Fishing, innovation, haute cuisine, local produce, wine, mountains, adventures, beaches… Gipuzkoa has it all! Follow these tips and see that it’s all within reach! Ready?
Pasaia and the Albaola Museum
Long considered the Bay of Biscay’s best natural port, when people think of Pasaia, they think of the sea. Local fishing, trade, and naval construction industries thrived within its sheltered waters thanks to its abundance of raw materials. Local shipyards built the most prestigious, magnificent galleons, allowing for large-scale ocean projects like whale expeditions, which took them all the way to Newfoundland.
The town’s long sailing history can be seen in the Albaola Sea Factory of the Basques, an international centre of reference for maritime culture and heritage. See where carpenters create and restore boats using contemporary techniques and tools; visit the permanent whale and 16th century Basque maritime activity exhibition, and better understand the rich and extensive relationship between the Basque people and the sea. And the pièce de résistance? The hand-crafted life-scale replica of the Nao San Juan, a 28-metre, 16th century Basque galleon that was shipwrecked off the Canadian coast.
Hondarribia, ideal for ‘pintxos’
Wherever you go in Euskadi, you won’t be far from a ‘pintxo’. Do as the locals do: kick back, grab a drink and sample the bite-sized nibbles tempting you at the counter of any local bar. It’s a great way to sample their menu!
Whilst it’s true that most places offer pintxos, one of the most famous is the La Marina district in Hondarribia – delve into a world of haute-cuisine in a lively atmosphere in the fishermen’s quarter. What better way to end a day at the beach than going for a relaxing bite to eat and/or drink, or visiting to the local historic quarter. Your biggest worry will be choosing which pintxo to try!
Visit Tolosa and discover their market
Tolosa was Gipuzkoa’s capital in the 16th century and hasn’t lost any its charm: its palaces and noble houses, testament to its historic significance, line the path all the way to Tolosa’s famous Plaza del Tinglado. Here you’ll find a lively local produce market every Saturday, brimming with locals selling their seasonal goods, one of the secrets of Gipuzkoa’s cuisine.
As well as cultural events (their Carnavales are the most prominent example), Tolosa also has some incredible food: beans (their star product), txuletas (they ‘invented’ barbecue, after all), chilli peppers (known as the ‘langoustines of Ibarra’), and pastries (their famous ‘Tejas y Cigarillos’) tempt visitors and locals alike.
The Balenciaga museum in Getaria, and Txakoli
Getaria isn’t just any old town. The lively streets, the smell of grills, the port, the beaches, the coastline… They’re reasons enough to visit, but pale in comparison to the two most famous residents: Juan Sebastián Elkano and Cristóbal Balenciaga.
Who’d have thought such innovation would come from this charming, cobblestone fishing village? Aside from the constant nods to Elkano and his global success, clearly visible around the town, Getaria is home to the beautiful Museum dedicated to Balenciaga, a legendary designer and dressmaker.
The impressive façade, the hall’s enveloping atmosphere, and the different rooms hosting garments, accessories, and documentation on the dressmaker, are a real treasure for both his followers and for anyone interested in design, culture and fashion.
Not enough for you? In Getaria’s highest region, a carpet of green covers the hills that are home to hectare-long vineyards producing the grape used to make Tkaxoli, our local wine. After the museum, head to any of Getaria’s wineries for a taste in the open air. Enjoy that breeze as you admire the coast, where the ‘Ratón de Getaria’ presides over the bay. A truly unforgettable experience!
Leitzaran’s Via Ferrata: a high-up guided tour
Andoain’s Leitzaran Valley is one of Gipuzkoa’s most impressive natural treasures, perfect for anyone who loves adventure tourism: the Leitzaran Via Ferrata.
Lasting between 2 and 3 hours along the slope, via a 70-metre-long zipline and a 220 metre descent down five vertical walls, relying on metal staples and rock fastenings. The trip is chaperoned by a local guide, and it’s more than just physical activity: it’s also the perfect opportunity to experience and learn about the valley’s history, and the respect the whole territory shows for its local environment.
This is just a teaser of what Gipuzkoa has to offer! It’s a world waiting to be discovered, where nature, cuisine, the sea and locals await you with open arms for a totally memorable trip.