Beaches and Bays Along Spain’s Costa Verde

In Spanish Interludes by Susan & Jamie5 Comments


The weather gods favored us during an October trip to Spain's Costa Verde.  We explored the coastal zones of Cantabria and the Basque Country.

We couldn't decide whether we wanted to stay closer to Bilbao or farther west near Santander, so we  split the difference and stayed a a couple nights in Santoña, where our apartment looked out on Playa de Berria, and a couple more days in Somo  across the bay from Santander.  Our apartment there was just a block or so away  from  Playa de Somo.  

Jamie's sisters were visiting and thought they might never get back to the north coast of Spain, so we made several day trips by car to Bilbao, San Sebastián, Castro Urdiales, Zarautz, Getaria, Liendo, and Laredo.  Plus we took a short ferry ride from our beach in Somo to visit Santander for the day. We didn't really dig into anything deeply, but were happy to stroll along the beach, sip wine, and catch up.

We tried to schedule a tour through Bilbao Greeters, a non-profit group of volunteers who offer free one-on-one tours in your language.  Unfortunately, they couldn't find an English-speaking volunteer on the holiday weekend we were in town and we ended up trusting to serendipity and explored the city center and old town on our own.

Even though we didn't get the history and background that a good tour guide can provide, we really liked what we saw of Bilbao.  We're eager to make a return trip next Spring.

Oh, another tour option  that we didn't discover until after our visit, is  Free Tours Bilbao.  They offer set scheduled tours of both the modern city and the old city.

Like we said, this was mostly a stroll and sip, chat and drive sort of family get together.  Our highlights from this trip are best expressed in these photos...

A beautiful day in Santander watching the sailboats from the city harbor.

The 13th century Church of Santa María de la Asunción with its flying buttresses and pinnacles dominates the harbor of Castro Urdiales.


You'll find the famous bronze sculptures of the "raqueros" boys along the harbor of Santander.  There are four boys in all - sitting, standing, and diving into the bay.

Castro Urdiales, Cantabria is a beautiful small city on the Bay of Biscay. This could easily be a destination city.
On the seawall at Castro Urdiales. We enjoyed our day here and look forward to a return visit.
This view of Jeff Koons' tulips at the Guggenheim Bilboa was taken from the interior where the dried spatters on the windows made it look like it was raining outside. Thankfully, it wasn't because the outside art walk was equal or better than the inside exhibits.
The pier in Getaria, Basque Country, known for their Txakolina wines, a fizzy white wine.
San Sebastian residents push back against all the tourism. We were so totally disappointed by San Sebastian, there's no chance we'll be contributing to the tourist glut again.
ABOVE: An interesting window hidden in the back room of a bodega in Castro Urdiales.

LEFT:  "Red Arch" along riverside art walk in Bilbao.


Sunrise on Playa de Berria.  We were lucky to have five solid days of warm sunny weather in the middle of October.

Getting there and getting around

We had a direct flight on Iberia from Valencia to Bilbao.  We also rented a car for getting around since there were four of us and at least two of them could legally drive in Spain since they aren’t residents.

Before we met up with Jamie’s sisters  we used the airport bus to the Bilbao city center (3€ with a stop at the Guggenheim museum), and the city tram (1,60€) just because public transportation is the way we normally roll.

Susan Carey retired in 2017 after a long business career.  She writes about her experiences as a vagabond in Europe.  Susan shares her gentle life with her husband, Jamie.
Jamie Wyant is a retired American.  After living in Valencia, Spain, he set out on a long, slow journey with his wife, Susan.  He writes about the joys and tribulations of living and traveling gently.  Jamie also manages the technical aspects of


  1. Sorry to hear you were disappointed in San Sebastian! My husband and I visited there in September and liked it–even though it had a touristy feel, it was different enough from Valencia (SO MUCH greener!) that we enjoyed it.

    1. Thank you, Zézinha. I think it’s even prettier now than it was in the past since they moved the ferry parking and put in the Centro Botin Art Museum. A lovely place.

  2. Once again, great information and fantastic photos! This is a wonderful site with inspiration for travel and for living.

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