“Chic, self-catering apartments (for 2-4) in a traditional Basque farmhouse with sweeping estuary views”
So you can imagine our delight when we heard about a converted farmhouse here that’s named after the famous author. Transformed by a local family (who also run the Ea Astei apartments nearby), this rustic, timber-framed building now houses 6 swish apartments. Scandi-chic in style, they come in one- or two-bedroom formations, with open-plan layouts, smart kitchens for self-catering and picture windows revealing sweeping views.
Thanks to its location beside the Urdaibai estuary (a Unesco biosphere reserve), the house is on a popular bird migration route. The nearest beach is five minutes away, or there are plenty of others nearby, and surfing and kitesurfing are popular activities due to reliable waves and prevailing winds. If you prefer land-based action, the mountainous interior is marked by dozens of hiking and biking trails, and the museums and galleries of Bilbao are within easy day trip distance. Talk about a hidden gem!
- Smart, high-spec apartments with chic styling and lots of local, natural materials
- Those incredible estuary views - most apartments have balconies for taking it in
- We hear Irune and Jon are the perfect hosts: warm, friendly and full of local tips
- Beaches on your doorstep: the nearest is a five-minute walk away
- Great for outdoorsy families thanks to a choice of two-bedroom apartments, good kitchens, lots of outside space and plenty to do in the area (surfing, kitesurfing, cycling, birdwatching)
- No swimming pool, but there’s a hot tub and the beach is nearby
- This is a rural location; you’ll need a car to get here
- The nearest supermarket is a 15-minute drive away in Guernica so shopping trips will need to be pre-planned
- The all-glass bathroom walls in some apartments don't provide much privacy for ablutions!
- This area of Spain can be wet and windy so come prepared for all seasons
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Apartments
- 6 apartments (for 2-4)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Laundry Service
There are six apartments to choose from, each very similar in style but varying in size (50-170m2). Ladies, Book and Hemingway’s Friends apartments have one bedroom each so are more suited to couples (though most can fit an extra bed); Stream, Mountain and Cuba are larger with two bedrooms apiece.
Their design is Scandi-minimalist, with soothing grey and white colour schemes and lots of local Monterey pine. All have separate living / dining rooms with either a full kitchen or a kitchenette, and most come with private balconies – the estuary views from which look heavenly.
Every effort has been made to conserve the local environment. Rooms are made with 100% natural materials, solar panels provide energy, and the property’s eco-friendly heating and cooling system runs off waste wood chips. There’s no denying that the apartments are extremely smart and stylish inside, but the emphasis here is what lies outside, and nothing detracts from the stunning landscape.
- Coffee / tea making
- Hob or stove
Every apartment is equipped with a high-spec kitchen or kitchenette. If you plan to do lots of self-catering, opt for one of the newer apartments (Stream and Mountain), as these have the largest kitchen spaces and come with a proper oven, not just a microwave. All apartments have an indoor dining area, and most have balconies if you prefer to eat al fresco.
All guests are welcome to use the barbecue in the pretty communal garden with a picnic bench overlooking the estuary. You also get access to a communal dining room where you can help yourself to basic food items. For more substantial supplies, the nearest supermarket is in Guernica, a 15-minute drive away. There's a restaurant 2 mins' walk away, and more within a short drive.
- Coffee / tea making
- Hob or stove
- Restaurants nearby
- You can’t come here and not try surfing. Laga beach has schools for beginners and offers safe surfing year-round. Windsurfing and kitesurfing are also popular activities.
- When it’s too calm for surfing, go stand-up paddleboarding on the estuary at Laida or Arketas beaches.
- The Urdaibai reserve is on a bird migration route. Watch them pass from the observation point at Arteaga Bird Centre, 5km from the house.
- Go walking or cycling in the hills, passing through pine woods to reach lookout points with panoramic views of the estuary and coast. The footpath to San Pedro church atop Atxarre Hill is not to be missed.
- Visit the Santimamine Caves, a 14,000-year-old archaeological site.
- Treat yourself to a massage, a blast in the sauna or a soak in the hot tub back the at house.
- Day trip to Bilbao (40 minutes by car): explore the Guggenheim museum, get a bite to eat in the Old Town and head up to Getxo’s lovely beach. If you have time, take a gondola across Vizcaya Bridge, the oldest transport bridge in the world.
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Mountain biking
- Museums / galleries
- Plantlife / flora
- Shopping / markets
- Stand-up paddle boarding
- Well being
Outdoorsy families will love it here. It’s pretty, peaceful, and offers plenty of space to spread out in. There are three two-bedroom apartments that are perfectly set up for families, all with good kitchens and spacious living areas. There isn’t much in the way of kid-friendly activities on site, but there’s a beach within walking distance and loads of family-friendly activities nearby: cycling, surfing, swimming, horse riding - you name it.
Family friendly accommodation:
Cuba, Stream and Mountain apartments all have two bedrooms; opt for one of the latter two if a full kitchen is important. Most apartments can fit extra beds or baby cots.
- High chair
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Kids Activities nearby:
- Beaches (the nearest is 100 metres away; Laga and Laida are nearby)
- Watersports (surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, swimming)
- Horse riding
- The painted forest at Kortezubi
- Airport: 35-minute drive
- Hospital: 15-minute drive
- Supermarket: 15-minute drive
The Hemingway Riverview Apartments are located in Kanala on the Urdaibai estuary, a biosphere reserve in northern Spain's Basque region. It is 12km from Guernica, 46km from Bilbao and 101km from San Sebastián.
The closest airport is Bilbao (40km / 35-minute drive).
From the Airport
From Bilbao you can take a taxi, but we recommend hiring a car as you'll need one for exploring the area.
Brittany Ferries sail from Portsmouth to Bilbao (24-hour journey), early booking is recommended. You can also sail from Plymouth or Portsmouth to Santander (103km from Bilbao).
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.
- Bilbao 40.0 km BIO
- Beach 0.4 km
- Shops 12.0 km
- Restaurant 0.1 km