The Best of Basque

Balmaseda, the oldest town in Biscay.

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The town of Balmaseda, located in the heart of Biscay, is a treasure of the history and culture of the Basque Country. With more than 800 years of history, this municipality offers its visitors a journey through time, where they can explore its medieval legacy, enjoy its traditions and delight in its local gastronomy.

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Balmaseda, the oldest town in Biscay. 7

Discover the Historical and Cultural Heritage

Balmaseda is proud of its rich heritage, reflected in its cobblestone streets and the architecture of its buildings. One of the most emblematic points is the Old Bridge of La Muza, which dates back to the Romanesque period and has witnessed the evolution of the town. The Church of San Severino, an example of Basque Gothic art, keeps inside centuries of devotion and art, being a must for lovers of religious architecture.

1280px Plaza San Severino%2C Balmaseda panoramio
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The history of Balmaseda is also seen in the Santa Clara Monastery, which now functions as a hotel, maintaining the essence of its past. The historic palaces, such as the Urrutia Palace, are a clear example of the prosperity that the town experienced thanks to its strategic position on trade routes.

Popular Festivals and Local Gastronomy

The culture of Balmaseda is lived in its streets, especially during its popular festivities. The Vía Crucis Viviente is one of the most outstanding events, where passion and devotion become theater. On the other hand, the medieval market revives the golden age of the municipality, offering visitors a unique experience with artisans, musicians and minstrels that fill the streets.

As for gastronomy, Balmaseda is not far behind. Its restaurants and bars offer everything from the traditional potato omelet to dishes that combine the best of Basque cuisine with contemporary innovations.

Charming Natural Routes and Landscapes

For nature lovers, Balmaseda is an ideal starting point to explore the region of Las Encartaciones. Hiking trails take the visitor through forests and hills, with a highlight being the ascent of Monte Kolitza, from where panoramic views of the valley can be enjoyed.

1280px Ermita de San Roque y San Sebasti%C3%A1n en el Kolitza panoramio
Balmaseda, the oldest town in Biscay. 9

Visiting the Historical Monuments

In addition to the Church of San Severino and the Old Bridge of La Muza, Balmaseda has the Museo de la Encartada. This industrial museum is housed in a former beret factory and provides a unique insight into the region’s industrial past.

1280px F%C3%A1brica La Encartada
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Tips for the Tourist in Balmaseda

For those planning to visit Balmaseda, it is recommended to dedicate at least a full day to appreciate its monuments and enjoy its gastronomy. It is advisable to wear comfortable shoes to walk through its stone streets and bring a camera to capture the beauty of its historic buildings.

People also asked…

What to see in Balmaseda in one day?

Visit the Old Bridge of La Muza, the Church of San Severino, the Urrutia Palace, the Encartada Park and enjoy the local gastronomy.

What does Balmaseda mean?

Balmaseda comes from the Basque “balsa” which means “pasture area”, and “maseda”, which could refer to a local family or place name.

How old is the town of Balmaseda?

The town of Balmaseda was founded in 1199, so it has more than 800 years of history.

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Irene was born and raised in Bilbao. She has a deep rooted passion for her country and culture. She has a Bachelors degree in education and has traveled to over 85 countries throughout the world.
List of professional guides in the Basque Country

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Zachary was born in Michigan, USA. He has lived in the Basque Country for over 10 years, and fell in love with the natural beauty and quality of life found here. He earned a Bachelors degree in economics from DePaul University in Chicago.

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