San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a prayer by the sea

On my last trips, I always leave without a specific itinerary. Broadly speaking, I know how to get to the place, I don’t go into too much detail, and I try to be flexible depending on the weather.

Thus began the journey to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (it’s difficult to pronounce!) on April 23, a Sunday morning, which means reduced hours for the shops in the city, a single busy bus line to get there and lots of tourists. Ah, I forgot, obviously rain!

I went to the Tourist Office to figure out how to reach this place which is limited in number. You need to access a specific platform to book in advance:

After missing the first bus that departed from the square, I kill time by visiting the Museum of fine arts (free) which I recommend.

Following buying the ticket on the bus (no credit card but only coins), it takes an hour to get to your destination, Playa de Bakio.

From the town of Bakio, a destination for surfers, you follow a path that runs along the coast for 50 minutes.

Once you reach the restaurant at the top of the hill, a new way towards the beach begins for about another half hour, to arrive at the beginning of the last stretch: the 200 steps that connect the beach to the sanctuary.

The present church is not original, it has been rebuilt several times, but it still remains fascinating, because it overlooks the sea. The nature around the monastery is wild, and high and jagged cliffs are luxuriant and impervious.

In fact, this sanctuary is part of the site protected by Unesco but has become famous in recent years for being the location of the Game of Throne series.

Apart from the restaurant at the top of the hill, there are no services along the pathway except for a fountain, so plan your water, food supplies and return time well, but it is absolutely worth it!

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