Towns and villages
A mosaic of styles
Gipuzkoa is a set of mountains, valleys and coastline, without any clearly established boundaries.
Mountains sometimes end up in the sea without leveling off beforehand. In this combination of mountain, river and sea the ports and coastal villages were established, by taking advantage of each space, and squeezing into the natural environment. This entire landscape shows traces of human presence. The towns and villages are historical settlements with a clearly marked personality; we can tell where someone is from by the kind of Basque that they speak.
The mountains are also inhabited. The farmhouses that occupy these are century-old production units that explain the development of the interior of Gipuzkoa. The industrialization that took place later transformed the river basins and created the current mosaic of towns and villages. Historical interest, rural charm and traditional seaside flavor. We’ve got it all.
All around the world from here
A sea like the Cantabrian forges the character and skills of the people that live here in a constant unequal struggle with it. It is omnipresent. All life revolves around the sea, its tides, its storms, its calm waters, and its wealth.
Ports and villages have been formed by defying its whims and assaults. The harsh nature of the sea makes it the best teacher that there is, one that has taught our arrantzales how to be excellent fishermen. The most brilliant sailors, explorers and warriors were born in its ports, such as Juan Sebastián Elcano, Blas de Lezo, Admiral Churruca, Andrés de Urdaneta, Miguel Oquendo or Miguel López de Legazpi, among many others. The first whale ships left here heading for the Northern seas; from the very same sea that assails us on a daily basis, with differences of up to four metres in height between its tides, which reshapes the coastal landscape by the minute to give us some of the best beaches on the Cantabrian coast.
Our seaside towns, spread out along 86 kilometres of coastline, searched for the shelter provided by bays (Hondarribia, Donostia…) or the fortress-like quality of mountains (Pasaia, Getaria, Mutriku…) for their cheerful colourful buildings. The presence of magnificent restaurants and the establishment of internationally prestigious canneries season every corner with flavour. You really won’t know where to look. But if you look out towards the sea, beyond the horizon you’ll discover the rest of the world, just like our sons from here have continued to do for centuries.
Where history is alive
You’ll be able to capture the heartbeat of this province by walking through the interior, a green horizon that defines the landscape in Gipuzkoa. The course of the rivers that have shaped the narrow fertile valleys has always defined the communication routes in the area, running north-south.
It’ll be a trip with very few straight stretches of road but from behind each bend something surprising emerges. Each village has a secret of its own: it may be a historic quarter, a paleolithic cave, or a market that goes back 500 years; a chapel that is a cathedral or a shrine; the village that is the cradle of cider or the town where St Ignatius of Loyola was born; a museum for puppets, another one for trains and lots of them for gastronomy. Just to whet your appetite.
We have little villages with a markedly rural feel that coexist alongside towns with industrial roots and strong cultural vitality. In each one of them history is alive and can be enjoyed. Will you come with us to take a look?
Donostia / San Sebastián
Look out onto La Concha Bay and enjoy the very best pintxo trails
This city has its own pure, inherent and magnetic beauty but it also boasts man-made artifices designed to make life exciting and memorable.
SAN SEBASTIÁN GOT LUCKY IN LIFE’S LOTTERY. Just being located on the coast is already a big advantage for a city. First prize! However, if the sea and the land come together beautifully, forming a shining bay, with a tiny island in the middle, surrounded by green hills, with three beaches and a river and a sufficiently wide floodplain to build streets, squares and gardens, a complete urban life, then the city located there is truly blessed. Double whammy!
However, what makes Donostia extraordinary are the people who have crossed its path. And for everyone who is proud of their city and the artificial pleasures it offers them: the flavours of its pintxos, the music in the jazz festivals, the inspiration from its museums and the emotion of the films in the Zinemaldia festival.