Along the Estuary of the Río Nervión
C 6320 continues by way of Sopelana to the former fishing village of Plencia, which, like the neighboring village of Gorliz, has beautiful beaches. From here a road follows the coast to Bermeo.
The road down the left bank of the Rio Nervion also passes through industrial suburbs, with iron and steelworks, including the Altos Hornos de Vizcaya rolling mill, the second largest in Spain.
Beyond the Altos Hornos de Vizcaya is Portugalete, which has developed from a quiet little fishing village into an industrial center, though the old town still has some charming nooks and corners.
A sight of technological interest is the Puente Colgante, the transporter bridge which links Portugalete with Las Arenas on the other side of the estuary. This consists of two 63m/207ft high pylons linked at a great height by a lattice structure, from which the cabin carrying passengers across the river is suspended on steel cables. From the end of the harbor quay extends a 1km/0.75mi long breakwater with a lighthouse at its tip from which there are good views of the estuary.
The culinary specialty of Santurce, the next place on the road from Portugalete, is fried sardines - a reminder of the town's former importance as a fishing port, now increasingly being swallowed up in industrial development.
From Santurce a road runs along the coast, affording fine views, to the little port of Ciérvana (Basque Zierbena) and then follows the right bank of the Río Barbadún to San Juan de Somorrostro, on the borders of the province of Cantabria. From here N 63 continues to Castro Urdiales (the Roman town of Flaviobriga), in Cantabria. This picturesque little port town, now a popular seaside resort, is probably the oldest settlement on the Cantabrian coast.
Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
Castro Urdiales is dominated by the fine Gothic church (14th-15th century) of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, which has a beautiful doorway.
Castillo de Santa Ana
Castillo de Santa Ana, on a rocky outcrop above the harbor, was once held by the Templars but now serves as a lighthouse.
The fiesta of Coso Blanco is celebrated annually on the first Friday in July with fireworks and a battle of flowers.
To Ondárroa by the Coast Road
From the old town of Bilbao C 6313 runs north via Begoña to Munguía. From here it climbs, with many bends, to the ridge of Monte Acherre, from which there is a picturesque view of Bermeo; to the right is the hill of Sollube (684m/2244ft), with a television transmitter on the summit. The road then descends to Bermeo, beautifully situated on the slopes of the hill, its harbor crowded with colorful fishing boats.
The Fisheries Museum
Bermeo, originally a Roman foundation, is the most important fishing port on the Cantabrian coast. The Fisheries Museum has an interesting collection which includes models, fishing equipment and fittings from fishing boats. It is housed in the Torre Ercilla (now a protected monument), which was once occupied by the adventurer and poet Alonso de Ercilla (1533-94).
The church of Santa Eufemia, a short distance away from the Fisheries Museum, dates from the 13th century.
Cabo Machichaco (Matxitxako)
San Juan de Gaztelugache and Baquino
To the west of Cabo Machichaco are the romantic rocky peninsula of San Juan de Gaztelugache and the bathing beach of Baquino.
From Bermeo C 6315 goes southeast to Mundaca, at the mouth of the broad Ría de Guernica, and continues to Guernica y Luno, from which the route continues on C 6212, heading north.
C 6212 runs via Ereño to Lequitio, a little seaside resort and port (tunny fishing) beautifully situated in a bay sheltered by the rocky wooded island of San Nicolás.
Santa María de la Asunción
On the harbor in Lequeitio is the church of Santa María de la Asunción (14th-15th century), with filigree Gothic buttresses and a finely sculptured doorway; notable features of the interior are the extraordinary high altar and a Gothic retablo in the third chapel on the right. In a Baroque side chapel can be seen a simple 12th century wooden figure of Nuestra Señora de la Antigua, venerated as patroness of the town.
The road from Lequeitio/ Lekeitio follows the coast to the little fishing port of Ondárroa, charmingly situated in a bay on the borders of the province of Guipúzcoa. Its main features of interest are the fortress-like Gothic church of Santa María (1492) and a bridge of Roman origin.
Map of Bilbao Attractions