Castro Urdiales

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Castro Urdiales, Spain

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43°23.04′N, 03°12.54′W
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Harbour of Castro Urdiales

Castro Urdiales is a small resort and fishing harbour situated eight miles west of the major port of Bilbao on the coast of NW Spain. Originally a 1st century AD Roman colony established to mine the extensive iron ore deposits in the surrounding hills, it became an important outlet in the Middle Ages for the export of goods to northern Europe, receiving its municipal charter in 1163. Although destroyed by French forces during the Peninsular War, the town was subsequently rebuilt and retains many period features, including arcaded squares and a 13th century mediaeval church and castro. Like many harbours along this coast, fishing, once a significant source of income, is in decline and only the canning industry remains as a reminder of the town's former heyday. Tourism is now the town's most important industry, attracted by its picturesque harbour and lovely sandy beaches, and the population of 30,000 more than doubles during July and August. There is no marina but around 130 moorings have been laid in the harbour by the Real Club Nautico de Castro Urdiales (yacht club).


C42 - La Rochelle to Santander
British Admiralty
1174 - Approaches to Bilbao


Prevailing winds are from SW round to NW. Castro Udriales harbour is open to the SE and winds from this quarter would make it very uncomfortable.

Sources for Weather forecasts: see main page for Spain


Popular passages/routes, timing, etc.




Also see World Cruiser's Nets


No dangers in the approach. The harbour entrance faces ESE.


The yacht club has 130 fore & aft moorings, but these are generally occupied by local boats during the season. Most visiting yachts will need to anchor clear of the mooring trots in 6.0 - 9.0 metres. Holding here is good in sand and mud. Shelter is also good in all but easterlies, which send in an unpleasant swell.

Marinas & Yacht Clubs

The Real Club Nautico de Castro Urdiales manages mooring in the harbour. Its own 130 berths are designed for yachts of maximum length 16.0 metres and draught of 3.0 metres, but they are rarely available during the season. However, in return for a one-off fee (last reported as Euros 15), visitors anchoring in the harbour may use the club facilities (toilets, showers and bar) and the services of a club tender to run them back and forth to their yachts. The club also has a crane (2T) and there is a fuel station in the harbour.


In settled weather only, it is possible to anchor off the beach to the south of the town. Anchor in 4.0 - 5.0 metres in the centre of the bay away from the rocky ledges at either side.

Yacht Repairs and Services

Marine Stores

Submit addresses and contact details of marine related businesses that are of interest to cruisers.



Fuel, Water, & Electricity

Fuel station in the harbour. No water or electricity.

Tourism and Things to do Ashore


A stroll around the old mediaeval town centre, with its central square surrounded by arcades, and on up to the 13th century castle is a great way to spend half a day. The 13th century church of Santa Maria de la Asuncion, one of the oldest Gothic churches in northern Spain, is also well worth a visit. If you happen to be in the harbour during July, you may be lucky enough to see the traditional gig races that take place at that time, when teams from all over the region compete in sea-going boats powered by 13 oarsmen and steered by a helmsman with a large steering oar.

Old town square, Castro Urdiales

Grocery & Supply Stores

Small supermarket and other provisions shops in the town.


Lots of tapas bars and restaurants in the arcades around the main square. The Meson Marinero is a good example.




Motorbike & Car Rentals

Garbage Disposal

Ashore at the yacht club.


Transportation (local and/or international)


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)


Links to relevant websites.

References & Publications

Publications, Guides, etc.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

  • For some reason, thunderstorms seem to be especially frequent in Castro Urdiales and it can be quite scary being at anchor in the harbour with all hell breaking loose around you. The holding is good, however, and I have heard no reports of dragging here - Atheneoflymington.

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Names: Atheneoflymington


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