Following the N634 motorway west of San Sebastián takes you to Zarautz, the birthplace of surfing in Gipuzkoa thanks to the spectacular waves that break on its open beach. It is know as the ‘Queen of Beaches’ as it is the longest in the Basque Country. Near the beachfront you can try the unique cuisine of the restaurante Karlos Arguiñano. In the centre of town, visit the Torre Luzea (Luzea Tower) and the Iglesia de Sta. María la Real (Santa Maria la Real Church).
West along the same road lies the town of Getaria, from whose port Juan Sebastián Elcano embarked on his circumnavigation of the world, and where the designer Balenciaga was born (in the Palacio Aldamar, to be precise). We can visit the sixteenth century gothic Iglesia de San Salvador, which is the oldest church of this style remaining in Gipuzkoa. Beneath the church, a tunnel or underpass, called the ‘Catrapona’, with a lateral crypt containing a shrine of the Pietà, crosses one of the town’s streets to come out at the port. A number of restaurants here prepare fresh-grilled fish in front of passers-by.
Next stop is Zumaia, where you can visit San Pedro Church (la iglesia de San Pedro) and Zuloaga Museum (museo Zuloaga). Don’t miss the spectacular cliffs, called ‘flysch’ – they hide a unique natural treasure. The continuous action of the sea has carved through successive rock strata to reveal millions of years of geological history.
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