Ea, urdaibai at its heart
The river Ea collects the waters of the streams of part of the limestone ridge that separates Gernika from Lekeitio
Its short route leads to the picturesque municipality of the same name, with its old bridges, tiny estuary and pier, and peaceful beach. All the pleasure of Urdaibai in a tiny bottle.
In Ea, farmers used to graze their cattle by the sea. The forgers – ask about the remains of the Urtubiaga forge – manufactured nails for ploughs or boats. And the people earned their living by alternating farm work with fishing or coastal piracy. The sea breeze perfumes the crops, the gales wet the harvests and the local spirit coexists with everything that comes from beyond the horizon of waves. Its less than a thousand inhabitants maintain the same spirit of authenticity.
The hamlet stretches out on both banks of the estuary, stitched together by various bridges that create a unique urban layout. The left bank leads to the fine sandy beach, proud of its blue flag. On the right, it skirts crops, climbs hills that provide superb panoramic views and leads to the pebble beach and tidal flats of Ogella, a spectacle of marine life accessible at low tide.
Three kilometres towards Gautegiz-Arteaga, a group of houses gathered around a small square and the Church of Santa María de la Consolación, surrounded by a splendid portico, complete the rural nucleus of the Natxitua neighbourhood. A greenway that follows the route of the secular Camino Real provides a walk to another stony beach well known to diving enthusiasts.
Between bars, taverns and restaurants, a dozen or so “figones” provide glasses, tables and plates for those who wish to discover Ea; there are also five local gastronomic societies, it would be glorious to be invited – there is no other way – to share a meal in one of them: it is the way to get to know the soul and the gastronomy of our places.
Both a fishing and agricultural town, Ea is home to a rich culinary tradition based on local production as a source of raw materials. During the winter months order any dish made with begihandi or large squid; there are many recipes. Order a bottle of the local txakoli, from the ‘Merrutxu’ winery.
And a toast to Ea.
How to get
At the exit roundabout towards Urdaibai from Gernika, head towards Lekeitio. Pay attention to the detour once you have passed the Natxitua sign so as not to get lost and miss the Ea road junction.
Distances: To Bilbao 50 km. To Lekeitio 11 km. To Gernika 15 km.
Bizkaibus line A3513: Bilbao-Galdakao Hospital-Gernika Lumo–Lekeitio
A new way to visit Bizkaia