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The 9 Most Historic Hotels in the Basque Country

Daniel Hogan | July 24, 2018

The story of the Basque people is a long and singular one that oozes cultural history, from Neolithic civilizations to proud medieval kingdoms to the prominent rise of the Bella Époque to their 20th century struggle for autonomy. These legacies have filled the region with immaculate citadels, aristocratic palaces, and old-world manors turned into hotels that wow guests with the romance of bygone eras and give travelers the chance to live and breathe the remarkable history of the Basque Country. Below are some of the best of them.


Hotel Los Agustinos

Why it made the list

Located in the ancient La Rioja town of Haro, this imposing hotel dates all the way back to 1373, and has been a monastery, a military barracks, and even a medieval prison. In the stunning central cloister you can still find inscriptions made by the inmates carved into the centuries-old stone foundations.

History comes to life at this grand 14th century monastery t Read More


Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra

Why it made the list

The global resort city of San Sebastián was once a fortified medieval village with a mountaintop castle that kept watch of the Basque coast and the town’s small harbor. But in the second half of the 19th century, Queen Isabella II paid a visit and was so blown away by the natural beauty of the place, particularly the iconic La Concha bay, that she relocated her entire court here every summer to take up residence. This led to the tearing down of the fortifications and the beautiful Bella Époque expansion of the city along the beach’s promenade. One of the first buildings erected was the Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra. The hotel is still standing today, bigger and better than ever and now one of the premiere luxury destinations in the Basque Country.

Situated on what has to be the best piece of property in the Read More


Castillo de Arteaga

Why it made the list

The Arteaga tower was built in the 13th century but it wasn’t until 1853, when Napolean III and his wife, the Empress Eugena de Montijo, decided to restore the damaged citadel, that this picture-perfect fairytale castle came to be. It is now a romantic boutique hotel. History buffs will appreciate its close location to the town of Guernica, a town with an infamously tragic history of its own.

This immaculate Neo-Gothic castle, which was restored by Nap Read More


Parador de Hondarribia

Why it made the list

Once known as the Castillo de Charles V, this 10th century fortress turned luxury hotel was once the home of the eponymous emperor of Spain. It once protected the fortified town of Hondirribia below it, an important seaside village thanks to its strategic location on the border between Spain and France. The palace is also situated along the Camino de Santiago trail.

You can live like a medieval lord in this 10th-century basti Read More


Hotel Carlton

Why it made the list

This 1926 beaux arts beauty of a building is one of the most revered hotels in the region and has been declared a historical, architectural, AND artistic landmark of Bilbao. Its halls have witnessed of the major cultural moments of the 20th century, and the hotel was even the seat of the Basque Government during the Spanish Civil War.

This grand 1920’s palace overlooking Moyou Plaza is th Read More


Palacio Guendulain

Why it made the list

The lavish 17th century palace built by the Viceroy of New Granada is now one of Pamplona’s most prominent historical landmarks. Every piece of the manor turned hotel still exudes its aristocratic grace, from the decadent 18th century horse-drawn carriage in the ornate lobby to the rococo décor of its salons to the enormous original paintings worthy of the museums.

Housed in an 18th century palace built by the former Viceroy Read More


Hostería San Millan

Why it made the list

The 11th century monastery hidden away up the gorgeous San Millán Valley has been the site of pilgrimages for a millennium. The elegant hotel is housed in one wing of the monastery while the rest is still in wondrous working order for guests to explore. Most impressive of all, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is credited as being the birthplace of the Spanish language.

Hostería San Millán gives travelers the chance Read More


Gran Hotel La Perla

Why it made the list

In the heart of Pamplona’s old town overlooking the picturesque Plaza del Castillo, ground zero of the Festival de San Fermín is one of our favorite slices of history incarnate, the Gran Hotel La Perla. Ernest Hemingway’s favorite place of residence during his many years attending the Festival and its famed bull runs, the luxurious five-star hotel has kept his room, 217, preserved in its near-original state for guests to marvel within. Three other rooms have been preserved after the historic names that would frequent them: Pablo Sarasate, Don Juan de Borbón and The Royal Family; certainly not too shabby of company to share the same room with. And when you’re thirsty, the equally historic Café Iruña is just across the plaza.

First opened in 1881, Gran Hotel La Perla is a spectacular p Read More


Hotel María Cristina

Why it made the list

Regent Queen María Cristina herself was the first to cross the threshold of this larger than life monument of a hotel upon its opening in 1912, and the grand Bella Époque palace has been inextricably linked to the historic and cultural life of San Sebastián ever since. Its palatial interior has hosted an innumerable list of celebrity, royalty, politician, and see-and-bee-seen since its inception. And every year during the San Sebastián Film Festival, the hotel transforms into the artists’ hub and residence for some of the most revered actors and filmmakers in the world.

This Spanish colonial–style gem is a Mexico City classic. Im Read More

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