Nine things to do in the Urdaibai reserve
As an area declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, the Urdaibai reserve has become one of the region’s most internationally known areas in recent years. Whether thanks to its incredible natural environment or because of its proximity to unique places such as San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, Urdaibai is a stop that you cannot miss on your visit to the coast of the Basque Country. In this article, we suggest nine ideas for things to see and do in Urdaibai.
Visiting the port of Bermeo
A visit to Bermeo, one of the most important towns in the region, is not to be missed if you want to soak up authentic Basque culture. Located inside the reserve, Bermeo is one of the few fishing villages where the inhabitants still live in the same way as their ancestors, from the sea and fishing. Among an infinity of tourist attractions, we recommend you visit the port before delving deep into its history through the Casco Antiguo (Old Town).
Going by boat from Bermeo to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
An unforgettable experience if you visit Bermeo is the boat trip that starts from the town and allows you to explore San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. This islet is one of the most amazing places in the Basque region and is best known to fans of the Game of Thrones series. This trip, lasting approximately 1 hour, includes the option of approaching Cape Matxitxako and Peñón de Akatz until reaching the famous islet. Enjoy a journey full of history, legends and myths that will enchant you.
Surfing in Mundaka
About 4 kilometres from Bermeo, you will find another of the essential stops on your visit to Urdaibai, the coastal town of Mundaka. If you enjoy water activities, surfing is the king of sports here. So, after enjoying pintxos, dive into the waters of the Bay of Biscay and surf some of the best waves in the world.
Learn about biodiversity in the Ekoetxea
Another option to discover the most natural part of this environment is through the activities organised by the Ekoetxea in Urdaibai. This Euskadi Biodiversity Center’s mission is to encourage citizen participation in environmental conservation. With this in mind, they offer various activities, such as workshops or guided tours, perfect to enjoy with the family.
If you enjoy nature, but like discovering the environment for yourself, Urdaibai offers endless walking trails that will take you to know the most surprising corners of the reserve. Among these, we encourage you to try the walk between the Urdaibai marshes and the route through Ogoño. These two options to enjoy as a family will introduce you to the region’s best views via the Basque region’s most beautiful and pleasant walking trails.
Visiting the Gernika Peace Museum
Gernika is another of the region’s towns steeped in history and one of the most typical places in the Basque region. Among its many tourist options, we highlight a visit to the Museo de la Paz (Museum of Peace). A space that explains what happened during the bombing of the town in the Spanish Civil War through audiovisual content. An unbeatable option to learn about one of the most important dates that can also include a visit to the most significant places in the municipality.
Contemplating the Gernika tree
Very near the Museo de la Paz (Museum of Peace) is one of the most iconic places in the history of Gernika, the Casa de Juntas de Gernika. One of the oldest parliaments in Europe that, in addition to enriching democracy through various historical figures, has been a meeting point for the peoples of Biscay since the 14th century. Next to the building, the Gernika tree: an oak that has been a symbol of the traditional freedoms of both Biscay and the Basque region since time immemorial. A guided tour full of history open to everyone, every day: not to be missed!
Losing yourself in the Forest of Oma
In the Painted Forest of Oma, art and nature come together through the work of the artist Agustín Ibarrola. An area of just over 4 hectares where the trunks of the trees become an open-air art gallery that invites you to explore and play with perspectives to discover their different forms when seen together.
Before visiting this environment, remember to inform yourself about the spread of the infamous “brown band” fungus that has led to the closure of the forest for an extended period. If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity, you absolutely must go to see this charismatic place in person.
Travel back in time in the Santimamiñe Caves
Finishing this trip at the most important archaeological site in Bizkaia is an unforgettable experience. Guided tours of the Santimamiñe Caves will take you on a journey back in time where you will witness human settlements and their remains preserved for more than 14,000 years. Although it is currently not possible to access the galleries to observe the different pictorial representations, the visit includes an excellent 3D projection of the caves, which gives the feeling of being inside them.
To visit these places in comfort, it is a good idea to stay in the holiday apartments in Bilbao Líbere. You will find these accommodations in two of the most frequented areas of the town; Líbere Bilbao Museum in the surroundings of the Guggenheim and Líbere Bilbao La Vieja in its Old Town. Fully equipped spaces with all the services at your disposal to personalise your stay and create your own home in the Basque city.