The great autumn festivities
Mondays in October in Gernika and Santo Tomás in mid-December in Bilbao.
These are large markets of traditional and local products that turn into a real celebration that lasts all day long.
The municipality of Gernika-Lumo, in the heart of Urdaibai, hosts the traditional market in the town square every Monday of the year. It brings together almost a hundred producers from the region who bring their vegetables, fruits, cheeses, flowers and plants, among many other products.
In addition, between June and December, every first Saturday of the month, special markets are held for specific products: Idiazabal cheese and txakoli from Urdaibai, peppers from Gernika, cod and wine from Rioja Alavesa.
But the days that the people of Bizkaia do not miss are the first and last Monday of October in Gernika. Tens of thousands of people turn the whole town centre into a huge market that is, at the same time, a celebration accompanied by typical music and an amazing atmosphere.
Although, if you have missed October, don’t worry: the first Saturday in November is Gernika Bean Day. Save the date. And find a table to enjoy a good dish. Afterwards, you can come and be amazed by the various traditional sports vents that are organised: log cutting, stone dragging, anvil lifting, etc.
A word of advice: use public transport, especially for the last Monday in October. Euskotren offers regular services from the centre of Bilbao itself, allowing you to enjoy the scenery and with excellent frequency. In addition to the train, there are at least 4 different Bizkaibus lines that connect the capital and Gernika.
Every December 21st it is Bilbao’s turn to be the capital’s mecca for talo (traditional corn pancake), txakoli, cider and roast chorizo. Local producers fill the Arenal and Plaza Nueva with more than 300 stands selling capons and other farm animals, pastries, cheese, home-baked bread, vegetables, beans, honey, wine, chestnuts and winter fruits.
The festival begins with the sun and lasts until the moon, accompanied by trikitilaris, otxotes, txalapartaris, txistularis and bagpipers.
The origin of this great winter celebration dates back to the last century, when the farmers would go to the capital at the end of the year to pay their landlords the rent on their farmhouses and take the opportunity to sell the products that would be consumed at Christmas: cattle, preserves, cabbage, snails, seasonal fruit, cardoon, mushrooms and fungi, chestnuts, cured meats and cold meats, txakoli, corn flour and fine legumes.
Nowadays it is a date circled in red on the calendars of Bilbao and the surrounding area.
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.
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Gastronomy, sport, landscape, nature: the perfect combination for autumn in Orduña!
Music and a good atmosphere always accompany these events.
Bilbao is transformed into a great festival every 21st December.