompanied choirs and popular choir.for example Biotz Alai Choir. Musical instruments associated with Basque folk music include the Txistu (or high flute) Tambourine and drums. Some notable Basque writers: Miguel de Unamuno, Pio Baroja.

Arts: The most modern Art Gallery in Europe (or in the World). 

The Guggenheim Bilbao Museum:


Inside (one of many exposition rooms).

Nature & Leisure

Bilbao is surrounded by forests, mountains, beaches and steep coastlines that make the city a privileged destination for visitors. Mount Artxanda with a recreational area at the summit, restaurants, a sports complex and a balcony with panoramic views is easily accessible from the town centre by a funicular.



Hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.

Urdaibai Biosphere reserve. 


Traditional Basque sports include pelota, which has different versions played on courts with baskets, wooden bats and hands. Sports emphasizing strength and stamina, like stone-lifting, stone-dragging with oxen, log cutting and longboat regattas and surf.

How to play Basque pelota

Rowing Basque San Sebastian Kontxa

Bilbao Athletic Futbol Club Stadium (Very important Spanish First Division Team)

Eating & Drinking

Every possible option for eating from gourmet delights to a coffee bar are easily found. During the course you will experience local cooking and specialties to delight your taste buds. 

Your knowledge of wines from the local area will be developed by classroom sessions, visits to local vineyards and tastings.

The Basque Country is synonymous with some of the world’s best gastronomy. San Sebastian (Donosti) holds the world record for the highest number of Michelin Stars per inhabitant!

--  Exclusive Gastronomy Tourism in Basque Country  --

The land and the sea have been generous to the Basques. Cusine with star quality. With three Michelin Stars:

Juan María Arzak   San Sebastian   (Donosti)

Martín Berasategui Lasarte Guipuzkoa

   Pedro Subijana       San Sebastian     (The Best)

Eneko Atxa Azurmendi  Larrabetzu Bizkaia

 Álvaro Garrido from Mina (Bilbao) ... one Michelin Star

Juan María Arzak Restaurant WEB Site

Martín Berasategui Restaurant WEB site

Pedro Subijana Restaurant WEB site

Azurmendi Restaurant WEB site

Restaurant Mina WEB site


--  The Greatness of cuisine in miniature form  --

Pintxos and txikitear. Txikitear” in Basque means going from bar to bar having small glasses of wine, “txikitos”, in each, naturally accompanied by delicious pintxos:

It’s a way of socializing and having a excelent time in Basque Country.

--  Bilbao  --

Mount Artxanda is one of the two small mountain ranges that delimit the municipality of Bilbao the other one being.

Of the two it is the lower one (at no more than 300 m), the closer one to the center of the city and the one that has suffered from more intense urbanization.


The Funicular links downtown Bilbao with a recreational area at the top of the mountain, which has a park, several restaurants (a hotel, and a sports complex). The area is quite popular among the city's inhabitants and offers panoramic views of the city to the tourists.

--   Exclusive Wine Tourism in Basque Country   --

Discover the aromas and landscapes of Rioja Alavesa, the taste of txakoli made in areas kissed by the sea... This wine has made its mark on the life and history of many villages in the Basque Country, which now offer endless possibilities for wine tourism enthusiasts.

Rioja Alavesa wine has nothing to envy other wines. Its geographic location, climatology and type of earth make this land an ideal place to cultivate the grapes used for the production of this "gods' drink": the tempranillo, the graciano, the garnacha. Rioja Alavesa red wine is always valued; excellent as young wine, it gets top quality levels as "crianza", "reserva" or "gran reserva". However, although red wine is the most valued wine, in this region we can also find very good rosé and white wines, all with the guarantee of origin "Rioja" since 1926.

Laguardia is the nerve centre of the region, the wine's capital city. From this town we have access to every villages and wineries of Rioja Alavesa. We can also visit the Wine Thematic Centre, Villa Lucía.


Laguardia autumn

But wine is not the only attraction in this walled town. Every street and corner keep its medieval origin. Thanks to its stately houses and its two fortified churches (12th century), visitors will come back to the past.


This strange feeling of being in past époques can be also felt in most of towns of Rioja Alavesa. Near Laguardia, in the settlement La Hoya, we will travel back to the Iron Age (1200-250 b. C.) to know the lifestyle of those first settlers. In Elvillar/Bilar, moreover, we will find older rests, like the dolmen named "La Chabola de la Hechicera" (Sorceress' hut), which dates from around 2100 b.C.

Back in the present time, we can mention the interesting fusion between gastronomy and modern architecture we can observe in La Rioja Alavesa. Prestigious architects have designed new installations for some wineries, such as Ysios winery in Laguardia, a work by Santiago Calatrava, author of the Loiu airport or the City of the Arts and Sciences of Valencia. On the other hand, Frank Gehry, famous architect, father of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, has created the new installations of Marques de Riscal winery, in Elciego.

It is obvious that wine is the main product in this region, however we cannot forget vegetable gardens' fruits (peppers, artichokes, peaches...) or meat, especially lamb. In fact, lamb chops "al sarmiento" are one of the top dishes in La Rioja Alavesa. Finally, we can taste some delicious pears in wine as dessert.