The Basque Country is found on Spain's northern coast, boardering France. The Basque Country offers high quality of life, advanced education and healthcare systems and an extensive range of cultural and leisure opportunities. Its natural heritage is made up of nature reserves, mountains and an exceptional coastline, offering a host of possibilities for outdoor sporting activities (sailing, surfing, hiking, fishing, golf, ...), and its culinary heritage is world renowned. Strong group identity and remarkable individual initiative help fuel the cultural and economic dynamism of the region.
A range of public policies working in close partnership with private business agendas have played a key role in achieving high levels of competitiveness. In particular, the Basque Country has been a pioneer in the design and implementation of cluster policy since the early 1990s, when it embarked on an ambitious strategy to transform its economy in response to a deep economic crisis. The success of this experience can be seen in the strong growth over the last 20 years, elevating the Basque Country to the prosperous region that it is today (in the top 10% of European regions by GDP per capita).
DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN stands on the northern coastline, close to the French border. It is built around the beautiful La Concha Bay, with a scenic backdrop of hills. With spacious avenues and appealing architecture, San Sebastian offers a certain elegance and grace, which is unusual for a seaside resort. There are three main beaches, all of which are suitable for a range of water sports, including surfing. The city offers beautiful scenery, enthusiastic and lively people, a diversity of entertainment, rich cultural activities, internationally renowned cuisine, major music and film festivals, and interesting folklore, customs and traditions. Recognising all of this, it has been named European Capital of Culture 2016.
BILBAO is the largest and most lively city in the Basque Country, situated in the west of the region, close to the coastline. Bilbao is an historic city, with a legacy of old buildings and a rich culture, based around Old Town Bilbao. Bilbao has a strong industrial heritage, from which it is constantly reinventing itself. Spectacular infrastructure and cultural projects and impressive contemporary architecture, such as the breathtaking Guggenheim Museum, make this one of Spain's most exciting cities. Bilbao also boasts an impressive selection of restaurants and shops, together with a vibrant nightlife. With a scenic backdrop of green hills from the Biscay area, Bilbao has long been a major tourist destination.
VITORIA-GASTEIZ, capital of the Basque Country, is located in the heart of the region. It is a city of exceptional urban design with a medieval city centre, wide avenues, gardens and buildings that are a reminder of the grandeur and stateliness of the city. Due to the countless number of parks and gardens, Vitoria-Gasteiz has been named the European Green Capital 2012.