24 Circular Walking Routes from Gorliz

24 Circular Walking Routes


Where your thoughts go, your steps go (an old Basque saying). Gorliz, throughout its municipal area, contains multiple opportunities to walk through special places, some steeped in history, and charming landscapes that amaze the walker. Due to the advantage of being a municipality facing the sea, on some routes we can enjoy not only walking among a special native vegetation, but also vertical cliffs that descend almost vertically to small coves bathed by the lively Cantabrian Sea.

The steep and winding coastline leading from the sandy beaches of Gorliz and Astondo adds a special attraction to coastal walks with spectacular scenery. If we add the charms of the neighbouring towns, you will find yourself in this privileged area that forms part of what is known as the Uribe Kosta region of Bizkaia.

“Foreword by Juanjo San Sebastian, a veteran of Himalayan climbs”


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About the author

Pedro Pablo Uriarte Astarloa

Route 1

Ascent of Ermua by the old route

This is the quickest and most direct route up Ermua, starting from the town centre. It is the one we have always used, ever since we were kids and climbed it long before they built the lighthouse with its road. In the past, almost the entire coastal area of Gorliz was under military occupation, which is why us young people of the time climbed up “our usual path”. Although one part of the climb is a little awkward, it is not difficult at all, and if you walk a little briskly, without dawdling, you can reach the summit in less than an hour.

Total time: 1 hour 50 minutes going down the most popular descent.
Distance: 8,26 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 309 m
Difficulty: Low.

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Route 2

The most popular climb: the ascent to Ermua via the lighthouse and Fano

This route is suitable for everyone and does not require great effort, although it does require a minimum amount of physical preparation, as you will climb the 290 metres of the Ermua starting from sea level, i.e., the beach. You will see that on the routes that follow – which are just variants of this route – things get a little more demanding, although nothing that anyone with a minimum amount of physical preparation can’t do.

Time to make the climb: About 1 hour.
Full route: About 2 hours returning by the same route.
Cumulative elevation gain: About 330 m
Difficulty: Easy

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Route 3

Climbing Ermua via the “Castillito” (fort), going down to Armintza and returning along the GR 280 Trail

This is a more demanding route than the previous two. That is because you will climb two small peaks before reaching the lighthouse and then climb up Ermua, which means a greater cumulative elevation gain, and also because you will extend the route by descending to Armintza and returning to Gorliz along a section of the GR 280 Trail, which means walking a much greater distance. Nevertheless, it is not too much for hikers who are relatively used to mountain walks, bearing in mind that the return to Gorliz from Armintza is very quiet with no demanding climbs.

Duration: 3 hours 10 min.
Cumulative elevation gain: 537 m
Distance: 15.5 km
Difficulty: Moderate in terms of distance and cumulative elevation gain.

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Route 4

Climbing Ermua through the pastures of the provincial council-owned farm and Fano, using a previous route up to Legorarriburu

This is a new alternative ascent of Ermua Mendi, crossing the wide open meadows of the provincial council-owned farm, climbing to the small but charming summit of Lehorarriburu, which boasts breathtaking panoramic views. However, you must avoid walking across the pastures so as not to disturb the livestock, particularly when the cows are with their calves or when they are on the path.

Duration: 2 hours (descending via the lighthouse)
Cumulative elevation gain: 310 m
Distance: 7.5 km
Difficulty: Easy

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Route 5

Circular route without ascents along the lighthouse road, via the pastures of the provincial council-owned farm, the Fano and Orabille neighbourhoods, and return to Gorliz via Saratxaga

This is a very simple route, practically a long walk that requires no major effort, very suitable for children as, although there are stretches of road, it is very seldom used.

The first part of the route follows the road to the lighthouse to the turn-off to the fields and pastures of the provincial council-owned farm, which we have already mentioned in route 4, but it seems a good idea to summarise this part of the route again.

Distance: 10 km
Duration: Between 2 and 3 hours (if you have children with you)
Difficulty: Easy

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Route 6

Circular walking route to the Ermua mountain range via Saratxaga, Orabille and Fano, climbing the Etzandarri, descending to Armintza and returning via Lemoiz

It is a relatively long route with a cumulative elevation gain of 450 metres, for the climb up to the vicinity of Ermua and the short ascent to Etzandarri. It is a very pretty circular route, especially for mountaineers and walkers who are used to relatively long walks, with spectacular views that are well worth the effort, but its difficulty can be considered to be medium to moderate because it takes more than three hours.

Duration: 3 hours 20 min.
Distance: 16.45 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 446 metres
Difficulty: Moderate, due to its length

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Route 7

Circular route with an ascent to Urizarmendi from Lemoiz, descent to Armintza and return along the GR 280 Trail, entering Gorliz via Orbeta Bidea

This route runs more within the town of Lemoiz than Gorliz, but it is certainly worth describing due to its accessibility and proximity.

It is an interesting route from the point of view of the landscape and, on top of that, the ascent of Urizarmendi from the Urízar neighbourhood of Lemoiz is quite physically demanding. The views walking down to Armintza are magnificent.

Total time: 3 hours 5 min.
Distance: 16.28 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 505 m
Difficulty: Medium, due to its length

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Route 8

Circular route from Gorliz through Astondo via the lighthouse, Ermua Mendi, Armintza, Urizarmendi, Andraka, the Plentzia estuary, the Gandia neighbourhood and back to Gorliz

I must warn you that this is one of the longest routes in the guidebook and the one with the second highest cumulative elevation gain. It will take about four and a half hours without stops for relatively well-trained hikers. If you take it a little slower – and on such a long route it is necessary to stop for a drink and something to eat, admire the scenery, etc. – you can do it in five and a half hours.

Duration: 4 hours 15 minutes
Distance: 21.6 km
Difficulty: Moderate–High (due to its length abd the two ascents up Ermua and Urizarmendi)
Cumulative elevation gain: 786 m

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Route 9

Climbing Ermua via the Urezarantza neighbourhood and descending along the path through the holm oak grove and the old route

This is another alternative to those already mentioned for climbing Ermua. It is a short but very attractive and sometimes quite demanding climb.

Duration: 1 hour 30 min.
Difficulty: Easy.
Distance: 7.5 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 305 m

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Route 10

Route of the three peaks in the Ermua range: Lehorarri, Ermua Mendi and Etzandarri

The idea is to climb the three small peaks that mark the Ermua range, although to tell you the truth I think that the range, which stretches between the Astondo beach and Armintza, has five peaks: the first is the Astondo peak, 127 m high; the second is Larragan, 149 m high; the third is Lehorarri; the fourth is Ermua Mendi, and the fifth and last is Etzandarri.

Duration: 2 hours 9 min.
Distance: 9.5 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 433 m.
Difficulty: Medium – Low

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Route 11

Circular route through Urizar, Armintza, Ermua Mendi, Faro, Astondo and Gorliz again

This circular route is actually the sum of several sections of other routes already mentioned, except that now you will do them the other way round. It is a relatively long route (about three hours) in which you will follow part of the GR 280 Trail in the opposite direction, from Berreaga to Armintza. In general, it is not particularly difficult, although you will have to make some effort to climb the 290 metres up Ermua from Armintza.

Distance: 14.68 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 433 m
Duration: 2 hours 50 min.
Difficulty: Medium

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Route 12

Ruta circular por Gandia y la Ría de Plentzia, con dos variantes de subida a Andraka y vuelta a Gorliz entrando por Orbeta bidea

This is a relatively short and very easy route, as there are no physically demanding sections. The first part is almost the same as the final stretch on Route 5 from Andraka to Gorliz. Nevertheless, we are going to describe it, this time as part of an outward route.

Duration of the longer route: 2 hours 15 minutes
Distance: 11.76 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 294 m
Difficulty: Low

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Route 13

Circular route via Gandia and the Plentzia estuary to Butron Castle and back to Gorliz via Urduliz, Txipio and Plentzia

This is another relatively long route. You can do it in about four and a half hours walking at a leisurely pace, stopping to take photos, and have a drink or a snack. However, people who are used to long treks could easily do it in three and a half to four hours without stopping. Walkers can adapt the route to their own pace. However, in all honesty it has to be said that this is a route without severe gradients: 414 metres of elevation gain over almost 20 km.

Total time: 3 hours 55 min.
Distance: 19.85 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 414 m
Difficulty: Medium due to its length

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Route 14

Circular route from Gorliz to the top of Gane, passing through Txipio, Musaurieta and Plentzia.

This is a short route, without any difficulty and suitable for everyone, most of which runs through the town of Plentzia. However, despite being short (it can be done in about two hours), it has two truly wild and very mountainous sections that are well worth seeing. This route is also suitable for families.

Duration: 2 hours 15 min.
Distance: 11.57 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 289 m
Difficulty: Low

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Route 15

Circular route from Gorliz to Barrika and the cliffs, with two options from Txipio, returning via San Telmo

Although this route starts in Gorliz, most of it runs along the road through the towns of Plentzia and Barrika, before returning to Gorliz. Despite that, it has some really interesting stretches, due to the wildness of one of them and the scenic beauty of another part of the route, as well as the charm of the nearby sea. The plan of the route shown at the end is the alternative route along the wooded section of the GR 280 Trail.

Total time: 2 hours 40 min. along the GR 280 Trail and 5 min. less via Txipio Bidea
Distance: 13.9 km and 13.7 km, respectively
Cumulative elevation gain: 251 m and 272 m, respectively
Difficulty: Low, except for the variant along the GR 280 Trail as it passes along the wooded path, which can be considered a section of medium difficulty due to the intricate, uneven nature of this section.

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Route 16

Circular route through Saratxaga, Andraka, the Plentzia estuary and the Zabale neighbourhood, down to Areantza Kalea and back to Gorliz via Hondartza Ibiltokia

This route, which takes just over two hours and covers a distance of 11 km, combines wooded sections along tracks and paths with some stretches of road with very little traffic, passing through areas of Gorliz that are little travelled and almost unknown to many people, which is why we consider it to be an interesting route that is very suitable for walking with children.

Duration: 2 hours 5 minutes
Distance: 11.16 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 297 m
Difficulty: Low

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Route 17

Circuit round the outskirts of Gorliz and Plentzia for walking or running

Strictly speaking, this route is not a hiking or mountain circuit like the previous ones, but rather a fairly urban route that goes around the centres of Gorliz and Plentzia, designed for someone who wants to take a relatively long route of around 15 km in total either walking or running. It is obvious that walkers can choose to shorten the walk at any time or lengthen it by introducing new sections at various points.

Duration: 3 hours 2 minutes
Distance: 15.52 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 174 m
Difficulty: Low.

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Route 18

Route round the outskirts of Gorliz

Before starting this route, we should point out that, strictly speaking, it is impossible to go all the way round Gorliz due to the non-existence of paths or tracks that run as close as possible to the boundaries of the town. However, we have tried to get as close as possible, although passing through parts of neighbouring municipalities or straying relatively far away from the geographical boundaries of the town is unavoidable for the sake of the efficiency of the route.

Total time: 3 hours 45 min.
Distance: 18.35 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 543 m
Difficulty: Medium, due to the distance

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Route 19

Long circular route from Gorliz, going up Ermua and Urizarmendi, Andraka, Butron Castle, Urduliz, Barrika cliffs, San Telmo, Plentzia and back to Gorliz

This is without doubt the longest circular route in this guide. It is well over 30 km and takes just over 7 hours to complete, with a cumulative elevation gain of almost 900 m, which, bearing in mind that it runs through this area of Uribe Kosta where there are hardly any large mountains, is a big deal. It is a typical “leg breaker”, recommended only for experienced people who are used to several hours of walking. Of course, another option is to do the route in two days, dividing it into two stages. Doing that makes the challenge a little more manageable.

Total time: 7 hours 30 min.
Distance: 34 km
Cumulative elevation gain: 900 m
Difficulty: High

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Route 20

The seven small peaks from Astondo to Armintza

This is a route for the brave, for experienced mountain people who don’t mind suffering for a while crossing relatively difficult stretches at the expense of having at almost all times spectacular views in areas very little frequented. We will always go close to the abysses that mark the cliffs and that fall with maximum verticality to the resounding sea that can be seen below.

Total time: 5 hours
Distance: 15,7km
Cumulative elevation gain: 675 m
Difficulty: Moderate

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Route 21

A short route close to Gorliz with three very little known sections

In this case we are going to make a relatively short route of less than eight kilometers (exactly 7.7 km) and few climbs (226 m of positive slope), which includes three interesting and original sections, two of them by very little known, rugged and almost untraveled trails, and the third, fully urbanized and with numerous single-family homes. This last area, called Guzurmendi, is not too busy for gorliztarras who do not live there, as it is quite far away, mainly because the two parts of the street or road Ametzaga bidea have not been connected in the recent urbanization of the area of Guzurmendi. We will discuss this later.

Total time: 2 hours.
Distance: 7,7 km
Cumulative elevation gain:  226m
Difficulty: Moderate

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Route 22

Circulate from Gorliz to Butron Castle, returning to Mount Isuskitza and Gandia

We leave Ibarreta square in Gorliz, and through the roundabout of the boat we pass in front of the cemetery and the industrial park Sagastikoetxe, arriving at the roundabout of the road of Mungia. Continue ahead and, going down through Kautela bidea, turn immediately to the left, to get halfway down through Iturri bidea to a roundabout where you turn left again and then right again to go down to the road to Gandia. We continue along it to the left to its end, at the height of a stone fountain.

Total time: 4 h 40 min
Distance: 17,18 km
Cumulative elevation gain:  356m
Difficulty: Moderada

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Route 23

Circular through Andraka, Malgartzagane mountain and Plentzia estuary, returning through Junkera bidea, Gandia and Plentzia

Esta es una ruta en su mayor parte bastante original, distinta, discurriendo entre Andraka y la ría de Plentzia por pistas y caminos desconocidos, e incluso descubriendo una pequeña cima, el Malgartzagane, bajando hasta casi el Castillo de Butrón por unas preciosas sendas boscosas. La vuelta la hacemos por la frecuentada ruta al borde de la ría de Plentzia hasta el cruce con Mandañu bidea, al lado de viveros Koala, para dar un rodeo por Junkera bidea y llegar a Plentzia por Gandia, regresando por Areatza Kalea hasta Gorliz.

Duration: 4 h 54 min
Distance: 17,97 km
Desnivel positivo acumulado:  449 m
Difficulty: Moderat

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Route 24

Ascent of Urizarmendi from Urizar, returning through Andraka and Saratxaga

It is a medium distance route (slightly more than 15 km) and with a positive difference in altitude of 484 m, in which the novelty lies in the downhill route of the Urizarmendi and the return through Andraka, a neighborhood that we reach by the main road. Another novelty is that we access Berreaga by a little travelled path that is quite invaded by weeds and brambles that annoy us a lot, hence we strongly recommend that if you come here, people wear long trousers and long sleeves, to minimize punctures.

Duration: 3 h 20 min
Distance: 15,26 km
Cumulative elevation gain:  484 m
Difficulty: Moderate

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The weather in Gorliz



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