Savour the sea in all its varieties
Friday Relaxing beside the sea
Why not kick the weekend off with a sunset stroll along the seafront at Zarautz? At 2,500 metres (over a mile and half) it’s the longest beach in the Basque Country and offers some fabulous views. Zarautz is famous among surfers across the world. And if you’re feeling energetic, you can walk on to the neighbouring town of Getaria or climb across the amazing footbridge at Iñurritza to the old Mollarri ore loading jetty, which offers some even more remarkable views. Later, you can join in all the atmosphere of the typical Basque “poteo”, moving from bar to bar in the streets in the centre. There are plenty of great places to stay in any of the five towns in the region, which are all just a short drive from one another. Enjoy all the atmosphere of a farm B&B, or if you’d prefer to be a bit closer to the beach, there are hotels, apartments, pensions and camp sites practically on the waterfront.
If you’re staying near Zarautz and you get up early enough, why not visit the market in the centre of the town, which sells produce grown on local farms. Zarautz has a long tourist tradition and there are also plenty of shops and stores where summer visitors come to enjoy the atmosphere. Afterwards, head up the coast to Zumaia, where you’ll find a range of activities and guided tours related to the Basque Coast Geopark. The route begins at the Santa Klara Farmhouse where there are magnificent views of the Itzurun Beach and the coastal cliffs. Learn the secrets of the farmhouse and meet the farm animals! This fun and educational visit is ideal for kids. You can also try some local produce, including milk from the farmhouse itself.
Saturday You’ll find plenty of places in Zumaia to enjoy a good sit-down meal or, if you prefer, a round of pintxos (tapas).
We leave behind the old quarter of Zumaia with its pleasant aroma of octopus and brine and head for the nearby Getaria, a beautiful little village which stands on the Camino (the Way of St James). It can also be reached by car or bus along a road with spectacular sea views. Getaria is the birthplace of two illustrious figures: the navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano and the couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga. With its seafaring tradition, its busy fishing port and its maze of charcoal-scented alleyways, Getaria is a delight for any food-lover. And you can wash down your meal with a crisp local txakoli wine, from the vineyards overlooking the town. This region boasts a great variety of cuisine but its signature dish is barbeque-grilled seafood. As well as enjoying the local food, you can also visit the museum dedicated to couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga.
Sunday Orio and Aia
Our next destination, on Sunday morning, is Orio, which stands at the mouth of the River Oria, a favourite stopping-off point for pilgrims walking the Camino. Why not get the day started with a splash by trying a spot of rowing —a favourite sport in the town— or canoeing. You’ll have a whale of a time! And for the gourmets among you, we recommend the “Orio Sea Bream experience”. Let two great grill chefs teach you all the secrets of making a delicious grilled bream, followed, of course, by a delicious tasting session. The road from Orio to Aia is particularly beautiful. After a visit to the small but delightful village of Aia, drive on to the Pagoeta Nature Park where you can stroll through the Iturraran Botanical Gardens and visit the Agorregi Forge.