Home  WHAT TO SEE  Felipa Bustingorri – Route around Getxo’s stately homes

Felipa Bustingorri

Photograph on loan from Getxoko Liburutegiak – Getxo Municipal Libraries.

If Felipa Bustingorri had been born in this century she would have been called an entrepreneur, but she probably would not have found it easy in her day to realise her business project, as she chose to launch a business involving the incipient fashion of sea-bathing. Furthermore, it was not common to see a woman in management, but because she was a widow, Felipa was allowed to open her own business.

The route begins in the square beside the Puente Bizkaia transporter bridge, where families of holidaymakers arrived from Bilbao ready to enjoy the Bay of Biscay’s delights and the entertainment Getxo provided.

As you follow the route, try to imagine the hustle and bustle in summer on the huge beach in Las Arenas around the buildings along its seafront, then have a txonbo (which is how we say a quick dip in these parts), and take a stroll along the avenue Avenida Zugazarte, passing palaces (Valdés, Bake Eder and Churruca) until you come to one of today’s popular areas of bars and shops in Getxo.


Her father was born in Ustaritz, in the French Basque Country (Iparralde in Basque) and her mother hailed from Zeanuri, here in Bizkaia, Felipa was born in Bilbao. Like her brothers, José Celestino and Pedro Lucio, she also had a compound name: Felipa Teresa Bustingorri Abasolo.

Although she had several businesses, she is best remembered for being the owner of a bathing house beside Las Arenas Beach, at a time when health and wellness tourism was considered a novel pastime.

Her establishment was so successful that Felipa even appeared on the local 'Forbes list' in 1893, which included some of Getxo’s biggest landowners. This list was headed by the family of a businessman called Máximo Aguirre (owner of the first spa), while Felipa was in 11th position, and the only woman on it.

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