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Iron River, eight routes through Bilbao and Bizkaia

Iron memory



April 2024

‘Iron River’ proposes eight routes through Bilbao and Bizkaia, linking greenways and 41 industrial heritage sites that are fundamental to understanding the history of the area.

Today, Bizkaia is a land of friendly towns, blue rivers and open skies. But for centuries it was a trading port. And always the land of iron. Not so long ago, it was bored by vast mines, heated by smelters, fired by furnaces, trampled by tens of thousands of workers who handled picks and wagons, forges, red-hot billets, giant chemical hoppers, steam pistons, grease guns and bulk barges.

It was all rust, smoke and hardened mahogany overalls under txapelas and hard hats.

Iron River routes Bilbao y Bizkaia

‘Iron River’ recovers this memory. Its catalogue offers a unique experience to explore the historical and industrial wealth of Bizkaia in a different way. It covers a wide range of destinations and points of interest. From the old Bilbao shipyards, Barakaldo and Sestao and their steelworks, Portugalete and the Bizkaia bridge, to the mansions of Getxo or Pozalagua, Güeñes and the Karrantza valley, among others.
It proposes eight specific routes and three green routes to explore the area, including Bilbao, the Iron Villages, the Mining Museum and the Bodovalle, and the Karrantza Valley.

The routes link museums, walks, historic sites and other places of interest. ‘Iron River’ resents a total of 41 attractions from the area’s industrial heritage, grouped into eight routes.

It is worth getting to know them. Ask for a brochure at any tourist office or visit the website .



Route 1. Bilbao, Port Before City

A port and industrial past and a transformative present

Route 2. Barakaldo and Sestao: Factory Towns

Barakaldo and Sestao were key components in the history of industrialisation in Bizkaia

Route 3. Portugalete, Santurtzi and Zierbena

The Mouth of the Estuary and the Bay of Abra

Route 4. The Grand Villas of Getxo

Two Banks… Two Worlds

Route 5. Meatzaldea: Iron and Mountains

5.a. Larreineta Funicular and the Mining Town of La Arboleda

A truly unique recovered landscape that surprises everyone who visits It

Route 5. Meatzaldea: Iron and Mountains

5.b. Basque Country Mining Museum and Bodovalle Mine

Bodavalle was the second largest iron mine in Europe with 50 km of excavated tunnels.

Route 6. Barbadun and Itsaslur: Iron, Water and Sea

6.a. Iron and the Sea: Pobeña to Kobaron Greenway

When it passes through Muskiz, on the border with Cantabria, the Way of St. James coincides with one of the most beautiful coastal areas of Bizkaia.

Route 6. Barbadun and Itsaslur: Iron, Water and Sea

6.b. Iron and Water: on the Banks of the Barbadun river

Route 7. Balmaseda and La Encartada Fabrika Museoa

A living treasure unlike anything of its kind

Route 8. Karrantza and Dolomitas del Norte

Caves, Adventure and Dolmitas

Don Manuel Bakery



Tasting of hot chocolate, milkshakes, coffee, infusions and soft drinks that, accompanied by a sweet, make the dreams of those with a sweet tooth come true.

Restaurante Trueba



Gran Vía 86. BILBAO

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