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Gaztelugatxe: Day Trips and Tours from Bilbo

Discover the scenic beauty of the Basque Country on a Gaztelugatxe day trip from Bilbao. Visit the rocky islet of Gaztelugatxe and see the views over the Bay of Biscay. Climb up to the Hermitage of San Juan and visit picturesque villages and towns along the way.

See world-famous landmarks on the Basque coastline and immerse yourself in the culture of the Basque Region with these fascinating day tours from Bilbao.

How to get to Gaztelugatxe from Bilbao?

Gaztelugatxe can be found on Spain's northern coast, around 30 kilometers northeast of the city of Bilbao. It is easy to reach by road or rail from the city.

From Bilbao to Gaztelugatxe by car

The journey from Bilbao to Gaztelugatxe is a straightforward trip by car but there are tolls along the way that cannot be avoided. The journey is around 35 kilometers and takes about 45 minutes.

From Bilbao take the Corredor del Txorierri/N-637 east until junction 18. Join the BI-631 and follow until Emerando then join the Bakio Bidea/BI-2101 and follow all the way to Bakio. Follow San Pelaioko Bide Nagusia to San Pelaio then follow the signs for Gaztelugatxe.

From Bilbao to Gaztelugatxe by bus

Getting to Gaztelugatxe by bus is cheap and simple from Bilbao and services run every 30 minutes to one hour throughout the day. The journey takes around one hour and ten minutes to 1.5 hours and the fair is only a few euros.

Simply catch the A3518/A3517 bus from Moyua Plaza to San Pelaio. This bus will take you all the way to the car park of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.

Guided tour to Gaztelugatxe from Bilbao

If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to travel, why not try a Gaztelugatxe day trip from Bilbao. These tours include all transportation for the day, a local guide and the opportunity to visit other interesting locations along the way.

What is the typical itinerary of a day tour to Gaztelugatxe from Bilbao?

Most Gaztelugatxe day trips from Bilbao will also visit a couple of different places in the region or along the Basque coastline.

A typical day trip will begin with pickup from your hotel where you will board the bus or minivan and make the short drive north to Gaztelugatxe. Upon arriving at the islet, you will have a couple of free hours to explore, during which you can visit the hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.

Walk along the zigzag stone bridge that joins the islet to the mainland and climb the 241 steps to the hermitage. When you reach the top of the stairs, ring the chapel bell three times and make a wish.

See the dramatic and moody seascape of the Bay of Biscay, and learn a little about the exciting history of the islet, which includes pirates, witches and medieval battles. Return to the bus to travel to the next destination on your tour or return to Bilbao depending on which tour you choose.

What kinds of tours are available to go to Gaztelugatxe?

When choosing a Gaztelugatxe day tour, you have many options to select between. Most tours visit nearby places such as San Sebastian, Gernika and Bermeo. You can also choose between private tours and group guided tours.

Guided tours to Gaztelugatxe from Bilbao

These guided group tours visit the island of Gaztelugatxe for a couple of hours of sightseeing. They also usually call at the picturesque coastal village of Bermeo in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve and the historic town of Gernika, also known as Guernica.

Private tour to Gaztelugatxe from Bilbao

Explore the Basque coastline on a private tour to Gaztelugatxe with your own driver and guide to show you around. Discover the islet and personalize your itinerary to your own specifications. If you prefer to travel without the crowds and choose your own schedule, a private tour is the best choice.

Game of Thrones tour to Gaztelugatxe from Bilbao

Visit "Game of Thrones" filming locations on the Basque coastline during these unique fan-centered tours. Travel with a driver and guide and discover the dramatic sights of Gaztelugatxe, Zumaia and Getaria on a GOT themed excursion.

Day trip to Gaztelugatxe plus San Sebastian and Basque coast from Bilbao

See the breathtaking scenery of Gaztelugatxe and San Sebastian and explore the Basque coastline on a guided day tour from Bilbao. Visit a few local villages to get a taste of the Basque Country’s highlights.

How much does a tour to Gaztelugatxe from Bilbao cost?

The price of Gaztelugatxe day trips varies depending on the length of the tour and the group size. Private tours are the most expensive and range from €180 to €560 per person for a full day tour.

Group tours cost from €50 to €100 per person for a half-day tour, and €90 to €230 for a full-day tour.

What will you see and do in Gaztelugatxe?

As Gaztelugatxe is not very large, many of the tours also visit nearby locations. The following are some of the most popular places to explore in and around Gaztelugatxe.

This small islet is connected to the mainland via a man-made stone walkway which creates a dramatic vista on the Basque coastline. The walkway zigzags scenically to the island and includes 241 steps which must be climbed to reach the hermitage of San Juan.

The island has a long and fascinating history which extends back at least 1,000 years. Visitors can get great views of the coastline from here and are encouraged to ring the chapel bell three times and make a wish.

Gaztelugatxe was used as a filming location for the HBO television series “Game of Thrones.”


The quaint town of Bermeo is a must-see on a trip along the Basque coast. Its colorful marina is one of the most photographed areas in the region and features tall slender buildings and a historic harbor in the “Old Port” area of town.


The town of Gernika, also known as Guernica, was almost completely destroyed by Nazi bombing raids on April 26, 1937. The savage nature of the attack inspired the famous painting “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso.

It has since been rebuilt and has plenty for visitors to discover, including vibrant markets, museums and cultural sights such as the famous Guernica Tree, which symbolizes Basque freedom and identity.

Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve

Covering 220 square kilometers along the Bay of Biscay coast, Urdaibai is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of lush forests, marshlands and coastal wetlands. The area is rich in natural beauty and has an abundance of wildlife, including wild boars and many bird species.

When is the best time to visit Gaztelugatxe?

Gaztelugatxe can be visited at any time of the year but from June to September is probably the best time. This part of Spain gets year-round rainfall but the summer months will offer the warmest and driest weather and most comfortable temperatures.

Visit in May, June or September if you prefer to avoid the summer crowds.

Travel tips

  • Book your Gaztelugatxe day trip in advance to ensure the tour is available during your stay in the region.
  • Be sure to wear comfortable shoes if you plan to climb the many stairs to the top of Gaztelugatxe island.
  • Bring water to drink as the hike up to the Hermitage of San Juan is quite strenuous.
  • Pack a light jacket or umbrella in case of rain.