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Bermeo Euskal Herria1.JPG
Flag of Bermeo
Coat of arms of Bermeo
Coat of arms
Bermeo is located in Basque Country
Location of Bermeo in the Basque Country
Coordinates: 43°25′22″N 2°43′32″W / 43.42278°N 2.72556°W / 43.42278; -2.72556
Country Spain
Autonomous community Basque Country
Province Biscay
Comarca Busturialdea
Founded 1236
 • Mayor Idurre Bideguren Gabantxo (Bildu)
 • Total 34.12 km2 (13.17 sq mi)
Elevation(AMSL) 11 m (36 ft)
Population (2014)
 • Total 17,057
 • Density 500/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
Demonym(s) bermeotar
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 48370
Area code(s) +34 (Spain)
Official language(s) Basque, Spanish
Website Official website

Bermeo is a town and municipality in the comarca of Busturialdea. It is in the province of Biscay, which is part of the autonomous region of the Basque Country in northern Spain.

With a population of 17,159, it is the most important fishing port in the Basque Country.[citation needed] The town was founded in 1236, and is the largest in Busturialdea. Bermeo was the provincial capital of Biscay from 1476 to 1602.

Tourist attractions include the island of Gaztelugatxe, the Ercilla Tower (a fishing museum), San Juan Gate and the port. Bermeo is connected by Euskotren Trena and BizkaiBus to Bilbao. It has a number of neighbourhoods: Arana, Artike, Agirre, San Andres, Almike, Arronategi, San Migel, Demiku, Mañu and San Pelaio.


Bermeo's history dates back to the monastery of San Juan of Gaztelugatxe in 1051. In 1082, it is mentioned by Don Lope lñiguez as "Sancti Michaelis Arcangeli in Portu of Vermelio". Ferdinand II of Aragon named the town the capital of Biscay on 31 July 1476, a position it held until 1602. Many documents have been destroyed by fire; notable fires occurred in 1297, 1347, 1360, 1422 and 1504. The founding of Bilbao in 1300 also coincided with decline in Bermeo.

Harbour surrounded by buildings and filled with small boats
Bermeo's marina


The town has an oceanic climate, with heavy rains in spring and late fall. The average annual minimum temperature is about 48 °F (9 °C), and the maximum is about 68 °F (20 °C). The record maximum temperature is 113 °F (45 °C), and the record minimum is 16 °F (-9 °C).

Nuvola apps kweather.png Bermeo's climate
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average maximum temperature (°F) 55.4 59 60.8 62.6 68 74 77 79 75.2 68 60.8 57.2
Average minimum temperature (°F) 41 41 42.8 44.6 50 55.4 59 59 55.4 50 44.6 42.8
Precipitation (mm) 126 97 94 124 90 64 62 82 74 121 141 116
Source: AEM[1]
Izaro Island and Cape Ogoño
Northwest: Bay of Biscay North: Bay of Biscay Northeast: Bay of Biscay
West: Bakio Rosa de los vientos.svg East: Elantxobe
Southwest Mungia and Meñaka South: Arrieta Southeast: Busturia and Mundaka


As a result of increased immigration due to industrialisation during the 1960s, the population grew rapidly. Although it began to decline during the 1990s, the population has increased again since 2000.

Bermeo population, 1704–2013
1704 1784 1850 1900 1925 1960 1965 1970 1975 1981 1986 1991 1996 2001 2004
1,408 3,711 5,377 9,636 13,556 15,846 17,384 17,485 18,312 18,333 17,923 17,176 16,938 16,901 17,429
2007 2008 2010 2011 2012 2013
17,069 17,026 17,078 17,144 17,159 17,057


Statue of a man carrying a large oar
Itzulera by Casto Solano

Bermeo's economy is based on fishing, and its port is the town's chief source of revenue. It has a fleet of deep-sea vessels, and Bermeo's coastal fisheries are among the region's most important. In addition to fishing, diesel engines and generators are manufactured and the commercial port receives raw materials. Bermeo also has connections with the timber and undersea-gas industries.


Bermeo is connected by road to Mungia (18 km away) by the BI-631 road and to Gernika-Lumo (14 km away) by the BI-2235. The BI-3101 connects the town with Bakio, 12 km away. The capital, Bilbao (33 km away), is reached by the BI-631 and the BI-2235.

BizkaiBus connects Bermeo with Guernica, Amorebieta-Etxano, Bilbao, Derio and Bakio. Euskotren Trena connects the town directly with Bilbao, Guernica, Amorebieta-Etxano, Biscay and Gipuzkoa. Bermeo also has taxi and Bermibusa (urban bus) service.


Island connected to the mainland by a bridge
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

On the road to Bakio is the lighthouse of Matxitxako, on the cape of the same name. Further along is Akatz Island, next to Gaztelugatxe (an island with the San Juan de Gaztelugatxe monastery). During the 14th century a castle topped the island, which was replaced by the monastery. On 29 August a mass celebrates the feast of San Juan. The island is a protected area.

Small, rocky island
Akatz Island

Akatz Island, a small island next to Gaztelugatxe, has little vegetation but a significant nesting-bird population. On its cape is the Matxitxako lighthouse, which has good views of the coast and from which cetaceans may be seen. Izaro Island is part of the Urdaibai Reserve.

Bermeo's old town has many houses painted in different colours and narrow streets with squares. Aritzatxu is a small beach.

Ercilla Tower is the only remaining tower of 30 towers which defended Bermeo during the Middle Ages. In the old port, it was built at the end of the 15th century and housed the Ercilla family (including Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, author of The Araucana). In addition to its military use, it housed fishermen and warehoused fish. It was renovated in 1948 with Gothic arches as the Fisherman's Museum; additional renovation was done in 1984 and 1985.

Modern house among others on the side of a hill
Kikunbera house

Bermeo's town hall, in Sabino Arana Goiri Square, was built in 1732. With two clocks on its facade, it is one of the town's Artistic Historical Monuments.

The Kikunbera house, in Basque Rationalist style, was designed to resemble a ship and has been an Artistic Historical Monument since 1995. Batzoki is a modernist building by Pedro Ispizua.



  1. ^ "Valores Climatológicos Normales. Bilbao / Aeropuerto. Periodo 1971–2000". Archived from the original on 29 June 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2009. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°25.22′N 2°43.32′W / 43.42033°N 2.72200°W / 43.42033; -2.72200