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.
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.
Main Square: Town Hall & Santa María 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.
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.
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.
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).