History and museums, Natural sights
Bermeo is a town and municipality in the sub-region of Busturialdea. It is in the wider province of Biscay, part of the autonomous region of the Basque Country, in northern Spain.
Bermeo has 17,159 inhabitants and is the most important fishing port of the Basque Country. The town was founded in 1236 and has the highest population of Busturialdea's towns. Bermeo held the title of "Provincial Capital" between 1476 and 1602.
The town has a long maritime tradition and its economy is based on the fishing industry.
Bermeo tourist attractions include the tiny island of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, the Ercilla tower (a fishing museum), the Saint Juan gate and the port itself.
Bermeo is linked by the EuskoTren (train service) and Bizkaibus (bus service) to Bilbao.
Bermeo's neighbourhoods are:
Bermeo enjoys a coastal ocean climate with heavy rain in spring and late autumn. The average annual minimum temperature is around 48 °F (9 °C) and the maximum around 68 °F (20 °C). The record maximum temperatures was 113 °F (45 °C) and the record minimum was 16 °F (-9 °C).
The ancient history of Bermeo is recounted in "Ezkerra" by Don lñigo López and his wife Mrs Toda, of the estate in San Juan of Gaztelugatxe, Bermeo to the monastery of San Juan of the Crag the year 1051. Years later, in 1082, it goes back to quote the name of Bermeo in the donation from Don Lope lñiguez, second gentleman, and his wife Doña Tecla, to the Monastery of Saint Millán of the Cogolla, of the Church of "Sancti Michaelis Arcangeli in Portu of Vermelio". These documents speak of the antiquity of Bermeo, although it rotted to trace back to periods very previous. Some legends situate the foundation of the ancient port of the Amanos in Túbal, downward of Noe, 150 years after the deluge, or for the Romans to the 1st century B.C. under the government of the emperor Flavio Vespasiano.
Don Lope Díaz II of Haro, gentleman of Biscay, gave him jurisdiction of Logroño and title of town and although the document had date, definitely was issued in 1236. The King Don Alfonso X The Wise confirmed this privilege 12 August 1277, finding in the ring of the castle of Unzueta of the Valley of Orozco.
Later, on 18 March 1285, the eighth gentleman, Don Lope Díaz of Haro, expanded and improved his terms, and the same did the Gentleman Don Tello, for privilege issued on 25 April 1366.
Several gentlemen of Biscay and at the same time kings Spaniard confirmed the jurisdictions and privileges of the town in the Church of Saint Eufemia. Between them, Fernando the Catholic, who confirmed the town as a "Capital of Biscay" on 31 July 1476, title which Bermeo did time employed and that it was him snatched in 1602 after hard and long suit interposed by the national heroes that governed Bilbao and other institutions of the Domain, that do not go to resign to the fact that, Bermeo followed having such distinction.
Nevertheless, the primacy that came keeping Bermeo in regard to the other Towns and small locations translates in the fact that in the General Boards had the first vote and seat, and when spoke his attorneys were used to discover his heads the others that found in the Board. At present, the head of elderly than figure how one of the arms of his shield heraldry, demonstrate and perpetuates in all fairness the snatched title.
The importance that had Bermeo can deduce because of the numerous privileges and exemptions that achieved of the Gentlemen and of the Kings. Unfortunally the diverse fires that suffered the Town destroyed all these documents, although his enumeration and his dates of obtened are well known. This shows the prestige that the Town kept and the favour which all the time had.
The fights of the biscain fighters disturbed the life of Bermeo during the 15th century and with the fires its suffered in previous centuries (specifically in the years 1297, 1347,1360, 1422) ruined Bermeo and its population diminished continuously.
On the other hand, the foundation of the Town of Bilbao in 1300 contributed notably to the decadence of Bermeo.
At a later date, new fires, one of them in 1504, affecting to all the town, dealted a harsh blow to Bermeo, putting at risk its survival.
As a result of increased immigration due to industrialisation in the 1960s the population grew rapidly.
In the 1990s the population began to decline again; it has increased again since the year 2000.
The economy of Bermeo is based mostly in fishing activity. The port has been the main source of revenue of the town. Bermeo possesses an important fleet of deep-seas and the fleet of inshore fishing more important of Euskadi. The confrerie of fishermen "San Pedro" is one of the most important of Biscay, having big activity and entry of fish.
There are several companies devoted to the preserves of fish, such as Zallo, Serrats, and Salica. But the industry is not based only in the preserves of fish: There are several companies like Wärtsilä Ibérica where diesel engines and generators are built.
In the port there is a commercial port zone which receive diverse raw material. In the same dock consignment of fuselages and big warehouses is undertaken.
There are companies tied to the timber industry. On the other hand, the centre of innovation "DenokInn" is allocated to the study of new labour alternatives and creation of employment.
Another relevant company is the platform of gas "La Gaviota", which treats the gas from the maritime platform in the same way.
Bermeo is joined to Mungia (18 km) across the road BI-631 and to Gernika-Lumo (14 km) across the road BI-2235. It has the road BI-3101 that joins the town with Bakio (12 km). The capital, Bilbao (33 km), is connected with the town through the roads BI-631 and BI-2235.
Bizkaibus offers bus lines that connect the town with destinations:
Euskotren offers trains that join the town directly with Bilbao and, with transfer, the east towns of Biscay and Gipuzkoa.
There is a taxi station in the park called Lamera. The station has a telephone.
Urban bus that joins points of the town during weekday mornings and afternoons.
On the road to Bakio is the lighthouse of Matxitxako, on the cape which has the same name. Further on, is the isle called Akatz, next to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is a peninsula linked by a bridge. In the 14th century there was a castle on the top of the isle. Nowadays, there is the hermitage of Saint Juan.
On the 24 June, people use to celebrate a procession to the hermitage from Bermeo. A lot of people use to come to participate. On 29 August, there is a mass to celebrate the day of Saint Juan. On 31 December, there used to be another mass to say goodbye to the year.
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is the most attractive tourist place in the Basque Country; thousands of visitors visit it every year.
The isle and its environment are considered protected area.
This isle is next to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. It is small with a few vegetation and an important population of birds.
In this cape, there is the lighthouse called Matxitxako. There is an old lighthouse, too, which is out of order; the new one is operating. This place offers good views of the coast and cetaceans can be seen.
This isle is in front of the Urdaibai's Reserve. On the top of the isle there was an hermitage until the 13th century. Then, the Magdalena's hermitage was built. Nowadays, it is a protected reserve included in the Urdaibai's Reserve where many birds nest.
In the old town there are a lot of houses painted with different colours and narrow streets with some squares, too.
Aritzatxu is a small beach which is an attractive place to sunbathe and swim in its clear water during the summer. It has services like rescue team, beach police, toilets, and a bar.
Ercilla was one of the 30 towers that defended Bermeo in the Middle Ages and the only tower that remains. It is situated strategically on the old port and was built to ends of the XV century. It is a house-tower, the home of the Ercilla's family. Some of them were famous, for example Fortún García of Ercilla and Alonso Ercilla and Zúñiga, author of The Araucana. During centuries the tower was used for different activities. Forgetting its committed military, it served like house of fishermen and warehouses of fish. In 1948 the facade was reformed, finding Gothic arches and appointing it the Fisherman's Museum. In 1984 and 1985 more reforms were done.
The Casine built by Severino Atxukarro in 1894. It fell in 1983 to consequence of some floods. It was built again and it is considered inside the eclepticisme. It is in the Lamera Park. The zones of the building are used for diverse activities. One hand finds the room of exhibitions and conferences "Nestor Basterretxea" and there is a restaurant that receives the central space of the building. In the other side there is an Irish pub and a café.
It is in the square Sabino Arana Goiri and it was built in 1732. In his facade are two solar clocks. It is considered an Artistic Historical Monument.
The Kikunbera house can be classed as the "Basque Rationalism". It is a building whose structure looks like a ship; it's been an Artistic Historical Monument since 1995.
It is a modernist building which was built by Pedro Ispizua.