Travel: Basque in the heartland of pintxos and fine wines at smile-inducing prices

It’s well worth a long sea voyage with to explore a region of Spain with its own incomparable character

A pintxo bar in the Mercado de la Ribera in Bilbao: it is one of the largest working markets in Europe

A weather forecast that includes a lightning storm is not, let’s face it, what you want to read about your chosen holiday destination. But as I gaze out the window of my hotel room in Portugalete, 20km from the centre of Bilbao, I’m forced to admit that if the heavens are going to open anywhere, this isn’t a bad place to be when it happens.

That hotel is the Puente Colgante, and the view I’m ...