Bilbao and the Basque Country Feature

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Eat, Drink, and Hike Off the Calories

The concentration of celebrated chefs around San Sebastián is so dazzling that food is a natural rallying point here. There are famous names as well as rising stars in and around the Basque Country. Meanwhile, the excellence of ordinary food prepared with no gourmet pretensions beyond happy dining is everywhere.

Not surprisingly, maintaining an appetite (and some semblance of a waistline) can become a problem on a food safari—and hiking is the answer. Bring good walking shoes and check with local tourist offices for classic hikes such as the full-day walk over the Pyrenees from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to upper Navarra's Roncesvalles, a unique way to get a never-to-be-forgotten feel for the Pyrenean portal. The network of trails and ancient cobblestone Roman roads up the Basque coast from Zumaia to Getaria, Zarautz, San Sebastián, and all the way to France will offer a look at corners of the Basque Country not seen from the freeways. From San Sebastián, the red-and-white GR (Gran Recorrido) markings at the end of the Zurriola beach will start you on a gorgeous three-hour hike to Pasajes de San Pedro, where a two-minute boat ride will whisk you across the Rentería shipping passage to Pasajes de San Juan (Pasai Donibane in Euskera) and the town's several first-rate dining opportunities.

Updated: 09-2013

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