San Juan of Gaztelugatze
This spot, located in Bermeo, has something captivating about it.
The long, steep stairway that connects the island to the mainland is a real challenge. There are different versions as to the real number of steps, but everybody agrees that it is worth the climb.
At the end of the steps you can step in a footprint said to have been left by Saint John the Baptist and to bring good luck. At the top you will find a picturesque chapel and, above all, spectacular views over the stormy Bay of Biscay, which has carved cliffs, tunnels and impossible arches out of the island.
Gaztelugatxe has seen pirates, witches and legends and it is not for nothing that it has repeatedly been voted most popular sight or most highly-rated attraction by travellers from all over the world.
The ritual of ringing the bell three times
When you get to the top don’t forget to ring the chapel bell three times and make a wish. In the past people did this to pray for fertility or drive away evil spirits or headaches. The bell is so handy that many visitors of all ages simply have to ring it - you’ll see.
Remember to wear sensible clothes and shoes. In spring and autumn the island may be calm and you can savour all of its mysticism and beauty. In summer you won’t be able to resist a dip at one of the small stony beaches around the bottom of the steps. Gaztelugatxe is a natural wonder that you’ll certainly want to come back to.