Getaria In The Spanish Basque Country: 5 Must-sees
Do you know Getaria in Spain? This charming town in the Spanish Basque Country should not be confused with Guéthary, another town on the French side of the Basque coast. Nestled on the Cantabrian Sea and at the foot of Mount San Antón, about 25 km west of San Sebastian, this medieval village offers postcard-perfect scenery between beaches, vineyards and a small fishing port. We have listed for you 5 must-see things to do while you are there.
1- The church of San Salvador
In Getaria, it is the silhouette of Mount San Antón that first catches the eye. This mountain is nicknamed "Ratón de Getaria" (the mouse of Getaria) because of its shape.
Another must-see landmark is Church of San Salvador (Salbatore Parroki Eliza), which stands in the medieval town centre.
Mostly built in the 15th century, this Gothic church has been listed as a National Monument. Restored several times, it has three naves, divided into three sections each.
Unusually, the rocky terrain on which the church was built is sloping, so that there is an underground passage under the church of San Salvador, the Katrapona passage (see paragraph 3).
2- Picturesque houses galore
In the vicinity of the church, you can continue your tour of old Getaria and discover several stone tower-houses.
The Zarautz Tower-House (Zarautz Dorretxea) was abandoned at the end of the 15th century when it was partially damaged by work to enlarge the church. Its main façade can still be admired today.
Another building with remarkable architecture, the Tower-House of the Ibáñez de Olaso (Olasotarren Dorretxea) has recently been restored.
In San Roque Street, between numbers 27 and 35, there is a group of Gothic houses (San Roke Kaleko Etxe Gotikoak). The only exception is the Larrumbide House (Larrunbide Etxea), whose facade overlooks San Roque Street stands out for its Baroque style!
Finally, if you want to see typical fishermen's houses, brightly coloured with wooden balconies, you must go to Elkano Street.
3- The Katrapona passage
After strolling through the town, take the famous Katrapona Passage located under the church.
This unusual tunnel was dug for defensive reasons, at a time when the Church of San Salvador was still attached to the walls of Getaria.
There is nothing secret about this passageway (on the contrary, it is very well known and popular with tourists), which connects the main street (Kale Nagusia) to the stairs that lead to the port.
Here you can admire an image of Piety which dates from the 16th century.
4- The port of Getaria
Like many coastal towns in the Basque Country, Getaria was once a fishing and whaling village.
This town in the Spanish Basque Country can also boast of being the birthplace of Juan Sebastián Elcano, the first navigator to sail around the world!
Keep your eyes peeled and you'll notice several statues of him in the town.
In the port area, take the time to sit down in one of the many restaurants. Here you can have a fresh grilled fish dish (the restaurants all offer the catch of the day) and taste the local wine called Getariako Txakoli.
This young, fruity white wine is characterized by a straw-colored color, fruit aromas and a slight presence of bubbles.
Note: if you want to learn more about the production of this wine and do a tasting before buying it, visit the cellars outside Getaria. There are wineries as far as the eye can see in the vicinity of the town and many wineries offering direct sales.
5- The Balenciaga Museum
You can't leave without visiting the Balenciaga Museum (Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa) located on the heights of the city!
The famous haute couture designer was born in Getaria in 1895 and the museum dedicated to him celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2021.
This museum is spread over two separate buildings: a modern extension and the Aldamar Palace, where Balenciaga spent most of his childhood.
Indeed, his mother, a dressmaker, worked for the owners of the Palace, the Marquises of Casa Torre, and it was there that the young Balenciaga discovered haute couture for the first time.
Today, this museum preserves the most important international collection of Cristóbal Balenciaga's designs.
Information and reservations:
Tel: 943 00 88 40