As soon as you arrive at the small and colorful town of Getaria, a mouth-watering smell of freshly caught fish grilling over charcoal fire will welcome you. Having a big plate of grilled fish, accompanied by other seafood delicacies such as cocochas (kokotxa in Basque refers to the delicacy made up of the fleshy part of the jaw of hake or cod), changurros (crabs) and a fresh glass of Txakoli white wine is all time favourite activity of the Getarians. The most famous fish restaurant in town is Elkano, however if you do not manage to get a table there, the other options like Mayflower and Kaia Kaipe will surely not disappoint you. It is generally accepted that Getaria has the best seafood in the Basque coast along with San Sebastian.
Eating delicious seafood is not the only reason why you should visit this walled medieval town. There are two very important people who were born here: Juan Sebastián Elcano, the first man to ever sail around the world; after Magellan, the captain of his ship, passed away halfway through the journey. Please do not forget to pay your respect at his statue situated at the little square of Getaria.
Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum
The second personality is why fashionistas from all over the world come to this tiny town: Christobal Balenciaga, the famous fashion designer. The legacy of this genius now lives through the striking Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum (Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa). The very modern structure of the museum stands in stark contrast to the traditional Basque architecture of Getaria and immediately catches the eye of by passers. Inside, you can find the most important collection of Balenciaga’s designs that cover the time span of his lifetime. The museum also holds temporary exhibitions in other fashion related subjects.
Getaria has a pleasant yet short beach next to its vibrant harbor. Weather permitting, it is possible to swim here as it is sheltered from the wild waves of the Atlantic. One other activity that you should not miss while here is a visit to a nearby Txakoli winery. Most vineyards are situated on the hills overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, thus you can enjoy your glass of white wine while looking over the stunning views. Beware, you need to book your visit in advance as most wineries do not accept ad hoc visitors.
Where to Eat at Getaria?
– Elkano: Many say Elkano is the best fish restaurant in the world and we tend to agree. Their food is simple and perfect. Although the restaurant is awarded a Michelin star, the owners praise themselves for not being a ‘chef’s restaurant’, rather it is the raw quality of the product that rules here. The grilled turbot is all-time favourite; if you like kokotxa, here is a place to try it as they make it in three different styles. Oven baked crabs and red mullets also top our list.
– Mayflower: In Mayflower, you get the best combination of two things: A stunning view overlooking the marina and an amazing seafood barbeque – all kinds of fresh local fish grilling over massive charcoal oven right outside the restaurant. The portions are generous and the food is delicious!
– Kaia Kaipe: This is one of the oldest establishments in town. It is famous for its exquisite seafood and rich wine cellar, offering an excellent selection of local and international wines. Their grilled sea bream (besugo a la parilla) and sole are very popular. The place has a nice terrace overlooking the bay.
Where to Stay at Getaria?
– Hotel Iturregi: This small luxury hotel is located inside txakoli vineyards and you can enjoy great views of the Basque Coast from its large windows and garden. It is very tastefully decorated and has a swimming pool that lets you relax in tranquility.
Address: 20808 Askizu, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Phone: +34 943 89 61 34
– Hotel San Prudentzio: The 10-room luxury hotel is situated only 5 minutes away from Getaria’s town center. This charming small rural hotel is also surrounded by vineyards.
Address: Barrio San Prudentzio, 4, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Phone: +34 943 14 04 11
How to Get to Getaria?
Getaria is a 30-minute drive from San Sebastian and one-hour drive from Bilbao.