An old route used in the past to go from Bermeo to San Juan. San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is a crag shaped as a peninsula that ends on a little hermitage devoted to Saint John. A natural environment declared protected biotope that the visitor should not miss.
Start and end of the route: BERMEO Maximum height difference: 430 m. Distance: 10 Km. Aproximate time: 3 h.
This time we will start our tour in the fishing town of Bermeo. There is a legend in Bermeo that says that Saint Johns, after disembarking at this port, he arrived to the hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in three strides. We will do the same route, although we will have to walk a little more than Saint John.
We will start this route in Bermeo's old quarter, specifically at the arch of San Juan, the only door that stands for entry to the old wall from the 14th century. If we take a look here, we will see Saint John's first mark on the floor. We will walk to the cemetery and after passing near the college we will reach the quarter of Arene, the place where the second mark is. In this quarter, nexto to Aranburu farmhouse, we will find the first signal of our PR which informs us about the way we should take to reach the hermitage of Saint John. That way, if we leave the road which connects Bermeo with Bakio, we will start climbing by the country lane on our left. Soon afterwards we will find a milestone to turn to the right and we'll leave the country lane to climb among pine trees following an ancient rail track. Once we have gone up this steep slope, just where the road turns left strongly onto other side of the way, we will find a big stone cross which stands out because of its situation.
Then we continue the climb always following the reference marks of the PR, to get out again to the country lane of Kurutze square. We will see the end of the asphalt path a few meters away and at the entry of Martikorena farmhouse we will see another arrow again, pointing the road ahead. Firstly, we will go up among eucalyptus to go on climbing among pine trees some time afterwards, to arrive at a flat area with a crossroad.
At this place we will find again some arrows pointing us the GR 98 steps, as well as our PR's path. We should take the way on our right to continue going up along a wide track. When we reach the top we will be surprised by the hillsides covered with gorse, and the stunning views of Bakio and the sea. Passing first near an electricity hut and afterwards next to a mobile communications antenna, we will start descending a gravel track. At the end of this track one of Bizkaia's Romanesque style jewels will appear to us: the hermitage of San Pelaio.
Once we reach this hermitage our route is about to end. We will pass by the smal cemetery on our right and we will go down to the main road that links Bakio with Bermeo. We will cross the road very carefully and will take the way in front to go to Eneperi restaurant, to turn right here. We will go down again and after a couple of houses, the splendid views and most of all the stunning image of the peak of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, ended by the small hermitage of San Juan, will wonder us. Then we will have only to descend on a narrow lane on our right and once we find the asphalt path, we should climb the 231 stairs to get the top of the peak. Here on top is where we will be able to see the third and last mark of Saint John, as well as stunning views over the environment, declared protected biotope.
We can go back to Bermeo retracing our steps or if we prefer, taking the bus going up to the main road by Gaztelubegi.