The Basque Coast and its best resorts

The Basque Coast (Costa Vasca) designates the stretch of coastline of the Cantabrian Sea in Spain between the cities of Bilbao and Biarritz. It is located at the eastern end of the northern coast of Spain and at the southwestern end of the western coast of France, in Biscay and Guipúzcoa (autonomous community of the Basque Country) and Labort (department of the Pyrenees – Atlantiques in the New Aquitaine region) from the point Covarón (Musques) to the mouth of the Adur River (Chiberta​).

Borders with Costa Cantabria in the south.

It comprises the easternmost part of the Bay of Biscay.

The Cantabrian Sea and the Pyrenees form the backdrop to a landscape with all shades of green, steep coasts of short estuaries and mountains of beech and oak forests.

In France, it is also known as Costa Vasca (Côte Basque) to a tourist brand of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department.

The Basque coast is made up of more than 250 kilometers of beaches, sandbanks, islands, estuaries, marshes, cliffs, fishing villages and unique rock formations in the world.

The Basque coast changed enormously in the 19th century to host the best seaside resorts in France and Spain, as it was a place frequented by the monarchy of both countries during the summer. Since then, its popularity has increased and in the 20th century it began to develop mass tourism, with the advantages and disadvantages that it entails.

Way of St. James

The Camino de Santiago (214.2 km) runs along the entire Basque coast and is one of the first pilgrimage routes. The tour begins in the port of Fuenterrabía (Guipúzcoa), retracing the steps of the first pilgrims who arrived by sea.

Best beaches (from North to South)

La Concha beach is a beach located in the La Concha bay of the city of San Sebastián.

Located to the west of the mouth of the Urumea River, separated from it by the Mount of Urgull and the city center and nestled in La Concha Bay, it has an average length of 1,350 m, an average width of 40 m and an average area of 54,000 m².

It is a beach with a sandy substrate and little depth, in which the course of the tides often limits the useful surface for use. It can be considered a beach with an urban environment and massive use. In addition, since 2007 it is one of the 12 Treasures of Spain.

The Fuenterrabía Beach is located southeast of Cape Higuer and northwest of the mouth of the Bidasoa estuary, in the Gipuzkoan municipality of Fuenterrabía.

The beach is favored by its formation due to a breakwater that runs laterally from north to south.

The Zarautz beach is located between the mouth of the Inurritza and the Iteico point, in the Gipuzkoan municipality of Zarautz. Surfing championships are held on this beach.

Zarautz beach is the largest in the Basque Country and one of the longest in the Bay of Biscay (2.8 km); for this reason it is known by the nickname “The Queen of the Beaches”.

There are two popular beaches in Getaria. There are two beaches. The main one is that of Malkorbe. It has the advantage of being well sheltered. The second one is to the west and is mainly frequented by surfers.

The Bakio Beach has a long promenade that runs alongside the beach, offering an extraordinary view of the sea. Besides, all kind of services and leisure areas are available, as it is situated right in the town centre. The beach also offers the chance to do many sports, such as surfing, canoeing or beach volley.

It is ideal for surfers of all levels. It has waves practically throughout the whole year as it is a very open beach. It has a local club and two surf schools. It is surfable up to 7.5 / 9 ft , and holds important surfing events.

All resorts from east to west:

Hondarribia​ – the easternmost resort of the Costa Vasca

Pasaia – a fishing village

San Sebastian – Spanish royal resort

Orio and its Antilla beach

Zarautz and its longest beach in Basque coast

Getaria and its attractions

Zumaia – the longest set of continuous rock strata in the world

Deba and its beaches

Mutriku and its beaches

Ondarroa and its beaches

Lekeitio and its attractions

Mundaka is famous for its surfing

Bermeo and its attractions

Bakio – ideal for surfers of all levels

Armintza – a fishing village

Transport and how to get to?

By air

The three capitals have international airports:

Bilbao Airport (BIO) International
Vitoria Airport (VIT)
San Sebastián Airport (EAS)

Of the three, the most important hub and entry point to the Basque Country is Bilbao Airport, offering many international connections.

By trains

Eusko Trenbide Sarea (Basque Railway Network) is the Basque Government-owned company that maintains and creates the railway infrastructure in the autonomous region. Euskotren is the Basque Government-owned narrow gauge rail company that operates commuter services in Bilbao and San Sebastián, intercity Bilbao-San Sebastián service, and Euskotren Tranbia tram services in Bilbao and Vitoria-Gasteiz.

Metro Bilbao operates two metro lines that serve the Greater Bilbao area while Euskotren operates a third which opened in 2017. Euskotren operates a metro-like service in the San Sebastián area.

The Spanish government owns two main RENFE broad gauge lines that link Vitoria-Gasteiz with San Sebastián and Bilbao with central Spain. It also operates Cercanías commuter lines in both Bilbao and San Sebastián.

The FEVE narrow gauge rail company operates a commuter line between Bilbao and Balmaseda and links Bilbao with the rest of northern Spain.

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