Heritage, traditions and Medieval towns


If you’d like to say that you’ve gotten to the heart and soul of the locals, you’ll have to visit the Gernika Assembly House, a highly significant monumental ensemble comprised of the Santa María la Antigua building, with a variety of halls and the famous tree in the courtyard.

Gernika Assembly House

The Neoclassical building currently fulfils the function of church and parliament. On your tour, you’ll notice that the antechamber to the Assembly Hall opens onto the stained glass hall, with an allegory of Bizkaia showing the tree and the Fueros charters, Lege zaharra (old law). The various territories making up Bizkaia appear via their most emblematic buildings as do the sources of the territory’s wealth: mining, industry, fishing, agriculture and more.

The small town of Gernika-Lumo has other points of interest including the Peace Museum or the Basque People Museum, Saint Mary’s church and the People of Europe Park with sculptures by Chillida and Henry Moore. Another interesting idea is visiting the Jai Alai fronton, the legendary court with a front wall, back wall and floor made of stone.

You’re in the heart of the Assembly House... The oak under which the representatives met and where the Assemblies of the Lordship of Bizkaia took place. It's a symbol that has turned the oak into the tree the people are known for.

Peace Museum Gernika


Although this region is on the coast with towns as wellknown as Bakio, Barrika, Plentzia and Sopela, we couldn't forget its extensive, flat and gentle valleys, culminating in vertiginous cliffs.

It's a region that produces a great deal of txakoli white wine. Here you’ll be able to follow an interesting Medieval route notably including the Martiartu Tower in Erandio, Torrebillela in Mungia, Zamudiotorre in Zamudio, the old quarters of Larrabetzu and Plentzia and Butrón Castle. The Iron Belt is also interesting. It includes defensive structures built by the Provisional Government of the Basque Country in an attempt to defend Bilbao.

Butrón Castle  


Durango has a wide variety of monuments, notably including its old quarter, which still maintains its Medieval structure.

Its architectural highlights include the Gate of Saint Anne, Saint Mary’s Church in Uribarri and the Kurutziaga Cross, from the late 15th century, a magnificent specimen made of sandstone. Its size is remarkable as is its disjointed iconography, which some critics classify as Floral Gothic. It is currently on display in the nearby Veracruz Hermitage (the Kurutzesantu Museum).

The municipality is in Urkiola Natural Park, an enclave in the Urkiola Sanctuary, a place of traditional pilgrimage.


Elorrio is a town with extraordinary monuments, especially palaces and emblazoned homes. Local families’ participation in trade with the New World brought wealth that was invested in a variety of stately homes and palaces distributed throughout the town.


It is also home to stelae and tombs. Their concentration gave rise to the Arguiñeta burial ground, with pieces dating to the year 893, at the dawn of Christianity in the area. Dating earlier than the sarcophagi, the stelae are Pre-Christian.





In the Arratia Valley, Orduña is the only settlement in Bizkaia with the title of city.

Classified as a Historical Monumental Ensemble, it has several cultural heritage buildings of interest including the fortified Saint Mary’s Church, the temple of the Holy Family, the old Customs Office, its covered square and the Antigua Sanctuary, a 10 minute walk away.

Gorbeia Natural Park’s ecological richness and scenic beauty is on display. You can access it from Orozko.



Enkarterri, Bizkaia’s westernmost region is known for its rural setting and heritage sites. Balmaseda, the oldest settlement in the province, with its ancient (8th century) bridge which protects the waters of the Kadagua River and the old quarter with its narrow Medieval streets. La Encartada, an old textile factory specialising in berets has been preserved as it was inaugurated in 1892: the buildings, machinery and workers’ quarters are now a must-see museum.


Enkarterri's heritage offers up an infinite number of surprises. In Galdames, a 14th century fort hides the Rolls Royces of Miguel de la Vía's collection, the largest in Europe. The building is the Loizaga Tower, which holds all Rolls models manufactured between 1910 and 1988, in addition to other luxury brands.

Loizaga Tower

In another Medieval tower in Sopuerta, you’ll find the Abellaneda Council House, which has been converted into the Encartaciones Museum. It is the custodian of our history, a space dedicated to researching and spreading the word on the region's history, heritage and ethnography.

Encartaciones Museum



Meatzaldea means mining area in Basque. Here, in the Triano Mountains, Bizkaia began its industrial revolution with open-pit mining. The landscape may look different, but the footprint of the past remains present in this journey into the bowels of the Earth.

In La Arboleda you’ll find one of the best conserved mining towns in Europe, with a restored former residence that has been turned into a museum. To get there, take the La Reineta funicular.

To understand iron's importance in Bizkaia’s economic development, you’ll need to visit El Pobal Forge in Muskiz, which offers live demonstrations on its Saturday tours, and the Basque Country Mining Museum in Gallarta.

El Pobal Forge

Mining Museum


Located in the Lea-Artibai region, Markina-Xemein is on the Way of St. James along the Basque Coast, explaining its Medieval outline. With a hexagonal blueprint and a surprising megalithic monument on its altar, the Saint Michael’s Hermitage of Arretxinaga is a sight to be seen.

Saint Michael´s in Arretxinaga

One of the jewels of the area that was an important spot on the Way of St James during the Middle Ages and Renaissance is the Zenarruza Monastery, declared a National Monument of the Basque Country.

Zenarruza Monastery

In the nearby town of Ziortza-Bolibar, where the ancestors of the ‘Liberator’ lived, you can visit the Simón Bolívar Museum, which displays aspects of this man’s life as well as life in the Middle Ages.


Other places to visit

Iron Belt

This route follows the remains of fortifications built to defend Bilbao, the industrial area and the port from a fixed, strategically favourable location during the Spanish Civil War. The Iron Belt runs from Barrika to Galdakao and from there to Zierbena. The successful offensive that took place attacked the weakest points in the construction and had the support of the engineer who designed it, as he shared the blueprints with the Nationalist faction.

In the Munarrikolanda mountain rage, you can see remains of this impressive military work including bunkers, surveillance posts, machine gun nests and more.

Gain a more in-depth understanding at the Iron Belt Information Centre in Berango.

Bunker in Gaztelumendi (Larrabetzu)

Ekoetxea Meatzaldea, en el corazón minero

Ekoetxea Meatzaldea is an environmental centre at the heart of a karst mining region. Its two centres, one in Ortuella (Peñas Negras) and other in Abanto-Zierbena (Gallarta), are surrounded by contrasting scenery with artificial lakes, forests and heathlands.

Don’t miss the tasty beans in the La Arboleda area, accessed from the Larreineta funicular, which is almost a hundred years old.
Larreineta Funicular