On the Coast of the Bay of Biscay (with Map & Photos)

Bay of Biscay. Considered the easternmost part of the Cantabrian Sea, with which the coastal sea that bathes the north coast of Spain and the southwestern coast of France is designated.

Bay of Biscay
Bay of Biscay


The Bay of Biscay, also known as the Golfo de Vizcaya, is a gulf of the North Atlantic Ocean and the easternmost part of the Cantabrian Sea.

It comprises, approximately, from Cape Ajo in Cantabria (Spain) to southern Brittany (France). It bathes the coasts of Cantabria, the Basque Country and Aquitaine (France).

Bay of Biscay
Bay of Biscay


The rivers that flow into the southern coast of this gulf are short, like all those on the Cantabrian slope. On the other hand, those on the east coast have a long route, again being a short course to the north.

Among the Spaniards, the Nalón stands out, being the longest and most mighty river in the Spanish area, the Nervión, which forms the Bilbao estuary, and the Bidasoa, which partly marks the border between France and Spain.

Geological Oceanography of the Bay of Biscay

Thus, while the almost non-existent Cantabrian continental shelf abruptly falls into the cliff, the French continental shelf extends widely off the coast.

Bay of Biscay
Bay of Biscay

The possible origin as well as the formation process is a controversial issue that has recently been addressed in the light of the latest discoveries in relation to Plate Tectonics, and the considerable advances in marine geology, experienced in recent years have been due largely to the technological advances developed for the exploitation of the geological resources of the oceanic subsoil, especially, in the field of hydrocarbon extraction.

An important fact when deducing the possible genesis of the Bay of Biscay is the remarkable similarity that exists between the extreme NW of the Iberian Peninsula ( Galicia ) and the central French Armorican massif.

The distribution of the metamorphic bands and the granites, indicate how at the end of the Hercinian orogeny, Galicia was united to the French Brittany, and the Bay of Biscay did not yet exist.

Bay of Biscay Map