Chapels cnd scenery in Gipuzkoa
A selection of chapels that allow us to enjoy some unique scenery.
Santa Elena Chapel, Xantalen. Irun.
Although it’s not panoramic, it is extremely important as it is the only church that we have evidence of in Gipuzkoa during the 10th century. It was built on top of a Roman temple from the 1st century whose remains can be seen, and as a chapel it dates from the 14th century. It forms part of the collection in the Oiasso Museum, and is well worth seeing, in order to understand the importance of the Romans in Gipuzkoa.
Santa Ana Chapel. Pasai Donibane.
A spectacular viewpoint over the entire Oarsoaldea district, as the view stretches from the Peña de Aia right up to the harbour mouth. You climb up a steep stairway right from the jetty. It only opens on the feast day of Saint Anne, on the 26th of July, in a procession that many residents from Pasajes join. It has an image of Saint Anne with the Virgin, a real gem, that was purchased in Flanders in 1573 and brought to Pasaia by sea.
At the back (photo), there is a hostel for pilgrims. In its day it was a hospital for pilgrims and is now a common waypoint for people on the Northern Way of St. James.
Coming up here is a must when you visit Pasaia.
Saturdi Chapel. Zaldibia.
This is one of the most sought-after picture postcard images in the Goierri, but many people pass by here without stopping. It is on the road that runs down from the meadows of Larraitz towards Zaldibia, after going past the Gaintza junction, on a broad bend we’ll see the sign for San Saturnino, Saturdi, and in three hundred metres we’ll reach this nook which is worth more than a photo with the pyramid-like Txindoki in the background. Obviously from Zaldibia, it is the other way round.
In the past it used to be known as Urtzuerreka and was a place of transit for merchants who came in and out of Gipuzkoa. A procession is usually held to wish for good luck for cattle and for abundant rain. Legend says that in a period of drought, they dipped the saint’s image in the river. On that day it poured down.
Santa Catalina Chapel. Deba.
An exceptional vantage point over the Basque Coast Geopark. Rich in geological and cultural features. The view extends from Zumaia to Mutriku and even further along the coast, with the flysch displaying all their beauty as do the important mountains in the interior. This chapel was a waypoint for pilgrims from 1539 onwards and they even organised some really eye-catching processions from Deba.
Nowadays a mass is only celebrated on St John’s Day when the fields and flowers are blessed. It is also said that young girls used to come up here to try and find a boyfriend. Different panels point out the summits of Mount Arno or Andutz, a limestone massif of coral reefs, as well as information about the flysch.
Santa Engracia Chapel. Zestoa.
Memorable view of the Urola valley, dominated by the Izarraitz massif, as well as the Pagoeta woods. Right in the background, Aiako Harria. It is one of the oldest in Gipuzkoa and stands out because of the mechanism of its clock that can be seen in the interior.
We can organise a really nice excursion either from Errezil, or from Aizarnazabal, reaching the summits of Etumeta or Aizarna.
San Joan Ante Portalatiña Chapel. Lazkao.
This is what the sign says on the entrance. An unusual place that we can find on the way down from Lazkaomendi towards Zaldibia which dates back to 1625, and appears in 1770 as San Juan de Maíz.
Although it is by road it is worth visiting from Lazkaomendi, or by going up from Zaldibia as it is hardly a couple of kilometres. Meadows and mountain scenery once again dominated by Txindoki.
Above, in the reference to Saturdi, you have the relevant plans.
Santa Barbara Chapel. Zarautz.
From Zarautz, it will be worth going to the effort of climbing up among txakoli vineyards to this exceptional viewpoint, and also visiting the Vista Alegre Tower vantage point. The Way of St. James passes through here and the aerial views of Zarautz are impressive.
The chapel dates back to 1703 at the request of the fishermen from Zarautz who paid for it to be built by giving alms for each whale that they caught. Nowadays each year on the 4th of December a high mass is held that as you can all imagine ends in a meal. They say that, if you ring the bell devoutly, your headaches will be cured for a year.
Erdoizta Chapel. Errezil.
Just like the chapel of Santa Bárbara (Zestoa), we will find this on the road from Aizarnazabal to Errezil along the heights of Etumeta or Aizarna. This time, we will follow the signs for Erdoizta, a district in the municipality of Errezil, to see the only circular chapel in Gipuzkoa.
This chapel of San Isidro is from 1808 in a neoclassical style with clear references to the Roman world.
Aldaba Chapel. Tolosa.
Aldaba is a district in Tolosa that you can climb up to from the road from Tolosa to Alegi. Although it is complicated to enter it is worth going up the winding road for four kilometres that take me to the chapel dedicated to the Archangel San Miguel.
Instead of an altarpiece it has a spectacular window looking out onto the Aralar Mountain Range (which also has its Shrine dedicated to San Miguel in excelsis), with Txindoki right in the middle. Numerous weddings have been held here.
Santiagomendi Chapel. Astigarraga.
The information panels tell us that we have arrived in PARADISE. And it’s no wonder as the views from up here over the entire San Sebastian area are impressive. It is a place that is highly recommended for enjoying the sunset. This chapel that dates back to the 13th century, was an important point on the Way of St. James and it is said that any stone that we touch in its surroundings contains reminders of the Apostle Saint James inside it.
Sandaili Chapel. Oñati.
A scene from a thriller which will actually inspire Ibón Martín to begin his forthcoming novel with Plaza y Janés. It is on the road from Arantzazu to Arrikrutz and the Araotz district. We will see the signs for Sandaili, San Elías, as soon as we pass by the Jaturabe reservoir.
This chapel has an aska, a Celtic fertility ritual. To a certain extent it may recall the cave at San Juan de la Peña. The limestone landscape takes us right into the depths of the Aizkorri mountain range, and in actual fact, from very close to Sandaili we can start the climb up to the Ojos de Aizkorri, Aitzulo, which we recommend you here.