Gorbeia Natural Park
The Gorbeia Natural Park is the Basque Country's most representative mountain area. It is around 50 minutes' travel by car from Getxo and 40 minutes from Bilbao. It comprises around 500 km2 of park land with a wide variety of habitats including woodland, pasture land, wetlands, caves and waterfalls.
The area is also home to many legends from Basque mythology. For example the Supelegor cave in the Itxina protected biotope is said to be the home of witches and of Mari, the Basque Earth Mother. This area stands at the very heart of the Natural Park. Visitors usually enter it via the opening on the rocks known as the "Eye of Atxular", where there are fine views of the Orozko Valley from a natural viewing balcony.
On the south-eastern edge of the park is another of its most iconic spots: the Goiuri waterfall.. The fall features a drop of over 100 m, and is home to one of the best-known local legends. It is said that a witch turned a local shepherd named Urjauri into the waterfall for stealing her magic mirror. Urjauri is in fact the Basque word for waterfall. Next to the waterfall there is a viewing balcony that gives a clear view of the extent of the drop.
A wide range of activities is available in the area including adventure sports, nature trails, conventional sports and more relaxing pursuits.
But if you are a fan of climbing you will want to head for Mount Gorbeia.
With an altitude of 1482 m, Mount Gorbeia is the highest peak in Bizkaia and one of the most representative in the Basque Country. It has an important role in the history of Bizkaia, as it is one of five beacon hills from which the General Assembly was called.
It is topped by the 17 m high Gorbeia Cross. Its peak is the highest point in Bizkaia, and it offers views of mounts Aizkorri and Anboto.
The main trail runs from Pagomakurre to the peak, but the Gorbeia Natural Park also features many other trails of different lengths aimed at walkers and cyclists and routes for motor vehicles.
The Natural Park has numerous walking trails of different lengths. They all feature water, running across rivers and reservoirs.
They include the Tellería trail, the Urrunaga reservoir trail, Urkabustaiz (taking in the Lamioxin lagoon and the Goiuri waterfall) and the trail from Arratzua to Ubarrundia, which passes through the Urbina lookout point, with its panoramic views of the Uribarri-Ganboa reservoir.
There are several cycling trails, including one in particular on which riders can enjoy many of the attractions of the Gorbeia Natural Park.
It is divided into two sections:
The path along the River Baias. This gentle path runs as far as the foothills of Mount Gorbeia, past pools and across bridges in an indirect natural setting.
Through the Altube beech wood. This second section is 10 km long. It is harder because of its steep slopes.
The Gorbeia Natural Park has five main areas which are accessible by car:
Orozko. The village has a cheese factory, a jam factory and excellent local-baked bread.
Goiuri waterfall. This waterfall has a drop of over 100 m, making it one of the most surprising spots in the park.
Murgia. The village is home to the Honey Museum, which shows how honey is made locally in the park.
Santuario de Oro. This is one of the highest points in the park. It provides a panoramic view of the whole park, which is probably why it was inhabited in the Iron Age.
Parketxea Sarria. This is the site of the park interpretation centre, which can provide visitors with full information.
How to get there
The fastest way of getting to the Gorbeia Natural Park from Getxo is to take the N640 road towards Areatza. From there it is easy to get to Pagomakurre, the main starting point for the trails in the natural park.
Like the Gorbeia Natural Park, Getxo is an ideal spot for enjoying nature, with its beaches, cliffs and fauna.