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Maria Kristina zubia Donostia.JPG
The Urumea at San Sebastian
Physical characteristics
 ⁃ locationBasque mountains
 ⁃ elevation1,136 m (3,727 ft)
 ⁃ location
Cantabrian Sea (Bay of Biscay)
Length59.4 km (36.9 mi)
Basin size279 km2 (108 sq mi)
 ⁃ average13.63 m3/s (481 cu ft/s)

The Urumea (pronounced [uˈɾumea] or [uɾuˈmea], stemming from Basque "ur" 'water' + "me(he)a" 'thin') is a river in the Basque Country at the north of the Iberian Peninsula. It's one of a series of Basque rivers flowing into the Bay of Biscay (Atlantic basin) and best known for being the river flowing to the sea on the city of San Sebastian.

Course of the river and water data[edit]

The river is 59.4 km long from its source in the Navarrese municipality of Goizueta, 33 of them running through the province Gipuzkoa. The average temperature is 13.5 °C (56.3 °F) and the seasonal and year-to-year variation in water flow is less marked than in other basins of Gipuzkoa, the natural regulation of the basin proving very high.

The quality of the water is fairly good, despite a slight deterioration downstream on nearing the mouth (moderate-good condition), where the city of Donostia lies. However, lately works have been done for the treatment and cleaning of water, resulting in an outstanding environmental recovery.

Upstream river waves[edit]

The mouth of the Urumea river known for its upstream river wave,[1][2] attracting river surfers; the phenomenon looks similar to tidal bores, but is insead caused by ocean swells instead of tides. Similar to tidal bores, the waves form in the ocean and travel up the river.[3]


The current water quality allows for a stable fish fauna, with five species populating the river, namely salmon (extinct in 1940 and restored thanks to the re-population programs of the 1980s), trout, ezkailu (Phoxinus phoxinus), loach and eel.


The lower stretch of the river has wide and flat banks fit for crops and urban development, which has resulted in the most inhabited drainage basin in Gipuzkoa, numbering 212,564 inhabitants; the main towns on the river are Hernani, with the first industrial estates upstream locating on its banks (paper and chemical industry, an aluminium mill, lift manufacturing, etc.), Astigarraga, renowned for its cider houses, and a final long stretch snaking through different parts of Donostia. The main focus of cider houses concentrates on a strip along the left bank in Hernani and on a minor road sloping up from the right bank at the limit between Astigarraga and the outer lands of Donostia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Surfing the river waves of Río Urumea". Surfer Today. 7 January 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  2. ^ Pierson, Dashel (6 April 2018). "Freshwater Froth: The World's Best River Surfing Waves". Surfline. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  3. ^ "The rare phenomenon of upstream river waves". Surfer Today. 26 March 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2019.

Coordinates: 43°19′34″N 1°58′56″W / 43.32611°N 1.98222°W / 43.32611; -1.98222