Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve

TOP BASQUE COUNTRY · 10 reasons to come to Basque Country

Urdaibai is a natural setting of outstanding beauty and diversity, which is why it was listed by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve in 1984

At its heart is the river Oka, born on Monte Oiz and which flows out into an estuary at Mundaka, creating some spectacular wetlands that teem with life. We recommend that you come at different times of day to see them at both high and low tide. Fish eagles, spoonbills and eurasian bittern are some of the birds which are scarce elsewhere on the Iberian Peninsula but which you can see here.

The setting is a paradise for birds. Don’t forget to visit the modern Urdaibai Bird Center, where you can find all the information you need not to miss a detail.

But as well as these exceptional wetlands, Urdaibai boasts some of the finest, most popular beaches in the Basque Country, including that of Laida, with its constantly-changing size and shape, or the spectacular beach of Laga, at the foot of the imposing cliffs of Peñón de Ogoño, described by many as “the closest thing to paradise”. Don’t miss the chance to look out from one of the natural viewpoints Urdaibai has to offer.

Peñón de Ogoño itself or the chapels of San Pedro de Atxarre in the municipality of Ibarrangelu and San Miguel de Ereñozar in Ereño all boast unforgettable views of this beautiful area. Further inland, Urdaibai also hides great treasures, like the Caves of Santimamiñe, home to cave paintings of incalculable value and the Forest of Oma, a magical place that reinvents the relationship between nature and art.

Nor should you miss Gernika, the cradle of Basque identity, or Bermeo, an enchanting fishing port. The mediaeval bridge of Artzubi, built in the 16th century, has not only served to connect the mediaeval towns of Gernika and Gerrikaitz over the constantly-flowing river Golako, but also its road surface has witnessed the stories of the many pilgrims who have passed over it on St. James' Way. A bridge that has managed to survive by adapting to the many things that have happened over the centuries, today it appears to have merged into the verdant woods that surround it.

Nearby essentials

Nearby routes and plans

Boat trip to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
Boat trip to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
Basque pelota and the sea
Basque pelota and the sea
Sail along the Urdaibai estuary
Sail along the Urdaibai estuary


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