The Spanish Basque region (País Vasco) should not be confused with the larger area known as the Basque Country which is mainly populated by the Basque people and spreads over the Spanish regions of Basque and Navarra and the Labourd, Basse Navarre and Soule regions of southern France. Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital of the Basque region and Bilbao is the largest city. Many places have two names - in Spanish and Basque languages, and the spelling can vary considerably.
The Basque region borders with the Cantabria and Burgos regions to the west, the Bay of Biscay to the north, France and the Navarra region to the east and La Rioja to the south. The territory has three provinces - Alava, Guipuzcoa and Vizcaya
The Basque mountains define the distinct climatic areas of the Basque region - The northern valleys, in Biscay and Gipuzkoa and also the valley of Ayala in Alava, are part of the Green Spain, where oceanic climate is predominant, with it's wet weather most of the year, but with moderate temperatures. The middle section has a more Continental Mediterranean climate, but with some influence of the northern oceanic one, this gives dry and warm summers and cold and snowy winters. The Ebro valley has a more Mediterranean climate, where winters are cold and dry and summers very warm and dry.
Throughout the Basque region there are numerous castles and other defensive constructions, symbolising the conflicts of the Middle Ages. Some of them represent the most beautiful in Spain.
Bilbao is the Basque Country's largest city. It houses the Guggenheim Museum of modern art, which has achieved international renown. It also has a beautiful Old Quarter that also boasts a beautiful Gothic cathedral.
Places of interest in the Basque region worth visiting are - Bilbao, Vitoria Gastiez.
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