A quick tour through the Geopark

You can visit the Basque Coast Geopark in a single day, by doing the Route of the Viewpoints and then visiting the towns of Deba, Zumaia and Mutriku. Start by getting to know the flysch, the karst and the culture better.

 

1. The Basque Coast Geopark: the flysch, the karst and the culture

Flysch: a succession of rocks and stories

The spectacular cliffs on the west coast of Gipuzkoa hide a unique natural treasure: millions of years of geological history embedded in the successive rock strata which has been uncovered due to the incessant action of the waves. This distinctive formation of nature is called 'flysch', which is the distinguishing feature of the whole coastline. Its unique geological value is the sequence of flysch strata that forms a near-continuous series spanning 60 million years (from about 110 to 50 million years ago), and where major events and cataclysmic disasters that have affected the history of Earth have been recorded, including the last great mass extinction that took place on a global scale. It is therefore no surprise that several strata are international geological standards for dating events in the pre-history of the planet.

 

Karst: prehistoric secrets

The coastal flysch formations have been accompanied by another natural wonder inland in the territory: karst. This is a patchwork of landscapes formed by the erosion of the limestone of an ancient tropical sea. Water carved a multitude of cavities in the rocks over millions of years; rocks which our ancestors used as places of refuge millions of years ago when the climate became very cold. Those settlers, who shared the land with bears, deer, bison, horses, reindeer, and other animals, left traces of their existence and their art, and the distant echo of their ancient beliefs and myths have survived through to our time.

Culture and tradition

The Geopark has important architectural heritage in its urban and rural areas, including palaces, churches and chapels, as well as significant ethnographical and cultural heritage. Such heritage includes the Z Ignacio Zuloaga Cultural Space in Zumaia, where the painter's art collection is exhibited, the Historic Quarter and Bentalekua, a museum evoking the relationship between the town and the sea, in Mutriku, and the Church of Santa Maria de Deba, a real jewel of Gothic and Renaissance art and architecture in Gipuzkoa. The Geopark is also a perfect place to connect with the traditions, customs and local culture of the territory, and to step back into the past recalling old trades or legends, not to mention the excellent cuisine and the variety of traditional produce that is available for us to enjoy.

2. Route of the viewpoints

The Basque Coast Geopark has added an attractive self-guided route taking in 15 natural viewpoints to its current tourism offer.

A 55-km, self-guided tour has been designed to allow one to visit the most interesting places in the area over one or two days. It provides a general idea of the landscapes and the main natural and cultural treasures in this environment, which is part of the European Network of Geoparks.

Download the map of the Route of the Viewpoints across the Basque Coast Geopark.

Download the informative panels.

The towns of the Deba, Zumaia and Mutriku

Zumaia, Deba and Mutriku are the three municipalities comprising the Basque Coast Geopark. Located on the coast of Gipuzkoa, they are towns exuding charm, deeply-rooted traditions and good gastronomy.