Not a lot of people have ever heard of Zarautz,
and even fever know how to pronounce it. Yet, it is a wonderful town on the North Coast of Spain with the longest beach in Basque Country. Zarautz is famous for its beach and the rich opportunity to surf in the area. When you finish reading this post, you’ll realize that there is much more to the town, than the beach.
Zarautz is the perfect day trip from San Sebastian
Even though there are three very beautiful beaches in San Sebastian. Zarautz is worth a visit.
What could be better than a visit to the longest beach in the region?
When you reach Zarautz
When you step of the platform at the trainstation in Zarautz you’ll be met by classic, basque-style buildings. What I really enjoy about Zarautz is how local it feels. Compared to the larger cities in Basque Country like Bilbao or San Sebastian, people in the shops speak Euskera (Basque language) in stead of spanish as we know it. That does not happen too often in the larger cities, where they have more people coming from the rest of spain as well as foreigners.
The best thing about Zarautz:
is its size. Because it is a very small town, near the beach and between the mountains, it has a very authentic feeling around it. Also, compared to San Sebastian or Bilbao it feels like there are almost no tourists in Zarautz.
Another great thing is the shopping street, which is filled with small local shops and bakeries. In Basque Country they are quite famous for their pastries and cakes, so I would definitely recommend you to stop by one of the many bakeries.
You should visit this place
In the pedestrian street of Zarautz, they also have a food market.
As you might know by now, I am a huge fan of food markets and I love to walk around the different stalls and try the things they are selling as well as getting food-souvenirs to bring home. The food market in Zarautz was built in 1903 and here you can find produce from local farms. When the market first opened the farmers would sell whatever produce they had leftover, but now they produce to sell it on the market.
Why you should visit the main attraction in Zarautz; the beach
As mentioned earlier, Zarautz is home to the longest beach in the region and is definitely worth a visit. The beach is pretty wide, depending on the tide of course. Here you’ll find everything from women tanning in their bikinis, to kids playing in the water’s edge to professional surfers doing their thing on the waves.
If you are not into surfing yourself,
but still think surfing is cool. This is a great place to watch some of the best surfers in the world challenge themselves on the waves rushing towards the Basque coast.
There is more though,
On each side of the beach, you’ll find view points on the mountains from which you’ll have an amazing view over the landscape. If you walk to the viewpoint on west side of the beach you’ll pass some of the Txakoli vineyards in the areas as well as you’ll see some of the beautiful green landscape up close.
Where to get the best basque food in Zarautz?
You’ll find lots of restaurants along the beach in Zarautz, but is this where you want to go?
Well, it can be okay for snacks, but if you want to get some really good food and leave the restaurants happy and satisfied, you should go to one of these places:
Restaurante Otzarreta | Here you’ll find lots of traditional basque food. This place is quite expensive, so if you are on a budget, you might want to skip this one. Don’t worry, there are plenty of options to try traditional basque food.
Kulixka | This place is close to the sea and is beautiful! They serve amazing traditional basque food.
Gure Txokoa | The last traditional Basque Restaurant on my list, is also very beautiful and has great basque food.
Where to stay in Zarautz?
Where you want to stay depends widely on your budget.
I would recommend to stay at the campsite Gran Camping Zarautz. The camp site is on top of the mountain on the east side of the beach. From the site, there is an amazing view over the beach and the town. Also there is a small path directly from the beach and up to this campsite. A huge plus is that it is their super budget friendly prices. At the camp site you’ll find all sorts of people from the grandparents who goes with their caravan to the young group of friends who sleeps in a tent and goes parting in town all night.
If you are not into camping,
Another place you could stay in Zarrautz is in the hostel. Which is also super cheap if you choose to stay in one of the dorms.
If you want to have a little more privacy, I would pay a little extra and get a hotel room. I haven’t been able to find any directly in Zarautz looking through the web. I am pretty sure there are some though. If you are also unable to find a place in town, I would choose one of the nearby towns. They are all well connected with the train.
The last opportunity is to stay in an Airbnb. I love to use Airbnb when traveling and in Zarautz there are plenty of affordable places to rent.
How to get to Zarautz from San Sebastian
The easiest way to get from San Sebastian to Zarautz is to use the Euskotren, which is the regional train system. This train stops in most towns in Basque Country. The trip from San Sebastian to Zarautz takes about half an hour.
What is even better,
is that it takes you through the beautiful Basque landscape. As the train drives through the landscape you’ll have a view to the many green mountains and hills, as well as all the small farms, that are found throughout the region. This is by far my favorite form of transportation, when traveling around Basque Country, Spain.
Want to know the best part?
It is actually super cheap to travel with the trains in Basque Country and you can get quite far with just a couple of euros. It gets even cheaper if you have the local transportation card, called the mugi-card. They have different versions, but if you are in Spain as a tourist I would recommend you to get the anonymous one. With this card you save a little less than with a personal card, but you get it right away.
Have fun in Zarautz!
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