Urduña the city amidst nature
Urduña was a stopover, trading post, market and guardian of the caravans of people and goods that travelled to the sea from the interior of the plateau.
Urduña was a stopover, trading post, market and guardian of the caravans of people and goods that travelled to the sea from the interior of the plateau; and also of those that longed to reach the plateau after having been unloaded in the ports of Bizkaia. It fulfilled this role for centuries since its foundation in 1229. It was a role that enriched the city as well as providing it with monumentality and personality.
We can find Urduña next to the almost vertical limestone mountain range called Sierra Salvada. Next to the mountains lies the only town with this title in the whole territory, and the moors of Burgos as well as the plateau open up in front of them. The Nervión and its banks will lead visitors who descend to the sea and, further on, to the ports of France, the Netherlands, England and even Germany. This was the return route for wool, salted fish, cereals, iron, weapons, fabrics and manufactures. A route that always passed through and stopped in Urduña. This happened during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and even the Industrial Revolution.
That is why its streets and stones have a history of their own, all rising up in a medieval setting in which a large porticoed square, a strategic enclave for centuries for trade, rules. And today it proudly displays the fact that it is the largest trade fair square of medieval origin in the whole of the Basque Country, being the central point of a monumental historical site declared as such in 1997.
Urduña is surprising for its history, its uniqueness and its curiosities. It is undoubtedly one of the most historically significant municipalities in the territory of Bizkaia. Taking part in its guided tour is the best way to get to know this history and to discover its artistic and monumental heritage, among which the late Gothic altarpiece of San Pedro and the walkway of its fortified church are particularly outstanding. Urduña was a walled town with a castle, for some the largest in Bizkaia. Today, unfortunately, there is nothing left today. But the remains of the wall do. The audio guides explain it.
On the outskirts, very close to the train station, a tree-lined promenade links up centuries-old mansions and villas of different styles, with gardens, railings and stone walls, which give way to the spectacle of nature just a few steps further on.
In autumn, the beech forests offer a colourful spectacle with their green -now red, then golden- leaves, which are always home to fungi, small mammals hurrying through the winter and birds. More than 200 species of vertebrates inhabit the area around the town: alpine newts, salamanders, martens, birds of prey. There is a reason why Sierra Salvada forms part of the ‘Birding Euskadi’ bird watching areas, as well as offering botanical tours and visits to the forest itself.
As if all this were not enough, the town has a centuries-old tradition of producing good txakoli, which is still vigorously maintained, and has a spectacular spa in the old Customs House, as well as one of the oldest and most famous confectioneries in the area. As in the rest of Bizkaia, there are plenty of good taverns, quality traditional taverns and artisan producers of cold meats, cheeses, honey and jams.
It can be reached by train from Abando station, right in the centre of Bilbao.
Make the most of the opportunity and go up the Nervión on rails. Once at the top, head up to the monument of the Virgen de la Antigua and enjoy the views over the valley.
Txakoli From the Middle Ages to the present day, a wine with a very special spirit has been produced in Urduña, its own homemade wine. Nowadays, this local white wine has been awarded the Bizkaiko Txakolina certificate of origin and is a great partner for most of the gastronomic delights that Urduña has to offer.
Traditional Basque food. Specialising in ﬁsh and meat. Seasonal local produce.
A BAR WITH AWARD
Assorted tortillas, cod, octopus, gildas, anchovies, Bilbao, mushrooms, tigers, squid rings, perretxikos, Roman hake…
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