A series of social activities will be organised during the XXIX Ibero-American Catalysis Congress – CICAT 2024 for delegates to get together and establish contacts throughout the congress.

1. Greater Bilbao and its river estuary.

Boat trip from Bilbao to the Vizcaya Transporter Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before visiting Santurtzi.

This activity is an opportunity to discover Bilbao and its outskirts from a unique and memorable perspective during a cultural-river trip along its river estuary. The boat trip will leave from Bilbao and last for 120 minutes.
Along the route from Bilbao to the mouth of the River Nervión, you will have the opportunity to learn about the important role of the river estuary in the history of Bilbao, as a decisive factor in the transformation of the industrial city to a service and cultural capital. The trip will take you past the vestiges of its industrial past with the buildings of the former shipyards, the Olabeaga workshops, the Molinos Vascos Building, and the Altos Hornos de Vizcaya ironworks.

The boat will dock in Santurtzi, a small town with a greater seafaring culture and known for its two ports: the fishing harbour and the Port of Bilbao, which is the largest commercial port of the territory. Portugalete is just a pleasant 15 minutes’ walk along the promenade from Santurtzi, and is a chance to enjoy the views of the boats and out to sea.

Lunch will be at the Hotel URH Palacio de Oriol, a mansion built in the 19th century and declared a historical heritage site of the municipality. Over the years, leading members of the upper class would stay in this imposing building when they visited Portugalete.

After lunch, you will then visit Portugalete and its medieval old town; and then take in the sights along both banks of the river estuary by crossing the Vizcaya Bridge, the oldest transporter bridge in the world and which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Passengers cross the bridge on its gondola and you will have the chance to go up to the pedestrian walkway on the highest part of the bridge and enjoy the breathtaking views over the Abra bay.

Once on the other side, you will be Getxo, where you will have time to take in some of the beaches closest to the city of Bilbao and a promenade lined with the former mansions and townhouses of the upper classes and bourgeoisie.
At the end of the tour, you will make your way back to Bilbao, which is easily reached from the Metro subway stations.

2. Visit along the coast and inland.

Gernika, Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve and San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.

This activity is an opportunity to discover the beautiful scenery of some well-known municipalities inland and along the coast. A coach will take the group from Bilbao to Gernika, just 35 kilometres away, which became one of the best-known Basque places internationally after the appalling bombing of the town in 1937.

n Gernika, the first stop will be at Assembly House and the Tree of Gernika: symbols of the history of the Basque People, and 2 places where leading Basque politicians would meet historically to decide on the future of their people. This tradition has continued to the present; it is here – next to the Tree of Gernika, the symbol of the freedoms and traditions of the Basque People – where the Lehendakari (leader of the Basque Country) swears their oath of office before taking up their duties at the head of the Basque Government.

After visiting Gernika, the group will be taken to the Baserri Maitea Restaurant, a 17th-century caserío (the typical farmstead of the Basque Country), decorated with attention to detail and in an idyllic location, where lunch will feature some of the typical dishes of Basque cuisine.

After lunch, the coach will take you to San Juan de Gaztelegutxe. The route will take in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve; this natural paradise was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1984 and its landscape of marshland surrounded by rolling mountains is brimming with animal and human life. The journey will end at the world-famous San Juan de Gaztelugatxe islet.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe island is one of the most magical and unmissable spots in Bizkaia and has been used as a filming location for famous international productions. It is connected to the mainland by a stone bridge that ends in a narrow path with 241 steps up to the chapel on the summit.

The steps have been recognised as one of the world’s most spectacular staircases.

The last stop on the tour is the seafaring charter town of Bermeo, one of the few fishing villages where the residents still make their livelihood from the sea and fishing, in the same way as their ancestors. A fact that is obvious from the fishing boats in the harbour and the number of local canning companies.

At the end of the visit, the coach will take you back to Bilbao.

3. Wine tour.

Winery visit and tasting.

The group will set out from Bilbao and travel 180 kilometres to La Guardia, where wine influences the culture, shapes the landscape, and gives form to buildings and towns, peppering them with incredible contrasts.

La Guardia is in the province of Álava and is part of the La Rioja Alavesa region, which is known for its first-rate wines and its rich history of wine making. This activity featuring wine offers an unforgettable wine experience and the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful vineyard landscape.

You will visit the Winery of the Eguren Family, who have been making wine since 1870. You will discover how the wine is made, as the tour takes you through 2,000 metres of wine cellars hollowed out in the rock; the visit ends with the opportunity to taste three of the Eguren Ugarte Family’s wines.

This family-run winery has over 130 hectares of its own vineyard and a winery where tradition meets modernity. The winery has treasured its wine making tradition, while at the same time incorporating innovative growing and production techniques; the result is exceptional wines, worthy of leading national and international prizes.

The vines are grown in an environmentally friendly way, and caring for the fauna and ecosystem; the grapes are harvested manually and mechanically to ensure they reach the winery at the ideal moment.

Lunch will be held in the spectacular winery and will feature some of the best-known dishes of the local cuisine.

At the end of the visit, tasting and lunch, the coach will take you back to Bilbao.