San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.
Set in a superb location on the coast the island of Gaztelugatxe is now tied to the mainland by a causeway. The hermitage of San Juan is at the top of the monticule. There are apparently over 200 steps down and then up to get to the chapel, which for the most part is closed, although there is a covered area on the right for meditation and a good view of the ocean and the mainland if the weather is inclement. There is Mass during Easter, July and August, with a special pilgrimage dedicated to San Juan the 24 th of June each year. Built in the 10th c. it has been attacked many times, notably by Francis Drake and even as recently as 1978 was destroyed by fire and re-opened two years later. On the way there is a belvedere from which you can take photos if you don't want to do the whole hike. Or for those physically challenged about 1 km further on the main coast road there is another viewpoint at the first parking lot on the left.
San Pelaio hermitage. near Bakio.
On the coast road that leads from Bermeo to Bakio, is this small Romanesque chapel. Dating from the 12th c. it has been renovated but is basically the same as 1000 years ago and is thus one of the oldest Christian buildings in the whole Biscay area. It has a portico that runs completely round the building under the pitched roof. The chapel was closed when we passed and there is nothing to tell when it would be open, although the yard in front can be lit so it's possible that Mass is celebrated outside at certain times.
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
A small island connected to the mainland by an artificial bridge.
On the top of the island there is a small monastery with many "ex-voto" of sailors who were rescued during emergencies.
You can reach the top of the hill by climbing a long and winding path that includes 229 steps. From up there there is a magnificent view over the coast of Vizcaya and the surrounding small islands.
This region is a WWF sanctuarry, and it is very pleasant to take one of the walks and just enjoy the scenery.
Just be sure that the only thing you leave behind are your footprints, take all your garbage with you.
- National/State Park
- Hiking and Walking
It´s a very beautiful hermitage. It´s located above a little island, and to reach it you have to up 267 stairs.