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Photo Alvaro Sotomayor

A recurring question I get asked here in Finland is, “Why do you come to live to here?!”, as if I must have been out of my mind when making the decision. I had a similar feeling when living in Getxo, but once I lived abroad for a couple of years I came to objectively see what a wonderful place Getxo is to live and to grow up.

Located on the coast of the Basque province of Biscay, Getxo is a welcoming and tranquil town, with over 14 kilometres of coastline with spectacular cliffs and beaches. It’s location near the city of Bilbao (where the famous Guggenheim museum is), makes it a perfect place for a day trip when visiting Bilbao.

The main attraction in Getxo is the Puente Colgante (Hanging bridge). It is the first shuttle bridge in the world made with a metallic structure and was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2006. Inaugurated in 1893, it bears a great resemblance to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The Hanging Bridge was built to connect the two banks of the Nervion River without interrupting one of Europe’s busiest shipping rivers at that time. For only 35 cents you can cross from Getxo to Portugalete in its gondola or (if you don’t suffer from vertigo) by traversing the 63-metre-high walkway.

Near the Hanging Bridge one can start a pleasant walk along the Las Arenas promenade admiring the most iconic buildings in Getxo’s palatial architecture. During the end of the end of 19th century this part of Getxo became home for the Biscay industrial bourgeoisie, who constructed palaces and mansions in a variety of European architectural styles. The walk starts in my childhood playground, the Churruca Park, where the Monument to Evaristo Churruca stands. This art deco lighthouse with iron sculptures represents the triumph of men against the sea due to the work of Churruca as engineer of the port of Bilbao.

At the end of the promenade we take a step back in time in the picturesque Puerto Viejo, the Old Port. On weekends and summer days the stairs of the Old Port are full of young people enjoying delicious pintxos (the Basque word for tapas) but you can also savour the local cuisine that specialises in fish and seafood.

Good food, impressive beaches, monuments and relaxing atmosphere – welcome to Getxo!

Alvaro Sotomayor