angle-left Naturally beautiful

Whether you are an active traveller or you prefer to go at a slower pace, there is always something for you in Bizkaia. If you are looking for adventure, the mountains are your destination. If you want to relax instead, there is nothing like a day on one of our beautiful beaches.

If you feel good when you are in contact in nature, you could not have picked a better destination. In the north, our extensive fine-sand beaches line the coast bathed by the Cantabrian Sea. Atxabiribil and Barinatxe, in Sopela, are beautiful beaches, but they can get crowded in the summer season. Meñakotz, Azkorri and Barrika are secluded enough for nudity, as is Barinatxe, also known as La Salvaje. To the east, there are the sands of Plentzia and Gorliz, while in Urdaibai the top beaches are Laida and Laga.

Meñakotz, Azkorri, Barrika and La Salvaje are secluded enough for an all-over tan

In the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, located between Bakio and Bermeo, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is a must-visit place. The islet found fame as a Game of Thrones location, but even before the series was released, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe was one of our most treasured shrines. Fishermen would ask the saint for protection in the past.

Inland, you can do almost every outdoor sport at Armañón, Gorbeia and Urkiola Nature Parks. In Armañón, you can explore large underground caves. In Gorbeia, there are trails leading to grasslands where shepherds have tended their livestock for centuries. From the wrought-iron cross standing atop Mount Gorbeia, the panoramic views are really amazing. Home to mythological creatures, Urkiola is wrapped in magic. Inside the park is the shrine of San Antonio Abad and San Antonio de Padua. From this spot, you can follow numerous paths that lead to the dwellings of goddess Mari, the lamias (half women, half animals), witches and other characters from Basque legends. You will walk through forests, meadows and caves that are brimming with life.

Routes

Ride a kayak in the river that flows through Bilbao. It is a fun way to take a look at the city from a different angle. The tour starts by the Town Hall in central Bilbao and ends at the dam of La Peña. You will pass under the Ayuntamiento Bridge and then under the Arenal Bridge, from which you will catch a full view of the beautiful Arriaga Theatre. The tour continues by the traditional La Ribera Market and under La Merced Bridge until it reaches its final destination in La Peña.

Once you have toured the coastal area and the interior of Bizkaia, you should come to the capital, Bilbao, to explore its watery backbone – the Nervión

Paddling in the opposite direction, the tour starts at the Ayuntamiento Bridge and goes under the Zubizuri Bridge, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, with the Isozaki Towers in the background. Leave the colossal La Salve Bridge behind to admire the glittering titanium skin of the Guggenheim Museum.

Continue paddling under the modern Pedro Arrupe footbridge to see the University of Deusto on your right. Soon, you will be under Deusto Bridge (an old iron drawbridge), with the Euskalduna Conference Centre on the left. The sights that come inmediately afterwards are the Maritime Museum and the Carola crane, where you will reach the city boundary.

If you continue paddling, you will reach the Bizkaia Bridge and the industrial area of the Ría, peppered with the remains of manufacturing plants and blast furnaces like the ones that used to belong to Altos Hornos de Bizkaia. The kayak tour along the river estuary is a fun thing to do with your family in Bilbao.

For a more romantic plan, try a boat ride in the Ría by night. The views of the city lights from the river estuary are fabulous.

How to get there

Gastronomy

Where to eat

On the coast, you can have freshly caught cod, marmitako (fish stew), sardines and all the seafood you can imagine. After trying Bizkaia’s fish and seafood, you will hardly forget their awesome flavours.

Travel inland to try for hearty dishes like alubiada (bean stew), porrusalda (vegetable soup) or pisto (vegetable paste), prepared with fresh ingredients from local gardens or baserris (farmhouses). Their meat and dairy products (from both cow and sheep milk) are world-famous.

Accommodation

Where to sleep

In both coastal and inland Bizkaia there are countless accommodation options. In the countryside you will find campsites and country homes, while in towns there are hostels, boarding houses or hotels to suit all budgets. In the towns of Getxo, Portugalete, Gernika and Orduña there are numerous hotels to spend the night.
  • Choose your destinations in Bizkaia first and then write down the contact information about the relevant visitor centres provided below.

    Gorbeia Visitor Centre
    Gudarien Plaza, 1. Areatza, Bizkaia
    Phone number: +34 946 739 279
    Email address: gorbeia.parke.naturala@bizkaia.eus
    Hours: 10:00am to 2:00pm and 4:00 to 6:00pm

    Urkiola Visitor Centre (Toki Alai)
    Barrio Urkiola, 8. 48211 Abadiño, Bizkaia
    Phone number: +34 946 814 155
    Hours:
    November-March, 10:30am to 2:30pm and 3:30-5:30pm
    April-October, 10:00am to 2:00pm and 4:00 to 6:00pm

    Armañón Nature Park and Ordunte Mountains Visitor Centre
    Barrio de Ranero (across Pozalagua Cave). Karrantza, Bizkaia
    Hours:
    Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00am to 2:00pm and 4:00 to 6:00pm

  • For a day out by the sea or in the countryside, you should wear comfortable clothes and shoes, a cap and sunglasses. Bring water and food to replenish your energy reserves.

    A good pair of walking shoes will do for the easy, mostly flat, ground in the coastal area. In the hilly countryside and in mountains like Gorbeia or Urkiola, you should wear mountaineering boots to keep a steady pace against loose rocks or steep hikes. If you are coming in a rainy season like winter, bring your raincoat with you.