Basque town which was the site of the first airborne bombing attack on a civilian town during the Spanish civil war. The bombing, by the Condor Legion of Germany's Luftwaffe in 1937, inspired Picasso to paint the landmark cubist work Guernica, now on display at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid.
Guernica  (Basque: Gernika) is also the traditional seat of the Basque people's liberties, where the juntas generales (the parliament), established in the 15th century, would assemble under the shadow of an oak tree in the town. The tree, commonly called "The Tree of Guernica" (Basque: Gernikako arbola), symbolises the Basque people's historic and traditional rights (Spanish: fueros), and is represented on both Guernica's and Vizcaya's coat of arms.
Although the airborne bombing destroyed much of Guernica's old town, several parts were spared and many were rebuilt. Today, Guernica is a thriving commercial town with several museums. Because of its history, it has also become an important symbol of Basque culture and identity.
Guernica lies roughly 35km north-east of Bilbao on the N635 road to Bermeo. There is a train each hour from Atxuri station and the journey takes around 50 minutes. Alternatively there is a bus which is slightly quicker.
The center of Guernica is easily covered on foot. Free car-parking is available near the Ertzaintza police station (follow road-signs). From there it is a short walk to the tourist office at Artekalea 8. All the main sights can be reached within 10-15 minutes walk from there.
There is a Henry Moore sculpture 'Great Figure in a Shelter' in a small park behind the Picasso Guernica ceramic.
The picturesque fishing village of Elantxobe, perched at the foot of sheer cliffs, is another short bus ride away, and as a bonus, you can watch the bus being spun around on a turntable before it can make its journey back up the narrow cliff-face road.