These are the 10 places that you must see in Urdaibai, that wonderful little part of the coast of Biscay (Basque Country). They are like the greatest hits, you can´t leave without seeing them. Take note!
1. SAN JUAN DE GAZTELUGATXE
If you have not yet seen an image of Gaztelugatxe, do not wait any longer. Search for “Basque coast” in Google and you will immediately know why it appears in all the guides about the Basque Country. This spectacular islet belongs to the coastal town of Bermeo and is undoubtedly one of the most visited places in the Basque Country.
Gaztelugatxe would translate as “difficult castle” or “dangerous castle” but do not worry that its access is very easy unless you go with stilettos. And if you do not come with proper footwear you can always do as Ane Igartiburu who climbed the 241 steps dressed as a bride and with her shoes in the hand. When you reach the hermitage do not forget to play the bell.
Ah! If you are a fan of Game of Thrones you will know that part of the seventh season was filmed here. In case you do not believe some photos …
A fishing village with a colorful harbor that you will get in love with. To enjoy a good view, cross the breakwater to the end, Izaro and Cabo de Ogoño will be watching you. In the port you will find a giant wave, is a sculpture of Nestor Basterretxea. And if you walk through the old town, you will find several sculptures of people related to the sea, they were made by Enrike Zubia.
And if you want to take a dip,there is also a beach, it is as small as charming; The beach of Aritxatxu. It is among the 5 best kept secrets of Urdaibai. Do you want to see it?
Surfers paradise. More than one has remained to live in this town, worldwide known for having one of the best left wave in the world, whose length can reach up to 400 meters.
Even if you do not practise this sport Mundaka is one of the most beautiful coastal towns in the whole peninsula. Approach to its port and then get lost in its narrow streets to finish in Santa Catalina, a hermitage with a dream lookout.
4. TORRE MADARIAGA
Here is Ekoetxea, the Basque Biodiversity Centre. If the interpretation center is a wonder, the views and surroundings are no less.
It is worth getting there to have a drink on the terrace of the bar and daydream with the panoramic view of the place. It is also a strategic place to start one of the 5 routes available.
There are also special activities and workshops to do with children and different exhibitions. You can check everything in the schedule:
We have a pending trip on boat to see and hear the sounds of dolphins and marine animals. They also organize boat trips to see San Juan de Gaztelugatxe from the sea, an unforgettable experience.
The authors of this blog have Gernika in the heart because it is the town where be were born, exactly in the Hotel Gernika that once was a hospital. To anyone who asks us where we are from, we will not tell her/him that we are from the Basque Country, or from Bizkaia, or from Bilbao, we are from GERNIKA and we are so proud of it.
Many tourists come to Gernika, see The Tree and the “Casa de Juntas” and they go: ENORMOUS ERROR! There is so much more to see and do in Gernika. Next to the Casa de Juntas is the European Park with sculptures by Henry Moore and Chillida. Indispensable! Very close there are the Euskal Herria Museum, the City Hall and the Peace Museum. And of course you have to take a picture with the reproduction of the picture of Picasso “Guernica” in real size that we have in the villa.
Ok, at this point you have already done the typical tour but there is more. You have to approach Astra, an old arms factory converted into a Cultural Center, where children and adults, ALL, can find our place, wherever we are. Because to be from Gernika it is not necessary to have been born in Gernika. You are more than invited to enter Astra, have a drink and discover for yourself what has become an abandoned building.
Very close to Astra a big surprise is waiting for you. In the civil war, a Bunker was built so that the company’s workers and their families could take shelter. And it is visitable, we have passed the schedules from the tourist office of Gernika.
From April 3 to October 31
Monday to Friday: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturdays: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
To finish your visit and be able to say that you have been really in Gernika, you have to go to the most authentic tavern of the village, Boliña Viejo (Old Boliña). Our recommendation are varied croquettes and a “marianito” (prepared vermouth).
Pablo Picasso Street is pedestrianized and full of bars and terraces. Other areas to bar crawl and eat pintxos are San Juan Ibarra Square and Barrekale Street. And if you are looking for nightlife, go to Juan Kaltzada Street.
If you come on Monday, do not miss the Market. The baserritarras (farmers) descend from the hamlet with the basket full of products without dyes or preservatives. The Monday market of Gernika is the cradle of Slow Food and the secret of Basque gastronomy.
We promise to write a single post from Gernika and expand information about where to eat in Gernika, where to sleep, what to do and even the best shops. COMING SOON.