If there is one stunning viewpoint that nature lovers should not miss when visiting the Basque country it is “El salto del Nervión” or the Nervión waterfall.
The city of Bilbao is a gift from the Nervión River. The sources of the Nervión are located in Álava, in the Basque Country. Just a few kilometers from the sources the small river reaches the edges of the mountain range and falls into a steep canyon, creating an amazing waterfall.
This waterfall, the highest in the Iberian peninsula with a total height of 222 mt, is surrounded by mountains, incredible forests and other fantastic waterfalls only 40 minutes away from Bilbao.
The development of Bilbao and its metropolitan area have been determined by the Nervión river. The fascinating history of this region of the Basque Country could be discovered just by following along the river’s course and the starting point is one of the most beautiful places in all the Basque lands for any nature lovers.
The main source of the Nervion river is the awesome “Salto del Nervión”. It’s an extraordinary waterfall that has created a beautiful canyon from the neighboring plateau of Castilla, running down to the Green Valleys of the Basque Country. A real watershed, where all the waters collect on the way down the river and then flow into the Bay of Biscay. This site is a definite “must see” for all visitors.
A wonderful landscape for nature lovers. The Gujuli Cascade and Nervion Waterfall.
The Gujuli Cascade, only a few kilometers away from the Nervión, is a smaller but also an amazing fall of 100 mt high, which pours its water into the Altube River. Where the magical Altube beech forest is also found, the biggest beech tree forest in the Basque Country.
The water carried by the Gujuli Cascade is collected from the amazing Sea of Meadows in Urkabustaiz. With flat and high landscapes that provide spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
Between ravines, on slopes that lower to smooth clearings, the lands are rolled up creating a gigantic pasture with a mosaic of walls revealing a beautiful square of grasslands.
A perfect path for nature lovers who want to travel and enjoy a Nordic walking route surrounded by horses and herds of latxa (a Basque native kind of sheep).
The Altube river meets the Nervión river, joining other affluents, to form one singular water mass that runs through the land of the Basques to the Bay of Biscay. The tides of this rough sea affect the river water levels while running through the city of Bilbao. You can observe that the Nervión river, from Bilbao city to its mouth, carries more or less water depending on the tides. When it’s fuller we call it “la Ría del Nervión”, an endearing term, which is the female version of the word “Rio”, meaning river in Spanish. True bilbainos love the Nervion River that forms part of our own identity.
The Nervión waterfall doesn’t carry water the whole year round, it requires enough water to collect in the aquifers in order to create the waterfall. It’s a natural wonder, and when the snows melt or after copious rains gather, it reveals its imposing water force, plummeting more than 200 meters to continue its journey ending in the Bay of Biscay. The best time of the year to see this wonder is from November through to March.
The view of the imposing water column is very impressive and the sights that can be enjoyed are incredible since it’s one of the highest points of the area. A beautiful chance to contemplate Vizcaya and Álava from a bird’s-eye view while walking along the edge of the cliff.
This video belongs to Escapada Rural
Birding and Nordic Walking Tours.
Spain is the habitat of approximately 95% of European scavenger birds. On the walls of Arrastaria, 160 pairs of griffon vultures nest, one of the largest populations of these raptors in the Iberian Peninsula. It is common to see the vultures flying over the falls, looking for the air currents as they take their majestic flight.
To get to know this spectacular landscape you can choose different routes customized for nature lovers. The one used by most of our visitors who don’t want to walk for a long time is from Santiago Mountain Natural Reserve. It takes less than 30 minutes to arrive at the viewpoint over the cliff from the parking area. However, during the months when the waterfall carries water, it’s too crowded for our liking!
From Unza, there is another route to arrive at the Nervión Waterfall, also quite busy during the winter and spring, especially when it is shown in the news. It takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes hiking to reach the river course before it drops into the Delika Canyon. After a few kilometers of hiking, you can admire the cliffs and Arrastaria valley under your feet. During the dry seasons, although it does not carry water, the route and the landscapes are still incredible. There are still many visitors who also use this path and it can get busy, but never as busy as the viewpoint in Burgos.
Some visitors prefer to stay in the city and just get a glimpse of the rising waters by taking a Bilbao river cruise.
Check out our programs to discover this amazing spot, taking paths off the beaten track to find the Nervion Waterfall. We know the area extensively, as well as the history and traditions of our culture; we can show you unexpect places that few visitors have the priviledge to see. Book with us today and start organising your travels to Bilbao, Spain.
For more information you can watch youtube videos dedicated to Basque nature and to find any new events or reviews, keep a look out on our website!