Stage 3: Zarautz-Deba (21.8km)
A pretty stage with spectacular views of the coast. Here there are thee ascents to be taken into account: on leaving Zarautz (by the hills) there is a short but steep climb; on leaving Zumaia the path climbs for longer but more moderately; and, lastly, the climb taking us to Itziar, difficult for being the third of the day, and ending with a severe drop into Deba. On leaving Zarautz pilgrims can choose between the pleasant seaside walk to Getaria, following the road, or the official path over the hill, which goes nowhere near the town.
Those preferring to pass through Getaria will visit one of the oldest ports in Gipuzkoa. Its medieval streets are home to the Gothic church of San Salvador, a construction surprisingly adapted to a very difficult terrain.
In Zumaia, another of the towns on the route, is the noteworthy parish church of San Pedro, remarkable for its pronounced resemblance to a fort, from where the main street follows a path forming part of the Coastal Route until coming to the Arritokieta hermitage, marking the end of the town proper.
Just off the route you can also enjoy views of the cliffs dominating the coast from Zumaia to Deba, spectacular layers of rock carved out by the erosion of the sea, an area with millions of years of geological history in successive rocky strata, going by the name of “flysch”.
Continuing along the Jacobean route from Zumaia, an easy climb leads up to the San Sebastián Hermitage in Elorriaga (Elorrixe), timeless in origin like so many others on the coast; from here, a somewhat irregular path makes its way to another of the landmarks on the Jacobean route in Gipuzkoa, the Itziar Sanctuary, home to one of the oldest statues of Our Lady in the territory. From Itziar, a path makes its way down to the San Roque hermitage and a little further on to the town of Deba.
Worthy of note in Deba is the church of Santa Maria, dating from the 15th-17th centuries, with its very interesting portico and cloister. In the Town Hall is a niche featuring St James the Pilgrim. The town, founded by the Itziar settlers in the 14th century, once had as many as three pilgrims’ hospitals, and its port was the place of the arrival for hordes of visitors who would set out on foot on their pilgrimage to Santiago. From Deba, the route temporarily leaves the coast and makes its way into Bizkaia.