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BASQUE COAST / BAY OF BISCAY

The coast of the Basque Country has a length of 176 kilometers. Characteristic is the contrast of the deep blue Cantabrian sea with the green mountains and hills that slope toward the beach.

We begin our exploration trip in the West, in Portugalete, where there is the famous "Puente Colgante de Vizcaya" Foto (Hanging Bridge of Biscay), the oldest still-functional funicular railway in the world. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the north of Bilbao there are several very nice beaches, for instance the Playa de Arrigunaga in the municipality of Algorta next to Getxo, or the Playa de Barinatxe Salvaje in Sopelana, which is known as a paradise for wind-surfers.

We follow the coast to the east and reach the village Plentzia Foto, with a beautiful marina, a picturesque old town with old fishermen's houses, and a sandy beach.

The fishing village of Bakio Foto is situated very nicely and is known for its excellent beaches.

Passing the Biosphere Reserve Urdaibai Foto we reach Mundaka Foto, the most famous water sports and windsurfing center on the Bay of Biscay. Here are three fine sandy beaches: Sukarrieta, Playa de Laga and Playa de San Antonio.

A coastal town which is well-worth seeing is Elantxobe Foto, with houses that were built almost vertiginously on a slope.

Next to it there are the small and peaceful village of Ea Foto and Lekeitio Foto, probably one of the most beautiful coastal towns of Cantabria with a lovely old town, dominated by the Gothic church "Iglesia de Santa Maria", and beautiful beaches opposite to the island of San Nicolás.

On a panoramic road we reach Ondarroa Foto, with the most important deep-sea fishing port of the entire Basque coast. It also has a very nice long beach, Playa de Santurrarán.

Zumaia Foto is a holiday resort with a beautiful old town which is crossed by a river. In the museum "Ignacio Zuloaga", located in the former home of this well known Basque artist (1870-1945) many of his works are on display.

Getaria Foto, situated 20 kilometer in the west of San Sebastián, is the birthplace of the navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano, who participated in the first circumnavigation led by Ferdinand Magellan. After Magellan's death Elcano led the last remaining ship home.

Worth seeing are the nice port with its lively cafeterias, the traditional Basque architecture and the church "Iglesia de San Salvador" from 15th century. Getaria is also well-known for its excellent fish-restaurants. The food is best accompanied by "Chacoli", the classic white wine from the region.

Zarautz was a popular seaside resort already in the 19th Century; we therefore find many beautiful buildings Foto from this era. Along the longest beach Foto on the Basque coast there is a lively beach promenade, with many viewpoints as well as bars and restaurants. Zarautz is also known because here are the school and the hotel of the star chef Karlos Arguiñano.

Finally we arrive to San Sebastian, a beautiful town located at only 23 km from the french border, where we find one of the best known beaches of all Spain, the "Playa de la Concha".

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