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Experience Art And Nature In The Urdaibai Estuary Of Basque Country, Spain

Urdaibai Estuary, Basque Country, Northern Spain
Urdaibai Estuary, Basque Country, Northern Spain [Image by Gaizka Peñafiel on Flickr]
Northern Spain is a green and beautiful area of the country, especially on the Urdaibai Estuary, nestling in the Basque Country. Here, nature is at its most beautiful as well as being an important Biosphere Reserve. This area of northern Spain is highly recommended for travelers seeking time in nature. Whether looking for idyllic beaches, wishing to hike in nature, or exploring history and art, the Urdaibai Estuary is a great place to be.

Urdaibai Estuary, Basque Country, Spain

Beach in Mundaka, Basque Country, Spain
Beach in Mundaka [Image by JoseluBilbo on Flickr]
The Urdaibai Estuary stretches over around 85 square miles in the Bay of Biscay. Its landscape features a salt marsh, hugged by high, rugged cliffs and surrounded by meadows, oak groves and leafy woods.

Meanwhile, the coastal area of the estuary also features idyllic, golden sand beaches, especially the beach in the Basque Country town of Mundaka. The latter is especially popular with surfers from around the world. Moreover, other towns to visit in the area include Bermeo and Gernika.

The economy of the surrounding area revolves around fishing, forestry and farming. However, an important tourist sector has grown here, due to the quality of those beaches.

History in the area

Mundaka, Basque Country
Mundaka port, Basque Country [Image by Montse Sanchiz Bosch from Pixabay]
Besides hiking in nature and enjoying the beaches, this area also features an interesting history, with remains found from the Prehistoric, Roman and Middle Ages. Among the most important sites to visit, the Santimamiñe Cave is renowned for its fascinating mural paintings from the Magdalenian period, depicting horses, goats, deer and bison in the artwork.

Paintings in Santimamiñe Cave
Paintings in Santimamiñe Cave [Image by B. & G. Delluc on Wikimedia Commons]
Meanwhile, Mundaka also has a fascinating and diverse history. It was here that Juan Zuria, the son of a Scottish princess was born, who became the first Lord of Biscay. However, the town’s name is said to have Danish origins. Among the historic sites, there is evidence that the Vikings visited here around 900 years ago. Moreover, the port in the town center looks out to sea and is surrounded by the original medieval fishermen’s homes.

Painted Forest of Oma in the Urdaibai Estuary

Painted Forest of Oma, Urdaibai Estuary
Painted Forest of Oma [Image by Christelle S from Pixabay]
Located in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve is a wondrous forest, turned into a beautiful work of art. Dubbed the Painted Forest of Oma, it was here that the Bilbao sculptor and artist Agustin Ibarrola turned it into an enchanted forest back in 1984. Located close to the Santimamiñe Caves, the artist left traces of paint on the trees and stones in the forest. He aimed to link the works of the ancestral Palaeolithic artists with his own modern “land art.”

Most of his painted figures are scattered over several trees at different depths and by doing so with many pine trees he created an enormous and colorful cloth. As visitors walk among the painted trees, they can see different colorful landscapes with different perspectives along the way. The Painted Forest of Oma makes an ideal spot for a day trip and the opportunity to take photos of the art from different angles.

Accommodation in the Urdaibai Estuary

Bed and breakfast in Urdaibai Estuary
H&AP Rural Merrutxu [Image Booking.com]
When visiting this beautiful area of the Basque Country in northern Spain, many options are available for overnight stays. A visit to Mundaka, Bermeo, or Gernika will reveal comfortable small hotels or rural bed and breakfasts, ideal as a base for exploring nature. Find out more about the Basque Country in Spain on the official tourism website.



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