|Type of route:||No circular|
The route that joins Gorliz Bay with the fishing port of Armintza offers islands shaped like dragons, holm oaks and natural viewpoints that overlook the sea. It begins next to the beach of Gorliz, close to some old dunes, which are more than 6000 years old; these were used as natural sand slides until they were declared to be of special interest.
There are Pottoka horses and Pyrenean cows grazing in the meadows, which are dotted by a few holm oak. As you climb, and once you pass the Wildlife Recovery Centre, the view expands. Behind are the shell-shaped bay, the golden sand with little spots of bathers, the Barrika promontory and the cliffs crowned with green.
On the left we leave a small path of solid ground that skirts the cliffs, passing through the ruins of Azkorriaga fortress, erected in the eighteenth century to protect the coast against corsair attack. The Gorliz lighthouse, built in modern times (1990) on the basis of a former coastal battery, still has a cannon and entrenched passageways, which makes it an improvised theme park. Its look-out point deserves a stop. It offers a panoramic view of the coast; from here you can get the first glimpses of Billano Island. This is a stone islet shaped like a dragon, barely half a kilometre from the coast, which will reveal itself as a key piece of the landscape.
From here the road leaves the asphalt, narrows and climbs a short distance until it ends in a postcard landscape: on the left is the island of Billano; on the right the bay, the port, the estuary and the urban centers of Gorliz and Plentzia. All this framed in the distance by some of the emblematic mountains of the Basque Country: Oiz, Anboto, Gorbea, Pagasarri or Ganekogorta.
The 300-meter drop straight to the bottom of the sea is noticeable; here waves crash against the foot of the cliff. Groups of small holm oaks appear in impossible positions climbing the slope. It is not for nothing that they have been considered to be divine trees since ancient times and have been the object of veneration.
Once on its summit, next to a mailbox and a plaque, we will find the last of the series of tiny buildings – 15 centimeters high – that the artist Ibón Garagarza has placed along the way as a sort of free, outdoor sculpture. Almost 300 meters up, it is the highest place of the crossing and the one that marks the turning point.
From here, the path descends through closed forests of eucalyptus and more or less rocky and sometimes muddy roads, until the fishing port of Armintza can be glimpsed through the vegetation. Once there, we can enjoy a swim in the sea and delicious pintxos. We will come back by bus in order to arrive at the port of Plentzia and leave the bus for the Basque Coast. We recommend wearing appropriate clothing for the weather, comfortable shoes, swim suits; remember to bring a towel.
Lunch – picnic. Sandwiches, chocolates, fruit, refreshments etc.