Bermeo is one of the most beautiful villages in the Basque Country, with many places to see. We have compiled a list of the best places to see in Bermeo to help you plan your visit.
Located on the coast of Bizkaia, in the interior of the Biosphere Reserve of Urdaibai, this town has managed to maintain its fishing tradition of yesteryear and its architecture of colorful houses of the old port, which in addition to giving it a magical charm, offers excellent gastronomy of robust traditional fish dishes such as marmitako of bonito and a variety of delicious pintxos.
Despite being easy to visit this town in the morning, it is worth spending a whole day or linking it with nearby destinations such as San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, the town of Mundaka, a hike through the Urdabai Park, or a beach trip.
10 Best Places To Visit In Bermeo
1. Old Port
A walk along the harbor to the old breakwater enjoying the views of the colorful houses with the boats in the foreground is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Bermeo.
A port that became the second most important port in Biscay, this port has several attractions such as the fountain of Tres Cantos, the oldest in the area, and several sculptures that will not leave you indifferent and that we will discuss later.
Another of the experiences of this area that you should not miss is to have a beer and some pintxo like rabas in one of its many terraces, such as Etxepe or Kafe Loidxie.
2. Fisherman’s Museum
As soon as you have finished visiting the port, you can go up some steep stairs that will lead you to the Old Town, where you will find the Fisherman’s Museum, another must-see place in Bermeo.
Located in the 15th century Ercilla Tower, you will learn about the long history of the fishing tradition of this town and its relationship with the sea.
Before entering or leaving the museum, we recommend you to visit Fishermen’s Monument, a bronze sculpture of a family waiting for the arrival of sailors, from where you can enjoy the Old Port.
3. Sculptures of Bermeo
Bermeo has become a tourist attraction not only for the Fishermen’s Monument, but also for other iron and bronze sculptures scattered throughout the municipality.
Among our favorites is “The Return” located at the end of the breakwater of the Old Port and depicting a stout sailor with an oar on his shoulder and his young son by the hand, returning home.
Before reaching this sculpture, you will pass in front of another larger one, known as Olatua, representing a wave, and the emotional “Last wave, last breath”, which shows a castaway in the presence of a young man and his dog.
A bit further away are the figures of “The milkmai,” located in front of the Convent of San Francisco. And that of the “Fish sellers”, located on both sides of the Puerta de San Juan, both representing two ancient trades of the town.
4. Sabino Arana Square – One of the places to see in Bermeo.
Strolling through the old town, located above the old port, you will come to the Plaza Sabino Arana, another of the most beautiful places to see in Bermeo.
You will also find the Town Hall with a beautiful sundial in this square, and the Church of Santa Maria, one of the best examples of neoclassical architecture in Bizkaia, with its beautiful portico reminiscent of a Greek temple.
You cannot miss the Gothic styled church of Santa Eufemia, which dates back to the thirteenth century.
5. Lamera Park
Another of the best things to do in Bermeo is to take a pleasant walk through Lamera Park, the town’s green lung, located next to the port.
During the tour, in addition to seeing several sculptures, you can observe the architecture of the casino, a magnificent building from 1893 that houses a leisure space.
6. Convent of San Francisco
The convent of San Francisco, built in the fourteenth century and one of the oldest in the Basque Country, is another of the most stunning places to see in Bermeo.
Besides visiting the church and part of the convent, the jewel of the religious complex is the imposing Gothic-style cloister, considered one of the most majestic in the province.
Before entering or leaving the convent, you can go to Frantzisko Deuna Square to see La Lechera and the Taraska fountain.
Visiting hours: daily from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 6:45 pm to 8:30 pm.
7. Crossing the Gate of San Juan
The Gate of San Juan, the only one of the 7 access gates to the old medieval wall that surrounded the town and still stands, is another of the must-see places in Bermeo.
This 14th century stone arch, which has a niche at the top with a small image of St. John, was the exit for locals going to the emblematic Hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.
A short distance from this door is the Bermeoko Kafe Antzokia, which is one of our favorite places to grab a meal in Bermeo to try the traditional and hearty dishes of the region, such as the marmitako of bonito.
8. San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
The Hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, located 11 kilometers from Bermeo on the coast of Biscay, is one of the best things to see in Bermeo.
Crossing its stone bridge and climbing its 241 steps, you will enjoy a spectacular natural environment of cliffs, islets, and wild beaches until you reach the hermitage. You must ring its bell 3 times if you want it to grant you a wish.
Although admission is free, due to the large influx of people, especially after becoming Rocadragon in the famous series of Game of Thrones, remember that you have to make a reservation in advance.
The scenic fishing village of Mundaka is also within 5 minutes of Bermeo via train.
This small coastal town boasts one of the longest left-handed waves in the world, making it a popular destination for surfers, and stands out for its picturesque harbor, the narrow streets of the old town and the walk to the spectacular Emita de Santa Catalina, as well as several taverns where you can enjoy pintxo-pote.
10. Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve
Urdaibai, a tremendous natural space declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, is our last recommendation on this list of places to see in Bermeo.
In this extensive landscape crossed by the Oka River, you will find spectacular marshes full of all kinds of birds and other species, some of the best beaches in the Basque Country where you can surf like Laga and Laida.
Natural viewpoints such as the Ogoño Rock, the Cape of Matxitxako and the hermitage of San Pedro de Atxarre are well known in the area.
How to get to Bermeo
Bermeo, 45 kilometers north of Bilbao, is easily accessible by car, a half-hour drive from the capital of Biscay.
If you do not have a car, you can take the Bermeo-Bilbao train line of the Euskotren or the A3527 bus of the Bizkaibus.