GETARIA, SPAIN – TOURISM GUIDE
Getaria is situated on the Bay of Biscay and is about 25km west of San Sebastian. The views surrounding Getaria are amazing. You have an old town, a mountain that is an islet, a port, beaches (Gaztetape and Malkorbe), the ocean, and the rolling green hills of the getariako txakoli wine region. All of these things make Getaria one of our favorite Basque villages.
Start off your visit by walking through the main street of Nagusia Kalea where you can buy some local products or stop for a pintxo. Further down the street you will find the 15th century gothic church of San Salvador. An interesting fact about this church is that its floor is inclined due to the rocky terrain on which it stands. The street continues through a tunnel that is bored underneath the church. This was used for defensive purposes in the times when the church belonged to the wall that surrounded the town.
Down at the port, stop at one of the various restaurants for some grilled fish and try the local txakoli white wine. We recommend ordering the red mullets (“salmonetes” in Spanish) at the restaurant May Flower which has lovely views of the port. If you are looking for something a little more up-scale, check out Elkano or Kaia-Kaipe. They are known for being the best of the best in Getaria. However, which restaurant you choose is not a huge deal since they are all offering the fresh-catch of the day. You can’t go wrong.
At the end of the port is where the San Antón Mountain starts, which until the 15th century was just an island. Its shape is similar to a mouse and, for that reason, it is commonly referred to by the locals as the Ratón de Getaria (“mouse of Getaria”). The San Antón Mountain is a natural park with a large variety of vegetation and animals (especially seagulls). There are various paths heading to the top of the mountain. On the way up, you will discover the lighthouse, from which they used to observe whales (Getaria was a whaling town, much like many others on the Basque coast). If you continue to the top, you will be rewarded with beautiful panoramic views of the town and the coast.
View from San Antón Mountain – From left: Malkorbe Beach, Getaria, Gaztetape Beach
The surroundings of Getaria are full of txakoli vineyards. It is of course possible to try different txakolis in the bars and restaurants of the town (there is even a delicatessen store on Nagusia Kalea which sells all of the txakolis from the Getaria wine region). But if you really want to sample the wines before you buy or just find out more about txakoli in general, it would be best to venture into the bodegas that surround the town. Most wineries are open for direct sale. Some offer wine tastings and a few also offer tours in English, such as Gaintza, Ameztoi and Txomin Etxaniz. Check the Getariako Txakolina website for more detailed information.
If design and fashion is your thing, then a visit to the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum is highly recommended. Balenciaga, born in Getaria in 1895, was a true fashion innovator. He was respected (and is still today) throughout the fashion world for both his techniques and construction as well as his perfectionism. The museum dedicated to him opened in 2011. It is housed in two separate buildings that are connected. One is a large modern building and the other is the Aldamar Palace, where Balenciaga spent much of his childhood since his mother worked as a tailor for the owners of the palace, the marquises Casa Torre. This is where Balenciaga first came into contact with haute couture and it is quite fitting that the palace is now part of the museum.
Getaria also has another very famous son, Juan Sebastián Elcano. Elcano was an explorer who completed the first circumnavigation of the world. You will see a couple of statues in his honor around the town, for example, in the square in front of the town hall. The biggest monument to Elcano is located on the main road that intersects the town, right before you reach the Malkorbe beach.
The town of Zarauz is only 3 kilometers away from Getaria and there is a walking path by the coast connecting both of them. You will see locals of all ages on it, enjoying the breeze of the Cantabrian Sea while exercising or just going for a walk.
Gaztetape is a sandy beach (200m long) located at the western end of Getaria. It is windier and has stronger waves than the beach situated at the other end of the town (Malkorbe). For this reason, it is often frequented by surfers.
There is a parking lot right next to it, however, it will cost a few euros to park there. The lifeguard service operates from 10 am to 8 pm. There are showers and bathrooms.
Located at the other end of Getaria (eastern end), you will find the Malkorbe beach. This is also a sandy beach but bigger (420m long) than Gaztetape. Malkorbe is calmer and has less wind than Gaztetape.
There is a parking lot next to it. The lifeguard service operates from 10 am to 8 pm. There are showers, bathrooms and bars. Moreover, there is also a sport area where it is possible to practice volleyball, canoeing, paddleboarding, etc.
Situated half way between the towns of Zumaia and Getaria, Orruaga is a 300m long rocky beach. There isn’t any service. Be careful with the strong waves!
- The airport of San Sebastián is located 43 km away (about 35 minutes).
- The airport of Bilbao is located 80 km away (about an hour).
There isn’t direct transport from these airports to Getaria.
Getaria is located between the towns of Zumaia and Zarautz, on the coast road N634. It is about 25 minutes away from San Sebastián, 1 hour from Bilbao or Vitoria.
Buses from the company Euskotren offer a service in Getaria (line Zumaia – San Sebastián)
Bus companies w/services to Getaria:
EuskoTren (Basque Country) *website only available in Spanish
There isn’t a train stop in Getaria. The closest stops are located in the neighbor towns of Zumaia and Zarautz.
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