West from San Sebastián, both road and rail run inland, following the Río Oria, then towards the coast at the sprawling overdeveloped town of Zarautz, some 20km from San Sebastián. From here on, the Costa Vasca is glorious – a rocky and wild coastline, with long stretches of road hugging the edge of the cliffs – all the way to Bilbao. The hillsides, particularly around Getaria, are famous for the production of txakoli, a fizzy wine popular in the summer. The farther you go, the less developed the resorts become.
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Flowing north from Gernika, the Río Oka broadens into an estuary that’s fringed by hilly pinewoods and dotted with islets. A succession of sandy coves offer great swimming, but the best spots are at Sukarrieta and especially MUNDAKA. This lovely little village remains amazingly unspoiled, despite having achieved legendary status for its magnificent surfing, which includes what’s claimed to be the longest left break in the world. Although Mundaka has frequently hosted world championship events, conditions tend to vary considerably from year to year. In good years, during the peak winter season, it’s often possible to watch the surfers battle its trademark “Wave” from the plaza next to the church.