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The Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve

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What to do > Cultural Heritage > The Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve

Reserva de la Biosfera Urdaibai

The Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve is one of theBasque Country’s natural treasures, and is recognised by UNESCO thanks to its extraordinary biodiversity and landscapes.

This ecological sanctuary covers a range of landscapes from beaches to marshes and forests, and is a paradise for nature loves as well as the ideal spot for outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and water sports. Urdaibai is the perfect reflection of the Basque Country’s natural diversity and beauty.

Did you know that you can find the famous San Juan de Gaztelugatxe within this Reserve?

In the town of Bermeo, between the cape of Matxitxako and Bakio, you will discover San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a crag forming a peninsula that juts out into the Cantabrian Sea, crowned by a small hermitage dedicated to Saint John. The site can be reached by climbing 241 steps that rise up the rocky slope before reaching the small hermitage perched 80 metres above sea level.

Its name has two meanings in Basque: “gaztelu-aitz” (castle on the rock) and “gaztelu-gache” (difficult castle). When you reach its peak, you will see one of the most unique and beautiful views of the Basque coast.

In 2017, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe was transformed into Rocadragón while filming the seventh season of Game of Thrones. In the fictional series, the hermitage was replaced by the imposing castle home to Daenerys Targaryen.