2. Guetaria (Province of Guipúzcoa)
In the 1980s I used to go to the Zarautz campsite (I remember that in the summer of 1983 there were tremendous floods). We chose Zarautz because it was a party place with a lot of vice and in those days the owners or DJs of several bars traveled to London with some regularity to buy the most avant-garde and underground records to premiere them in their premises.
Many times in the afternoons I used to go for a coastal walk from Zarautz to Getaria. They are about 4 kilometers and the views are spectacular.
Getaria is the hometown of the great sailor Juan Sebastián Elcano (the first person to go around the world). A beautiful town of two or three thousand inhabitants with a spectacular old town, a real fishing port and a small beach.
The first time I went to Guetaria, as soon as I got to the town, they were playing a game of Basque pelota just with their hands on the frontón and I had never seen this sport live. Then, going down to the port, it caught my attention that many bars and restaurants on the street were preparing grilled fish.
I asked what the fish was and they told me it was sea bream, although the turbot that they grill on the grill is also famous. I also loved the fishing boats.
To visit the town I would avoid the months of July and August and Easter. As in all coastal sites, you are more comfortable with fewer tourists.
As far as gastronomy is concerned, I recommend tasting a Txakoli (the quality of the txakoli has improved a lot) and eating a grilled fish.
Guetaria’s flagship restaurant is called Elcano. It has a Michelin star and has been placed among the 100 best restaurants in the world (position 77). Order some cocochas in different textures and a turbot.
Another option is the Kaia Kaipe next to the port. A little less expensive than the Elcano and they have a winter/summer terrace with fabulous views. Fresh products, many seasonal and more than 1,000 wine references. Follow the advice of the maître (head of the room) and ask for a seafood starter followed by a good fish.
A much cheaper alternative but also with top quality products is the Asador Mayflower – Erretegia. The views are also spectacular.
If you are looking for a hotel in Getaria, I would recommend the Saiaz Getaria Hotela. The sea view rooms are unique. A highly recommended site.
If you want something cheaper, choose the Hotel Itxas Gain. The breakfast they serve is wonderful. It is a family hotel with 16 rooms and is 100 meters from the bus station.
In Guetaria and surroundings I recommend the following activities or visits:
A live Basque pelota game
Basque rural sport (the aizkolaris – log cutters and stone lifters are the two modalities that I like the most, but there are many more)
Balenciaga Museum – Cristobal Balenciaga the famous dressmaker was from Getaria. His father, a fisherman, died at sea and his mother was a seamstress.
A few basic basque words:
- yes >>> bai
- no >>> ez
- please >>> mesedez
- thank you >>> eskerrik asko
- good morning >>> egun on
- good night >>> gabon
- hi >>> kaixo/aupa
- good-bye >>> agur
- congratulations >>> zorionak
- welcome >>> ongi etorri
And the numbers from one to ten in basque:
- 1 >>> bat
- 2 >>> bi
- 3 >>> hiru
- 4 >>> lau
- 5 >>> bost
- 6 >>> sei
- 7 >>> zazpi
- 8 >>> zortzi
- 9 >>> bederatzi
- 10 >>> hamar