The Flysch Route: cliffs with 50 million years of history



Spain is full of stunning natural settings. Nevertheless, there are some places that are especially fascinating. One of these is the Flysch Route on the coast of the Basque Country, northern Spain. Come and accompany us on a journey along the coast of Guipúzcoa and admire one of the most spectacular areas of cliffs you have ever seen, which also conceal 50 million years of history. Come and discover this whim of nature.

Only occasionally do we have the privilege of seeing real natural treasures. So, if you travel to the province of Guipúzcoa (in the Basque Country), we would recommend you take a boat trip to the coastal towns of Mutriku, Deba and Zumaia. There you can do what is known as the “Flysch Route”: several kilometres of rugged cliffs that lead down into the sea, formed through the erosive action of water and movements of land over the course of 50 million years. These rocks have always been of interest to geologists on account of their fossil remains. Now it is your turn to discover them.

When you are facing these cliffs, you have before you the richest marine ecosystem anywhere on the Basque coast, and rocks that contain the mark of vital events in the earth’s history such as the disappearance of the dinosaurs or the last major global warming event. A real journey back through time.

Guided tours

If you like walking as you observe beautiful views, then you can get to this area under your own steam, although you should make sure to wear comfortable clothing and footwear. Nevertheless, you should only access the rocks from the beaches at low tide to avoid danger.

The most advisable option is to go on one of the guided tours organised March-September by tourist offices like the one in Zumaia or the one in Deba, an active tourism company and the Algorri visitor centre in Zumaia. Routes generally take four hours and include various activities: you will go to the Nautilus visitor centre in Mutriku, which has spectacular fossil remains and where they will explain the geological history of the Basque coast. From the port in Mutriku, you will take a boat trip to Mutriku, Deba and Zumaia, with a panoramic view of the cliffs from the sea. Once you get to Zumaia, you will be able to visit the Algorri visitor centre.

Sports and relaxation as you decide

The area where the route takes place is also ideal for sports such as surfing, scuba diving and underwater fishing. If you are interested in any of these then you will find perfect conditions here. You can also rent bicycles, kayaks and boats to organise an unforgettable outing on land or at sea. For those who prefer something more relaxing, then in Zumaia there are bird watching boat trips on the Urola River accompanied by a specialist guide.

After enjoying all these activities, you can always opt for a swim at one of the local beaches, like Santiago, Ondarbeltz or Aitzgorri. You will love their crystal clear waters and stunning landscapes. Furthermore, there are also spots like Sieteplayas: a series of small, quiet, hidden coves in Mutriku.

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