Zumaia is one of the most beautiful villages on the Guipuzcoan Coast, so this list of the top things to do in Zumaia will help you plan your visit to make the most of your time there.
Located in a privileged position on the shores of the Cantabrian Sea and the bay where the Urola and Narrondo rivers meet, this tourist town is known for its impressive flysch, its beautiful medieval historic center, its fantastic beaches, and the Hermitage of San Telmo. The city is famous for its delicious seafood, meats, and pintxos.
Although all the points of interest of the town can be visited in the morning, it is worth spending more time to enjoy its beaches and charming corners. It is also worth spending time walking the spectacular Flysch Route to Deva.
If you do not have a car to get to Zumaia, you can take some of the Euskotren trains from Bilbao to San Sebastian.
5 Best Places To Visit In Zumaia In Your Next Trip
1. Port of Zumaia
One of the best things to do in Zumaia is to leave your car in the free parking lot of the port and start your visit to the city at this point, located in the estuary of the Urola River, which has very little fishing activity and is mainly used by recreational boats.
After seeing the port, we recommend a quiet walk along the banks of the river Urola and Narrondo, where you can see small fishing boats, an iron bridge, and beautiful houses until you reach the area of the lighthouse and the beach of Santiago, where you can take a refreshing swim.
The area also has good restaurants for eating octopus, like Idoia Ardotegia, grilled steak, like Asador Basusta, and pintxos, like Bar Gure Txokoa. Each of them recommended restaurants in Zumaia to eat at.
2. Old Town
After the walk along the riverbank, nothing better than getting lost in the narrow and steep streets of the picturesque old town of medieval origin. This is another of the most beautiful places to see in Zumaia.
One of this area’s most prominent and visible points is the Church of San Pedro Apostle, built in the thirteenth century in Gothic style and houses a beautiful altarpiece by Juan de Antxieta. Leaving the temple, you can approach the stunning Plaza de San Juan Iturri, where you can see a fountain that will remind you of one of the most famous scenes of the funny movie “Ocho Apellidos vascos.”
Around this square and San Jose streets are several seventeenth-century buildings with ashlar stone facades and wrought-iron balconies, including the House of Olazabal, Goikotorrede, and the palaces of Zumaia, Ubillos, and Foronda, current House of Culture.
An excellent option to learn about the history of this town and its most exciting points is to book a guided tour.
3. Hermitage of San Telmo – One of the must-see places in Zumaia.
From the old town, you can walk up the San Telmo Kalea to the Hermitage of San Telmo, located on Itzurun Beach and the cliff formed by the flysch.
This small chapel, dedicated to St. Nicholas, patron saint of sailors, is a rococo altarpiece from the eighteenth century made of wood. It became very famous for being the scene of the wedding of the protagonists of the film Ocho Apellidos vascos. This made it another of the renowned places to visit in Zumaia.
Remember to get the best perspective of the hermitage hanging from a cliff and the sea in the background. You have to go to the viewpoint located on the street Hondar-Gain Etxetaldea.
4. Itzurun Beach
You can also enjoy a terrific view of Itzurun Beach while standing at the Hermitage of San Telmo, one of the finest beaches in the Basque Country and a great place to see in Zumaia.
Located between vertical limestone cliffs more than 100 meters high, this beach with fine golden sand, almost 300 meters long, is known for its crystal clear waters with high concentrations of iodine and its strong waves, making it ideal for surfers.
This beach also became very famous when filming the scene of the landing of Jon Snow on his visit to Daenerys Targaryenen in the fortress of Rocadragon, which appears in the seventh season of Game of Thrones.
5. Flysch of Zumaya
In the cliff on the far right of Itzurun Beach, you can see flysch’s geological phenomenon. Over thousands of years, this phenomenon was formed by the erosion of the sea and leaves behind a landscape that seems utterly out of the world.
These layers of hard rocks, interspersed with other softer and weather, are all along the coast of Euskadi.
Nevertheless, these formations have become so popular in this place that it is now possible to travel the Flysch Route, which stretches for 14 kilometers to Deva, where the most outstanding formations are concentrated. Still, they are more difficult to find than those in Zumaya.
It’s important to know the exact time of low tide if you wish to explore this medium-difficulty route. This route includes ascending and descending cliffs, and once you have reached Deva, you can return with the Euskotren to Zumaia.
If you do not want to complete the whole route, you can also do a section of the beautiful Guipuzcoan Coast along the top of the cliffs leaving the San Telmo Chapel.
Where to stay in Zumaia
Our recommended accommodation in Zumaia is the Flysch Hotel, located near the Ermita de San Telmo and the Flysch. As well as a fantastic location, the hotel offers a full breakfast, parking, friendly service, and has a reasonable price/quality ratio.
Another good option is to book at Landarte, a bed & breakfast located 700 meters from the center and the marina.