angle-left Santurtzi, sardine kingdom

“Desde a Santurce a Bilbao” (“From Santurce to Bilbao”) famous couplet acquires a new meaning these days being Santurce now the one welcoming people from all places. A town nurtured by the sea; a full live dedicated to the brine with plenty of traces everywhere. Sardiners, ships, boats and whales, nothing is left in this sea postcard.

Santurtzi or Santurce (in Spanish) has a strong relationship to the sea/with the sea; the fishing port is its soul. Saltpetre scent joins the smell of sardines roasted in the coals of the restaurant of the Fishermen´s Guild (Cofradía de Pescadores). Inside the Fishermen´s guild you will find ancient sardiner´s setting for selling sardines, the fish auction. This practice is still alive nowadays in several ports where the fish of the day is sold by auction.

Sardine sellers are one of the flagships of this town; these women brought their basket on their head, barefoot and the skirt rolled up they came to the auction. “Desde Santurce a Bilbao” traditional song is based on these women’s´ day-to-day basis. Moreover, the sculptor from Bilbao J. Lucarini created the monument to the sardine, a copper sculpture that we can see in this town since 1964.

Salpetre in the veins

Hundreds of coloured boats await for a new fishing day laying on the calm waters of the port. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the trainera (small boat) was the essential tool for inshore fishing but lately ships powered by steam or explosion engines displaced them. Agurtza is a vivid example of these ships, our heritage´s treasure. Bonito, sardines, txitxarros and anchovies have known its wooden entrails; now is the time for you to discover the world of our arrantzales (fishermen in basque) by entering into this ship.

Face to the sea you will also find the monument to the Virgin of El Carmen. This is the patron saint of Santurtzi since 1907 and its festivity is the great event of the year. A pleasant festive atmosphere fills the streets with hundreds of events organised for young and old alike. These popular festivities begin with the free tasting of various tonnes of grilled sardines in the Sardine day, green light for 10 days of celebration.

The Sea Procession is the big moment in Santurtzi. It starts at 6 p.m. every 16th July when the arrantzales of the village take on their shoulders the image of the Virgin from the church of Saint George. With the figure on their back, they headed to the sea where placed on a vessel it is taken onto Abra Bay´s waters. There, all fishermen lost at the sea are honoured with a floral offering.

For nature and sea animal’s lovers there is the chance to enjoy one of the most unforgettable experiences ever: whale spotting. A unique experience in life that you can live in your visit to Santurtzi.

Routes

Santurtzi fishing port and Bizkaia Bridge (World Heritage by UNESCO since 2006) are linked by a 20-minute seafront promenade called Reina Victoria. This pleasant walk provides a great panoramic view of the Abra Bay. Once you held to Bizkaia Bridge, cross to the other margin to Las Arenas, a town with a special charm.

Learn about sardine sellers living or climbing Serantes to greet those undertaking St. James way, in Santurtzi you will find your perfect route

On the other hand, there is an open-air museum all through Santurtzi´s streets. Sculptures Museum is formed by 15 pieces spread over a nice walkabout. There are 14 official ports in the St. James Way by the sea, and Santurtzi is one of them.

You can sail along the pilgrim´s route docking at any port you want. At the Tourist Information office, you will get your pilgrim credentials and plenty of useful information for your trip. 

If you love hiking, you cannot leave Santurtzi without climbing to mount Serantes. The views from the top are special, with the sublime panoramic of the Abra Bay. You have many different routes starting over from Santurtzi centre.

How to get there

Santurtzi is only 15 kilometres far from Bilbao. The municipality is very accessible by public transport: you can get there by metro underground, train or bus. In addition, if you are planning to get there by car, you will be interested in knowing that there is a car park near the port.

  • Train

    From Bilbao, you have to take line C-1 with departure from Abando station from 05:00 to 23:15. It also has a frequency of 5-10 minutes. The journey takes 22 minutes.

  • Metro underground

    The village has its own metro station, Santurtzi, close to the fishing port. From Bilbao, take line 2 (L2 Basauri-Kabiezes) in the direction of Kabiezes. On the other hand, if you feel like walking, we recommend that you get off at Peñota station in Portugalete (next to the Bizkaia Bridge) and enjoy a pleasant 20-minute walk to Santurtzi.

  • Bus

    A-3151 Bilbao-Santurtzi. It is the most direct option, by motorway. With departures from Gran Vía, the journey from Bilbao to Santurtzi takes place on weekdays and on Saturdays from 07:05 to 22:05, every half hour. On the other hand, the opposite route, from Santurtzi to Bilbao, the bus leaves from the Central Park on working days and on Saturdays from 06:25 to 22:25, also with a frequency of half an hour. A-3115 Bilbao- Santurtzi, with stops. From Bilbao, departures are from Abando station from 06:00 to 00:15. From Santurtzi, departures are from 05:40 until one in the morning.

  • Car

    Driving from Bilbao you will arrive in just 20 minutes. The fastest route is through the A-8 motorway from Gran Vía. Continue along the A-8 towards Avenida Antonio Alzaga along the BI-3791. Take exit 126B from the A-8. Continue along Avenida Antonio Alzaga and continue after the Kabiezes roundabout along Calle Joxe Migel de Barandiaran. Continue to the right until Avenida Murrieta and turn left towards Parque Santurtzi. At this point, turn right onto Avenida Reina Victoria, you will find the Puerto Pesquero on your left.

Gastronomy

Where to eat

Santurtzi is an ideal place to taste the delicacies that the Cantabrian Sea provides. In the village, you will find a rich and varied gastronomic offer. It is worth tasting seasonal fish in the grill.

Sardines are Santurtzi´s best ambassador. In order to taste them in their maximum splendour, we recommend that you eat them in their fishing season, between May and October.

Accommodation

Where to sleep

There are not a large number of places where to stay if you want to spend the night in Santurtzi. Another option is to look for lodging in nearby municipalities such as Portugalete or Las Arenas where you also have at your disposal different options to rest such as hotels or hostels for all kind of pockets.

  • The Agurtza tuna boat has become the Fishing Interpretation Centre. It is one of the last traditional wooden fishing boats on our coast and here we can learn about the life of the fishermen, the history of the port of Santurtzi and the art of fishing.

    Agurtza tuna boat
    Paseo Reina Victoria, s/n. 48980 Santurtzi.

    Telephone number: +34 944 839 494 (Tourism office)

    Email address: turismo@santurtzi.net

    On the other hand, the Museum of the Sea is located in the most emblematic building in the maritime history of Santurtzi, the Fishermen's Guild. In both centres there are activities aimed at all audiences: dramatised auctions, tastings or workshops

    Sea Museum
    Puerto Pesquero, 20

    48980 Santurtzi

    Telephone: +34 944 839 494 

    Email address: turismo@santurtzi.net

     

    • Timetable

      Agurtza tuna boat
      October-May
      Friday: 05:30 p.m.

      Saturday: 11:00, 12:30 y 05:30 p.m.

      Sunday and holidays: 11:00 y 12:30

      Easter holidays / June –September
      From Monday to Sunday: 11:00, 12:30 y 05:30 p.m.

      There is the possibility of arranging visits for groups outside the scheduled timetable.

      Sea Museum
      Guided tours for groups available during all the year.

    • Price

      Agurtza tuna boat
      18-65 years: 2

      7-17 years >65 years, students and groups (>10 people): 1  

      <7 years and registered in Santurtzi: free

      Basque Coast Museum Network Card and Bilbao Bizkaia Card: 2x1

      Price Sea Museum + Agurtza tuna boat
      18-65 years: 2,5  

      7-17 years, >65, students 1
       

      Sea Museum
      18-65 years: 1 €

       0-18 years > 65 years, students and registered in Santurtzi free.

      Wednesdays free.

    • Location

      Santurtzi

  • In Santurtzi Tourism website, you will find all the information about these activities and many more.