Gorliz coastline, which has an extension of 4 kilometres, is an area with a very rich nature value where in a small extension some of the habitats and geographical features more representatives of the basque coastline can be found. We propose you an itinerary to enjoy an interesting collection of natural, landscape, heritage and cultural elements preserved in an exceptional environment.
The route is signposted by directional signs, but it can be carried out in both directions and with the desired duration, as there are a lot of connections with other town paths where the walker can choose the walking path he/she is going to cover depending on his/her preferences.
- (1) The itinerary starts at the very end of Gorliz Beach, one of the most beautiful and calmest on the Biscay coast a wide shell-shaped bay shelters its waters and makes them ideal to practise all kinds of water sports: diving and swimming. Around this bay, a wide offer in nature, hiking and relaxation can be found along the promenade, with Gorliz hospital and the dunes in Astondo as reference points.
- (2) In the area of Astondo we can see a unique phenomenon in the basque coast: the petrified dunes, which are a series of sand formations shaped by the wind. These dunes are catalogued in the red Natura 2000 and together with billano island, they are about to be declared a protected area classified as protected biotope.
- (3) Next to the dunes starts a walking path that goes up along the coast by means of a flight of stairs, it passes lookout points. From the last viewpoint we can see the ruins of the Azkorriaga fort, with was built in the 18th century in order to defend the bay from possible enemy sea raids. The strategic location of Azkorriaga makes it very difficult to attack in case of disembarkation; it is a small tongue of land of complicated access that goes into the sea, dominating the bay and the entrance to Plentzia harbour. The surrounding of the fort has a landscape of abrupt beauty due to its natural shelters, coves of difficult access, rocks eroded through the years and big inlets.
- (4) From here, we have the possibility to continue climbing or go back to the starting point turning off to take the path that to the right leads towards the regional farm and the wild fauna recovery centre. In the regional farm, cattle selection and race improvement are carried out here. In these green meadows, which extend more than 70 hectares, graze splendid specimens of our native breeds, the basque pony called pottoka and examples of the pyrenean and native bovine cattle.
- (5) If we turn left, our path goes along the coastline slopes towards the leadingelement of this route: Gorliz lighthouse. The 21-metre white tower of avant-garde design is situated on an impressive cliff 165 metres (above sea level); it is the highest lighthouse of the Cantabrian coast, that casts its light some 29 miles to sea.
- (6) Descending the path next to the lighthouse, we can observe that the hillside is drilled by an ancient coast battery, that was installed in this place around the forties and never were used. The settlement consisted of three batteries connected to each other by underground galleries and a control post in the highest position of the battery. From the last bunker the remains of a heavy cannon can be seen.
- (7) Our walk carries on from the lighthouse taking the path that, among coast holm-oak woods, goes eastwards up to the summit of ermua hill (289 m). Ermua is a small massif with a number of summits that fall directly into the sea, forming large cliffs, about 200 metres high, which alternate with small coves. The sights from the summit are wonderful and in a bright day we can overlook from gorbeia to oiz and the coast to matxitxako to the east and cantabrian mountains to the west.
- (8) Billano island is located in front of us, a small, rocky islet that has the peculiar shape of a lying dragon emerging from the waters. Its high geological value, landscape value and its importance as a nesting and resting place for migratory birds has been determinant to declare it a protected area.
- (9) From Ermua hill we have the possibility to go eastwards, towards Armintza. However, our itinerary returns back to the starting point in astondo, crossing the Fano open fields through a very beautiful landscape among meadows and holm oaks.