Bermeo is the typical example of a Basque fishing town. As one of the first towns founded in the region during the eleventh century. Bermeo has always suffered from two challenges. One being pirate attacks and the other rough waters. Both of the challenges coming from the sea. The old part of the site is made of three to four floor buildings and narrow streets, quite sloppy at best. With the piers protection all the ships and a statue of “Xixili” a mermaid that is said to protect sailors.
As the most important fishing harbour in the Basque coastline, Bermeo has seen its ups and downs. At the beggining of the century for example a sudden storm killed more than a hundred sailors as they were sailing just a few miles from the coast. This event shocked the country at that time and triggered a visit of Spanish king Alfonso the 13th to asses what it had happened.
Besides the old part of the city Bermeo has expanded since the middle of the 20th century until now. A lot of residential buildings have been built, but due to its belonging to Urdaibai’s Reserve of the Biosphere, right now construction is only allowed under some circumstances.