Gaztelugatxe is a small island which is a part of the Basque country in Spain. It has an artificial connection to the mainland in the form of a bridge. The main attraction of the island is the hermitage which is dedicate to John the Baptist. Although it receives a steady influx of tourists all year round, the best time to visit is during the spring season. Read below for a detailed overview of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Island. The church is closed during the winter so you will miss out on visits if you happen to schedule a tour during this season.
Places to See
The main purpose of a tourist visit should be to visit the hermitage which is the principal attraction of the island. Built sometime in the 9th or 10th century, it has its origin in the Kinghts Templar. As per legend, the tiny church built on rocky area was donated by Lady Tota to a monk who was part of the order of monastery of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. One of the main purposes of the Island was to serve as a strategic spot for invaders. It was put to good use to this very effect innumerable times in history. The hermitage was used as a burial place and also houses offerings made by sailors who managed to survive the gruesome sea.
Another attraction is the bridge itself. It is an artificial bridge that connects the mainland to the Island. You can access the 237 steps of the stone bridge by using a relatively narrow route. It is a custom to ring the bell thrice after climbing the steps. If you are into meditation, there is a separate area nearby where you can relax and meditate in complete silence. Since very few people actually venture to this place, it is not very crowded and is a good place to visit if you are looking to spend some quality time with your loved ones.
Things to Do
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is a relatively peaceful space with some mesmerising views of the sea. You can simply relax here and watch the innumerable birds that flock in season. The scenic beauty of the rocky coast is another view that attracts photography enthusiasts to this Island. If you are into bird watching, then the place is a paradise for you since it is frequented by many bird species.
It is always best to come prepared and carry some food with you as there are very few restaurants in the Island. Ensure that you grab a bottle of wine and some delicacies and spend an entire day here. The coastline is under heavy erosion due to the constant waves hitting the coast and makes for a rugged coastline which is worth exploring. The best way to do so is to park your car and then explore on foot. There are many scenic locations on route and you can also book a guided tour or rely solely on your guide book since the Island is in itself not very huge and can be covered alone.