Getaria, Spain

Photo: Mikel Arrazola ( [CC BY 3.0 es (], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Mikel Arrazola ( [CC BY 3.0 es (, via Wikimedia Commons
You traveled to the Basque Country to eat. San Sebastián, near the French border, has one of the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants per square meter in the world (only Kyoto, Japan has more). Of Spain’s seven restaurants with three Michelin stars (the highest possible ranking), three are in this gorgeous city on the northern coast. After making reservations well in advance, you tasted your way through traditional flavors, avant-garde techniques, and surprising textures. Then, unable to eat another bite, you decided to drive west to see more of the stunning coastline.

But you don’t get very far. Getaria is only 15 miles from the gluttonous capital of the Gipuzkoa Province. But as you drive through the green hills, with vineyards on one side and glimpses of the deep blue Cantabric Sea on the other, it immediately feels calmer and less glitzy. The medieval fishing town was the home of Juan Sebastián Elcano, the sailor who completed the first circumnavigation of the world, after Ferdinand Magellan died en route. The town’s focus is still very much the sea.

Stroll along its golden beach. The harbor protects it from heavy swells. Watch squid fishermen unload their boats along the docks. Walk to El Ratón de Getaria. The mouse-shaped rocky promontory at the end of the harbor has beautiful views of the coastline. Visit the Church of San Salvador. The Gothic-style church has a trapezoidal layout and a wooden floor that’s shaped like a ship’s deck. Spend hours admiring the beautiful gowns in the Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum. The beloved fashion designer was born—and eventually buried—in Getaria. Then eat lunch at Restaurante Elkano. You’re unable to resist the chipirones at the family-run asadore.

Photo: Hotel Iturregi
Photo: Hotel Iturregi

Hotel Iturregi sits on the hillside overlooking Getaria. It’s surrounded by Txakoli vineyards, farmhouses, and grazing cows. A sea breeze blows through the tropical plants and the hydrangeas outside. The pool was built over the ruins of an old farmhouse. Deep sofas and plenty of chairs litter the terrace. While the interior is the perfect combination of modern and classic design.

The sitting area has more comfortable seating. Neutral couches let brightly patterned chairs be the stars. Interesting art and an honesty bar are strategically positioned. Striped tablecloths decorate the sunny breakfast room. French doors and large windows ensure your focus is always on the view. While your room, which may have a black marble bathroom or a zinc fireplace, is filled with soothing tones.

You could spend the rest of your time in Getaria visiting wineries, biking between beaches, and hiking—the Camino de Santiago passes right by the hotel. But you’re quite content sipping a glass of fizzy white wine and staring at the Basque coast. At least until it’s time for your next amazing meal.


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