If you love ports as much as I do, then you will have a great time in Lekeitio. Located 55 kilometers from Bilbao has a very pretty old town, especially around “Gamarra Enparantza”, a place that was used since old times as a market, and that today links the old neighborhood of Dendari with the Arranegi one, inhabited by sea folks.
It is worthwhile to wander through these corners, but there is nothing like the town port to really have a good time. It is small and colorful, full of fishing boats painted in colors. The port of Lekeitio is alive at any time of the day.
In the morning it is quite fascinating to see the fishermen return with their catch and to select and separate the fish from the seafood and to prepare everything for the auction in the marketplace.
The afternoon is usually calm; the fishermen make repairs to their nets and prepare themselves to go out early next morning.
Nighttime at the port is the best. Full of restaurants with great atmosphere, this is the place of choice for travelers and neighbors to enjoy spectacular dishes straight from the sea.
That which gives Lekeitio its raison d'etre, is undoubtedly its beautiful harbor. Although not very big, it has always been big enough for both small fishing boats used by the village fishermen. It's even perfectly suitable for the goose game that takes place in September 5 every year and more and more tourists come to town to spend a day in the town. Well Lekeitio port is one of the best places to stroll on a summer night. The Cantabrian cool night air is refreshing after a day of sun and sand. So many people take advantage of the weather and drink there in the area. The harbor is full of restaurants where you can eat all kinds of dishes, from homemade sandwiches to fresh fish tapas. You should make a reservation for restaurants with a menu, especially if it's summer because it is usually packed with tourists. Over the weekend many of these change their pintxos for bars and dance music combined and transformed into pubs. The atmosphere is great. You've also got the fresh sea if the atmosphere in the bars starts to heat up.
San Nicolas Island, also known as Garraitz, is one of the things that makes Lekeitio one of the nicest places I have ever been to. Located not far from the shore, is accessible on foot at low tide from boardwalk above, but it is slippy and you have to be careful. You also have to be careful with the tide, specially if you are unsure of how the tides work, is a very common fault tourists make. It can also be dangerous to swim as there are many rocks around. There are many legends about the island, one of which states that in ancient times, leprosy patients were marginalized and kept here in a monastery. Today there is only a shepherd with his goats and many rabbits. There is also currently an exhibition of art of a Basque sculptor. For me, it has become a tradition to climb up every year at least once to the lookout from the top of the island. The views are spectacular.
I am often going there for a walk, to read, to meditate, to enjoy the sunsets... It is the perfect place! The trouble is that I can only enjoy it in summer but it is worth it. Taking into account that it is located at one of the prettiest villages on the Basque coast, Lekeitio, I can certainly recommend it.
The Lekeitio lighthouse is located on a cliff near Santa Catalina. It is 46 meters high and was built in 1862. In 1935 its reach was improved to 12 miles. Located in a frequently fogged up area an electric siren with 6-mile radius was installed in 1956. A 24 mile range was achieved by the installation of electricity in 1957. The lighthouse is located on a hillside and often endures cold and wet weather as well as sea spray from the waves.
One of the best views in Lekeitio can be found at Tala. From there you can see the island of St. Nicholas, one of the beacons at the entrance to the harbor, and the Amandarri breakwater. The waves break onto the beaches and the young kids taking advantage of the water to cool off in summer. Waves are coming down with great force and it is easy to be dragged to the rocks. There have been cases of such accidents. It however is a great place to walk around. Many fishing crews gather and talk about their experiences. In summer it is a very frequented venue. Given its remoteness there is also a helipad for medical emergencies. This year there was a case of a woman in labor who gave birth in flight.
Fifteen of Jose Pablo Arriaga's sculptures are exhibited at Garraitz Island until the end of October. This Markina sculptor (Bizkaia), began his career as a sculptor in Edinburgh, Scotland, and later made several trips to different countries in Africa. Arriaga professes great respect for nature and the traditions and customs of the places he has visited, which leads him to use materials, such as iroko wood, in his sculptures and furniture. The exhibition is named Therese, in memory of an African girl who died during a boat trip on the Kasai River, a tributary of the Congo River. The art works are made of iroko wood, fire treated, and can only be visited when the tide is low. Tourist guides provide information as to the exact location of each of the works and tide schedules. If you walk around the island you can find logs that indicate the exact spot for the best view of each art work as well as explanations for each. It is a privilege to visit this exhibition especially considering the special place where it is exhibited.
The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Lekeitio originates from the XV century, with additions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the Basque Country. It is one of the most valuable religious monuments of Biscay.
The San Juan Beach Bar is no doubt a good place for a drink after a long day at the beach. Right next to the chapel of the same name, you will find the small bar with a terrace overlooking the cliff, which makes it the perfect place to watch the sunset. It has a good atmosphere with chill out music. When my friends and I went there for coffee after dinner I noticed that mostly young people hang out there at night although it is not uncommon to see couples enjoying a nice summer evening. The bar is closed in winter. As the bar is quite open it is advisable to wear something warm if it is not a very hot night. The views are unbeatable. You can see the entire coast from the lighthouse of Santa Katalina to Karraspio to San Nicolas Island. During regattas days the bar is overcrowded as you can watch the entire race from here.