Aritz Aranburu (Zarautz, 1985) began to catch his first waves at the age of seven. After ranking third best in 2009, he came back in 2013 to classify among the surfing elite. His achievements won him the Euskadi Award for best sportsman in 2007, along with other accolades. In addition to completing in some of the leading international championships, Aritz Aranburu’s passion for travel and his impressive videos and photographs have made him the go-to surf blogger. Besides his beloved waves and surf, he is also a keen observer of culture and gastronomy, taking delight in sharing the secrets and attractions of the places he visits, and of course of his own home: Euskadi.

Aritz Aranburu
I'm new to Euskadi. What's the first thing I should visit?

I recommend you go to Zarautz for a walk along the waterfront and a dip in the sea. I'd take the coastal route from there to Getaria and Zumaia, and the coast road toward San Sebastián as well.

The best Basque dish is...

That's a hard one. There are so many choices, but I guess I’d have to say a thick steak or any type of grilled fish in Getaria.

What's your favourite pintxo? Maybe even one that you make at home?

I often make a pintxo using a slice of toasted baguette, with avocado, tomato, olive oil and a bit of Idiazabal cheese. I also love the McKobe mini-hamburger they serve at “A Fuego Negro” in Donostia’s old town.

Of the wide variety of Basque music, what is your favourite song and/or singer?

I really like the music by We Are Standard. I've been with them on a number of occasions and we a good relationship. Mikel Laboa is a musician I’ve always admired. I've been listening to his music since I was a child.

What places in the world of art (churches, museums, sculpture…) should I be sure and see if I visit Euskadi?

I think the sanctuary of Aranzazu is spectacular, both the building itself and the setting. As for museums, not long ago I had the chance to swim with sharks at the San Sebastián Aquarium. Now, that was an unforgettable experience.

Name a place in Euskadi that is very special for you, a place you go to just wander and unwind.

The entire Urdaibai area is very special, not only because of the famous surfing wave in Mundaka , but also because of the beautiful scenery. There are lots of gorgeous places to spend time at.

If I go with children, where should I take them and what sorts of activities could I do with them?

I'd take them to the beach in Zarautz to go surfing. Children love being in the water, surrounded by nature and playing in the waves. It's a great plan to do with the entire family since surfing is a sport that can be done at any age.

What advice would you give to somebody visiting Euskadi for the first time?

I tell them to take an interest in our culture, our customs and traditions. I tell them not to hesitate to ask questions and take part. The Basque people love to share and show visitors the highlights of our country. Experiences like this are the best way to take home a lasting memory.

What do you miss the most when you are far from home?

Besides, my family and friends, I miss all of the options and choices we have here. I mean, in terms of entertainment, culture and food as well as the geographical setting. At home I can go surfing in the morning and head to the mountains in the afternoon.

The most beautiful thing in the Basque Country to you is...

I think that what makes it so beautiful is the country as a whole. The value is in the sum total, that's what makes it so special. We're lucky to live in a place that's both picturesque and diverse. We've got beaches, mountains, plains, forests, and a wide range of cultural events, leisure activities and cuisine.

When friends come to visit from out of town, what do you always make sure and show them?

I always like to take them for a walk along the waterfront in Zarautz. I usually take them up to the campground area because it offers the best views. And since I appreciate good food, I always take them to out for lunch in Getaria or for dinner at a ciderhouse.

Is Euskadi better to visit in spring, autumn, winter or summer?

Every season has its own special feel. The great thing about Euskadi is just that – it has its own charm and activities throughout the year. In my case, the beach is a good example of this. Almost everyone associates the beach with summer. But for surfers, the best conditions are found the rest of the year.

What is your favourite fiesta or event in Euskadi?

There are so many, it's hard to choose just one. But I guess I'd have to say Euskal Jaiak in Zarautz in September. It's a fiesta I've taken part in ever since I was a little boy, and the whole town turns out for the festivities. As for events, I have fond memories of the surfing championships in Zarautz. I was just a kid when the first ones were organised and I remember watching the surfers in awe.