Basque Coast Geopark (UNESCO)
The territory is located next to the coastal locations of Mutriku, Deba and Zumaia, nes-tling between the Cantabrian Sea and the mountains. It has been one of UNESCO’s World Geoparks since 2015, and here we will gain an insight into some of the major milestones in the evolution of the Earth in its spectacular Flysch.
Along the 13 kilometres of cliffs that make up the Basque Coast Geopark we find a unique formation of rock layers known as Flysch, an example of more than 60 million years of the history of the Earth. On foot or by boat, any excursion we opt for will show us the details of a journey through time – for example, a thin black layer indicat-ing the impact of a huge asteroid and the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Within a very small space, the Basque Coast Geopark brings together several locations brimming over with authenticity and nature. It is on Itzurun beach where the Flysch comes into its own. A genuine treasure trove for research by geology experts and a magical place for visitors, waiting for dusk to admire the colours of the sky from an incomparable beach.
From the Baratzazarrak observation post in Elgorriaga we can make out the most im-posing Flysch cliffs and a considerable slice of the Basque Coast, and if we continue the journey we arrive at the spectacular Sakoneta beach. Here the cliffs stand defiant over the Cantabrian Sea, and the Flysch may be viewed in all its splendour alongside the Geopark’s largest tidal beach. The sea permitting, we may find surfers taking on the energy of the waves at Sakoneta.
Further on we arrive at a different beach, Saturrarán, a sandy crescent-shaped cove protected from the rough Cantabrian Sea by the cape of the same name: a sturdy dark relief known as the Black Flysch. Here we will see the Geopark’s oldest layers, formed over 100 million years ago during the Bay of Biscay’s first opening episodes, when our story truly began.
Finally, to round off the visit to the Basque Coast Geopark, we cannot fail to visit the hinterland, with the Lastur Valley and its large green expanses where the water indi-cates a tradition of foundries, such as the Plazaola mill foundry, which can still be vis-ited today. All things here relate to each other, giving us a constantly spectacular in-sight into the secrets of the evolution of the Earth, and why it is so important to show respect for our natural environment.