You're my Bae (of Biscay)

After a great day in Bilbao we woke bright and early to explore the coast of the Bay of Biscay. It would be a day of driving (here's our route!), stopping to take in the vistas, and recording them to share with our community.

The first major stop was Castro Urdiales and it was a delight to behold. The port city has an old castle and church right on the coastline, dating back to the 12th century and it was a fantastic place to get some 360 filming done (watch it here!)

It was also a calming and relaxing start to the day, if you ignore the difficulty we had parking! We took in the sounds of the sea and noticed the signs for the Camino de Santiago. This famous group of walking routes across Portugal, Spain and France is recognised by UNESCO and the one we were driving close to, Camino de Norte, is said to be one of the most spectacular.

After the town of Castro Urdiales, we stopped along the coast multiple times and enjoyed the epic views. The coastline is littered with dozens of unspoiled beaches that were all pretty much empty when we visited. Well, apart from the occasional nude sunbather, just waiting to be discovered. We absolutely fell in love with this bit of coastline.

We visited a cool cliff area with a cave that was a real sight to behold. We could see for miles and there were local fishermen trying their luck in the waters as well. It was turning out to be a very peaceful day.

While we're talking about caves, one of our stops that day was to one of the 12 National Treasures of Spain, the Altamira caves. Well, when I say we saw the cave, we didn’t actually because access to the cave itself is no longer possible for the public. Damage from humidity and the sheer volume of visitors in the 60s and 70s meant that public access had to be stopped. Instead they have built a museum and a cave replica to simulate actually being there. In principle we should love this, as it fits with our growing collection of virtual experiences… But it was disappointing on a factual level. I felt like I wasn’t experiencing the real deal. 

Personally, I didn’t have a problem with just seeing the replica because I’d rather that than damage the real thing, and the real thing is magnificent! So many cave paintings and they are SO OLD! The replica did a grand job of seeming real and it was easy to forget that it wasn’t genuine.

I agree, the replica was outstanding and we had an awesome time walking around the museum. It was actually very informative and entertaining. We would definitely recommend it to everyone who is in the area.

On the same day, we also drove to a rather elevated viewpoint. There was an abandoned café and signs that these days, the area was a more of a place for drunken youths than sightseers like us. It didn't spoil the vista though, and it was our second favourite mirador (viewpoint) of the day…

Which leads us to the final bit of sightseeing for the day. We were spending the night in a hotel up in the mountains, which we'll be writing about in our next post. But before we collapsed, exhausted in our hotel, we visited one last mirador.

It was breathtaking. Truly stunning. One of the best vistas we have ever seen. Not only that but it was very accessible and we had the spot to ourselves. Except for a few goats that became our companions, who seemed to be enjoying the grass more than the views.

It was a great way to end the day and a taste of what was to come the following day, as we explored the Picos National Park in much more detail. Join us in our next post as we take you deeper into the wilderness.

The church in Castro Urdiales

The first of many, many empty and beautiful beaches

The viewpoint Peña Cabarga, near Santander

The recreation in the Altamira museum

We were reminded of an old Korean proverb as we approached Los Picos...
Over the mountains, more mountains

I was not brave enough to stand on this viewing ledge!

But Dave will do whatever it takes to get that 360 shot