BASQUE REGIONS EXPLAINED IN THE BASQUE COUNTRY: A NATION WITHOUT BORDERS
Iparralde means “the north side” in Basque. This is the name commonly used by the Basques to designate the territory of the French Basque Country. Integrated into the department of Pyrenees-Atlantique, the French Basque Country is composed of three provinces, each with their own identity: Labourd, Basse Navarre and Soule. The coast, very popular with tourists, is home to some of the most exclusive resorts in France. Venturing into the valleys and mountains of the interior, one can discover more authentic villages where Basque traditions are alive and well.
Eukadi is the heart of Spanish Basque Country and it is in this region that the presence of Euskara, the Basque language, is most noticeable. Euskadi, also known as the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country, was formed in 1978 by the union of three Basque provinces: Guipúzcoa, Biscaye and Alava. Each preserves a very unique character that is noticeable in its geography, architecture and traditions. The cities of Bilbao and San Sebastián are driven by innovation and are key destinations for foodies.
Navarre is marked by a history that still leaves it unsure of its identity within the region. Considered to be an integral part of the Basque Country by some, it is definitely Spanish for others, and many Navarros see it as a country unto itself. Seat of a powerful medieval kingdom that once included all the Basque Country and more, this autonomous community of Spain shows its individuality in its diversity. As the Spanish gateway to the famous road of Santiago de Compostela, it has always been subject to external influences that have shaped its identity.