Plentzia is only a short drive north of Bilbao. The town is a pleasant mound of buildings at the mouth of the river Plentziako Itsasadarra. It has plenty of bars and restaurants for wining and dining for locals and tourists alike.
It is a beach town, but unlike many others in Spain, it has some history and character. With its tradition and typical Basque style streets, Plentzia is not just a modern town built for beach goers.
The beach itself, Playa de Plentzia, is beautiful. A long deep beach snuggled between the cliffs of the Bay. A boardwalk pathway cuts through the sand dunes just inland with steep green hills beyond.
Recommended as a day trip if visiting Bilbao.
Bakio is a typical beach town. Just a simple village of buildings built for summertime beach goers.
Playa de Bakio is a surfers beach, so the town does have a surf school and some surf themed cafés.
Just west of Bakio you have a scenic road that leads to Gaztelugatxeko Doniene. A little island with a rugged, picturesque rock hoping bridge roping it to the land. Looks like a cool place to visit.
Like many Basque coastal towns. Mundaka is known for its location as a surf spot. Mundaka however, is more famous than most. For seven years Mundaka was on the ASP World Tour in the form of Billabong Pro Mundaka. This was because the town had perfect swells during the winter, known as the Mundaka wave. Due to construction work and dredging, the wave has all but gone.
Mundaka still has surf shops and cafes which seem to contrast enormously with what is otherwise just a pretty little Basque village and port of expensive boats.
Lekeitio is a little bigger than most of the urban areas along the coast. It is a town with character in abundance. A tall, spiky basilica, the squat rocky island just out to sea, and a weathered causeway reaching across to it. The streets, along with some of the strange gothic designs on its water fountains, are dark and mysterious. Even the festival is dark: Once a year the town celebrates its version of San Antolines. A man on a boat sails under a greased up goose suspended on a rope. The man jumps trying to behead said goose ….. truly.
A town of two parts is Ondarroa. Its southeastern side has a French styled row of houses with colourful facades. These buildings follow the Atitillar Ibala river which is hopped over by several old stone bridges. Cafes and restaurants are frequent and the scene is generally very elegant.
The north-western side of Ondarroa is of mid-century high-rises looking out onto a square port and garish modern bridge.
The town does have a beach, hidden around the corner, but it also has a seaside pathway. 10 minutes down the path is the much bigger, and more picturesque Saturraran Playa.
The best way to describe Mutriku is as a film set. Twisting, steep streets cut into a hillside dropping down towards a port protected by a long sea wall.
It’s a small town with a Greek style church at its centre and roads going every which way.
Zumaia is a wealthy looking place. Graceful, light, open. Sitting on the wide Urola Ibaia, it is city to stop and dine and shop.
Its beach is a strange one. Enclosed in a cliff of jagged rocks, it contrasts hugely with the light open town.
The town sits on the edge on the Deba – Zumaia National Park. A coast line with some amazing views and interesting rock formations.
Just a short drive from San Sebastian, Zarautz is another typical beach town. Surfers out to sea, buildings made not to be permanent homes but rather summer getaways. Lots of touristy restaurants and cafes. Zarautz, more than any other of the foretold towns, has a family atmosphere.
Towns and villages I did not spend long enough in to write about.
Getaria – Built on the neck of a peninsular.
Deba – Looked like your average Basque town.
Elantxobe – Pictures of which look beautiful.
Gurnica – Has some interesting architecture.
Bermeo – Nice Pizza slice place here.
Armintiza – Think this is just a tiny village.