The Colors and Balconies of the Basque Seaside

One of my favorite things to do in the whole world is to look out the window while taking a drive along the Basque coast. The sharp green cliffs diving into the blue water are spectacular. The vibrant colors of nature and old buildings make this incredible palette of eye candy.

We wake up in the morning and walk to get the paper and the morning loaf of bread. Mornings are sunny and cool and I love the vacation mood I sense from everyone around. August is the month of European vacations and most of my friends and family are available and up for anything, so we are taking advantages of day trips.

After the paper run, we have breakfast and talk about what we are going to do for the day. Each day is something different, but I really have been in the mood of water.

Last week we drove to the small town of Hondarribia, very close to the French border. The red, blue and greens balconies adorned with vessels and vessels of flowers, are one breathtaking sight. I hadn’t been there in a few years and I remembered the times I spent there as a child in summer camp.

The old part of town is lined with traditional fishermen houses. Tall and narrow, vibrant colors and clothes hanging out to dry. There are pintxo bars all along the street with tiny shops and an endless row of maple trees. Locals and tourists gather there to people watch. It really is one of those magical places.

We crossed the border from Hondarribia to Donibane Lohitzun or St. Jean de Luz as it is known in French. The French side of the Basque Country is a continuation of the green hills and blue coast of the south. Basque is not spoken as widely, especially in larger urban areas, but the culture is very much the same.

Parking in Donibane was nearly impossible and the streets were crowded with people headed to the beach looking for refuge from the August heat. From there, we headed to Azkain and Sara. Small and very peaceful villages where everyone loaded up on croissants and gateaux basques.

Yesterday, we took another day trip closer to home to the surf town of Mundaka and the large fishing town of Bermeo. We spoke to retired fishermen that told us about stories of their childhood growing up in an area so devoted to the sea. Itsasoa. I loved spending those few minutes with them. This is where most of the bonito tuna that comes into the Basque Country is unloaded and from there distributed all over the world.

We drove to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe and looked over the entire coast. It was indeed magical. Bright blue skies, lush green hills and bright blue sea.

We still have over a week left here and I plan on taking full advantage of it. I wish all of you could visit with me. At least these images will give you an idea of what it’s like here. In my home. Hope you like them.

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5 Responses to “The Colors and Balconies of the Basque Seaside”

  1. Wow! Now I see where you get your appreciation for beauty. These are absolutely lovely shots. Thank you for sharing them, and details about your amazing travels!

  2. Your photos are just breathtaking! Thank you for sharing them!

  3. ChichaJo says:

    Thank you for sharing those beautiful images of your holiday with us! I dream of exploring this part of Spain one day!

  4. Katharine says:

    I’m a brand-new reader of your blog and I just love this post! I’m a transplant from the coast of GA to San Sebastian and these pictures are so very lovely.

  5. jane says:

    Georgeous photos, definitely on my list of places to visit.

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