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The History of Getxo


The Municipality of Getxo lies 20 kilometres from Bilbao, in a privileged spot because of its beautiful beaches and exceptional cliffs. Getxo officially comprises the Las Arenas, Algorta, Romo, Neguri and Andra Mari districts.

Getxo was erected in the 12th century around the Andra Mari church (located in Andra Mari), thus forming the first urban hub, inhabited almost exclusively by farmers, shepherds, millers and fishermen. These fishermen built their homes in the high part of the tiny port of the Algorta district at the entrance to the estuary, converting this place into a tiny but picturesque spot, frequently visited by tourists today because it retains its seafaring village charm.

The tiny houses and steeply sloping streets, which can only be traversed on foot, jealously maintain its ancient character as a village which, like many others in the Basque Country, was also devoted to the harsh work of seafaring.

The boom in shipping and commerce in the port of Bilbao had direct repercussions on the Algorta district, which slowly flourished. In 1742 the Prince’s Castle was built (currently called La Galea Fort), as a prime site for defending the Bilbao estuary and, above all, the trade routes which departed from our municipality.

But it was in the second half of the 19th century when Getxo had its age of utmost splendour and became a tourist resort, which is today what best defines this town in Bizkaia.

Due to its exceptional setting and its beaches, grand villas began to be built, which initially led Las Arenas to become one of the summer holidaying resorts for the aristocracy and upper middle classes from the inland provinces and also from Bilbao. The birth of the new Areeta district (between 1868 and 1870) represented the municipality’s blossoming, which soon managed to improve its communications. 1893 saw the inauguration of the majestic Hanging Bridge which joins the two banks of the estuary between Portugalete and Getxo, a unique work of engineering and an icon of the Industrial Revolution.

Neguri was born well into the 20th century to become the quintessential luxury residential district.



Heritage routes through Getxo QR Tour brochure

 Further information

Go to Wikipedia
Go to the Getxo Town Hall website

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