GAZTELUGATXE “STONE FORTRESS AGAINST THE WAVES”
Few places on the Basque coast contain as much magic as the rock of Gaztelugatxe. The privileged location of the centennial hermitage challenging the Cantabrian Sea is combined with the force of nature, history and tradition; As a result of all this, a fantasy landscape is generated.
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is best known to Game of Thrones fans as Dragonstone. The word Gaztelugatxe comes from “Gaztelu” (castle) and “aitx” (rock, stone) in the Basque language.
It is the most important maritime sanctuary of the Basque Country and it is dedicated to Saint John.
We were lucky enough to be able to visit this beautiful place recently and with hardly any people, one of the few advantages of the COVID. The truth is that the place either with or without people leaves you speechless.
As of November 2020, reservations are required (free of charge) before going. You can make your reservation HERE or click on the banner.
How to get there
If you are visiting Bilbao in the Basque Country, it will take you about 45minutes to an hour to get there by car.
We parked in one of the 3 parking lots of the Eneperi restaurant and went down the path indicated to the bridge (15-20min). The truth is that there is quite a slope, so we recommend wearing comfortable shoes. We leave you the map of the parking lot so that you do not get lost.
Before reaching the bridge you will find a turning to a viewpoint. I recommend you to go to the viewpoint first since the views of Gaztelugatxe from that point are also magical and will only take a few minutes.
Then, back to the main path and once you arrive to the bridge, the only thing left to do is to climb the endless stairs to the hermitage. From there you will have a spectacular 360-degree view. In the Gaztelugatxe hermitage, there is a covered picnic area with a few rock tables, where you can have a snack.
Bear in mind that the whole way down that we have done until we reach Gaztelugatxe will become an ascent on the way back. So bring water and be prepared. It’s not a big physical effort to make and you can stop as many times as you want to rest, in fact, you’ll find benches to sit and enjoy the views along the way.
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