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Getaria is a picturesque small town on the coast about 25 km west of San Sebastian. Its population is only 2700, as indicated by the census in 2012. It was the birthplace of two men who have gone down in history. The first was Juan Sebastian Elcano, the first person to circumnavigate the globe. The other native son who did well was Cristobal Balenciaga, and Getaria has a fairly new museum dedicated to him. That museum is reason enough to visit the town.
Transportation to Getaria
For visitors staying in the Parte Vieja, the closest bus stop is located at Askatasuna Hiribidea #24, just in front of La Caixa bank. This stop is for Lurraldebus UK10. Map here: https://goo.gl/maps/GHBXm
One can also take the bus from the main bus terminal located at Arquitectos Kortazar, 1.
Lurraldebus Bus Schedule (Expand the PDF file to 150%):
Cristobal Balenciaga Museum
Aldamar Parkea, 6
The museum is closed on Mondays from September to June.
Cristobal Balenciaga was born in Getaria and lived between 1895 and 1972. He became the most famous fashion designer in Spain when he was alive. The museum has 1200 pieces of clothing that he designed. This is the first museum dedicated exclusively to a designer. Among the dresses are the wedding dress of Queen Fabiola of Belgium and the dresses designed for Grace Kelly.
San Salvador Church
The San Salvador Church is located at Calle Nagusia, s/n. This church has the Gothic style and has been declared a National Monument. The construction started in the 14th century and continued into the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 19th century it had to be repaired because of damages suffered during the Carlist Wars of the 19th century. The plan of the church is trapezoidal and there are three naves, each divided into three sections. The central nave is higher than the side naves and has a starred ogive vault. The apse contains the sacristy. The presbytery is elevated and the different levels in the church is due to construction having been done not on a flat plain. The church was constructed using local stone and it has two doorways and two towers. The tower on the north was older and has six levels and has been called the Tower of the Inquisition. Its architect was Pedro de Alzaga and was started in 1525, and finished in 1755. However five years later the highes part of the tower was destroyed by a lightning bolt.
Monuments to Elcano
Juan Sebastian Elcano was born in Getaria in 1476 and died in 1526. He was a Basque explorer and accompanied Magellan as the second in command when Magellan tried to circumnavigate the globe. Unfortunately Magellan got involved in local politics on the island of Mactan in Cebu and died during a skirmish. Elcano then took over the expedition and was able to complete the circumnavigation. Elcano reached Sanlucar de Barrameda on Sept. 6, 1522. He died in 1526 on the Pacific Ocean during the Loaisa Expedition.
There are three monuments to Elcano in Getaria:
1. Carretera N-634, direction Zarautz
This monument to Elcano is located at the upper área of the harbor. The monument was meant to remember the 4th centenary of the circumnavigation of the globe by Elcano and the architects chosen in 1992 for the project were Agustin Aguirre and Jose Azpiroz. The architects Cristina Fontan and J.M. Bravo finished the project later on. The monument looks like a truncated pyramid and is made of carved stone. The staircase at the entrance has a bas-relief of Elcano by the artist Vitorio Macho. On top there is a large sculpture of the Nike of Samothrace with the head of Elcano, created by Vitorio Macho also.
2. Plaza Elcano
There is a statue of Elcano at Plaza Elcano. The statue was made in 1859 by the artist Antonio Palao and inaugurated on May 28, 1861. This statue was located in San Sebastian for many years and was returned to Getaria in 1978.
3. Plaza de los Gudaris
This statue was created by Ricardo Bellver in 1888. It is made of marble and was located in Madrid for many years. Today it is located in front of the City Hall (Ayuntamiento).