San Juan de Gaztelugatxe: A magical enclave by the sea

23 mayo 2024 | EXCURSIÓN DE DÍA

A journey to the heart of the sea from Lasala Plaza Hotel, your hotel in Donostia

At Lasala Plaza Hotel, we are passionate about the sea. Its beauty, its power, and its vastness inspire us day after day. That's why we want to share with you one of our favorite places on the Basque coast: San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a magical enclave that will transport you to another world.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

A place of legend

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, also known as "the Game of Thrones island", is a small rocky islet located between the towns of Bakio and Bermeo, in the north of Bilbao. Its name in Basque means "rock castle", and it is no wonder, since at its summit there is a hermitage dedicated to Saint John the Baptist.

Legend has it that Saint John the Baptist arrived on this island and blessed the land. Since then, it is said that touching the hermitage bell three times brings good luck and wards off evil spirits.

A breathtaking landscape

But San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is not only a place of legends, but also of stunning beauty. From the islet, the views of the Basque coast are simply spectacular. On one side, the Cantabrian Sea, with its waves crashing against the rocks. On the other, green cliffs and small bays. A landscape that will leave you breathless.

Don't forget to buy tickets to access

How to get to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

There are two main ways to get to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe: by car or by private transfer with Basque Luxury.

By car

  • From Bilbao, take the A-8 highway towards Santander.
  • Exit at exit 13 and follow the signs for Bermeo.
  • Once in Bermeo, park your car in the free parking lot next to the Eneperi restaurant.
  • From there, start a 25-minute walk to the bridge that connects to the islet.

With Basque Luxury

If you prefer to enjoy a carefree trip, we recommend that you book your private transfer with Basque Luxury. They will pick you up at your hotel in San Sebastián and take you directly to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in a luxury vehicle.

Bermeo - San Juan de Gaztelugatxe


What to do in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

Once you have arrived at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe:

  • Climb the 240 stairs that lead to the hermitage.
  • Ring the bell three times to attract good luck.
  • Enjoy the breathtaking views from the top.
  • Go down to the islet and explore its hidden corners.
  • Take pictures to remember your visit.

Tips for your visit to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe 

  • Wear comfortable shoes: you're going to have to climb a lot of stairs.
  • Protect your head from the sun: the sun can be strong in the summer months.
  • Bring water: there are no shops or bars on the islet.
  • Respect the environment: do not leave waste on the islet.
  • Be respectful of other visitors: the islet is a small place, so be respectful of other visitors.
  • If you are visiting during the high season (July and August), it is advisable to arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
  • There is a small café at the entrance to the islet where you can buy snacks and drinks.
  • If you are interested in learning more about the history and legends of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, you can take a guided tour.

A perfect ending in Bakio or Bermeo

Before returning to Donostia, you can go down to Bakio or Bermeo and enjoy this coast and its cuisine.

  • Bakio is a charming seaside town with a fine sandy beach. Here you can eat a delicious pintxo in any of its bars or restaurants.
  • Bermeo is a town with more history, with a fishing port and a medieval old town. In Bermeo, we recommend that you visit the church of Santa Eufemia and the Fisherman's Museum.

Book your stay at Lasala Plaza Hotel and discover the magic of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe from our hotel in Donostia.

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