Mundaka is a small town on the Basque coast, around 38 km (24 miles) northeast of the city of Bilbao. It’s known for its stunning natural landscapes and excellent surf conditions. Here are 10 things you can do and see in Mundaka.
The primary thing that Mundaka is known for is surfing. During the autumn and winter seasons, the town is awash with surfers from all over the world who come to surf one of the best left hand barrels and river-mouth waves in the world. It also hosts some of the world’s top international surf competitions. If you love surf, then you’ll definitely love Mundaka.
One of the prettiest areas of of Mundaka is the old port area, surrounded by colourful traditional Basque houses, small fishing boats and a lovely little sandy beach. It’s a great spot to walk around or simply to sit and watch the boats go by. In the summer, people love to swim in the port area too.
There are many beaches around Mundaka, and in the town itself. One of the best is Laidatxu, with its fine golden sand and small bay, which is great for families and children. There are also many more natural and almost deserted beaches within the surrounding Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve.
Mundaka is small, so it doesn’t have many major sites, apart from the Hermitage of Santa Catalina. Located on a rocky outcrop on the edge of town, there has been a hermitage on this spot since Medieval times, although the current hermitage is from 1879. Its purpose was to control all the boat traffic that came into the village and has since been a quarantine for people with epidemic diseases, a meeting place for fishermen and a place to store ammunition.
Mundaka sits within the Basque Country’s Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, an important wetland area, which has been listed by UNESCO. It’s home to an amazing array of birdlife including Eurasian bitterns, spoonbills and fish eagles. Visit the Urdaibai Bird Center to find out where best to spot them.
There aren’t many places for shopping in Mundaka, however one place you can’t miss is Mundaka BC. It stocks all different local Basque brands and sells everything from T-shirts and souvenirs to books and surf gear. It also displays changing exhibitions, featuring works by various local artists.
In the centre of town, stands magnificent the Santa Maria Church. There has been a church on this spot since the 11th century, however the current structure was built in the 16th century, and is both Gothic and Renaissance in style.
Being located in the stunning Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, and right along the coast, means that there are plenty of opportunities for nature lovers and hikers. Take time to explore the stunning scenery around the town on a stroll across the clifftops.
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is located around a 35-minute drive northwest of Mundaka, along the coast. A small island, it is connected to the mainland by an old stone bridge. Access the ancient hermitage and the incredible sea views from the top, via a steep narrow pathway of 241 steps. You might recognise the island as being the Dragonstone home of Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones.
Pintxos are some of the Basque Country’s best treats – small pieces of bread, topped with a variety of ingredients – everything from sardines and peppers to ham, cheese and even croquettes. One of the best places in the town to try some pintxos is Bar Goika, located in the centre of town, it serves a tasty array of beautifully-presented Basque specialities.