The Basque Country has a variety of highly valuable natural sites. Its nine natural parks, the mountains and valleys and, of course, the powerful Cantabrian Sea, make this region one of the most spectacular territories on the Peninsula to admire the environment. Here are our five suggestions for enjoying the nature of the Basque Country.
Flysch of Zumaia
If we think about ways to enjoy the nature of the Basque Country, the Basque Coast Geopark certainly deserves a place on the list. There is the flysch of Zumaia, the best place in Spain to observe this geological phenomenon. In fact, it is one of the most important geological sites in the country, famous among geologists around the world. It stretches along the 8 km of coastline that separates Deba from Zumaia. There are up to five marked trails accessible on foot or by bicycle that run through the terrain, passing through several viewpoints and recreational areas.
Gorbeia Natural Park
The Gorbeia Natural Park should not be forgotten on any list of how to enjoy the nature of the Basque Country. It is the largest Basque park, with 26,016 hectares shared between the provinces of Araba and Bizkaia. Among the most fascinating places that can be seen in it is the Goiuri or Gujuli waterfall. The Jaundia River plunges into the void from a limestone cliff with a drop of more than 100 metres. There is a viewpoint installed on the edge of the cliff to enjoy its spectacular views. In addition, the Gorbeia Natural Park offers many possibilities for active tourism.
Urdaibai Nature Reserve
The Urdaibai Nature Reserve extends between the towns of Bermeo, Mundaka, Elantxobe and Gernika. It is a reserve situated by the Cantabrian Sea where aquatic active tourism options are multiplying. You can practice scuba diving or surfing. In fact, Mundaka is a favorite spot for surfers from all over Spain. Towards the interior of the Urdaibai reserve is a landscape of meadows and forests in which there are several archaeological sites such as the Santimamiñe Cave and other cultural values such as the Oma Forest, with its trees painted by the artist Agustín Ibarrola. Very close to it is San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a natural icon of the Biscayan coast.
Lagoons of Laguardia
Another suggestion for enjoying the nature of the Basque Country is the Lagoons of Laguardia. They are located in the south of the Araba province, in the heart of Rioja Alavesa. It is one of the most interesting wetlands in the region and holds one of the most unique ecosystems within the Basque Country’s natural spaces. Due to its location, there are many wineries where you can enjoy the finest local wine. They are also known for being an ideal place for bird watching. In addition, there are archaeological monuments from prehistoric times you can visit in the surrounding area.
Pagoeta Natural Park
Our last option to enjoy the nature of the Basque Country is the Pagoeta Natural Park. It is a land between the inland valleys and the coast of Gipuzkoa, near the municipalities of Aia, Zarautz and Orio. It is an area of great natural beauty in which the extensive beech forests are of a special importance. The activities that can be done in Pagoeta are diverse and range from hiking to cheese and cider tasting. The traces of early humans are also evident in the form of dolmens such as that of Olarteta, sites in the caves of Erratian and Amalda or burial mounds such as Arreta and Murugil.
Written by: Paloma Díaz Espiñeira