Bermeo

BERMEO

Overview of Bermeo, Spain

Bermeo is a colorful coastal village located in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve and is less than 10 km away from the impressive San Juan de Gaztelugatxe island. Famous for its fishing tradition, it is a great place to stop for a while and explore. Enjoying some pintxos at the marina, going for a walk through the old town or taking a dip in one of the nearby beaches are just some of the things you can do in Bermeo.

Bermeo is one of the most important fishing villages in the Basque Country. The town has a long maritime tradition and, for centuries, the bermeotarras (as locals from Bermeo are called) were famous whalers. Even today Bermeo’s economy is heavily based on the fishing industry and this is highlighted in its coat of arms, which shows a ship pursuing a whale.

One of the most picturesque corners of Bermeo is its beautiful old port, an area with slender houses painted in a myriad of colors that is full of bars where locals stop for a drink and a pintxo. While in Bermeo, it is also recommended to walk around the steep old part of town located behind the old port, and, if you are interested, it is also possible to visit the museum dedicated to the lives of the arrantzales (Basque fishermen), located in the Ercilla Tower.

Bermeo is situated in the corner of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, a protected area that features some very beautiful and unique natural landscapes. The town of Mundaka is only 3 kilometers away to the east and 8.5 kilometers in the opposite direction lies San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, one of the Basque Country’s “must sees.”

 

Bermeo's Top Things to Do & See

Bermeo's Top Things to Do & See
We have put together a hand selected list of the most important things to do and see in Bermeo – if it deals with Bermeo tourism, we’ve got you covered.
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Lamera Park

Bermeo Tourism
Lamera Park
Things to Do in Bermeo
Fishing boats next to the Lamera Park

The Lamela Park is located next to the water by the Port Path (“Kai Bidea" in Basque) and is surrounded by plenty of bars. Until 1905 the park was used as a shipyard, however, it has since been converted into a beautiful green area. The Lamera Park along with the Old Port are the most popular areas for locals to gather.

There are also several sculptures spread throughout the park that belong to a series from local artist Nestor Basterretxea called “Euskal Kosmogonia.” Another highlight of the Lamera Park is the impressive Casino Building that stands at its edge.

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Casino Building

Casino Building - Bermeo, Spain
Casino Building
Stained glass window at the Casino Building - Bermeo, Spain
Stained glass window at the Casino Building

The so called Casino Building is located in the western corner of the Lamera Park. This majestic building resembling a French palace was erected in 1894 by Spanish architect Severino de Achúcarro – the same architect who also designed the Bidebarrieta Library and the Concordia Train Station in Bilbao.

Originally built for the Bermeo Society Club (“Sociedad Bermeana” in Spanish), the building was meant to be the meeting place for the middle-high class of Bermeo. However, once the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco arrived on the scene in the first half of the 20th century, gambling was outlawed and the building’s future remained uncertain.

Then, in 1983 massive floods almost completely destroyed the casino. Afterwards it was rebuilt in eclectic style, but its interior isn't as impressive as it once was. There are some nice old pictures hanging on the walls that show how the interior of the building originally was. Also, some important art works were lost in the floods but there are still three murals of painter Ignacio Zuloaga exhibited in the main salon.

The Sociedad Bermeana still occupies part of the building. However, there is also an Irish bar, a café and a restaurant (menú del día for 12 €, taxes included) as well as an exhibition room called “Nextor Basterretxea” which is also used as a cinema. The bar terrace is a very nice place for a coffee, overlooking the Lamera Park and the water.

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Main Square: Town Hall & Santa María Church

Bermeo's Town Hall, Spain
Bermeo's Town Hall
Santa Maria Church - Bermeo, Spain
Santa Maria Church

The Main Square of Bermeo is called “Plaza de Sabino Arana Goiri.” In its center stands a music gazebo and the space is often used for concerts and celebrations. There are two buildings that stand out on the square and those are the town hall and the Santa Maria Church.

The town hall was built in 1732 in neoclassical style. A third floor was added to it in 1928, this one in eclectic style, a mixture of baroque monumentalism and Basque rustic architecture. Another highlight of the building is the interesting solar clock on the corner of its east and south façades.

The Church of Santa María de la Asunción is the newest church of Bermeo, finished in 1858 by architect Silvestre Pérez. It substituted the church that stood in that same place before, called Church of Santa María de la Tala. The Church of Santa María de la Asunción is one of the best examples of neoclassical architecture in the Basque Country. The triangular shape of its main façade and its columns make this church unique and very different from most Catholic churches. It actually looks more like a roman or greek temple than a Catholic church.

Santa María Church
MASS TIMES
Saturday: 7 pm
Sunday: 12 pm
OPENING TIMES
Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday: 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
*Saturday also from 5:30 pm to 7 pm
4  

Old Port

Bermeo's Old Port, Spain
Bermeo's Old Port
Ocean views close to the Old Port - Bermeo
Ocean views close to the Old Port

The most picturesque and photographed corner of Bermeo is probably the marina or also known as the old port (“Portu Zaharra" in Basque). It is an area surrounded by colorful slender houses that overlook the boats in the water. It is also the best area in Bermeo for pintxos.

Another highlight of the old port is its fountain. It was built in the 16th century and, for centuries, was the source of freshwater for locals as well as fishing and merchant ships. Although it is not that easily recognizable anymore, the fountain is adorned by two shields: the one of Bermeo and the one of the Dominion of Biscay.

There are also several sculptures in the old port area, all of them related to the sea. The sculpture called “Olatua” (meaning “the wave” in Basque) is an impressive 8 m tall steel structure representing a wave and was created by the local artist Nestor Basterretxea.

“Azken olatua, azken arnasa” (meaning “the last wave, the last breath” in Basque) was designed by local artist Enrike Zubia in honor to the people that have died at the sea. This sculpture is a reminder of the fact that the sea has given a lot to Bermeo, but it has also taken a lot. The worst tragedy in Bermeo's history took place in August of 1912 when 143 fishermen died due to a sudden and violent wind that arrived when they were 45 miles away from shore.

“Itzulera” (meaning “the return” in Basque) was built by don Castor Solano and it represents a fisherman with his son. Made in bronze, this 5 m high sculpture has two very different parts: the faithful representation of the child contrasts with the abstract image of the fisherman.

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Ercilla Tower

Fishermen Museum in the Ercilla Tower, Bermeo, Spain
© Arrantzaleen Museoa
Fishermen Museum in the Ercilla Tower
Exhibition at the Fishermen Museum, Bermeo
© Arrantzaleen Museoa
Exhibition at the Fishermen Museum

The Ercilla Tower is a medieval tower from the end of the 15th century located in the old part of Bermeo. Since 1948 it has housed the Fishermen Museum (“Arrantzaleen Museoa" in Basque), which reopened its doors in November of 2014 after 2 years of renovation.

Divided in 5 floors, the museum shows visitors the lifestyle, work and technic of the local fishermen. In it you will find information about the Basque coast and its fishing villages, the life and customs of the fishermen and their families, the construction of boats and vessels, the different fishing technics used throughout the centuries, and much more.

The museum also has a room dedicated to the history of the building itself. The Ercilla Tower is the only tower that can be found today in Bermeo, although originally there were around 30 of them. Defensive elements from the tower can still be seen and these are a reminder of a time when the tower played an important role in the town’s security. The tower is also known as being the home for the Ercillas, an affluent merchant family who lived there for several centuries.

OPENING TIMES
Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am to 2 pm & 4 pm to 7 pm
Sundays: 10 am to 2:15 pm
Mondays: closed
ADMISSION
Adults: 3 €
Seniors, under 26 years, handicapped, unemployed: 1.5 €
Children (< 12 years): free
* Free for everyone the last Thursday of the month
* Ticket included in the Bilbao Bizkaia Card. Buy it here.
6  

Santa Eufemia Church

The Lamera Park and the old port of Bermeo are separated by the Santa Eufemia Church. Although reconstructed at the end of the 15th century, it is considered the oldest church in town, dating back to the 13th century. This gothic church was for centuries an oath church, where the Lords of Biscay used to swear the fueros (set of laws to respect the Biscayan liberties).

MASS TIMES
Monday to Saturday: 12 pm
Sundays & holidays: 11 am & 1 pm
OPENING TIMES
Everyday: 10 am to 1 pm & 5 pm to 8 pm

Eat & Drink in Bermeo

Eat & Drink in Bermeo
Although Bermeo is one of the main fishing villages of the Basque Country and well known for its high quality albacore tuna, it is not especially famous for its gastronomy. However, there is one very typical Basque dish that you should try to eat while in Bermeo and that is marmitako. Marmitako is a delicious stew made primarily from tuna and potatoes and a speciality of Bermeo.
Pintxos at the bar Kai Alde, Bermeo
Pintxos at the bar Kai Alde
Restaurant at the casino building - Bermeo, Spain
Restaurant at the casino building

Restaurants

There are several restaurants in Bermeo offering menú del día (daily set menu).

The Restaurant Artza is a small local restaurant offering probably the best menú del día in town (10 €, taxes included). It is very popular among local workers. (Askatasun Hiribidea 1, 48370 Bermeo // +34 946 88 35 77)

The Casino Restaurant as its name indicates is located in the Casino Building. It offers menú del día for 12 € (taxes included). The plus is the building itself, you just pay the extra couple of euros for the location. (Parque Lamera S/N, 48370 Bermeo // +34 946 88 00 75)

The Restaurant Kafe Antzokia is located in the higher part of the old town. It offers a mixture of traditional and modern cuisine as well as a nice terrace to eat outside. During the week, they have menú del día for 11 € (taxes included). (Calle Aurrekoetxea 27 // +34 946 88 02 16)

On the same street of the Restaurant Kafe Antzokia, the Aurrekoetxea Street, you will find a couple more restaurants offering menú del día for about 11 €, such as the Toki Alai and Akelarre restaurants.

Other more expensive restaurants in Bermeo are the Restaurant Jokin (Calle Eupeme Deuna 13), located at the old port and featuring a very nice terrace, and the Restaurant Beitxi (Calle Eskoikiz 6).

RESTAURANTS LOCATIONS
Skip to Map of Bermeo

Pintxo Bars

The best area of Bermeo for eating pintxos is around the Old Port. Two of our favorite pintxo bars are Kai Alde and Batun Batun, both offering a nice selection of pintxos. Although not directly located in the Old Port, another recommendable establishment is the Bar Beti Ondo, where the highlight is the tuna pintxo (called “bonito” in Spanish).

BARS LOCATIONS
Skip to Map of Bermeo

Festivities in Bermeo

Festivities in Bermeo
Like in any other Basque city, town or village, there are several festivities and events celebrated every year in Bermeo. Here are the most important ones.
  • The day of Saint John is celebrated on the 24th of June with a procession to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. On that day, hundreds of people from all over Biscay come to take part in the procession.
  • The Magdalena Day is celebrated the 22nd of July. It has its origins in the rivalry between the towns of Bermeo and Mundaka. For centuries, people from both towns have fought over the limit of their territories and the Island of Izaro. Rumor has it that in order to decide who owned the island, the people from Mundaka and Bermeo decided to compete in a regatta. Bermeo’s victory is celebrated every 22nd of July with a maritime procession from Bermeo to Elantxobe, Mundaka and back to Bermeo.
  • The Patron Saint Festival of Bermeo is called “Andramaris” and is celebrated from the 7th to the 16th of September. Although one of the most important activities celebrated during the Andramaris are the regattas (called “traineras” in Basque), there are also many more events such as concerts, markets, fireworks, exhibition of rural sports and basque dances, etc.

Hotels in Bermeo

Hotels in Bermeo

Get In & Around

Get In & Around

Once you are in Bermeo everything is reachable by foot. However, it may be helpful to know that there is a local bus service called "Bermibus."

Arriving to Bermeo

PLANE – The airport of Bilbao is 25 km away but there isn't a direct bus from the airport to Bermeo. It is necessary to go to Bilbao’s bus station first and change there. However, the bus and train connections from Bilbao to Bermeo are very good.

CAR – Bermeo is located on the coast of Biscay, 35 km away from Bilbao (35 min). It is over 100 km away from both Vitoria and San Sebastian, taking between 75 and 90 minutes to get there.

The road BI-631 connects Bilbao with Bermeo, passing by Mungia. The road BI-2235 connects Bermeo with Guernica, crossing Mundaka.

BUS – The company Bizkaibus offers buses that connect Bermeo with Bilbao (A3515, A3527), Guernica (A3515) and other surrounding towns, such as Mungia (A3527, A3528) and Bakio (A3524).

BUS LINKS
Bizkaibus (*ES)

TRAIN – The train station of Bermeo is located about 100 m away from the Casino Building, between the streets Kai Bidea and Txibitxiaga. Euskotren offers a line that connects Bermeo with Bilbao, stopping in Guernica, Mundaka and various other towns. During the week, there is one train every half an hour from 6 am until 9 pm (from 7 am until 11 pm on the weekend). The trip takes about 70 minutes.

Check RENFE for the Spanish train network and Euskotren for the Basque train network.

Other Places of Interest in the Surroundings

In the Surroundings

Map – Things to Do in Bermeo

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