If we plan to visit the Basque Country, it is necessary to remember that a mandatory stop is the Urdaibai Reserve. It is an area with a great ecological heritage that was classified as a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco in 1984. Inside, you will find the beautiful villa of Bermeo and not far away the tourist will be dazzled by a scene that will leave him speechless, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, whose translation into Castilian is castle and rock.
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe: work of nature
Access to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is difficult and can only be done on foot. However, it is worth the effort, since the views from the highest part are imposing and overwhelming.San Juan de Gaztelugatxe - Alberto Loyo
To this is added the beauty of the landscape of the area, which will accompany us on our walk making it a wonderful journey full of charm. At the end of our route, we will reach our reward.
This islet was awarded the title of Spanish wonder in a contest dedicated to that end. He competed with rivals like Somiedo in Asturias, Las Médulas in León, Fuente Dé in Cantabria, Lagunas de Ruidera in Castilla-La Mancha, Cabo de Gata in Almería and the beach of Las Catedrales in Lugo.
A magical enclave
This paradise on the Basque coast is a wild and steep obstacle to which the ocean wears out continuously. It is surrounded by rocky beaches and is full of caves.San Juan de Gaztelugatxe - Francisco Javier Gil
It is reached through a rather narrow route. A bridge with two arches connects the islet to the mainland. Hikers will be forced to go down a steep slope that will have to be traced later, because to reach the top it is necessary to climb a ladder of 240 steps.
During the tour we will be accompanied by the seductive sound of water crashing against the rocks, as well as the presence of the hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, which draws us towards it as a continuous reminder that the effort is well worth it.
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe: work of man
The origin of this building dates back to the 10th century. It was built in honor of Saint John the Baptist. In fact, it is said that on the stairs that lead to her he left his imprint.San Juan de Gaztelugatxe - Fresnel
Being located in a very valuable and strategic place, there have been many mishaps and historical circumstances through which it has passed. Among them it should be noted that he has been a victim of fires on several occasions, the last one only a few decades ago.
Long before, in the year 1593 it was undervalued by the English privateer Francis Drake, and even was assaulted in different warlike confrontations, since it is a place of strategic importance.
Inside the hermitage You can still see remains of medieval tombs. Next to it, there is a small shelter within which the visitor will be able to guard the days of strong wind.
«Entrust yourself to God with all your heart, which often rains his mercies in the time that hopes are drier.»
-Miguel de Cervantes-
LegendsSan Juan de Gaztelugatxe - Mimadeo
According to legend, San Juan Bautista reached the Basque territory. What's more, he points out that He left his footsteps at four specific points. The first was on the aforementioned stairs to the islet. The second is inside the village of Bermeo, while the third is on top of Mount Burgoa and the fourth in the hamlet of Ermua. It is said that you put your feet on them all the evils that are suffered in the lower extremities will be cured miraculously and instantly.
The myths also ensure that if a woman desires offspring, the saintwill help you solve this problem and be able to conceive.
But nevertheless, the most popular fable is to ring the bell three times to ward off evil spirits, preventing them from ever coming back. There is so much faith that the locals place in San Juan that the boats usually circle around this rock before leaving for the sea with the intention of the saint protecting them.