Stupendous Northern Spain Part 1: Gaztelugatxe

After a stretch of cities, we were ready for some downtime in the country. For many reasons already covered here, our burnout was high, our energy level was low, and we were pretty excited to relax.

We weren’t prepared to be absolutely blown away, heads exploded, jaws agape with the stunning natural beauty that is northern Spain.

I picked Gaztelugatxe off of a map they gave us at Agroturismo Urresti. It looked kinda cool – some sort of church on the ocean where you have to go down some stairs and up some stairs to see it. We got going late, drove for a little bit, and stopped at a lighthouse that we thought was the northernmost point in Spain (more on that later). We were a little underwhelmed. It was graffiti-scarred and nobody was there.

So we hopped in the car and drove on to Gaztelugatxe, which is an island just off the coast and OH MY GOD.

Uh… yeah. Wow.

The hike was tougher than we thought it was going to be, but Fiona was a champ and we got there with no trouble. The pictures kind of tell it, but they also don’t. The sea is dark blue and crashes hard against the island. The wall is ancient, and the views from the islet are incomparable. It’s like someone dropped a medieval church smack into the cliffs near Big Sur.

We also learned, after the fact, that the island was a filming location for Game of Thrones, transformed with a little CGI help into Dragonstone Castle. It’s just that dramatic.

The whole thing is just jaw-dropping. It being Spain, there’s a hotel and restaurant back at the start of the hike, with a very decent playground. The view from the playground makes it world-class. Fiona was more interested in riding the cow.

Cow in the front, Atlantic in the back.

We headed back to our little apartment at the agroturismo, calf-sore and happy. But folks – want to know something crazy? This is just the beginning of the natural wonder of northern Spain. There’s more coming.

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