Spanish Basque Coast
Euskadi, trip to the Spanish Basque Coast
Nestled at the bottom of the Bay of Biscay, the Spanish Basque coast is composed of very varied landscapes.
The forests of oaks or beeches, the maquis, accompany the cliffs which underline a coastline sometimes cut by deep rias.
On the shores of Guipúzcoa
The “Flysch Route” stretches from Zumaia to Mutriku, on the Guipúzcoa coast, attracting the interest of many visitors and geologists. What makes this route unique are the flysch cliffs erecting their fossilized rock remains 50 million years old above the shore.
A shore around which diving and underwater fishing, surfing and other marine activities are widely practiced.
Beaches and green valleys, towns and fishing villages, seaside resorts, share these attractive coasts. Among the urban beaches like Funtarrabie (Fonterrabía), Getaria, Lekeito, Concha beach in San Sebastian is one of the most popular in Spain.
Fonterrabía / Hondabarria
Hondarribia, in Basque, is located at the French border, opposite Hendaye, on the left bank of the Bidasoa.
Maritime, seaside and tourist city, the old fortified city of Hondabarria, classified Historic and artistic Monument, abounds with ancient mansions and palaces.
At the foot of Mount Jaizkibel, the Playa Hondabarria beach, located in the district of La Marina near the fishing port and at the mouth of the Bidasoa, opens onto the Bay of Txingudi and the Bay of Biscay.
San Sebastian, the administrative and seaside capital of Guipúzcoa, offers us one of the most beautiful and popular urban beaches in Spain: La Concha beach. Extended by playa d’Ondarreta, they fill the bay with golden sand which borders the city, on nearly 2 km, along a great sea promenade.
At Zurriola beach, waves are frequent, to the benefit of surfers, but to the detriment of bathers. Zurriola beach, “Zurri” as it is called by regulars, lies to the east of the mouth of the Urumea.
The landscapes of Orio, a fishing village with medieval origins (12th century), whose historic centre is classified as a Cultural Asset, combine mountains, rias and ocean. A village with a very active fishing port, Orio has a beach at the mouth of the Oria river: the Playa de Antilla.
Fishing, hiking, cycling, rowing, canoeing are some of the activities practiced in Orio.
Located 20 km west of San Sebastian, Zarautz is an ancient whaling village. The golden sandy beach, 2500 metres by 80 metres, is the longest in Guipúzcoa. The strong swell and the big waves which feed the beach of Zarautz make it a very sought after spot for surfers.
As for the old city, in addition to a generous gastronomy, presents interesting monuments, palaces and buildings of Gothic or Renaissance style.
Set on a peninsula forming a ledge overlooking the Cantabrian Sea, Getaria is an ancient whaling port. The centre of the peninsula is occupied by Mount Antón, at the foot of which is the fishing and leisure port, as well as the beach of Malkorbe Hondartza which borders the city centre.
The hinterland begins with the Garate Mountains, which extend parallel to the coast. It is between these mountains and the ocean, thanks to the microclimate generated by the Garate and the Cantabrian Sea, that we find”Getaria farms”. It is here that the Txacoli vineyard is cultivated (pronounced tchacolee), a quality wine with the Getarioko Txakolina appellation of origin.
A true natural monument of great beauty, these cliffs of Guipúzcoa tell 50 million years of geological history.
We call the Flysch route, the circuit that runs along these cliffs facing the ocean on several kilometers of a coastline that runs from Zumaia to Mutriku in the east of the province.
The beaches nestled at the foot of these geological monuments are ideal for surfing, diving and underwater fishing.
Nestled in a bay where the rivers Urola and Narrondo meet, Zumaia is home to two beautiful beaches: Itzurun to the west and Santiago on the eastern bank of the mouth of the Rio Urola.
High flysch cliffs dominate Itzurun beach to the west, past these, a vast beach stretches for several hundred metres towards Deba.
Like most small coastal towns on the Basque coast, Deba is sheltered from a bay formed by the mouth of the river of the same name. Composed of three urban centres and hamlets, the locality offers both seaside and rural tourism.
Playa Santiago de Deba is located north of the city on the right bank of the river. 420 m long and 160 m wide, suitable for windsurfing, canoeing and surfing, it is very popular in summer.
Mutriku marks the end of the Flysch Route. Mutriku is a village characterised by a medieval historical centre with narrow streets lined with palaces and coat of arms houses. It has a beach, Playa de Motriko-Hondartza, on the other side of its small port.
A few kilometres west of Mutriku, Saturraran beach marks the boundary with Vizcaya.
Sea legs in Vizcaya
To the west of Guipúzcoa, in the heart of the Vizcaya coast, the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, where the village of Bermeo can also be seen, borders the mouth of the small coastal river Oka.
There is also the beach of Laga, one of the most famous Basque surf spots. Of great ecological richness, its ornithological importance also gives it special protection for birds.
Among other wonders of the Costa Vasca, located between land and sea at Cape Machichaco, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is a tiny islet connected to the land by a curious stone bridge.
Among the great rias of the Basque coast, that of Bilbao is at the maritime gates of a very industrial region.
Ondarroa is an important fishing port, whose old town has kept a medieval character with narrow and steep streets. It is from the heights where the Nuestra Señora de La Antigua church sits that you get the best view of the Cantabrian Sea and the surrounding mountains.
The closest beach to the city centre, Saturraran beach, located about 2 km to the east, marks the boundary with Guipúzcoa.
Lekeito is part of a network of eight Spanish cities, that of the “slow cities”. Respect for the culture of local crafts, the environment, the promotion of natural food and, the taste for authentic and forgetting the passage of time… are some of the key words of these cities inviting to forget a hectic and asphyxiating way of life through short circuits of discovery.
Located at the mouth of the river Lea, Lekeitio opens onto a small bay that shelters the island of San Nicolás accessible on foot at low tide. There are two beaches on either side of the Lea Ria, Karraspio to the east and Isunza to the west.
Lekeitio’s landscapes, as well as its urban characteristics, allow the “slow” discovery tours proposed by the municipality of Lekeitio. These circuits allow you to discover the old town, the port, the Santa Catalina lighthouse, the beach and the mouth of the Lea.
Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve
The Urdaiaiai Biosphere Reserve is articulated around the Urdaibai estuary where it protects a great diversity of landscapes, animal and plant species. Declared of Biological Interest by UNESCO, the landscapes are made of an estuary with sandbanks disappearing with the tides, marshes, lakes, valleys and pastures and beaches.
Laga Beach. Ibarrangelu
Deployed at the gates of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, Laga Beach, with 575 metres of golden sand, is one of the most popular surf spots on the Biscay coast.
Windsurfing, canoeing and hang-gliding are also practised from the Ogoño rock (279 m).
Integrated into the biosphere reserve, Bermeo is located on the north-western edge of it. A city with a strong maritime tradition, its port is one of the most important fishing ports in Vizcaya.
The coast of Bermeo consists of cliffs, rocks and islets as well as small beaches. Small beach 75 m long nestled at the foot of a cliff, Aritxatxu is made of golden sand and rocks. Very popular in summer, there is also a natural seawater pool, a refreshment bar, a first aid station and a rest area. It is located about 2 km northwest of Bermeo.
Hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
An extraordinary rocky island connected to the mainland by an equally extraordinary stone bridge with a 232-step paved path, Gaztelugatxe is dominated by a hermitage dedicated to Saint John the Baptist.
The area is very busy in summer, making spring and autumn the ideal seasons to climb the 232 zigzagging steps on the rocks. If the staircase leading to the chapel is always accessible, it is not always open to visits, but the panorama alone is worth the climb.
Bakio is a small, traditionally agricultural locality located in a valley drained by the coastal river Estepona. The charm of this peaceful village lies in its long beach of almost a kilometer on which, as on the nearby beach of Mundaka, surfing is widely practiced.
With a microclimate conducive to swimming and sunbathing, a seafront that runs along the immense beach and Txakoli wine produced in the region, Bakio has many tourist assets.
Armintza, hidden at the bottom of a creek, is a district of the municipality of Lemoiz. In addition to a small 200 m semi-urban rocky beach, most of whose visitors are divers attracted by its seabed, there is a small marina and fishing port with stone quays.
Less beautiful, Lemoiz houses a nuclear power plant on its municipal territory.
Plentzia, a pleasant coastal town located 25 km from Bilbao, is sheltered in a bay that it shares, just like the long beach of over 1000 metres, with the neighbouring municipality of Gorliz. The most popular water sports are canoeing, windsurfing and diving. A wide seafront promenade unfolds along the ocean.
The medieval old town of Plentzia, with its narrow streets, is situated on the eastern bank of the Plentzia ria, which can be discovered on board small colourful boats.
Ria de Bilbao
Several beaches, Barikako, Arrietara, La Salvaje (nudist), Gorrondatxe, line the coast between Plentzia and the Biblao ria, at the entrance of which the eastern bank houses a golf course, the Real Sociedad de Golf de Neguri.
The wide mouth of the ria is formed by the waters of the rivers Nervion and Ibaizabal. Two cities are located on either side of this mouth: Getxo (Areeta in Spanish) in the east and Portugalete in the west.
The Algorta district of Getxo has a bay housing the urban beach of Arrigunaga. In El Abra Bay, the old fishing port of Algorta occupies the tip of Ereaga beach, ideal for surfing. To the south of the port is Las Arenas beach facing Portugalete.
An industrial town at the entrance to the port of Bilao, Potugalete is connected to Getxo by the Bizkaia Bridge, a ferry bridge listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. Built on either side of the Nervion from 1888 to 1893, it is the largest and oldest suspension bridge in the world still in operation.
La Arena / Zierbena
Located at the extreme west of the Vizcaya coast, La Arena beach stretches 960 metres at the mouth of the Rio Barbadún. Surrounded by hills with short vegetation, the beach is very busy in summer.
The small urban centre of La Arena depends on the municipality of Zierbena, which is 2 km to the east. Situated at the entrance of the Bilbao river, Zierbena is equipped with a small marina.
San Sebastian – From 17 €
San Sebastian – From 37 €
San Sebastian – From 47 €
San Sebastian – From 50 €
San Sebastian – From 64 €
San Sebastian – From 65 €