Orio’s location on the shores of the Bay of Biscay has moulded the character of its people and also its culture. The locals are spirited people whose personalities have been forged by tempests and calm seas. The Bay of Biscay is not just any sea; it is an indomitable force that has left its mark on a coastline featuring fine-sanded beaches and rugged cliffs.
The economy of the village of Orio has traditionally been linked to the sea.
The golden age of the famous Basque whalers was the 16th century. Whales were hunted with harpoons, and several six-man boats were needed to surround, kill and carry each whale to shore. There are no whales left in the Bay of Biscay today, only in books and old bertsos, or traditional poetic songs. On 14 May, 1901, the arrantzales oriotarras hunted the last of the native Basque whales, also known as francas, in the Bay of Biscay. The English also called them “right whales” because they were docile and allowed boats to approach them.