Nature Based Tourism

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Nature-Based Tourism

THE BASQUE COUNTRY ideal to enjoy in short stages. There’s no room for more. Because it’s hard to find so many stunning places so close to one another. The Basque Country is the ideal place to enjoy numerous attractions in a short space of time: varied landscapes, pleasant climate, ancient culture, word-famous cuisine...

Experiment, observe, then give way to the passion of taste.

Two colours will accompany you on your journey through the Basque Country: the green of the incomparable setting of its mountains and valleys, and the blue of the sea. You will see that the Basque people have strong links with these natural environments: land and sea. Both have been determining factors in a lifestyle revealed by their idiosyncrasies: deeply rooted customs, a rich culture, traditional sports... To better understand the nature of these people it is important that you immerse yourself in its traditions, exploring the fishing ports and the life of the countryside... On the coast you will see how the Cantabrian Sea has marked the personality of the neighbouring villages. You will also notice the difference between their inhabitants and the inland people. If you explore the history of the outstanding figures who have marked the personality of these communities you will discover how their maritime, industrial and agricultural character, always diverse and enterprising, has been bred.

And if you find the coastal and inland villages interesting, you will be no less fascinated by the three capitals. Bilbao will surprise you with its transformation from an industrial city to an avant garde metropolis bringing together the great contemporary international architects. San Sebastian, exquisite and unique, will seduce you with its beautiful and stately setting. Vitoria-Gasteiz will show you its rich heritage and why it sets a worldwide benchmark in urban planning.

Eating and drinking well is an affordable luxury in the Basque Country: local seasonal products in pintxo form with a good wine from the Rioja Alavesa, txakoli or cider. You will be in gourmet paradise! Enjoy! Experiment, observe, then give way to the passion of taste.

The tourism brand which acts as an introduction to the tourism offer in the Basque Country: In the national market: EUSKADI. In the international market: BASQUE COUNTRY. Except in markets where the brand adapted to their language is considered more effective, as in the case of France, Germany and Italy. EUSKADI-PAYS BASQUE; BASKENLAND; PAESI BASCHI.


BILBAO Bilbao is the capital of Bizkaia, as well as a metropolis and economic and financial centre of the Basque Country. It is the largest city in the Basque Country (1,000,000 inhabitants) and is a university town. The Ría (estuary) of Bilbao, the backbone of the metropolis: from the Old Quarter to the Bizkaia Bridge. It is also a city surrounded by small mountains, such as Mount Artxanda, and infrastructures, as for example the cruise port and the main airport in the region and the north of Spain: the international gateway. Internationally renowned for its urban regeneration, Bilbao won the Nobel Prize for Cities in 2010: “Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize”: “Lee Kuan Yew World city prize”. IN BILBAO, THE FOLLOWING ARE A MUST: - Bizkaia Transporter Bridge, World Heritage Site. - The City´s Museums: Guggenheim and Fine Arts (now one of the leading paintings and sculpture museums in Spain). The Alhóndiga, The Ethnographic and Basque History Museum, The Reproductions Museum, Athletic Football Club, Bullfighting, etc. - Its cutting-edge and signature architecture: works by the world´s most famous contemporary architects (Frank Gehry,

Norman Foster, Isozaki, Zaha Hadid and Philippe Starck). - Take a stroll: through the Old Quarter, and its famous 7 streets, through the Ensanche and up Mount Artxanda, which offers a panoramic view of the city and can be accessed by funicular (cable railway). - Attend: conferences, trade fairs and meetings (BEC, Euskalduna, Guggenheim, etc.), festivals and cultural events, popular and traditional festivals such as bulls, Semana Grande (week of local festivities), Holy

Week, etc.

- Shopping: at leading brand stores, as well as for original products in specialised shops. The Ribera Market is well worth a visit as is the traditional annual Santo Tomás market (21st December). - Eating-Out: the whole range of Basque gastronomy: from pintxos (similar to Spanish tapas) to haute cuisine, not forgetting the traditional dishes. - Stay: the best range of accommodation in the Basque Country. Recommended for being closest to Bilbao are Donostia/San Sebastián, the Basque Coast, the Basque Mountains and Valleys and Rioja Alavesa.

DONOSTIA SAN SEBASTIÁN Donostia/San Sebastián is the capital of Gipuzkoa and the major city of the Basque Coast (180,000 inhabitants). A city open to the sea, historically regarded the tourist capital of the Basque Country and is close to France. It boasts one of the most beautiful bays in the world: La Concha, and three city beaches. San Sebastian is surrounded by mountains and viewpoints: Igeldo, Urgull, Ulia and the Isle of Santa Clara, lie on either side of the River Urumea. IN SAN SEBASTIÁN, THE FOLLOWING ARE A MUST:

- Shopping: in the Ensanche and the Old Quarter.

- The Old Quarter, its streets and iconic buildings. - The romantic area of the city and its buildings with French influences. - San Telmo Museum and the Aquarium. - Take a stroll: walks and nature-related activities on foot and/or by bicycle along the promenade from the “Peine de los Vientos” sculptures to the Kursaal, up the urban mountains, their parks and gardens and enjoy the delightful pace of life by the sea or go surfing at its beaches.

- Attend: conferences, trade fairs and meetings at the Kursaal Palace, festivals and popular events, such as the Tamborrada (drum procession), Santo Tomás agricultural and gastronomic fair, the International Film Festival, La Concha Pennant, the hippodrome and the casino.

- Eating out: the city of gastronomy par excellence: with more Michelin stars per square metre than any other in the world. Go for pintxos in the Old Quarter and other neighbourhoods of the city. Likewise sidrerías or cider houses are also a good choice. - Accommodation: the city offers a wide range of hotels and some of the most iconic hotels in the Basque Country. Recommended for being closest to Donostia/ San Sebastián, are Bilbao, the Basque Coast, the Basque Mountains and Valleys.


Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital of Alava, Vitoria is the administrative capital of the Basque Country (250,000 inhabitants). It also boasts the most important logistics centre in the north of Spain and is surrounded by nature. The historic centre and original almond medieval shape is noteworthy, particularly the cathedral (in this 3 cathedral city) which although undergoing restoration remains open, noteworthy is the modern, well-planned, user-friendly and accessible urban planning, as well as the surrounding green belt. In 2012, it was the “European Green Capital”.

- Attend: its renowned jazz festival and local festivities, among which San Prudencio (28th April) and La Blanca (August) are particularly noteworthy. - Things to do: nature sports (green belt), bird watching (lakes and reservoirs) and visit Ataria, the Interpretation Centre of the Salburua Wetlands.

IN VITORIA, THE FOLLOWING ARE A MUST: - Its old quarter and the so-called medieval “almond”, where the Cathedral of Santa Maria lies and its unique project called “Open for Work”, which inspired Ken Follett in his novel “World Without End”. Visit the 5 towers, the historic streets and the walls in this part of the city. - Museums: Bibat, Artium, Fine Arts Ajuria Enea: Residence of the President of the Basque Country. - The new, well-planned urban layout of VitoriaGasteiz.

- Shopping: At its confectioners, mainly in the pedestrian and commercial area and at the medieval “almond” market.

- Take a stroll: through the “green belt”, with pathways, lakes and reservoirs integrated into nature that is full of flora and fauna, through the towns and villages of Vitoria (Estibaliz, Armentia, Foronda, etc.)

- Eating-Out: its sweets are famous for their quality. The wines and gastronomy of the Rioja Alavesa. - Accommodation: at its new, fully accessible hotels. Recommended for being closest to Vitoria-Gasteiz are Rioja Alavesa and the Basque Mountains and Valleys.


MOUNTAINS AND VALLEYS The Basque Mountains and Valleys are our natural environment. The quiet Euskadi. They are a reflection of culture and traditions: Gernika and the General Assembly House, beacons, myths and legends of the Basque Country, the farmhouse and the way of life, rural sports.

- Attend: Basque Pelota competitions, rural sports, processions, fairs and markets.

- Eating-Out: traditional food (authentic, local products).

- Things to do: ecotourism activities, such as bird watching and geotourism, or visits to places of high environmental and heritage value. And more active and sporting activities such as hiking and cycling.

- Where to sleep: in rural accommodation and charming hotels, some of them with the ECOLABEL.

The 9 natural parks and pilgrimage routes stand out: Camino de Santiago and Camino Ignaciano (St. James’s Way and Ignatian way), and religious cultural heritage in Loiola (house of Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus) and in Arantzazu, La Antigua, Zenarruza, Estibaliz and Urkiola.

- Shopping: traditional gastronomy products (Eusko label), Idiazabal, Cider, Txakoli, tinned produce. Basque artisan products and ceramics.

IN THE BASQUE MOUNTAINS AND VALLEYS, THE FOLLOWING ARE A MUST: - Its villages, rural traditions, lifestyle (30,000 farmhouses), heritage, rural sports, processions, etc. - Its landscape that has been shaped by man: coalmines, salt mines, mines, foundries, quarries, etc. - Museums: ecological, industrial, interpretation centres, etc. - Take a stroll: through the accessible natural environment, through the conservation areas, up the mythical mountains (Gorbea, Anboto, Txindoki, Aizgorri, Ernio), through its valleys and regions, through its forests and rivers.

From the Basque Mountains and Valleys, visit for example the Basque Coast, Rioja Alavesa, Bilbao, Donostia/ San Sebastián and Vitoria-Gasteiz.



The Basque Coast is very diverse: there are fishing villages and seaside towns, with city beaches and other beaches that will blow you away. Marinas, marshes, estuaries lined by sea cliffs and an active sea. Among its emblematic towns and areas, Hondarribia, Zarautz, Getxo and Lekeitio, La Concha bay in San Sebastian, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, the Getaria Mouse, Bilbao and the Bizkaia Bridge, the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve and the Geopark stand out. The Basque Coast also boasts a rich maritime culture and many illustrious seafarers: Elcano, Cosme Damián de Churruca or Víctor Hugo. ON THE BASQUE COAST, THE FOLLOWING ARE A MUST: - Its fishing villages, medieval towns and cosmopolitan cities giving you an insight into the way of life by the sea, based around fishing and the fishing heritage (fish markets, festivities, gastronomy).

- Its network of museums on the Basque Coast (among others: the Museo Balenciaga in Getaria, the Bilbao Maritime Museum, the Fishermen’s Museum in Bermeo, the Oiasso Roman Museum in Irun, the Albaola Maritime Factory in Pasaia, and the Santa Catalina Lighthouse in Lekeitio, the Aquarium of Donostia,…).

- SPAs.

- Walking: On the Basque coast nature´s green sweeps down to the sea: Take a stroll through Urdaibai, the Flysch route, along cliffs, through the painted forest of Oma, visit the wetlands and wild beaches or routes, such as the Camino de Santiago along the coast.

- Its natural corners: conservation areas and wetlands, viewpoints and watchtowers.

- Attend: sports competitions, some of which are international, such as surfing, sailing and other unique

sports like traineras (rowing boat races). Attend local festivities and fish markets. - Practice: water sports (surfing, sailing, diving), trekking and activities in nature, bird watching and whale watching. - Shopping: tinned fish, txakoli. - Eating-Out: fish paired with txakoli. Excellent gastronomy. - Accommodation: in charming rural houses, small family run hotels and campsites. Given how close it is from the Basque Coast visit Bilbao and the Basque Mountains and Valleys.



Rioja Alavesa is a land of ancient vineyards, producing unique wine from its tempranillo Grape. Watered by the river Ebro and surrounded by Sierra of Cantabria, this region boasts the most spectacular wineries: such as Ysios, Baigorri, Riscal, Viñarreal-CVNE, with wine villages and family run wineries as well as a product with structure: Rioja Alavesa Wine Route. IN RIOJA ALAVESA, THE FOLLOWING ARE A MUST: - Its villages: Laguardia, Labraza, Elciego, Samaniego, Labastida. - Its state of the art wineries. - Its traditional family run wineries. - The Balcony of Rioja.

- Shopping: Rioja Alavesa wines.

- Its thousand year old heritage: the historic town Poblado de La Hoya, dolmens.

- Eating-Out: gastronomy and wine.

- Take a stroll: through vineyards and historic villages. - Attend: traditional wine events and festivities. Tastings and sampling. - Activities: trekking, bird watching, cycling, wine therapy.

- Accommodation: in rural accommodation and at new charming hotels such as Marqués de Riscal. From Rioja Alavesa because of how close it is, visit the Basque Mountains and Valleys, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Bilbao and Donostia- San Sebastián.


The Basque Country boasts a variety of themed products which compete as a destination; it is a “multiproduct destination”. Priority Basque tourism products are: touring, Food and wine, culture and MICE. Likewise city breaks, nature and coast are considered to be top priority. Products that complete the diversity of the offer, both in terms of the landscape and the experiences Euskadi provides.

Nature-Based Tourism Euskadi is the perfect place for activities in the natural environment. Either ACTIVELY, through sport, or in a more relaxed and calm manner. In the first option, the proposal focuses on CYCLING TOURS AND HIKING. The second offers the option of visiting these natural environments and discovering, at a different level of awareness, the flora, fauna, local people, traditions and different aspects that make each of the areas visited unique, in what is known as ECOTOURISM.



THROUGH THE CAPITAL CITIES VITORIA-GASTEIZ VITORIA-GASTEIZ GREEN BELT. The green jewel and icon of the city. CIRCUIT AROUND ULIBARRI-GANBOA RESERVOIR. Barely 10 kilometres from the city, take a relaxed bike ride around a fully-prepared track, with beautiful landscapes.

BILBAO A short ride, hardly 6 km, but one which will help the visitor to discover the most cosmopolitan image of the capital of Bizkaia. The Arenal, the Guggenheim, or the Euskalduna are some of the sights along this route.

DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIÁN An itinerary chosen to take you to some of the best-known places in the city, including the beaches of La Concha, Ondarreta, el Peine del Viento and el Kursaal.

THE GREENWAYS, In Euskadi, six out of nine of these former railways, covering more than 180 km, allow travellers a cycle tour experience.

THE BASQUE NAVARRE GREENWAYS 125 km connecting Estella-Lizarra (Navarra) to Mekoalde (Gipuzkoa). Combining natural rural zones of great beauty, with urban and industrialised zones. Perfect for families or groups of friends, of interest to travellers or cycling enthusiasts looking for new challenges. In Antoñana, a visit to the Greenway Interpretation Centre is a must to find out more about the history of this former railway.

PLAZAOLA 50 kilometres of peaceful pedalling, between Andoain (Gipuzkoa) and Kaxarna (Navarra). In addition, the longest tunnel of all the European greenways, 2.7 km of perfectly prepared track, can be found along this route. As the route travels through Gipuzkoa, water from the river Leitzaran is another central feature.

ARDITURRI This route, linking the Bay of Pasaia to the mines in Aiako Harria Natural Park, is an open door to an encounter with nature and history. Over 12 kilometres, you will come across windmills, tower houses, tunnels, mine entrances, ventilation shafts, lime kilns…



The longest greenway in Bizkaia covers 42 km of great natural value, along the iron routes which have crossed Greater Bilbao since ancient times, and whose highlights include the Triano Mountains Protected Biotope and Arena beach in the Barbadun estuary (Natura 2000 Network). Interspersed with spectacular remains from the mining industry (ore loading docks, ironworks, mines, kilns...), it has two active tourism points: one at the start of the route in Traslaviña, and the other next to Aceña recreational zone.

An attractive route for walkers and cyclists, dotted with tunnels and bridges, it departs from Mirandaola and goes all the way to Iraeta. At this point, it joins the road for 4 kilometres, before returning to the pedestrian/cycle path until reaching the former loading dock in Zumaia, the end of this tourist route which, once it has been completely finished, will connect the whole of the valley of Urola.

BIDASOA Running alongside the banks of the river Bidasoa, it connects Bertiz (close to Elizondo) to Irun, and passes small dykes, bunkers from the Spanish Civil War and curious kiwi plantations, as well as fishways used by the salmon to travel up the river Bidasoa, which is quite a sight. This Greenway is part of the Eurovelo Network, a project of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) which aims to cross Europe by bike in a safe, attractive and comfortable manner, and covers more than 8,000 Km.


There are several attractive mountain paths suitable for exploring with a mountain bike.



30 km from Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of Euskadi, and only 60 km from Bilbao, the reception centres are at Angosto Camp site and at the Sobrón Adventure Centre in Valdegovía. It offers routes with various levels of difficulty that cross two very different landscapes: the Valles Occidentales (Western Valleys) and the Llanada Alavesa (the plains of Alava). In particular, the Sobrón Alto route, 24 kilometres long, and the more accessible Espejo and Angosto routes.

In the south-east of the province of Álava, the reception point is located at the Urturi golf course, 38 km from Vitoria–Gasteiz and 28 km from Laguardia, in Rioja Alavesa. The Centre offers an excellent selection of routes and landscapes suitable for mountain biking, and also uses sections of the former Vasco-Navarro railway, now a greenway; it also includes part of the GR 38 “Wine and fish route” which joins Rioja Alavesa to the Basque Coast.

GRAND TOURS THE GRAND TOUR CYCLING ROUTE THROUGH LLANADA ALAVESA An adventure, which starts and ends at the Ataria Nature Interpretation Centre (Vitoria-Gasteiz) and ideally takes 2-3 days. The intermediate villages of Maturana, Narbaiza, Araia, or Agurain-Salvatierra make perfect stops along the way, offering services and places to stay overnight. In addition, part of the route is connected by rail, allowing you to return or access the route more quickly and easily.

EL CAMINO DE SANTIAGO (WAY OF ST JAMES) This route, as it crosses Euskadi, has two possible paths: one along the coast and another travelling inland. The first takes you along the Cantabrian coastline while the second heads inland until it joins the Camino Francés (the French Way). COASTAL TRAIL. 195 km. Five stages by bike. This is one of the most primitive pilgrim ways to Compostela. The seafaring, agricultural, urban and rural Euskadi live alongside each other along this route. In the first section, the trail crosses the

coast of Gipuzkoa, from the mouth of the Bidasoa to the border with Bizkaia, characterised by steep climbs. Once in Bizkaia, through Markina-Xemein, the abrupt terrain disappears and the trail goes past remote spots in the Bizkaia districts of Lea-Artibai, Busturialdea and Uribe until reaching Encartaciones. INLAND TRAIL. 193 km. 4 stages by bike. This crosses Gipuzkoa and Álava on a route which, in barely seven days, visits a heterogeneous and hugely varied country. Coastal landscapes, humid forests, fertile farmland, large areas of dry lands, interminable plains, heavily industrialised areas, rural scenery and endless beautiful views all form part of the surrounding area. Since Roman times this has been one of the most important lines of communication in the north of the peninsula.

THE CAMINO IGNACIANO (IGNATIAN WAY) Four stages by bike. This recreates the path taken by Ignacio de Loiola in 1522, from his birthplace, Loiola, in Azpeitia (Gipuzkoa), to the Catalan city of Manresa, on his pilgrimage to the holy city of Jerusalem. The Way, which has been created based on the personal notes of the saint, is long and demanding, almost 675 kilometres long, passing through five autonomous communities, and taking approximately 30 days. In Euskadi there are seven stages over 150 kilometres, marked with the GR 120 signs, and including the most rugged part of the whole pilgrimage. This trail allows the visitor to explore and visit six very different districts and offers a similar experience to that offered by the Camino de Santiago.

GR 38 (WINE AND FISH ROUTE) Eight stages. Start: Oyón. End: Bermeo. Time: 7 days. Total length 166 km. From the vineyards of Oyón to the port of Bermeo, the GR 38 crosses Euskadi from south to north, traversing captivating and diverse landscapes. In ancient times this route was used by mule drivers to transport their goods. The drivers used to leave the ports of Bermeo, Ondarroa and Lekeitio with their mules laden with fresh or salted fish and, on their return journey from Oyón, they loaded their carts with wheat, salt, vinegar and wine. This route, converted to tourism and culture, recovers the ancient splendour with the new travellers from this century.


Euskadi is a privileged destination for activities in the natural environment thanks to the multitude of natural spaces which are concentrated in a small area. Almost 25% of the region is protected: natural parks, the Basque Coast geopark, the biosphere reserve, Natura 2000 network, etc.; all these areas have clearly marked paths suitable for hiking and with different options to suit everyone.


IN THE NATURAL SPACES NETWORK OF TRAILS THROUGH URDAIBAI BIOSPHERE RESERVE A total of 10 routes for you to discover and fall in love with this special place. Most of the routes are suitable for families, as they range from 4 km to 12.

NETWORK OF TRAILS THROUGH THE BASQUE COAST GEOPARK The UNESCO heritage site has six geological routes through the districts of Deba, Mutriku and Zumaia, for enjoying nature, the scenery and the culture of the region.

NETWORK OF TRAILS THROUGH THE NINE NATURAL PARKS OF EUSKADI: IZKI, VALDEREJO, GORBEIA,URKIOLA, AIZKORRIARATZ, ARALAR, ARMAÑON, PAGOETA AND PEÑAS DE AIA Each natural park has an extensive network of paths suitable for lovers of hiking. Routes for families, for those who love a long day out walking... There is a large variety of attractions in these natural spaces. Each one with its own special features and very different environments.


A selection of the best walks in each of the districts of Euskadi. An opportunity for families who are looking for the best natural spots in our region.


As with the cycling tours, there are a number of options available in Euskadi:

THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO With two routes in Euskadi. The coastal trail is a total of 214 kilometres long and can be divided into nine stages. A demanding route on foot, but one that has its reward in the landscapes. The less travelled Inland Trail is 250 kilometres long and, in 10 stages, allows the hiker to discover the heart of Euskadi.

EL CAMINO IGNACIANO The trail, following in the footsteps of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, is 150 km long with seven stages in Euskadi. As with other long distance routes, it offers the opportunity to not only enjoy an experience as a traveller but also a moment of personal insight and development.

GR 283 A mountain circuit, 96 km long and lasting 6 days, which opens doors to the paradise of the Idiazabal Cheese, in the inland region of Gipuzkoa. A company is available to provide back up along the trail:

GR 38 Eight stages and almost 170 kilometres in total to discover one of the routes that allows you to savour the contrasts of all Euskadi, from Rioja Alavesa, inland Álava, the green heart of Bizkaia and the blue of the Basque Cantabrian ports. This is a demanding trail on foot but one which the hiker will find rewarding.


Euskadi has an extensive region of high environmental value: nine natural parks, a large area protected under the Natura 2000 Network, the Basque Coast Geopark and Urdaibai Reserve account for 23% of the total area. In addition, there are zones with very deep sea close to the coast (Capbreton Canyon), where whale watching is possible, and a coastline on the path of migrating sea birds. There are coastal and inland wetlands, mountainous regions, Mediterranean zones… All this diversity permits the presence of a general style of tourism (as in Urdaibai or Salburua), or a much more specific tourism (as in Izki to see the spotted woodpecker). What is known as ECOTOURISM: “travel to a natural area to get to know and understand it, to visit and enjoy the area, while also valuing it and contributing to its conservation in a practical way, making a positive contribution to the local population without creating any environmental impacts”. Ecotourism includes activities such as nature photography, bird, mammal and whale watching, routes for the interpretation of the natural environment, geological routes, or discovering and enjoying the traditions of an ancient people.


FOR THE ECOTOURIST URDAIBAI BIOSPHERE RESERVE This is a natural space of high environmental and cultural interest, declared as such by UNESCO in 1984. It is the first natural space in Euskadi to join the ECST (European Charter for Sustainable Tourism) and it is a member of the Ecotourism Club in Spain. It is one of the areas with the greatest natural and scenic diversity in Euskadi, and has several natural systems of extraordinary value including the estuary and river ecosystems, the karst system with the Cantabrian oak forests and the coastal ecosystem, all of which are recognised under the Natura 2000 Network, an ecological network promoted by the European Union. Marshes, cliffs, forests, beaches, history, culture and tradition are some of the many treasures awaiting the visitor to this haven in the Bay of Biscay. Enjoy some of the most captivating experiences on offer in Euskadi, including watching and learning about the huge diversity of birds in this region, having fun watching the mischievous dolphins along the coast, walking along the dunes of Laga beach, playing Basque pelota at one of the most emblematic fronton courts, or enjoying kayaking.
















Centro de Visitantes



















The Basque Coast UNESCO Global Geopark is a small region between the Cantabrian Sea and the Basque mountains, formed by the districts of Zumaia, Deba and Mutriku. Since 2010 it has been a member of the European and Global Network of Geoparks and, since 2019, a member of the Ecotourism Club in Spain.

Within 50 kilometres, Euskadi has three clearly differentiated bioclimatic zones: the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the transition zone between the two. More than 60% of Iberian fly across the Basque skies and fields at any time of the year. Others including the griffon vulture and the Egyptian vulture have some of the largest populations in Europe here.

Geology is the true protagonist in a landscape which conserves some of the most impressive episodes of the earth’s recent history. The 13 kilometres of cliffs in the Geopark are home to a spectacular formation of layers of rock known as flysch which, as if they were a huge encyclopaedia, reveal the secrets of more than 60 million years of history of the Earth. Inside this region we discover the world of Karst, where time seems to have stopped forever.

EUSKADI NATURAL PARKS Nature and culture in equal proportions make these areas into a reference for tourism in the Historic Regions of Álava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa. Each one with its own special landscape, and all of them with a wide range of equipment and services, combine to provide a quality offer worthy of the most demanding traveller. Nestled in the most remote districts of the Basque Country, these parks offer the opportunity to practice numerous outdoor activities: guided interpretation tours of the natural environment, hiking, cycle or horse riding trails, bird watching, picnics… The visitor centres or “parketxes” offer a wide range of information to the visitor to allow them to plan their visit in comfort. As mentioned in the section on hiking, Euskadi has nine natural parks: Izki, Valderejo, Gorbeia, Urkiola, Aizkorri-Aratz, Aralar, Armañon, Pagoeta and Peñas de Aia.

In Euskadi, 10 zones have been identified as suitable for the observation of different species of birds, with nearby information centres and 25 ornithological routes. Top quality observatories are found here, including Ataria and the Bird Centre in Urdaibai.


This is a network of installations dedicated to environmental interpretation and the raising of awareness about environmental conservation and care and about the abundance of natural wealth in the destination. There are four centres at present: - Meatzaldea Peñas Negras. Ortuella (Bizkaia). - Urdaibai. Busturia (Bizkaia). - Azpeitia. Azpeitia (Gipuzkoa). - Txingudi. Irun (Gipuzkoa).


OF INTEREST LINKED TO ECOTOURISM ATARIA NATURE INTERPRETAION CENTRE Interpretation Centre. Open to the public, with a huge amount of resources and services (exhibition space, classrooms, observatory...), it hosts all types of activities: leisure and entertainment, interpretation, outreach and communication, research and study on biodiversity. The purpose of the installation is to boost knowledge about the wetlands and to showcase their values, and, by extension, the importance of biodiversity and natural heritage.

LEITZARAN PROTECTED BIOTOPE Leitzaran Visitor Centre (Andoain) is made up of the Water Interpretation Centre and a range of activities in the natural environment. The Water Interpretation Centre aims to show visitors the natural and cultural values of the River Leitzaran Valley, and facilities include an exhibition area and video room. Guided nature and cultural heritage interpretation tours on foot or by bike are just some of the options.

AÑANA SALT VALLEY Añana Salt Marshes form a complex, unique to

the world, in architectural, scenic, archaeological, geological and historical terms. Made up of thousands of salt production platforms, this space is dedicated to the recovery of its tangible and intangible heritage in order to restore a salt mine with over 7000 years of history to its former glory. It offers a wide range of activities.

EDEN DESTINATIONS Lastly, but no less important, there are TWO regions in Euskadi internationally recognised by the European Union as destinations with sustainable tourism management.

These are: - Goierri. - Loyola Region.


BILBAO Internationally recognised architectural benchmark because the strength of its avant-garde style is based on integration and respect for its industrial history.

VITORIA-GASTEIZ Location of the Basque Parliament and capital of Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz is a green city, filled with natural spaces and located very close to Rioja Alavesa, a world renown wine-tourism enclave.

DONOSTIA / SAN SEBASTIÁN One of the most romantic cities in the world, renowned for its beauty and its gastronomy.

URDAIBAI An extraordinarily beautiful and varied natural landscape, which is the reason why it was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1984.

GAZTELUGATXE Classified as a protected Biotype, this magical small island is one of the essential corners of the Basque Coast and one of the locations where the TV show “Game of Thrones” was filmed.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GERNIKA One of the oldest parliaments in Europe. The Gernika tree is considered a main symbol of Basque identity.

BIZKAIA BRIDGE Also known as the “Suspension Bridge”, Bizkaia Bridge is an architectural jewel that reflects the industrial and marine nature of Euskadi. World Heritage. UNESCO 2007.

LAGUARDIA Capital of Rioja Alavesa, Laguardia stands vigilant upon a hill, and surrounded by vineyards.

CRISTOBAL BALENCIAGA MUSEUM Coco Chanel said that Balenciaga was the only and authentic courtier (dressmaker).

LOIOLA SANCTUARY Place of birth of San Ignacio (Iñigo de Loyola), one of the most notable Basque personalities in history and founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), a denomination that has spread throughout the entire world.


PUBLIC CITY TRANSPORTATION BILBAO · City bus (Bilbobus). · Tram (Euskotren). · Underground.




DONOSTIA/SAN SEBASTIÁN · City bus (Dbus). VITORIA-GASTEIZ · City bus. · Tram (Euskotren).

PUBLIC INTERCITY TRANSPORTATION · Alavabus. · Bizkaibus. · Lurraldebus. · Euskotren. · Renfe.





ÁLAVA i_Euskadi