The flysch of Zumaia is the best place in Spain to observe this geological phenomenon. Throughout the eight kilometers of the coastal border that separates Deba from Zumaia, there is the Protected Biotope of the Abrasion Platform and the Flysch Cliffs of Zumaia, one of the most important geological spaces in Spain, famous among geologists all over the world.
The geological phenomenon known as an abrasion platform refers to a rocky plain that extends in front of a cliff at low tide. In the case of this small section of Cantabrian coast, erosion has shaped a unique landscape in which different sheets of rock are spread out like a kind of millefeuille, alternating between substrata of varied hardness. The result is a truly unique landscape that is not only the greatest abrasion platform in Spain but that also has so many levels of geological interest that it is famous worldwide. The enormous sheets of flysch descend vertically down walls of cliffs that at times can reach 150 meters high until being lost offshore among the rock platform.
On occasion, the outline of the flysch of Zumaia is not straight and erosion creates whimsical shapes, creating caves and other holes in the stone. Most of the walls are relatively inaccessible, which has undoubtedly contributed to its perfectly preserved condition. The flysch of Zumaia presents a great biodiversity that is evident in the extensive communities of seaweed and other species of marine vegetation that grow on the enormous and unique rock formations. The pools that are visible at low tide are a perfect habitat for a multitude of species of mollusks, crustaceans, and small fish. Additionally, the spaces between the cliffs are nesting places for various species of rupicola that fly over the flysch of Zumaia.
Routes: On the high part of the flysch cliffs of Zumaia there are up to five marked trails accessible by foot or bicycle that go around the land and pass through several scenic overlooks and recreation areas with interpretive panels and parking lots. The abrasion platform and the flysch of Zumaia are accessible by some roads, but it’s important to keep in mind the sea level when you go. If you are doing the North Way to Santiago, you must come to visit this place.
How to get there: The N-634 highway, between Zumaia and Deba, runs parallel to the coast and from there you can take different detours that lead to the flysch of Zumaia. Be sure to stop at the visitor center inside the town, near the river.
Below are some recommendations of places to eat and sleep around the abrasion platform and flysch cliffs of Zumaia.