OF TOURIST INTEREST

Ercilla Tower

This tower house is the oldest conserved civil building in Bermeo. It is located over the old port in a strategic place from which both the port and sea horizon, and the life of the port can be seen. It was built in the late 15th century and it seems that its purpose was for living, though the thick walls surrounding the building give it the appearance of a shelter.

In 1944, it was named a monument and years later was bought by the Regional Government of Biscay. It was renovated and has been the Museum of the Fisherman since 1948.

The building is the family home of the poet Alonso Ercilla Zúñiga, who was born and grew up in the court of the King, and then took part in the invasion of South America. He maintained close links with Bermeo, so much so that in “La Araucana,” a collection of verses about the war against the Mapuche of Chile or araucanos, he makes a dedication to Bermeo, taking into account his family origins.

“Look Bermeo, district of underbrush,
Capital of Biscay, and over the port
The thick wall of the site of Ercilla,
Site founded before the town”
More information on the Museum
torre ercilla

San Francisco Cloister and Church

The San Francisco Convent of Bermeo is the oldest in Biscay. The Lords of Biscay, Count Tello and his wife Juana de Lara, gave the order to build it in 1357. Due to wars or property seizures, the convent underwent many modifications over the centuries: in 1842 it became a barracks, in 1843 a prison, in 1882 a school and in 1886 a court. Since 1928 until the floods of 1983, the cloister was also used as a market. Today, the complex is made up of the church, the cloister and a part of the convent that is completely transformed.

The cloister constitutes the most important element. It opens up onto the central courtyard through depressed arches supported by pillars decorated with three small columns. The four corners have a segmental arch held by corbels decorated with figure motifs: friars praying, singing or deliberating

Mass:
Daily at 9:00 and 20:00
Sundays and public holidays: 9:00-11:00-12:00-13:00
CLAUSTRO-BERMEO

The old port

It is the traditional fishing port of the town, where fishermen houses maintain their Medieval design and shape. It is here that the oldest fountain of Biscay is found, built in the late 16th century.

The houses are built on cliffs, attached to the rock of the land and with a strong slope. They are houses that are very high, with large vanes on the south façade, that have had the wood of the old windows and balconies replaced with iron railings. To contrast with the white limestone, the carpentry was painted in bright colours, green being one of the most usual, of which there are very few examples in Bermeo.

The “Tres cantos” fountain is the oldest conserved fountain in Biscay. It has three very blurry coats of arms. The central one is the imperial coat of arms (double-headed eagle of Charles V), the one on the left bears the emblem of the lordship being worshipped and the one on the right bears the arms of the town of Bermeo. It has been dry for a long time, its pipes long lost.

Bermeo puerto

Santa María Church

It was built when the great Santa María de la Atalaya Church was ruined during the years from 1820 to 1866, in the town centre.

Santa María Church is one of the most significant Neoclassical architectural works in Biscay. The Neoclassical features of the main facade are very striking.

The church has a Latin cross floor with a semi-circular apse and two towers attached to the main facade. The central part is covered by an 8-shell dome. Inside, the large altarpiece and those of the angles are of very high quality. The carving of the Assumption of Our Lady is Romanesque, probably reused from the old Atalaya Church, and a work of Martín Basabe.

Each August, the Church organises a week dedicated to international music, making the most of its majestic organ and the great acoustics provided by its dome.
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 Opening hours:
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 11:00 – 12:00
Saturdays: 11:00 – 12:00 and 17:30 – 19:00
For guided visits consult the Tourism Office.
Mass
Sundays at 12.00
iglesia-santa-maria-bermeo

Portal de San Juan

The San Juan arch is the only one standing of the seven that originally formed part of the Medieval wall. The doors connected the town with the main paths. The Portal de San Juan is called thus for being the one that exists from the San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Hermitage. It was the main one that had the wall, since on top of it there is a building in the form of a tower.

The door is 14th century and opens through a segmental arch inside the town, while towards the exterior it has a pointed arch. Between both is the groove along which the door that closed the town was lowered. On top of the segmental arch is a recess with the image of San Juan.

According to legend, St. John the Baptist arrived in three stages from Bermeo Port to Gaztelugatxe Hermitage. Each one left a mark; the first one can be seen under the arch of the Portal de San Juan.

puerta de san juan

Tala

Impressive viewpoint located in the high part of the town. From here you can see from Izaro Island to Matxitxako Cape. On clear days, you can even make out the mountains of Lapurdi. Each lookout had its person in charge who was chosen by the guild of fishermen and had to perform the following duties: weather forecasts, observation and location of whales and fish, as well as give information on the boats that were arriving at the port.

The park is in a quiet place and has a peaceful atmosphere. In summer it hosts popular festivals: in mid-August marmitako is prepared with fresh Spanish white tuna and at the patron saint festivals “stew day” is held, which is attended by many people.

At the same park, looking out to sea, you can stop to gaze at the beautiful sculpture made by the sculptor Nestor Basterretxea of the painter Benito Barrueta, both from Bermeo.

atalaya-mirador

Santa Eufemia Church

It is the oldest church in Bermeo and also has the unique feature of being a court church, where regional lords would make government decisions. It was likely built in the 13th century and rebuilt in the late 15th century. Located between the two ports of Bermeo, it is known as the church of the port. As for its architectural style, it is Gothic, has a single nave, with the choir at one end and the polygonal apse at the front, and with two side chapels. Its tower was erected in 1783 from a dome adorned with pinnacles, according to the design of the master Gabriel Kapelastegi.

Mass::
Daily at 12
Public holidays at 13:00
santa-eufemia-bermeo

Sculptures

Spread out over the streets of Bermeo, you can admire numerous sculptures, many of them by the artist Nestor Basterretxea. Eighteen works from the series “Cosmogonia” at La Lamera, the enormous work Olatua at the port, in the cloister of the Franciscan convent a set of five steles made by the artist and the monument in homage to Benito Barrueta at Tala Park are some of his works. Other outstanding works by other artists include La lechera, a monolith in memory of those who died at sea, The Fish Sellers; Xixili, a character from Basque mythology…

esculturas-nestor-basterretxea-bermeo