Plans for a memorable holiday
Water activities, rural and urban tourism experiences, not forgetting a broad gastronomic offer.
Bizkaia is distinguished mainly by its advanced modernity, but also for being a land of contrasts that carefully preserves its traditions.
From the museums of Bilbao to the most traditional activities, a tour of some of the most attractive plans in the province for the whole family.
With almost 80 kilometres of coastline, a wide range of coastal geographical features can be found in Biscay. All its beaches, cliffs, capes, estuaries, ports, harbours, or small islands make Biscay the perfect place for water activities. Let’s have a look at some of them:
Biscay is one of the most popular places for surfing, which attracts visitors from any part of the world. When we talk about surf in Biscay, the town of Mundaka, about 40 kilometres away from Bilbao, immediately comes to mind. Mundaka boasts one of the best waves in Europe, a 500-metre-long wave that gets more and more visitors each year. A number of surf schools can also be found in a town that has been host to some major international championships. Surfing here means not only doing sport, but also making the most of the experience thanks to an unparalleled scenery, the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve.
A kayak is a kind of canoe that fits from one to four people. Generally used for sport and recreation nowadays, it was originally employed for hunting or fishing. Kayaking can be done in calm or flat water as well as on rougher waters, so there are lots of places in Biscay where you can learn the basics or go on a kayak trip with a group. We can assure you it will be an unforgettable experience that you’ll likely want to repeat.
If you are looking for strong emotions, get ready to go jet-skiing. This perfectly safe activity, a mixture of adrenaline and adventure, is increasingly in demand. Qualified instructors will teach you how to ride and show you the best routes, both in the sea and along the Estuary of Bilbao. Give it a try!
Flysch of Biscay
Through a guided geological route we will discover the Flysch of the coast of Bizkaia, its beaches and cliffs.
Accompanied by an expert guide in geology, we will begin the visit at Barinatxe beach from where we will enjoy breathtaking views. We will continue to Arriatera beach where we will be able to observe the different strata, fossils, as well as the flysch.
We will access a small cove near the beach of Atxabiribil where we can walk over the tidal rasa and observe the fauna of this area. Finally, before reaching the beach of Meñakoz, we will discover a structure composed of "pillows" lava. We will return along a path that runs along all the beaches visited.
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Slow down. Forget about the noise and pollution of the city for a few days. Relax and breathe some pure air while you admire the beauties of nature. We know there are countless choices for those who want to enjoy the countryside in Biscay, but we will focus on two:
An activity that has become very popular lately. The difference with booking plain rural accommodation is that agritourism includes a series of additional activities you can do during your stay. Apart from being in a privileged environment, you’ll enjoy the company of your hosts. You will have the chance to help them with all kind of domestic activities such as growing vegetables, milking cattle, collecting eggs, learning about the cider making process, making cheese, or picking mushrooms. Everything is aimed at providing an unforgettable experience in nature for those who want to know what life feels like outside the city. Your children will definitely love it!
Following one of the hiking trails that Biscay offers can be equally memorable. Not many things are as easy as walking along its paths and roads. You will completely immerse yourself in a natural environment full of beautiful landscapes, amazing views, forests and hidden corners. There are lots of trails to choose from and you will find that many of them are well signalled.
The Museum Route
No, the Guggenheim Museum is not the only museum in Biscay. It is certainly the most emblematic and the most famous internationally, but we cannot overlook the importance of other local museums. Do you know them?
We start our route at the historic Casco Viejo in Bilbao. Housed in a 17th-century building located in Plaza Unamuno is the Basque Museum. Since it was inaugurated in 1921, the exhibits featured on its four storeys have given us an insight into the different lifestyles led by Basque people over time. Now that the museum is undergoing renovation, apart from its permanent display, you can visit the temporary exhibition “Gigantes y cabezudos de Bilbao. Gigantes en tiempos de traslado” about these iconic Giants and Bigheads that enliven our parades.
Right opposite, almost at the bottom of the Calzadas de Mallona steps, is the Arkeologi Museoa (archaeological museum). At the same time as it tells the history of our region, this museum fosters archaeological studies and guarantees the safe storage, conservation and restoration of all its archaeological materials. The temporary exhibition visitors can see these days is called “Sobre espaldas de gigantes. Historia de la arqueología vasca" (‘On the Shoulders of Giants. History of the Basque Archaeology’).
At the beginning of Calle Iturrribide, a short distance from these two museums, is the Museum of Passages. It was created in 2001 in order to present the history of the Holy Week in Bilbao and let people know more about its artistic and religious heritage.
Moving towards the Ensanche, in Doña Casilda Park, we get to the Fine Arts Museum. With the intention of turning Bilbao into a cultural benchmark, the museum opened its doors to the public in 1914 and moved to its current location in 1945. During the year 2019, the museum had over 250,000 visitors, out of whom almost a half were from outside the Basque Country. The museum is divided into five main sections: Ancient Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, Basque Art, Works on Paper, and Applied Arts. This summer, apart from its permanent display, we can visit the following exhibitions: “Zuloaga”, “Queer Carriers: The Double and Repetition”, “Luis Paret in Bilbao. Sacred and Profane Art”, “El Greco, Velázquez and Goya”, “Womanology. José Ramón Prieto Collection”, “Mendibury. Matter and memory”, and “Muntadas. The Empty City.”
As we continue our route around the ‘botxo’, after crossing the park, we arrive at Euskalduna Palace. Right under the bridge with the same name, we find the Itsasmuseum Bilbao, formerly called Museo Marítimo. Since 2003, this museum has told the story of our maritime culture, which has shaped our identity in an open but personal way. In it, we can find a collection of items and features connected to this culture. Currently, the temporary exhibitions it houses are “Leopoldina Rosa: una historia de hoy.” (‘Leopoldina Rosa: a Present-day Story’), “Ibarrola en la ría, agua, hierro, fuego y aire” (‘Ibarrola in the Estuary, Water, Iron, Fire and Air’).
Close to the Itsasmuseum Bilbao, at Gate 20 in the new San Mamés Stadium, is the Athletic Club Museoa. The museum was inaugurated in 2017 and, under the slogan ‘Remember what you are, teach what you love’, its permanent display has been self-defined as ‘Unique and original objects from the beginning of the 20th century that tell the story of Athletic Club.’ In addition to its exhibitions, it is also possible to join a guided tour to see the stadium on the inside.
Just one thing! Museums are closed on Mondays so, if you opt for this plan, please bear that in mind.
Now that we are running out of energy after all this activity, I think it’s time to recharge our batteries. The variety of food options we can choose from in Biscay is certainly extraordinary. There is not only a large range of restaurants, eleven of which hold a prestigious Michelin Star, but also a great diversity of pubs on whose bars we can find an excellent selection of pintxos. On egin! Enjoy!