Sopelana is a town and municipality located in the province of Biscay, in the autonomous community of Basque Country, northern Spain.
The town is roughly 820 hectares in area, located in the general area of Uribe Kosta on the north east side of Bilbao and due east of the Nervíon river outlet. In the municipality, other former towns like Larrabasterra are now merged to make the larger Sopelana town. The population is 11,185 people, as recorded in the 2003 census. Thriving expansion of the town puts this number to well over 12000 people. The area of Sopelana is situated among green hills and beaches. This makes for a very attractive suburb to Bilbao, with a short commute of 35 minutes on the metro.
Sopelana's climate is very different from the one south Spain. Harsh winds tend to pick up speed along the coast and precipitation is very common from October to April. Northern winds bring the winter temperature to just above the freezing point, but summers are usually comfortable from late May to early September. Occurrences of snow on the winter roads can be expected if the temperature is unseasonably low.
While the summer climate is hot, the constant winds coming in over the beaches make the sun less aggressive on the beach.
Sopelana is known for the two beaches Barinatxe and Arrietara. They are rather exposed to the elements of the Bay of Biscay and have good conditions for surfers. A third beach, Meñakoz is of less appeal for sun worshippers, and more for the surfer crowd due to the pebble bed ground. Sopelana is frequently the host of regional surf competitions, and is one of the better surfing places in Europe. A less famous, but also internationally known event, is the yearly nude race on Barinatxe beach in the fall. Barinatxe is a clothing optional beach.
The town is connected to the main transport arteries with two metro stations on the Bilbao Metro and highways. The metro stations are located to the far south of Sopelana in Larrabasterra, and in the center of Sopelana town. Several bus routes also connect Sopelana to Bilbao and nearby towns.
There are no larger shopping areas in Sopelana, all the centers are located a short car ride away in nearby towns. However, the centre of Sopelana is full of smaller shops with a wide variety of goods. Along the main road to west Sopelana, there are several youth oriented shops and surf shops open all year round.
Sopelana is called Sopela in Basque.