Basque people are proud of their deeply-rooted traditions. They love their 'bertsolaris' (singers of musical verse), who take the musicality of Euskera to new heights; their 'dantzaris' (dancers); their myths and legends as well as the magic and mystery their natural areas are wrapped in.

Basque folklore continues to be as fascinating as in olden days. There are many Euskal dantza groups in Bizkaia, whose members pass on their know-how to the younger generations. Lekeitio’s karraxanka and Durangaldea’s dantzari dantza are particularly popular. On Espatadantzari Eguna, each group has to perform the nine dances that make the dantzari dantza, the last number being the aurresku, a traditional ceremonial dance.

Basque people speak a language of their own: Euskera. Many language varieties are spoken across Bizkaia, like those from Txorierri, Durangaldea or Uribe Kosta. Bertsos are improvised verse compositions in which the bertsolari has to draw on multiple resources: rhyme, rhythm, satire, humour and wit. Bertsolaris are popular figures in Basque communities. Bertsolaritza as we know it can be traced back to the early nineteenth century. The oral traditions it is based on, however, are much older, dating as far back as prehistoric times.

Bizkaia’s mountains, valleys and caves go well beyond their geographical or ecological value. They are the settings of Basque myths and legends, collected and retold by the anthropologist Joxemiel Barandiaran, thanks to whom they have become part of the Basque popular culture. Basque mythological characters include mother goddess Mari, who lives in Mount Anboto; the Jentil, extremely strong creatures; the lamias, female creatures that are half human and half duck; and the sorgiñas, witches. With the coming of Christianity, many of the mythological beings were buried in the deep memory of the Basque people. One of them survived, however: It is Olentzero, the charcoal burner who drops off presents for Basque children in Christmas.

How to get there

  • For more information about Euskal dantza and bertsolaritza, you can contact the Bizkaia Dancers Society and the Basque Oral Poetry Society. You will find their contact details below.

    Bizkaia Dancers’ Society/Bizkaiko Dantzarien Biltzarra
    Luis Briñas, 31. 48013 Bilbao, Bizkaia
    Phone number: +34 944 418 563
    Email address:

    Bizkaia Oral Poetry Society/Bizkaiko Bertsozale Elkartea
    Zabale, 9. 48200 Durango, Bizkaia
    Phone number: +34 946 812 711
    Email address:

    Peace Museum
    Plaza de los Fueros, 1. 48300 Gernika-Lumo, Bizkaia
    Phone number:+34  946 270 213
    Email address:

    Gernika-Lumo General Assembly Hall
    Allende Salazar, s/n. 48300 Gernika-Lumo, Bizkaia
    Phone number: +34 946 251 138
    Email address:

    • Timetable

      Peace Museum
      March to September:
      Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00am to 7:00pm
      Sunday, 10:00am to 2:00pm
      Closed on Monday (except special dates)

      October to February:
      Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00am to 2:00pm and 4:00 to 6:00pm
      Sunday, 10:00am to 2:00pm
      Closed on Monday (except special dates)

      Gernika-Lumo General Assembly Hall
      Open daily 10:00am to 2:00pm and 4:00 to 7:00pm (summer)
      Open daily 10:00am to 2:00pm and 4:00 to 6:00pm (winter)
      Closed on Assembly Meeting Days

    • Location


  • There are many places in Bizkaia where you can learn about the fascinating identity of the Basque people. In Gernika-Lumo, for instance, you can see the mythical Gernika Tree standing by the General Assembly Hall. The tree is a symbol of the freedom of the Basque people. In Gernika you can also visit the Peace Museum, a reminder of the horrors of war.