The Basque Country's financial sector and service industries have transformed the region into one of the most dynamic in Spain. Bilbao, its largest city located in the province of Vizcaya, has a superbly equipped congress and tradeshow centre, among other meetings and event venues, a broad selection of quality hotels and services, and some of the country's most outstanding restaurants. Well-connected by road, rail, air, and ferry, the city's cultural programme, including opera, theatre, concerts and local festivals, its monuments, museums – staring the Guggenheim – cosmopolitan atmosphere, nightlife, and delicious cuisine are all excellent reasons for choosing it as a MICE destination.
The film festival city of San Sebastian, provincial capital of Guipuzcoa, is worth visiting just for its stunningly beautiful buildings. With superb facilities for all kinds of events, from congresses and conventions to tradeshows and product launches, including several heritage venues set in incomparable surrounding, the best in service providers, and a full cultural programme, the city offers business tourists a host of things to do. A stroll along La Concha beach or through the city's historic centre, stopping along the way to savour mouth-watering pinchos over a glass of wine, is in itself a perfect way of whiling away the hours. Visitors should also take time to travel down the coast to the fishing villages of Getaria and Zumaia to lunch or dine on heavenly seafood dishes.
The capital of the Basque Country, Vitoria, lies in the inland province of Alava. Founded in 1181 by King Sancho VI of Navarre, the city's medieval centre is one of its chief attractions, along with its churches, palaces and squares. Vitoria also has all that is required for holding meetings and events or organising business incentives, including a modern congress and exhibition centre, a choice selection of alternative venues, and several excellent convention hotels.
For those business travellers with more time on their hands, leisure activities include climbing, hiking, adventure sports and outdoor training in the Aramaio mountains, known as "Little Switzerland", wine tours of the vineyards and wineries to the south, where the Rioja Alavesa is produced, medieval villages, Romanesque hermitages, Renaissance palaces, prehistoric vestiges…the list in endless.
Bathed by the waters of the Bay of Biscay, the Basque Country is yet another example of Spain's natural and cultural diversity. From the region's 252km of spectacular cliffs alternating with sandy beaches to its lush fields and thick beech, pine and oak forests, from its wetlands and salt marshes to its rolling hills and mountain peaks, the Basque Country's natural heritage is one of its greatest assets, a perfect example of which is the Biosphere Reserve of Urdaibai. Likewise, its deep-rooted traditions are another of its treasures, reflected in the Basque culture, language, music, dances, and architecture.
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