Zarautz, a lovely historic seaside town is situated on a plain in the province of Gipuzkoa; just 16 miles west of San Sebastian. Its long beach of fine sand and promenade is one of its main attractions; inviting the visitor to take a relaxing stroll. Noteworthy monuments in Zarautz include the Narros Palace, the Casa Torre de los Zarautz (manor house), the Parish Church of Santa María La Real and the Luzea Tower.
The town and its surroundings, being situated between the mountains and the sea, are ideal for walking (there are many lovely trails in the area), hiking and for other sports such as golf and all types of watersports. The nature of the waves in Zarautz makes it one of the prime venues for the world surfing championships held every September.
Near Zarautz is the Pagoeta National Park. This is a beautiful natural environment, which has a wealth of flora and fauna and it preserves interesting ethnographic features such as the old Agorregi Foundry and Mill; a working example of 18th century use of hydraulic power to run an ironworks and two mills. Near here too and worth visiting is the beautifully situated village of Aia; a lovely example of a traditional Basque village with a pelota court (Basque Handball) just off the main plaza. In Zarautz itself is the Photographic Museum which explores the history of photography from three different view points: technical development, photography as social communication and photography as art.
Zarautz is near to several delightful coastal towns - Getaria, Orio, Zumaia - which are a pleasure to visit. In Zumaia, which has two fine beaches and an excellent seawater spa, you find the Zuloaga Museum; housed in what used to be an inn on the Santiago pilgrim trail. Here there are diverse collections ranging from ancient to 20th C pieces as well as many examples of the Basque artist, Zuloaga´s, own work. You can see pieces which illustrate the transition from the Gothic to the Renaissance; both Spanish and Flemish, works by El Greco, Zurbarán, Goya and Vicente López, Spanish romantic paintings, Renaissance sculptures, Baroque nativity scenes, bronzes by Rodin as well as important damascenes from Eibar made in Plácido Zuloaga''''s workshop.
One other thing which Zarautz is particularly famous for is the production of txakoli; a delicious young white wine, an ideal accompaniment to the area''''s exquisite cuisine. Especially the fish and seafood.
More Things to see and do
In nearby Getaria, the parish church of San Salvador; built to fit the shape of the terrain, moulding the Gothic symmetry to the existing space. Mount San Antón (The mouse of Getaria): Scenic Peninsula offering panoramic views of the coast. Museum of Cristóbal Balenciaga: world famous fashion designer and native of Getaria. The harbour: full of excellent fish and seafood restaurants. The lovely beach.
In Orio, Parish Church of San Nicolás de Bari: surrounded by a beautiful uneven porticoed gallery. The Old Quarter -a labyrinth of steep winding streets. Great restaurants and bars.
In Aia, the Pagoeta Nature Reserve, the Agorregi foundry and the Parish Church of San Esteban, made of grey limestone.
In Zumaia, the Church of San Pedro and its five-story tower, the Laia Museum which tells the story of 12 families and displays their homemade crafts, the Zuloaga Museum. The beach and the long promenade.
In Zestoa, the Cestona Spa where day visitors are welcome to use the pools and have treatments, the Parish Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, the Lili palace with its access through the fountain “of the four spouts”.
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