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The Abra and Uribe Costa beaches: A stately aroma

The big rambling houses of predominantly English architecture command the coast bathed by decades, almost centuries, of accumulated wealth. The right bank of the Nervion river looks elegant, with a stately aroma that the visitor perceives as soon as he arrives. It has that splendid air that sometimes borders on snobbery, but at the same time it is very difficult to feel uneasy in such a beautiful place. A paradox of life.

Getxo is Bizkaia's most residential municipality. Five very different areas form Getxo: Algorta, Neguri, Las Arenas, Romo and Andra Mari, a rural area with a golf course, a horse riding club and the blue flag beaches which peep out to the Abra or outer harbour.

The road that exits Bilbao after crossing Deusto bridge towards Las Arenas is the beginning of our route. We continue through Erandio and Lamiako and very soon arrive at Las Arenas. This is an elegant residential town from which we can spot the structure of Bizkaia Bridge (a hanging bridge), which since the last century joins the river banks at Portugalete and Las Arenas, thus allowing a free-flowing maritime traffic.

In this town we can take a walk along the nice promenade that continues along the river mouth and on to the small Las Arenas beach, the Churruca dock and the facilities of the Abra Royal Maritime Club. We continue to Ereaga Beach, past pleasant stately mansions of beautiful architecture, and we finally arrive at El Abra Marina - Getxo Kirol Kaia, Euskadi's largest marina.

A bit further on is Algorta's Old Port, with its steep little streets and its white fishermen's houses. It is a place full of local colour. If we wish to have a better view of the Outer Harbour, the best thing is to continue on the route to Punta Galea, where there is an excellent golf course. From Algorta we continue on our itinerary and after passing through Berango, we arrive in Sopelana.

Here we must take the turnoff for the beaches, the longest and most crowded beaches in the area. We are talking about Arriartea, Larrabastera and Atxibiribil beaches, wide spaces open to the sea. The road continues on to Barrika, a small beach surrounded by impassable cliffs. A few kilometres on we come across Plentzia, a renown holiday destination for its magnificent beach. At its highest point is the gothic church of Santa Maria Magdalena.

The promenade along Plentzia estuary mouth is a very pleasant walk. The promenade continues on and it passes through the small port, the beach and the inlet, closed off by a small breakwater. If we cross the modern bridge over the Butron estuary, we come across Gorliz. The same as Plentzia, Gorliz is a holiday destination with excellent natural environment and a beautiful bay.

The route continues towards Armintza, which has a small cove with a family atmosphere. The return to Bilbao is via Mungia.

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