Seafood Lover’s: Authentic Fish Auction and Port Tour

Ever wonder how that anchovy got to your pizza? The canning industry of Northern Spain produces some of the finest seafood including anchovies, canned sardines & bonito del norte. Visit the historic town of Ondarroa and learn how the local canning industry works, from witnessing a fish auction to learning how fish is processed
Ondarroa venta pescado

Back in the late 1800’s if you arrived in Ondarroa the first thing you might have heard was a siren announcing the arrival of a fishing vessel, the number of sirens indicated the type of catch so that women at home would come to the port and help unload the fresh catch.

Today the heart of Ondarroa’s economy continues to be the sea. It is the second most important port in Bizkaia after Bilbao. Several award-winning canneries are based in Ondarroa, producing some of the best seafood in Spain from bonito del norte, mackrel, sardines, anchovies and more.

The production of anchovy fillets for canning is a delicate job requiring tedious labor that many take for granted. The traditional method of canning anchovies involves salt, time and plenty of patience. It takes six months for these beauties to develop their flavour and acquire the right reddish color and aroma. Then each anchovy must be hand filleted and packaged one by one in tins or jars, while ensuring not to tear a single fillet. The painstaking process results in a premium product, sought after by gourmands around the world and a hefty price tag.

The Cantabrian anchovy is considered one of the best for this process of semi-preservation because of its strong aroma, delicate texture and pinkish flesh. Trust us, you haven't had an anchovy unless you have enjoyed one of these delicate Cantabrian anchovies drizzled in extra virgin olive oil.

The experience includes a guided tour of the port that explains the canning process from auction to finished product. If a boat is arriving, the tour will include a visit to a live fish auction where you will witness fresh catch being unloaded, learn about the curious auction system and see the famous women who hand stitch fishing nets the traditional way.

You'll then visit a local cannery 2 kilometers away to see how fish is processed and have a chance to purchase local products.

Finally, we bring you back to Ondarroa for a delicious seafood lunch at one of our favorite spots. Sample the delicious merluza a la ondarresa, a local award winning delicacy of hake fish, olive oil, garlic and lemon, prepared the traditional way.

Please note this tour has limited availability and hours based on cannery and fishing boat schedules. Get in touch for more information and to make a reservation.

Read more about the route.

Details & Reservation

Where: Ondarroa
Length: 4-5 Hours
Minimum Recommended: 4 People
Languages: English, Spanish, Basque, German
Included: Port access, Auctions, Cannery ,Gourmet Tastings

Contact email
Number of People