10 things

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Christmas in the Basque Country

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If you're coming to the Basque Country you'll be able to meet Olentzero and Mari Domingi, discover an authentic country market while you savour a delicious talo (corn tortilla) with cider or shop beneath the smartest Christmas lights

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Eating a talo at the Santo Tomás Fair

St. Thomas' day marks the beginning of Christmas in the Basque Country. Big cities like Bilbao and San Sebastián turn into enormous country markets.

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Picture of San Tomas Fair


Visit Olentzero and Mari Domingi

Come and visit Olentzero at the Mirandaola ironworks. There you can find out all about the charcoal-burner's trade, its history, Mari Domingi and the little donkey Napoleón, all through a storyteller.

You can also see him at Izenaduba Basoa, a visitor centre based on Basque legends.

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Visit Olentzero and Mari Domingi


Ice skating

More and more towns are installing ice skating rinks as a leisure option for all the family. In places like Vitoria-Gasteiz it's a tradition that attracts thousands of people every year.

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Ice skating in Bilbao


Strolling around the monumental nativity scene in Vitoria-Gasteiz

Enjoy one of our most deeply-rooted Christmas traditions by visiting the monumental nativity scene in Vitoria-Gasteiz, featuring more than 200 life-size figures. According to the International Friends of the Crib Federation this is one of the most important nativity scenes in the world.

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The monumental nativity scene


Enjoy the Christmas lights

Streets around the Basque Country are lit up with imaginative illuminations to spread the festive mood. Moreover, in some towns lighting the illuminations is a big event.

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Christmas lights in Bilbao


Buying fresh produce at a traditional market

Basque traditional markets have been and remain a meeting place, as well as a window on our culinary and cultural heritage.

Visit one of our markets, like the recently-opened Azoka in Zumarraga

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Traditional markets


Find that present you're looking for at the Christmas Markets

The craft markets installed in the streets of towns and villages are a meeting place where you can buy handicrafts - quality and sustainability!

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Christmas Market in Bilbao


See the Three Kings' procession

The Three Kings arrive from the Orient loaded with presents to parade round the streets of towns and villages spreading joy. Together with their retinues, their floats are spectacular.

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Three Kings' procession


Run in the San Silvestre races

Bilbao, San Sebastián, Vitoria-Gasteiz and dozens of other towns and villages in the Basque Country hold the popular San Silvestre races on New Year's Eve.

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See out (or in) the year in the mountains

There's a very deeply-rooted tradition of climbing to the peak of some of our most beloved mountains like Gorbea, Adarra and Zaldiaran on 31st December and/or 1st January to toast the New Year.

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Mountains in winter

If you'd like to find out more about the origins of Olentzero and Mari Domingi, don't miss this post

Discovering the origins of Olentzero and Mari Domingi

Discover the most typical Christmas desserts and give them a try.

Taste our sweetest Christmas recipes

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