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The Basque Coast in Gipuzkoa: A coast of passions

Although Gipuzkoa's coas is only a few kilometres long, just seventy, it is exceptionally colourful: villages, towns and cities with ports, hills and fields all the way to the sea; river mouths and bays, rocks; islands and rocky islands; cliffs; beaches and a rough sea most of the time which do not allow for monotony. To travel along Gipuzkoa's coast is a brief experience, albeit a passionate and intense, very intense one.

As a starting point we take Donostia-San Sebastian. We leave the city via the Paseo de Miraconcha, through the Ondarreta and El Antiguo areas until we get to the N-634 at Añorga towards Bilbao. Soon we arrive at Usurbil, a well-known town nationally for the quality of its cider. Once there we can visit San Salvador church, with a baroque tower and a beautiful high altarpiece. We can also visit the Atxega Palace, an ancestral home from the 14th century. It is worth having a look at the modern undercover pelota court, on whose back wall the local painter Jose Luis Zumeta has created an enormous, very original ceramic mural.

Following the course of the Oria river towards the river mouth, we arrive at Aguinaga, famous for its baby eels, although these days this valued native product is rarely found. Soon we arrive at Orio, a pretty fishing village, although in recent years the furniture industry has also become very strong. It has an original traditional architecture, and also interesting is San Nicolas church. San Juan de Orio beach is considered to be dangerous for its rips, and bathing is not recommended. Continuing on the N-634, we climb up the height of Orio. A little bit further on we arrive at Zarautz.

Zarautz is an important holiday destination which has one of the largest beaches in Gipuzkoa. Because of the quality of the beach and its famous waves, every year the International Surfing Championship is held in Zarautz, which attracts a large amount of domestic and intenational tourists. Places of interest in the town are the Narros Palace buildings, Luzea tower, the Church of Nuestra Señora la Real, and the Portu Palace, built of ashlar stone in the 16th century, and currently the town hall: it also has an interesting museum, the Photomuseum.

Continuing on the panoramic coast route, along a complicated road by the sea, we arrive at Getaria, a famous fishing port and the birthplace of illustrious celebrities like Juan Sebastian Elcano and Cristobal Balenciaga. An important cultural place is San Salvador church, built in the 15th century, in a gothic style. It has great historical importance, as this is the place were the 1937 General Assembly was held, whereby Gipuzkoa was declared a province. It has a very lively port, full of local colour. But Guetaria is mainly known for its Txakoli, of undoubted quality, and for the outline of a Mouse of Mt. San Anton in the sea.

From Getaria we continue on to Zumaia, with two beaches: Itzurun and Santiago, and some interesting places to visit, like the Museum House of the painter Ignacio Zuloaga. Right opposite is "Laia", a handmade product museum. Once in the town centre, we find St. Peter's church, built in a Basque gothic style. The templos has a magnificent altarpiece by Juan de Antxieta, the Basque sculptor's only work in Gipuzkoa.
If we continue along the same road towards Deba, we go up the height of Itziar, were the Shrine of Our Lady of Itziar is located. Going down the pass very soon we come across Deba, another important holiday town. The Assumption Church is one of the town's most interesting cultural attractions. Of gothic style, it has been declared National Monument.

We must leave Deba taking the GI-638 road to Mutriku, a traditional fishing village where we can visit the Assumption Church, Galdona's house and the Town Hall. To return to Donostia, it is easier to take the A-8 highway, which will take us directly to our destination.

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