The coast of Bizkaia stretches over some 150 kilometres, and is dotted with beautiful fishing villages at the wild Cantabrian Sea, with unique traditions, sport, gastronomy and shopping.
This is a place that offers endless possibilities: from visiting small fishing villages, walking the coastline with a stunning backdrop of the sea, to emerging in traditions or trying the local dishes.
Here, we will give you some ideas to explore our coastline and the things to do, making your trip an unforgettable destination.
An unforgettable destination
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is an island off the coast joined to the land by an isthmus, a three-arched bridge where a path with more than two hundred steps leads to the top where the hermitage is located and where rescued sailors have given their thanks and a display of ships can be found. As legend has it, Saint John the Baptist just needed three steps to get to the hermitage. It has been declared a National Monument and is well worth a visit.
The Urdaibai Nature Reserve is an area of great importance featuring marshes, forests and cliffs. It is home to more than 200 species of registered birds that can be observed from the Urdaibai Bird Centre. This natural area has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is ideal for activities such as hiking, cycling and canoeing. The diversity of this area includes sandbars, marshes and beautiful beaches such as Laga and Laida and small coves such as Antzoras, Lapatza and Aritzatxu.
The watchtowers are a group of viewpoints perched on hills overlooking the Cantabrian Sea. These natural lookouts were used by fishermen as strategic points for whale spotting. You can hike up to all of them and enjoy the nature; don’t miss La Tala ( Bermeo), San Pedro de Atxarre (Urdaibai) or Ogoño (Ibarrangelu).
Bizkaia has more than 150 kilometres of coastline with many urban beaches (such as Gorliz, Plentzia, Ereaga or Arrigunaga) which are easy to get to using public transport. Other beaches are perfect for activities such as surfing or kayaking in Bakio or Gorrondatxe. Some beaches are of spectacular beauty such as Armintza or Ogeia in Ispaster
Bizkaia is one of the main surfing spots in the Cantabrian Sea, offering a variety of waves and beaches suitable for surfers of all levels. Mundaka stands out with what is considered the best left wave in Europe that attracts surfers from all over the world. The town boasts a large number of surf schools, shops, equipment rental centres and competitions.
The Urdaibai Nature Reserve is a unique birdwatching paradise. The Urdaibai Bird Center is a research and information centre, and an observatory where you can watch and learn more about these birds in a living ecosystem both in winter and summer. El Abra, in Getxo, is a popular refuge for migratory birds; take a boat trip from Santurtzi to see them close-up.
Bizkaia has many fishing ports and as such the local cuisine offers scores of products from the sea that can vary according to the season. Here are some of them:
This dish is a classic of traditional cuisine: squid can be cooked in a variety of ways: with onions, grilled... Although the most typical (and strangest) is in its own ink!
Cod in Pil-Pil sauce
Pil-pil is the name of the sauce that accompanies this fish and has an onomatopoeic origin: it refers to the sound of popping cod gelatine when it is cooked in olive oil. Try it!
This dish originated on fishing boats and its name refers to the pot in which it was cooked. With potatoes and tuna as the main ingredients, the fish is succulent and the stew has a little spicy kick. This dish is an absolute winner!