Sopela: Walk Above the Cliffs (Part 1)
The Paseo de la Galea is a journey that will take you from Sopela to Getxo. This amazing trek is worth it every step of the way. This paved walking path provides epic views of the Atlantic and the beaches below. It sits above impressive cliffs that allow you to awe the view.
The Paseo de la Galea is a beautiful adventure that allows you to take in the greatness of the Basque coast. There are multiple lookouts, beaches, and places to relax while you take it all in. This is the first of a two part series that takes you from the Larrabasterra station in Sopela to the Bidezabal station in Getxo. Although most of the Paseo de la Galea is in Getxo it does begin in the town of Sopela.
This walk from Larrabasterra station to Bidezabal station is roughly 10.5km and takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Realistically, this will take longer considering you'll want to stop for photos and check out a beach or two along the way. The Paseo de la Galea itself is closer to seven kilometers but getting to and from the metro stations make up the rest of the distance.
Most of this walk is relatively flat, however, there are a few sections toward Sopela that are hilly. This trail can be done by bike or with a stroller as long as you can navigate some stairs between the Gorrondatxe Hondartza and Sopela Beach. If you are not up for the stairs or steepest sections then it would be best to start from the Getxo side and head towards the town Sopela.
When you exit the turnstiles at Larrabasterra metro station you will want to go right towards the BI-634. At the sidewalk take another right. If you do not pass the tourism office within the first 30 seconds you went the wrong direction
Across the street from the tourism office is a paved path that goes up the hill. Cross the street and take that path to the top where you will take another right till the street dead ends. Take another left on Arriatea Etorbidea (street). Follow this road up the hill, through the roundabout and into the parking lot for Playa Sopela.
Mirador de La Salvaje
Above the parking lot of Playa Sopela is the Mirador de La Salvaje. This lookout allows you your first opportunity to see the awesomeness that is the Biscay coastline. The beaches below are large and worth exploring if you have the time. The golden sands are tempting.
Playa Sopela is one of Bilbao's most famous surfing spots. The opposite side of the Mirador de La Salvaje is Atxabiribil Beach. It is equal to Playa Sopela in size as well as its surfing presence. There are many surfing schools in the area if you decide to abandon your hike.
Bunker de Aizkorri
Walk away from Miradaor de La Salvaje and up the hillside above the beach's bluffs. This paved path has a consistent climb that is not dramatic but does rise about 50 meters (150 feet). During this stretch of incline there are three sets of staircases that vary from five to seven steps. These staircases are relatively easy to navigate if you have a stroller.
At the top of the hill is a good place to take a rest and look back at the coast line. You might be further amazed to see people bravely paragliding.
Around the first corner you will see the Aizkorri Bunker. It's original purpose was to fortify the Spanish coast in the early to mid 1900s. Construction was never completed and the bunker was eventually abandoned when Spain joined the European Economic Community in 1986. Take the small trail leading off the main path if you want to enter the bunker.
Continuing past this historical marker, you will slowly start to head down the hillside. The coastal view opens up again as you round the next curve. This time your view is southwest to see the opposite direction. On a clear day you can see the wind turbines on the Port of Bilbao's breakwater.
The walk down from the abandoned bunker is the steepest part of this path. It drops about 60 meters (200 feet) and the grade of the decline is quite challenging. This section also contains one longer staircase of approximately 20 steps. Strollers or anything else with wheels need to be handled with care.
The beach below, Gorrondatxe Hondartza (Hondartza meaning beach), is more secluded than previous beaches. It offers fountains, bathrooms, and even showers in peak season. Instead of golden sands Gorrondatxe possess beach rock and is surrounded by cliffs and sand dunes.
In our next article will continue from Gorrondatxse Beach heading toward the final destination. Our journey is only about 40 percent complete and there are a lot of amazing remaining parts to this adventure. In the meantime, there is a restaurant up the street from the Gorrondatxse Hondartza parking lot called Fangaloka Style that has an amazing patio and a million dollar view.
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