This article was translated by John R. Bopp
This January, we decided to go down to the Basque Coast, on the shores of the Bay of Biscay, to walk through the streets and the port of a town that’s worth visiting: Mutriku.
This burg on the Guipuzcoan coast, the westernmost in the province, grew around one of the oldest ports in this historic Basque territory, which has marked it throughout its long history and to the present day.
Traditionally, the city’s economy has been based on fishing, and for centuries it was one of the main Basque whaling ports, which is reflected on its city shield, which, as is the case with many coastal Basque towns, has a whale on it. As the ineluctable Auñamendi Encyclopedia states in its entry on whaling:
The oldest reference that can be found to whaling in Guipuzcoa can be found in a document from the year 1200, when Alfonso VIII gave the Order of Santiago the whale that the town of Mutriku had to donate every year to the king.
We decided to visit Mutriku in the middle of January. Unlike what it may seem at first glance, visiting the Basque Coast in seasons that aren’t winter has many advantages, not the least of which is being able to enjoy these places without the crowds.
It was a real pleasure walking the streets of the historic core, a listed Historical Center. It’s not for nothing that this town is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in all of Guipuzcoa and the Basque Country.
While walking the streets and climbing the hills, we can wend our way through the narrow, cobblestone streets and enjoy the plethora of spectacular, history-filled buildings we’ll find throughout our stay.
Our tour ends at the port, which is, more than an individual decision, almost an obligation when walking this town’s streets, because it doesn’t matter which street we walk down, sooner or later, we’ll end up at the port.
Honestly, from our point of view, Mutriku has one of the most attractive ports along the entire Basque Coast. Perhaps we find it so because we’ve always been fascinated by the Old Guildhouse built on the dock in the middle of the port.
Today, that building houses the Bentalekua Museum, where we can find a curious machine from the beginning of the 20th century, which was used to organize the fish auctions, and is the only one still preserved in the Basque Country.
Since the goal of this section isn’t to be a tour guide, but rather share our experience and our point of view, we’ll leave the details of everything you can learn about and enjoy in Mutriku to the list of links where our readers can find out more interesting information and irresistible tour ideas.
But, we can’t forget to give a special mention to the Basque Coast Geopark, which goes from Mutriku to Zumaia and is undoubtedly one of the must-see points for those who like to combine tourism, gastronomy, culture, and a wonderful experience discovering a spectacular landscape that is, at the same time, the book that tells us about hundreds of millions of years of Earth’s history and which is open to be read by anyone who visits this corner of the Land of the Basques. It’s a special getaway that we’re going to give a full entry to soon.
- Tourism, City of Mutriku
- Basque Tourism: Mutriku
- Basque Coast Geopark
- Audioguides of Mutriku
- Data from the Mutriku Tourism Office
- Mutriku Geological Interpretation Centre
- The north Atlantic, “the sea of the basques”
And, as will always be the case in “Viewpoints”, this personal view will be shown with a video and a selection of photos. We hope you enjoy both!
You can see the photos on Flickr