Zarautz is the top surfing spot of the Basque Coast along with Mundaka. If you love to surf, or want to learn how, or even just enjoy watching the surfers, this is the perfect place for you. The town is located across from a 2.5 km-long soft sand beach, the longest in the region. Zarautz is proud of its surfing culture and its world-famous surfers such as Aritz Aranburu. There are a number of good surf schools right around beach area and some cool bars where all surfers hangout after an intense day of riding the waves.
This 13th century coastal town was once a summer destination for the European royalty. Zarautz has since turned into a modern resort, however there are still a few interesting buildings worth making a stop while in town. Narros Palace, located at the western end of the beach, was built in 1536 for the Queen Isabella II of Spain. She used to spend some of her summers here. This hidden gem overlooking Zarautz’s unyielding waves is now a privately owned house, thus you can only appreciate it from outside. Another point of interest is the Zarautz Tower, the oldest building in town hosting the Museum of Art and History. Next to it, you can find the gothic church of Santa Maria la Real. Luzea Tower, built in the 15th century to defend Zarautz, is another important structure you should not miss.
About 15 minutes drive from Zarautz, you can find around 20 wineries that are specialised in Txakoli, the fresh white wine that has recently become very popular, particularly in the United States. Zarautz is part of the most famous region for Txacoli, called Getariako Txakolina D.O. (Destination of Origin).
Zarautz is a 25 minute drive from San Sebastian and about an hour drive from Bilbao.
Where to eat in Zarautz?
– Karlos Arguiñano: Zarautz is home to famous chef and TV personality Karlos Arguinano and his large family. His restaurant serves traditional Basque food at its best. You should try their special cod, bacalao con ajoarriero y pil pil de algas. The restaurant has a bar with a terrace right in front of the beach. Karlos is a welcoming and colorful character that will surely remain in your memories long after you leave Zarautz. (Calle Mendilauta 13, Zarautz, +34 943 13 00 00, www.hotelka.com)
– Sidrería-Asador Izeta: If you ever manage to get tired of seafood, you can try this grill restaurant at a beautiful location, a few kilometers outside of the center. Their txuletones (ox-steaks) are a great choice for all meat lovers. You can also taste variety of ciders, another popular drink of this region. (Barrio Elkano 4, 20809 Zarautz; +34 943 13 16 93, www.izeta.es)
– Kirkilla Jatetxea: This relaxed and unprententios restaurant serves traditional Basque food with a contemporary twist. Hake is squid ink or the squid with onions are a must-try! There is a tasting menu with 7 courses, which costs around 40 euros. (Calle Santa Marina 12, +34 943 13 19 82, www.kirkilla.com)
– For pintxos (pinchos), Basques tapas, you can try the traditional Taberna Naparrak or Taberna Salegi, both in Plaza Barren.