Travels

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe from the sea (Bizkaia Basque Coast)

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Not far from the fishing village of Bermeo We have an islet that houses a hermitage dedicated to San Juan, the famous San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Possibly this hermitage is one of the most famous of the Basque Country and possibly from Spain. We are clear that it is a true banner of the call Bizkaia Basque Coast, not only for its beauty but for its spectacular location by the sea and for the history it treasures. Sailing at sunset, approaching the cliffs and seeing the inflamed sea symbolize a different and above all original way to enjoy San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.


San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Small anecdotes of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Every fishing village has its stories and anecdotes with the sea San Juan de Gaztelugatxe does not let be a very visible point on the coast that serves as a reference to many navigators, especially in those times where navigation was not so “computerized”. Yet many fishermen of Bermeo they greet the saint when they pass under it, making maneuvers to be able to see it from the front and thus greet the saint. He has suffered looting of characters or rather pirates like Francis Drake. Naval battles, several fires and even lived a chase, which faced Juan de Nuñez de Lara with King Alfonso XI of Castile who ended up with the first taking refuge in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.


San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe from Bermeo

A different way to contemplate San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is from the sea, saving you the tiring steps, 231 in total, to have a sailor's perspective on the cliffs and the deep sea that escort you.


Bermo

From the picturesque town of Bermeo different regular routes leave to see dolphins, whales or visit San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Throughout the year you can visit the hermitage from the sea, yes, never getting off the boat since there is no access from the sea. At the end of the port of Bermeo is Hegaluze, the company that routes through this part of the coast of Bizkaia.


Bermeo

When we make the crossing we sail on its “flagship” ship, with capacity for 66 passengers, many of them sitting. It's worth moving around the deck, though the best point to take pictures is in the bow, although it moves too much if the sea is rough.


Bermeo

Before reaching the hermitage there is an imposing island where rabbits once lived at home. On the cliffs of the island you can see several formations produced by the currents and the blow of the waves, reaching impressive arches. Next to this island the hermitage already appears, in the background, in a rock. We cannot say that the hermitage is the most beautiful in the Basque Country, but the one that is better placed. The location is of course film. Too bad that our sunset was marked by those typical northern clouds that sometimes blur the views and weather a bit.


Hegaluze

Other places of interest in Bermeo

Although Bermeo is not a town that is too big, it does have several points of interest that are worth visiting. If we leave aside its bars, among us, all of us can visit :), and we focus on the architectural and tourist point of view of Bermeo, we highlight:

  • The Church of Santa Eufemia
  • The church of Santa María
  • The Ertzilla Tower
  • The Convent and cloister of San Francisco
  • The Whaler of Aita Guria
  • And just outside, Matxitaxako Cape with its lighthouse

Practical data

How to get?

By land it can be accessed by the road that goes to Bakio, the BI-3101 and by sea from the same port of Bermeo.

When to go?

The best time is undoubtedly in spring and autumn, with fewer people, outside the high season and with much more peace.

How much does it cost and what timetables do they have?

In April, May, June and September it leaves at 6pm on Saturdays. On the other hand in high season, July and August, you can take the boat on Thursday at 12 noon, any Friday to see the sunset at 9pm and Saturday and Sunday at 6pm. The price is € 12 for adults and € 7 for children under 5 years.

In addition to the route of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is that of Elantxobe, to see the Ogoño caves and the Island of Izaro.

Facing the hermitage, it opens for religious offices on June 24, July 31, August 29 and December 30.

Where to stay

Not far from Bermeo, in Bakio, there is a rural house with sea views that can leave your mouth open. It has several apartments, all different, with a special touch each. They all have their own kitchen and some of them exit to the garden or to a terrace overlooking the Bay of Biscay. This accommodation is called Bisalde, ideal for group or family. By the way, the breakfasts are the most natural.


Bakio

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