Barrika: The Trail Between Beaches

31/05/2021

Barrika is a place of spectacular natural beauty. It's a small town on the coast of Biscay. It is known for it's flysch, surfing, beaches and PGA golfer Jon Rahm. The coastal trail between Barrika hondartza and Playa De Muriola is a fantastic jaunt along the Basque cliffs of Biscay.

The cliffs of Barrika are reminiscent of the cliffs of other maritime nations, like Ireland or Scotland. Rocky bays and beaches are the signature of this area. Being perched above, you can overlook the Cantabrian Sea and the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean. This roughly 3km trail is beautiful, relaxing, and yours to enjoy.

Getting There

Located just 20km from central Bilbao the town of Barrika is well within your reach. There are no tolls on the highway between Bilbao and Barrika. The drive is not complicated and takes less than half an hour.

With public transit you can get there by taking the subway to Larrabasterra and transferring to a Bizkaibus. The Bizkaibus route that you want to take is A3451 until stop Ziarreta (4327). From there it is just a few hundred steps to the beach.

Barrikako hondartza

This is by far the most popular beach in Barrika. It has unobstructed views of the Cantabrian sea and lots of parking. The upper section of the park has fountains, showers, and picnic tables. You can have yourself a wonderful day hanging out on the bluffs without ever even going down to the beach.

The beach is down a long and winding staircase. This stone staircase is a sight unto itself. The area at the bottom is more famous for its geological phenomena than the beach. Barrika Beach is one of the best areas in the province of Biscay to see flysch.

Flysch is a type of sedimentary rock. It is formed through the alternating build up of materials like sandstone, shale and silt. This build up of material over time has led to the unique formation.

Barrikako Hondartza is a popular surfing spot. If you're on the bluffs you will see surfers going up and down the stairs in wetsuits and carrying their boards. Hundreds of steps isn't going to stop these vocationers from working on their craft.

The Trail

The trail access is found on the right side of the park when you are facing the ocean. The trail leaves the picnic area at Barrikako Hondartza and winds along the Basque oceanside cliffs before arriving at Playa de Muriola.

The trail is wide enough for one person to walk comfortably. It passes gently through the hillside above the cliffs. The foliage on the hillside is lush and full of greenery. It is one of the more peaceful hikes in the area.

There are a few side trails that offer different viewing points. These points of seclusion are fancied for watching sunsets with a loved one. Wonderful views with great company, who can argue with that?

As you get further down the trail and over the high point you will be able to see the faro (lighthouse) further up the coast. To the right the views open up to a Plenztia Bay. You'll see the towns of Gorliz and Plentzia and their large white sand beaches.

Playa de Muriola

The trail will change directions along the coastline and take you down towards the Playa de Muriola. The trail ends at what looks like a small gravel parking lot; however, there is no vehicle access to this beach.

There is an information plaque next to the trail access that talks about the area. There are also washrooms during peak season as well as a shower. The beach entrance is on the right side of the cove. Head across a small wooden bridge that crosses a petit creek, which spills out onto the beach.

Muriola beach is tucked away in a small cove that is only accessible by foot. It has been a beach for nude sunbathers since 1980. The bluffs on the left side of the beach are made of flush that angles north west out of the sand towards the sky. The cove and beach face towards Gorliz on the far side of the bay.

Onward to Plentzia

If you are feeling adventurous, you can continue on a trail towards Plentzia. The trail access is right next to the stairs down to the beach. The trails are identified by two painted lines, one red, one white. These lines are meant to symbolize that you are on the correct trail.

The different trails that run on the main trail can get a little confusing as it is sometimes difficult to find the correct markings along the way. Usually, the correct trail is the one that is closest to the cliff.

The trail will go up and down the bluffs and around the cove along the way. Eventually, you will get to a section of trail that opens up again with wide views of the bay. This area is above the Plentzia breakwater and the river mouth of the Plentzia River.

Leaving this viewpoint the trail heads into the forest. The forest trail continues for less than ten minutes before coming to a gravel forestry road. The trail-road will saunter down the hillside offering peek-a-boo views of Plentzia. The trail terminates at the BI-2122 road. If you go left you can walk alongside the river heading towards Plentzia and the Metro Station.

Barrika is located along the Basque cliffs above the Bay of Biscay. This coastal experience of Barrika wraps around, from the Cantabrian Sea into the Plentzia Bay. The trail from Barrikako Hondartza to Playa de Muriola is a place of spectacular beauty.

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