Saturday, September 13, 2008

Coast Full of Contrasts

This article about the strikingly beautiful coast of the Basque province of Bizkaia comes to us thanks to EITb:

The Basque Coast in Bizkaia: A coast full of surprises


Mundaka is the destination of surfers all over the world. They come to surf the best left hand wave in Europe.

The winding coast of Bizkaia is dotted with small fishing villages and jagged coves that make up a landscape full of contrasts. Beaches, harbors and cliffs merge into the nearby summits along the whole length of the Basque coast. From Bakio to Sukarrieta, the route is full of visual surprises.

To get from Bilbao to Sukarrieta, we must take the road towards Mungia and continue on towards Bermeo. 5 km down the road is the turnoff for Bakio, the cradle of Bizkaia's txakoli. This town, a local tourist destination, has a large beach which is packed with beachcombers during the summer months.

The coast road takes us to the beautiful view of the San Juan de Gaztelugatxe promontory. This rocky island, which is joined to the mainland by a small bridge, together with the hermitage on the top, is a nearly sacred place for many Bizkaians. A little bit further down the road we arrive at the lighthouse and Cape Matxitxako.

The town of Bermeo, with its gothic church of Santa Eufemia, the Medieval Ercilla tower, and the port, is one of the most important towns along the coast. It has a lively street atmosphere and excellent restaurants, which are two of many good reasons to visit the town.

Just a couple of kilometers down the road is Mundaka. The view from the Atalaya or vantage point is one of the most beautiful and relaxing in the whole of Bizkaia: the mouth of the Urdaibai estuary, merging into the ocean, and Izaro island on the horizon. This symbiosis originates the best left-hand wave in Europe, which attracts many surfers from around the world.

The same view can be contemplated from Portuondo lookout, on the road to Pedernales-Sukarrieta, which is the next town down the coast. This secluded place has a few and beautiful caves on the banks of the estuary. Each valley, each fishing port, each of the summits in the Basque Country is yet another beautiful spot to be discovered.

I've been to all the places described in the article and I fully recommend that you take any chance in the future to visit them.

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