columpio mendraka


with Nora & Paula

From time to time we like to get away from the heat of the Mediterranean and head up north to greener, cooler pastures. Our main destination for the weekend was Bilbao, but we decided also to visit an attractive inland town in Bizkaia to take a closer look at the Basque countryside and its mountains.

Monte besaide

Mount Besaide

Our first stop was Mount Besaide. We are certainly not climbers, but we had checked online that the trail was easy going and the idea of visiting the exact spot where the three Basque provinces meet appealed to us. We also learned that there was a monument by a Japanese artist on the hilltop, which we found truly curious.

You can follow any of these routes to reach Besaide.

When we got there we were speechless, surprised and impressed: everything was just perfect. There was one of those clear blue skies that are seldom seen in the North, and the landscape left us open-mouthed with astonishment. Time just stood still for us. Nora took this photo of me: don’t I look like a midget next to this majestic monument?

basilica Elorrio

Berrio-Otxoa trail

From the peak of Mount Besaide we went on to the town, and after looking at all the possible thematic trails we decided to take the Adventures of Saint Valentine Berrio-Otxoa trail.

One of the stops along the trail that surprised us most was the Basilica of La Purísima Concepción. This is not just another church: it has a mausoleum altar dedicated to Berrio-Otxoa in a style completely different from the rest of the building. We liked it very much: just look at our faces. The size of the building and the great golden altar are really impressive, but you have to pay a euro to switch the lights on.

"Fuimos en busca del  fresquito del norte pero encontramos mucho más que eso"


The hamlet of Mendraka

To take in the rural areas of Elorrio we went to the hamlet of Mendraka. It is easy to reach by car and is an ideal place for a picnic. At the cafe at the Mendraka picnic area we stocked up on pintxos to take away and spent a few fun moments on what they call the rejuvenating swing.

This took us back in time as we felt like two kids playing on the swings for the first time. I don’t know if it really takes five years off your age as they say it does, but we certainly released some adrenaline and we still laugh out loud every time we think about it.

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Berrio Otxoa Kalea, 1 

48320 Elorrio (Bizkaia) 

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where time

stands still.

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