from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bay of Biscay,
Golfe de Gascogne
Typical stretch of coast in Spain

Typical stretch of coast in Spain

Waters North Atlantic
Land mass Western Europe
Geographical location 45 °  N , 4 °  W Coordinates: 45 °  N , 4 °  W
Map of Biscay
width 511.1 km
depth 593.7 km
surface 223,000 km²
Greatest water depth 4735 m
Medium water depth 1744 m
Islands Île de Groix , Île Dumet , Belle-Île , Île d'Yeu , Île de Ré , Île d'Oléron , Île aux Oiseaux , Isla de Mouro
Tributaries Penerf , Vilaine , Loire , Falleron , Vie , Auzance , Lay , Sèvre Niortaise , Charente , Seudre , Gironde , Eyre , Courant de Mimizan , Adour , Nivelle , Bidasoa , Urumea , Oria , Urola , Nervión , Aboño , Alvares Nalón , Deba , Saja , Pas , Miera , Sella , Navia , Eo , Río Masma , Río Landro
Map of the Bay of Biscay by Guillaume Brouscon (1548)

Map of the Bay of Biscay by Guillaume Brouscon (1548)

The Biscay (  [ bɪsˈkaːja ] ), also called the Bay of Biscay ( French Golfe de Gascogne , Basque Bizkaiko Golkoa , Spanish Golfo de Vizcaya , Galician Golfo de Biscaia , Latin Sinus Cantabricus ), is a bay of the Atlantic Ocean that extends from Galicia to extends to Brittany along the north coast of Spain and the west coast of France . This sea area is known for bad weather, strong storms and extreme swell . Please click to listen!Play


The southern Biscay , off the Spanish coast to the Adour River (France), is usually referred to in Spanish and Galician as Mar Cantábrico (Cantabrian Sea, Latin Mare Cantabricum ); in addition, the term Golfo de Vizcaya (or Golfo de Biscaia ) is used to denote the entire Bay of Biscay. In French, too, the name Cantabrian Sea ( Mer Cantabrique ) is used for the southern half of the Biscay, and in Basque, Kantauri Itsasoa is common.

Part of the Spanish Biscay coast is known under the tourist name Costa Verde ('Green Coast'). The region has a temperate maritime climate with high rainfall , making the landscape greener than other parts of Spain.

Mercator map of Europe from 1589 with the Aquitanicus oceanus

On the Mercator map of Europe from 1589, the Biscay is referred to as Aquitanicus oceanus , while Cantabricus oceanus is shown west of the Spanish west coast at Cape Finisterre . The latter contradicts the synonymous use of both terms.


f1Georeferencing Map with all coordinates: OSM | WikiMap


The water-side border between Biscay and the rest of the Atlantic is the straight line (geodetic great circle) from Cabo Ortegal ( 44 °  N , 8 °  W ) or from Estaca de Bares , a few kilometers further east , ( 44 °  N , 8 °  W ), which is mentioned as the western limit of the Cantabrian Sea, to the Breton Pointe Penmarc'h ( 48 °  N , 4 °  W ). The area enclosed by this line and the coast is approximately 223,000 km², the greatest water depth is 4735 m in the Sables d'Olonne Canyon ( 46 °  N , 4 °  W ), north of the center and 155 kilometers southwest of the Île d'Yeu . At an average depth of 1774 meters, a water volume of 395,600 km³ is calculated. The main direction of wind and ocean current is caused by the arrival of the Gulf Stream on the European mainland coast and leads from Pointe Penmarc'h on the south coast of Brittany in a clockwise rotating current to Cabo Ortegal. The turbulence that occurs between this current and the coast is considered dangerous in seafaring, at least for small and medium-sized vessels.


The four autonomous regions of Galicia , Asturias , Cantabria and the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country , the Spanish part of the Basque Country , are located on the mostly rocky, but - especially in Asturias - charming sandy bays with offshore rock islands . The north coast of Galicia has a fjord-like character due to the Rías Altas . The economic center of Asturias is the port city of Gijón . The capital of Cantabria, Santander , is also located on the Bay of Biscay and is characterized by tourism. In the Basque Country is the province of Bizkaia , after which the bay is named. The port of the coastal town of San Sebastian is one of the largest in the country.

The French part of the coast belongs to the three regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine (with the coastal towns of Bayonne , Bordeaux , Rochefort and La Rochelle ), Pays de la Loire (with the coastal towns of Nantes and Saint-Nazaire ) and Brittany (with the town of Lorient ).

On the coast of Brittany, the Biscay meets the Celtic Sea at Pointe de Penmarch , which is also the southern boundary of the Baie d'Audierne .


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Center de Recherche sur les Mammifères Marins de La Rochelle (CRMM). Observatoire Régional de l'Environnement Poitou-Charentes, accessed on September 8, 2012 (French).
  2. ^ José Ignacio Hualde, Jon Ortiz De Urbina: A Grammar of Basque . Walter de Gruyter, 2003.
  3. a b Golfo de Vizcaya y costas ibéricas atlánticas. (No longer available online.) European Commission , archived from the original on December 19, 2012 ; Retrieved September 8, 2012 (Spanish).
  4. ^ O Golfo da Biscaia ea Costa Ibérica. (No longer available online.) European Commission, archived from the original on December 19, 2012 ; Retrieved September 8, 2012 (Portuguese).
  5. ^ Sinus Cantabricus: OS (Oceans)., accessed September 8, 2012 .
  6. ^ Bay of Biscay. Britannica Online Encyclopaedia, accessed September 8, 2012 .
  7. a b Bay of Biscay. Encyclopedia of Earth, accessed September 8, 2012 .
  8. Golfe de Gascogne., accessed September 8, 2012 (French).
  9. Plan territorial sectorial de protección y ordenación del litoral de la comunidad autónoma del país vasco. ( PDF ; 1.4 MB) Retrieved September 8, 2012 (Basque, unknown language, Spanish).
  10. The Costa Verde, nature by the sea., accessed September 8, 2012 .
  11. Johann Georg Theodor Graesse, Friedrich Benedict: Orbis latinus, Latin lexicon of Geographical Names of the Middle Ages and the modern era, large output. Vol .: 1, A - D . Ed. And ed. by Helmut Plechl u. a. Braunschweig, 1972, p. 126
  12. Green Spain., accessed September 8, 2012 .

Web links

Commons : Biscay  - Collection of images, videos and audio files