Natural heritage close to the sky
Our hills and mountains are the best vantage points to soak up the beauty and the history of inland Bizkaia.
The natural areas in interior of Bizkaia are arranged around three nature parks: Armañón, on the border with Cantabria, and Gorbeia and Urkiola, both bordering Álava. The peaks are fabulous balconies – a gift of nature to look at its wonders from above.
In addition to beautiful landscapes, Bizkaia’s natural areas have an interesting history and culture. The mountainous areas have a great mineral wealth, which has marked the development of the region. At the Basque Country Mining Museum, in Abanto-Zierbena, you can get valuable information on the history of industrial activity in Bizkaia.
Hinterland of Bizkaia
Mountain traditions not far from the city
The three nature parks in Bizkaia – Armañón, Gorbeia and Urkiola – span the most important mountainous areas in the province. Their Visitor Centres offer a lot of information about local history and legends, flora and fauna.
Las Encartaciones, on the border with Cantabria, is home to the Armañón Nature Park Visitor Centre (Parketxe). Housed in an old mine, the visitor centre stands just across the park’s top attraction: the Pozalagua Cave. Information boards describe relevant natural, geological and cultural aspects of the area. Plus, there is a terrace that affords panoramic views of the Karrantza Valley against the backdrop of the Ordunte Mountains.
For information about the characteristics and itineraries of Gorbeia Nature Park, an emblematic piece of land for Vizcaínos, you should head for Areatza. From the parketxe you can go up on a virtual climbing to the summit of Mount Gorbeia, crowned by a mythical cross.
To the east of Gorbeia, amidst rugged mountain heights, grasslands and birch forests, lies Urkiola Nature Park, whose highest peak is Anboto. The goddess Mari, major deity of Basque mythology, dwells in a cave here. The area features numerous trails you can hit on foot or by bike. It is ideal for lovers of nature and outdoor sports. In Toki Alai, the visitor centre, you will find brochures about this amazing land of legends.
The interior of Bizkaia features awesome balconies that offer stunning views of Bizkaia.In Mendata, within the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, do not miss the Balcony of Bizkaia, on the slopes of Mount Oiz.
At the highest peaks of Bizkaia you will find viewpoints affording breathtaking views of the area like La Arboleda or Salto del Nervión
It is a vantage point that gives unrivalled views of the Urdaibai mountains. According to ancient legend, the place was a witches’ meeting place at night, so local people would not come close after the sunset. Also, to protect themselves, they set up a figure of Andra Mari.
To visit Bizkaia’s industrial area, head to Trapagaran. Mirador de La Arboleda affords panoramic views of Gran Bilbao and the left bank of the estuary. The best time of day to come is at nightfall, when the gentle lights of the nearby villages start blinking in the dark.
In a strategic enclave between Bizkaia, Álava and Burgos lies the source of the river Nervión, the backbone of Bizkaia. The river is born in a waterfall 220m high, a wonderful show of nature you can watch from Mirador del Salto del Nervión, near Orduña, the only settlement in Bizkaia to have been granted a town charter. If you are lucky enough to be travelling around in the wet season, you will see mighty waters flowing down the canyon.
How to get there
Where to eat
Close to the Nature Park Visitor Centres and viewpoints mentioned above, you will find recreational areas where you can have lunch or hamaiketako (mid-morning snack) as you take in the fresh mountain air and enjoy the views of the greenest part of Bizkaia.
Also, you can drive from the parketxe to a nearby town to taste some of our traditional dishes in a bar or restaurant. Enjoy your meal!