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What to do in Tolosa on a rainy day

25/11/2019 |


The rain is pretty relentless in Tolosa during the autumn and winter months. And given the characteristics of the climate in the Basque Country, it’s highly likely that you won’t have good weather for your visit to our town. But then, without the rain we wouldn’t be surrounded by such marvellous greenery.

So look on the bright side, there’s plenty of good food and other activities to make your stay a pleasant one. Tolosa has all sorts of places to discover and things to offer, on rainy days too.



The market

Neither the passing of hundreds of years, nor wars, nor revolutions... have been able to stop the Saturday morning markets in Tolosa. Saturday is market day. 

A fair which has been running for centuries, almost nonstop, so it’s not a few drops of rain that are going to ruin your visit, right? Plus, two of the three fair venues – the Plaza Verdura and the Tinglado – are covered, and the latter even has heating. 

But Tolosa market is an entity in its own right. For its variety of seasonal produce, its colours, the proximity to its producers, and for its atmosphere from early in the morning, almost until lunchtime. 



Going for pintxos in the old town

From midday onwards the ambience moves into the streets of the Old Town. Only metres from the market venues are numerous bars and restaurants in which you can taste pintxos and seasonal dishes made with local produce. Porcini mushrooms in lightly scrambled eggs, sautéed artichokes, a pintxo of fish cheeks or cod... 

And for lunch, don’t miss a good bean stew or alubiada with its array of accompaniments, or a great bone-in ribeye steak at any of Tolosa’s recognised grill houses. Tolosa’s foodie menu has something to suit all palates.  

And for those with a sweet tooth too, given that the town has a long tradition of artisan pastry shops. A hot chocolate or coffee with cakes or fine biscuits will sweeten any grey day. 



Cultural downpour

In the afternoon, taking shelter in the cultural centres is one of the most interesting options. The TOPIC, Tolosa’s International Puppet Centre, is one of the most important puppet museums in Europe. Coming in through its doors means entering a magical world, which carries you off in only a few metres from one country to another, from one culture to another. A cultural downpour. And, with a bit of luck, you may even coincide with a show.

The beautiful and historic Aramburu Palace, one of the town’s most outstanding architectural assets, also houses different exhibitions: paintings, sculptures, photographs... The cultural agenda of the Sala Leidor similarly intensifies with the poorer weather, and casting an eye over its events is highly recommended. There’s always something interesting on! This could also be the perfect chance to take a closer look at the Basque culture. 


Basque pelota

Culture in the Basque Country is also closely related to Basque rural sport and Basque pelota. The walls of the pelota court conceal thousands of tales and anecdotes which never fail to surprise locals and strangers alike: from the origin of this sport, to the strips worn, the bets placed or the astonishing feats of its protagonists. 

Tolosa’s Beotibar Pelota Court, another building of important historical value, hosts pelota games of different categories and modalities: jai alai, hand pelota... It’s a regular occurrence to find some kind of game or another on weekends, whether in the lower categories or as part of a professional championship. Whatever the case, the atmosphere is guaranteed.  



Shopping in Tolosa

Another option is to go shopping in Tolosa. People always say that Tolosa is like an open-air shopping centre. Of course, if it rains you’ll need an umbrella to go from one shop to another – but not for long, because you’ll find all sorts of establishments within only a few metres of one another. Some 500 of them. But the friendliness of the shopkeepers makes it all worthwhile. There are even some shops dating back hundreds of years.



The atmosphere returns

With nightfall, the atmosphere concentrates under the arches of the Euskal Herria square, particularly if the weather’s bad. Many groups make the most of the arcade to meet, talk and have something in one of its bars. 

And even if the weather doesn’t exactly invite you to look skywards during the day, here it becomes a must. The ceilings of the arcade are decorated with paintings by some of the most important local artists and come in the shape of abstract and hugely colourful works.  


Come rain or shine, with or without an umbrella, Tolosa is a place to be lived. And to be enjoyed.