Coast or Country? We have it all.
Come and say goodbye to stress for a few days.
Biscay is the perfect place to enjoy the sun and the sea, but also the quietness and the natural beauty of a privileged setting.
Biscay has everything, from wonderful coasts where you can find the most beautiful beaches, ideal for all kind of water activities, to rural hinterland where you can escape from the city and immerse yourself in our nature and culture.
Along its 150 kilometres, the Biscayan coast gives us innumerable picture-postcard views. The Cantabrian Sea, crashing ceaselessly against our shores, has given shape to a coastal landscape full of priceless geological formations. This is the case of the cliffs at Punta Galea, the flysch on the coasts of Getxo y Sopela or the pillow lava found on Meñakoz Beach in Barrika.
Thanks to these features, to the form of the coast, and to its rich maritime culture and tradition, Biscay offers endless activities to enjoy in the company of family or friends.
On the other hand, if what you need is relaxing and getting away from the city, the beaches in Muskiz, Bakio, Sukarrieta, Ibarrangelu or Lekeitio are just right for you. All of them are simply beautiful: quiet, full of contrasts and surrounded by wonderful landscapes; perfect for a day out.
The Biscayan coast offers activities for sporty people and adrenaline lovers too. Those who are passionate about surfing, for instance, can find everything they need in Sopela, Muskiz or Mundaka. The beaches in these towns are internationally known for their ideal conditions for surfing. But if you are in the mood for an adrenaline rush, nothing will beat Gorrondatxe and Barinatxe beaches and their respective cliffs, which will give you the chance to go paragliding while you enjoy the most amazing views.
Our coastal towns
Getting lost in our coastal towns is synonymous with soaking up our culture and deeply rooted traditions.
Life in Bermeo revolves around the sea. As soon as you get there you feel welcomed by the beauty of its fishing port and its picturesque houses. From the Atalaya you can see Cape Ogoño and Izaro Island. The churches of Santa Eufemia and Santa María de la Asunción are also a must for visitors.
Not far from Bermeo, you can visit San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Its enchanting chapel is connected to the mainland by a stone bridge with two large arches built on a tongue of land. Once on the islet, the bridge turns into a narrow staircase, a total of 241 steps, that zigzag to its top. When you climb all the steps you will see the front of the church topped by its bell. All the effort made to get there is more than worth it, as you will be able to admire one of the most outstanding seascapes our wild coasts offer.
35 kilometres away from Bermeo is the town of Lekeitio, whose main activity revolves around the sea as well. Special mention has to be made of the beauty of its port. The visit can be continued on Isuntza Beach, from where you can walk to San Nicolás Island if the tide is out. We strongly recommend you to get lost in its medieval Old Town. The imposing Basilica of the Asunción de Santa María, Abaroa Palace or Santa Catalina Lighthouse are some of the places you must not miss in Bermeo.
Following the shoreline, we get to the easternmost coastal town in Biscay: Ondarroa, another very interesting fishing town. Founded in the 14th century, it began to grow by reclaiming land from the sea and the surrounding hills to build its houses. The mouth of the River Artibai creates a distinctive estuary that features an equally characteristic old bridge. Walking along its streets you can see Likona Tower, the former Town Hall, the church of Santa María or the Antigua Cofradía, former headquarter of the local fishmongers’ association.
As spectacular as the Biscayan coast is its inland territory. On the rugged terrain of these lands, nature reveals its riches. You can climb to the summit of majestic mountains that touch the sky, or walk across valleys adorned with beautiful grassland. Armañón, Gorbeia and Urkiola, the three Biscayan Natural Parks, host all kind of trails. You can find easy walks to do with your family or more demanding paths that will take the most experienced hikers through the roughest terrains.
Urkiola Natural Park
Located in the southeast of Biscay, comprising the sierras of Aramotz-Eskubaratz, the mountains in Durangaldea and the Sierra Arangio, and stretching along seven towns in Biscay and one in Araba, Urkiola Natural Park is one of the most impressive pleasures that nature has to offer.
Legend has it that Mari was the most renowned goddess of the pre-Christian Basque mythology. She inhabits every single one of the mountains in the Basque Country, but her principal dwelling place is a cave on the east side of Mount Anboto. It is because of this that Mari is also known as ‘La Dama de Anboto’ (‘The Lady of Anboto’).
Marking the geographical centre of the Basque Country is a neo-romantic sanctuary, a work of art that was never finished. You will find out that the tower of the former sanctuary is still standing. There are also chapels and areas in the park used to accommodate visitors and pilgrims during religious festivals. The chapels of Santo Cristo, dedicated to Vera Cruz, and Santa Apolonia or Santutxu, both very near the sanctuary, are some of the most illustrative ones.
Hiking and climbing are very popular activities in the area but you can also opt for learning about the local flora and fauna, or simply relax and enjoy this peaceful environment.
Armañón Natural Park
We were so positively impressed with the experience at Urkiola Natural Park that we have already planned our next trip, our destination this time is Armañón Natural Park.
Stretching along the municipalities that belong to the Valle de Karrantza and Trucios-Turtzioz, the park houses natural wonders like the Torca del Carlista Cave, considered to be the largest underground cave in Europe, Pozalagua Cave and Santa Isabel Cave.
In Pozalagua, the only open to visitors, a subterranean world of extraordinary beauty gives you the opportunity to admire, apart from the usual stalactites and stalagmites, one of the largest concentrations of eccentric stalactites in the world. The peculiarity of these geological formations is that they can grow in any direction. The price ranges from 4 to 7 euros, and the entrance is free for children under 8.
Another familiar landmark is the Amphitheatre, where plenty of cultural activities are organised thanks to its good acoustics. Another must is a visit to Parketxea, the Interpretive Centre of Armañón Natural Park, and to the Ordunte mountains. Stunning views await you at the centre’s lookout point, a breathtaking panorama of the Karrantza Valley with the Ordunte mountains in the background. Plus, you can discover part of Karrantza’s industrial heritage in a gallery 40 metres below ground.
Feel free to wander around every corner of Armañón Natural Park to fully appreciate its extraordinary beauty.
Gorbeia Natural Park
Summits that reach the clouds, jagged rocks that rise out of the grasslands, caves full of legends, lively wetlands, calm woods that have populated the region for hundreds of years, traditional country houses where ancient customs are kept alive, towns and villages with a fascinating history…
Mount Gorbeia and its surroundings, declared Natural Park in 1994, preserves a rich natural heritage and offers a great variety of landscapes. Among this wide diversity of environments is the Wetland of Saldropo, in Zeanuri, whose unique ecosystem developed on formerly peatland soils and now houses distinct forms of vegetation that have great ecological value for the species of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals that inhabit the area.
With its range of karst formations, another of the memorable settings found in Gorbeia Natural Park is Itxina Protected Biotope. It features a magnificent display of rocks that hide innumerable caves and chasms, some of them over 1,000 metres deep. Occupying the heart of the park, Itxina is replete with priceless treasures such as century-old beeches or unique plant species. It also gives us the most exceptional panoramic views of the incredible grey rock formations that stick out of the ground. Ojo de Atxular, a hole in the rocks that stands out at the top of the massif, reminds us of a portal to a magical land.
At an elevation of 581 metres, at the foot of Mount Gorbeia, lies the highest town in Biscay, Ubide. Divided in two neighbourhoods, San Juan and Madalena, this small border town between Biscay and Araba keeps the essence of its past rural lifestyle. Ubide preserves important heritage assets, such as the remains of a medieval road that –crossing the town via the town hall, where the streams Undebe and Zubizabala meet– takes you to the 16th-century Church of San Juan.