The Basque Coast from Gipuzkoa

Leave Donostia – San Sebastian through the Miraconcha walk crossing the area of Ondarreta and “El Antiguo”, till you take the national road N-634 in “Añorga” direction Bilbao.

In Usurbil, you can visit the Church of Saints Salvador where the high altar und the baroque Tower are to be seen. Also, the Atxega Palace is nice to visit and here, you can eat very well. You continue our route through the river Oria, and you will reach Aginaga, known for their young eels ( Angulas ).

Few kilometres later, you come to Orio, a small fishing community which is surrounded by an exceptional natural environment. On one side, you have the river Oria, which empties into the sea next to Antilla beach, and, on the back side, the green coastal mountains make up a rich countryside which provides a place to do all kinds of outdoor activities. The Oria estuary, the beach, and the mountains make it possible to go on walks or hiking, do all types of fishing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, swimming, cycling, Han gliding. Things which you should not miss in Orio:

  • Visit the old town centre (in the higher point there is a beautiful view to all this surrounding)
  • Eat a Sea Bream
  • Enjoy the beach and its surroundings

If you continue the N-634, we will come to the next town called Zarautz. Zarautz sits on an open stretch of land facing the sea in the province of Gipuzkoa. The most renowned attraction is its two-kilometre beach with fine sand, flanked on either side by the Santa Barbara and Mollarri cliffs. You will be pleasantly surprised at the local custom of taking long easy walks along the beach and on the dike, there are many restaurants/bars where you can sit and drink something under the lovely sun. In the town centre there are several noteworthy monuments to be seen, like the Narros Palace, The Luzea Tower, The Parochial Church of Santa Maria La Real, the Portu Palace and so on. Although it is certainly true that Zarautz is known for its mountains and seaside (wonderful view to this coast from the Camping Zarautz), the town is also the venue for a wide variety of first rate cultural events and festivals, like the Surfing Champions, the traditional Basque Fest, San Pelayo Fest, and so on.

After this visit, you will follow the road boarding the coast which offers unbelievable view to the sea all along, till you reach the little villageGetaria. Getaria is a beautiful fishing community and the old town centre still shows a walled city from the Middle Aged. Salbatore Deuna ( The Savour’s ) Church is probably the most representative work or architecture in the old part of the village. Since it also acted as rampart, a corridor along its basement allowed the side of a defensive battery. The medieval Manor of Zarautz and Olaso, ancestral home of a noble family, appears hammed in by the church walls. But perhaps the most peculiar architectural whole in the village is to be found along Elkano Street, where there are typical houses of the local fishermen, squeezed in, neat and colourful, whit wooden balconies and narrow steep entrances. A plate on the number 12 of Aldamar Street it founds the family house where the great couturier Cristobal Balenciaga was born. Further up a narrow street by the house, a small vantage point offers excellent views over the bay. And so does the terraced top of Juan Sebastian Elkano Memorial and from the little island “Mountain San Anton” (also known as “Raton de Getaria”), which was originally an island served as observation point to watch the unpredictable seas. Now, it has become a cute semi-urban park of peculiar vegetation and beautiful views.

Continue along the coastal road until you reach Zumaia. You should visit the House-Museum of the painter Ignacio de Zuloaga, situated in the salt flats as you enter the town, and the Laia Museum, with a permanent exhibition that shows the origin and development of the craft products to be found in the Basque Country. You can visit two different beaches, “Santiago” beach where its situated in the entrance of the town and the “Itzurun” beach where its situated behind the village Zumaia. Stretching from Itzurun beach in Zumaia down to Deba, there are vertical strata from rock formations rising above the sea that create a magic, majestic, and unique landscape. When the tide pulls back from the foot of the cliff, a wide abrasion platform appear, witness to the non-stop erosion from the sea and full of a thousand kinds of life forms. It is to recall that its sands and waters contain properties that are recognised as beneficial to health on account of a high concentration of iodine. Into the town, you can visit the St. Peter´s Parish Church (San Pedro) and inside, you might find the Juan Antxieta´s altarpiece which was declared a National Monument as well as Quintin de Torre´s “Christ”, the votive table, and side chapels.

You continue along the national road N-634 till you reach the next village called Deba. Deba is set amongst limestone mountains which an abundance of natural caves – more than fifty -. There are a number of caves like Ekain Cave, discovered in 1969, which contains important polychromatic paintings and is considered to be amongst the five best examples of cave art in the world. Into the town, you can visit the Church of Santa María La Real (a National Monument and jewel of Basque Gothic architecture) with its polychromatic doorway and Gothic Cloister, Aguirre Palace, the Tower House and Sasiola Convent.

Crossing the bridge over the river Deba and following the GI-638, you will come to the village called Mutriku. Mutriku is also a fishing community and it is famous for its fish preserves, particularly anchovies. From the port to Saturrarán beach, at low tide it is possible to walk along the area known as “Seven Beaches”, one of the most attractive and truly wild parts of the Basque Coast. At the end of the port, you can also find a natural swimming pool. Of particular interest are the neoclassical Our Lady of the Assumption Church (catalogued as a National Monument), Galdona Palace House and Monument of Admiral Churruca, hero of the naval battle of Trafalgar, who became one of the town´s favourite sons.

You return to Donostia / San Sebastian by taking the motorway A-8.