Theme of the month - Beach

 

Lufthansa travel reports Bilbao

 

Bilbao - Gentle, rugged beauty

White beaches, jagged rocks, charming towns: More than 150 kilometers of magical Basque coastline are just waiting to be explored. In spring and fall, most visitors are culture buffs, ramblers and pilgrims, but in the summer, this stretch of coast becomes one great big bathers’ paradise thanks to its pleasantly mild temperatures. Surfers even plunge into the spectacular waves here all year round.

 
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Gentle, rugged beauty

Gentle, rugged beauty

Plentzia/Lekeitio/Ondarroa:
Pretty little towns line the Basque coast between the two provincial capitals, Bilbao and San Sebastián. The pristine white beach at Plentzia, a Bilbao suburb, makes it a favorite destination for day trips and vacations alike. Lekeitio and Ondarroa also have gorgeous beaches, while still remaining two of the chief fishing ports in the Basque region – people here have been living off fishing, maritime trade and shipbuilding for centuries.

Info:
Plentzia: www.plentzia.org (English, Spanish and other languages). Lekeitio: www.lekeitio.com (English, Spanish and other languages). Ondarroa:
www.ondarroa.eu (Spanish and Basque)
Gentle, rugged beauty

The Road to Compostela:
Passionate hikers and religious pilgrims will enjoy exploring Euskadi (as the Basques call their homeland) on foot. It’s the best way to experience the country and its people first-hand. The famous Road to Santiago de Compostela, or Way of St. James, leads along two different routes, a coastal and an inland route, and both can be completed in seven to eight days if you cover between 20 and 30 kilometers a day. Special bunkhouse-style accommodation and affordable hostels are provided for pilgrims along the way.

Info:
The Road to Compostela in the Basque Country: www.turismoa.euskadi.net (English, Spanish and other languages)


Gentle, rugged beauty

The Flysch Route:
Jagged cliffs drop sheer to the sea along the Flysch Route. This several-mile-long stretch of coast, parts of which are 100 millions years old, is an El Dorado for geologists and other scientists interested in investigating the earth’s long-distant past. Two interpretation centers, one in Mutriku and the other in Zumaia, display their research results and fossil finds. A guided walking tour is a good way to explore the dramatic landscape and visit places that are difficult to reach. Alternatively, you could take a boat trip to enjoy the full majesty of the cliff line from the sea.

Info:
Flysch Route: www.geoparkea.com (Spanish and Basque)


Gentle, rugged beauty

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe:
It’s almost too beautiful to be true: An ancient monastery crowns the tiny island of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe that rises from the sea against the backdrop of the cliffs like a fantastic film set. A narrow, curving causeway is the only link to the nearby mainland. Once on the island, you have 231 stone steps to climb before you finally reach the monastery chapel. Divers also prize the island’s bizarre rock formations, and explore their submarine caves.

Info:
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe: www.sanjuandegaztelugatxe.com (Spanish)


Gentle, rugged beauty

Mundaka:
The Promised Land for surfers – some of the best European surf spots can be found along the Basque coast. The fishing village of Mundaka is world famous, a legendary location offering perfect conditions for advanced surfers, especially in the stormy autumn and winter months. The seaside resort Zarautz is as popular for its great surfing as for its nightlife. San Sebastian has smaller waves more suitable for beginners and is a vibrant city just waiting to be explored.

Info:
Mundaka: www.mundaka.org (English, Spanish, and other languages)


Gentle, rugged beauty

San Sebastián:
Surfers and other water sports fans flock to Donostia (Basque for San Sebastián), especially La Zurriola Beach. The main city beach, La Concha (photo) is even more popular and attracts larger crowds. It lies sheltered in a beautiful, shell-shaped bay, with an offshore island breaking the waves. Paseo de la Concha, the beachside promenade lined with clubs and pubs skirts the wide white crescent of sand. If a day on the beach has left you with an appetite, check out the narrow streets of the old town, where you are sure to find some pintxos – typical Basque tapas.

Info:
San Sebastián: www.sansebastianturismo.com (English, Spanish and other languages)
 

Photos: Corbis (2), mauritius images (4), LOOK-foto

 
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