In the Cantabrian Sea, fishing still takes place in an artisanal way, non-predatory gear for the sea such as skewer and longline. Few helmets remain of wood in the Cantabrian fishing ports; most are metal, but many retain the traditional shapes of their keels, prows and rounded sterns, which make them very sailors when the waves grow as living walls around them. There are a series of ports in which you can see those ships that look like living ethnographic monuments.
The port of Orio is upstream of the Oria river. It has the peculiarity of being a port in which the fishing boats usually stay anchored in the middle of the estuary, the sailors must take advantage of the high tide to approach the dock to load accoutrements and unload their catches. Enter our specialized page to read the history of Orio and what to see there.
Very close to Orio is Getaria, which is one of the most characteristic Cantabrian fishing ports. It is sheltered from the prevailing winds and waves by the so-called “Mouse of Getaria” an ancient island that by man’s work has become a peninsula and has an interesting walk with great views. The grills of its restaurants are well known throughout Spain.
The port of Ondarroa in ancient times was inside its estuary (where fishing vessels are still often anchored); Currently, the predominant one is the outer port, where both trawlers and artisanal fishing boats can be found. It is a town that lives by and for the sea, in which even if there aren’t famous restaurants you can find many excellent restaurants and taverns. It is easy to meet the fishermen and hear their interesting stories, some of them of African origin (they have been replacing the young locals who have found fishing too hard at sea).
Who has not heard about the Santoña sardines? These were made famous by some Italians who settled there and mounted a canning; reputation that emphasizes every time a picturesque Cantabrian politician can. The port of Santoña is very industrial and modern, with some buildings of dubious taste, but it is surrounded by a beautiful promenade (with its own fort) and has two authentic attractions a few kilometers away. To the east you will find the touristic town of Laredo, with imposing beaches; while to the west is the natural park of the marshes of Santoña.
The port of Lastres is the icing -in the figurative sense- of that postcard town that is Lastres. It enters the urban area of the fishing village in the Venetian way, with many nooks and crannies that once occupied its numerous fishing boats and are currently occupied by fishing boats. The breakwater of the port of Lastres has the peculiarity of having been decorated by the great Basque artist Agustín Ibarrola, who applied his particular colorist forms to the large granite blocks, with an intervention known as “The cubes of memory”; At present, these cubes are somewhat beaten by the sea and should be repainted.
Text: Ignacio Suárez-Zuloaga