To the beach by underground
Charming sands easily accessible by public transport, a few kilometres away from Bilbao
In the summer months, locals and visitors alike head for the seaside near Bilbao, such as Arrigunaga (Getxo), Arrieta-Atxabiribil (Sopela) or Barinatxe (Larrabasterra), just to name a few awe-inspiring beaches.
In Getxo you can have a dip, sunbathe or do sports like surfing, canoeing, sailing, beach volleyball or football, and paragliding.
The beach, bordered by cliffs, is amazing. It offers excellent services and facilities: showers, toilets and everything you may need for a nice day in the sun.
Plus, there are lifeguards that look out for your safety.
Plentzia embraces the most popular beach in Bizkaia, whose wonderful bay is at walk-distance from the buzzing town centre.
You can also walk along the bay down to Gorliz beach.
It is really easy to get to the beach by public transportation.
Metro Bilbao has stations in Getxo, Sopela and Plentzia, the last beach in Bizkaia you can get to by underground.
The Bilbao effect
Cities where tradition and avant-garde come together
Las Arenas, Ereaga, Arrigunaga and Gorrondatxe-Aizkorri in Getxo, Barinatxe (La Salvaje) and Arrietara-Atxabiribil in Sopela, Plentzia and Gorliz are all stretches of sand a short distance from Bilbao. You can do everything on the beach, from sunbathing to doing sports or walking along the shore of the Cantabrian Sea.
In Getxo, only 13km from Bilbao, is closest beach. Las Arenas (Areeta Station) lies next to the wharf of Txurruka and the Bizkaia Bridge. Close by is a sailing club and plenty of places to eat. An ideal beach to do windsurfing, sailing or canoeing.
Located between the Old Port of Algorta and the Arriluze Quay is Ereaga (Neguri Station), flanked by stately homes and mansions. The fine-sand beach is 882m long, which makes it great for playing football or volleyball. When the sea is calm and the sun is warm you can go diving, but when it is rough, the surging waves are perfect for surfers.
Close to Bidezabal Station, also in Getxo, is Arrigunaga beach, perfect for surfers and lovers of water sports in general. At the foot of the cliffs of La Galea, the views of the Aixerrota Windmill are amazing. Far from the town centre and closer to Berango is Gorrondatxe-Aizkorri, a volcanic black-sand beach with mighty waves and clean waters. Actually, it is a nudist beach framed by cliffs and dunes. You can get there by bus.
Halfway from Sopela to Getxo is Barinatxe beach (Larrabasterra Station), also known as La Salvaje (salvaje means ‘wild’ in Spanish). Its name derives from its powerful waves. Framed by cliffs, La Salvaje is, like Aizkorri, a nude beach. Windy as it is, Barinatxe is ideal for surfing and paragliding. In the summer, there is a bus running from Sopela and to the beach.
Past Getxo, the beaches in Sopela, Plentzia and Gorliz can be reached by public transport from Bilbao too. Bizkaia’s farthest beach is Plentzia, easily accessible by metro as well as by Bizkaibus buses.
Beyond Getxo, in Sopela, Plentzia or Gorliz, there are beaches that can be reached by the Metro Bilbao underground
La Salvaje is one of the two beaches in Sopela, the other one being Arrietara-Atxabiribil. Get off at Larrabasterra Station to head to this 826m-long beach, one of the most extensive stretches of sand in Bizkaia. In the summer, a bus route connects the town with the beach.
Plentzia, the most popular beach in Bizkaia, is on a beautiful bay close to the town centre. You can also walk along the bay down to Gorliz beach. Both beaches are great for swimming and doing water sports like surfing, bodyboarding or canoeing. To get there by underground, get off in Plentzia Station. In addition, there are Bizkaibus buses that run from Bilbao to Plentzia.
How to get there
The eight beaches mentioned above are easily accessible by public transport: Metro Bilbao or Bizkaibus buses. If you prefer not to worry about timetables and waiting times, you can travel to the coastal towns by car.
Line 1 (L1) connects Bilbao with Las Arenas (Areeta), Ereaga (Neguri) and Arrigunaga (Bidezabal), in Getxo; Barinatxe (La Salvaje) and Arrietara-Atxabiribil (Larrabasterra), in Sopela; and Plentzia and Gorliz (Plentzia). The beaches are within walking distance from the metro stations.
Bizkaibus offers numerous bus lines from Bilbao to the nearby beaches, especially in the summer. Check timetables at the Bizkaibus website.
From Bilbao, take road N-637 and continue on the BI-637. Getxo is a 15 minutes’ drive from Bilbao. Reaching Sopela by car takes around 20 minutes on the BI-637 and then the BI-634 toward the beaches. Plentzia and Gorliz are a 30 minutes’ drive from Bilbao. Take the BI-3154 down to the bay of Plentzia.
Where to eat
If you are spending the day in Getxo, try one of the bars and restaurants in the Old Port of Algorta. From Bilbao, it is 30 minutes to Algorta Station by metro. The fresh, briny smell of the sea and the small white houses lining the narrow, steep streets will take you decades back in time.
Traditional bars in this old fishing port serve fish and shellfish, as they offer unrivalled panoramic views of Abra Bay. For the full experience, you can go bar-hopping for poteo and pintxos as locals do.
Where to sleep
Only a few kilometres from Bilbao, Getxo has luxury hotels overlooking the sea, as well as more affordable accommodation in hostels and B&Bs.
If you are looking for quieter beaches, go to Sopela or Plentzia and choose to stay in a country house. You should book your room in advance, especially if you are coming in the summer.