Visit Astigarraga to sample the town’s local speciality at any number of terrific cider houses. There are some 20 houses to choose from. To learn about the history of cider production in the region, visit the Sagardoetxea Museum where you may also sample the tangy alcoholic juice out of a giant barrel and meander through the orchards. For some exercise, climb the hill in the Santiago neighborhood to reach a chapel dedicated to St. James the Apostle for expansive views of the coast.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Astigarraga is an ideal spot for food and drink aficionados.
- The town is a traditional stop along the Way of St. James religious pilgrimage that passes through Basque Country.
- Tours at the cider museum are offered daily and are mostly in Spanish.
How to Get There
Astigarraga is about 4 miles (6 kilometers) southeast of San Sebastián. Take the A100 or A2 bus from Old Town; the trip should take about 25 minutes.
When to Get There
To see Astigarraga at its most festive, come in late July for the feast day of St. James the Apostle, or in mid-May for the feast day of San Isidro. Expect the cider houses to be packed during cider season, which runs late January through April. High season in Basque Countryxa0 is July and August, so beat the crowds and come during the spring (April - June) and fall (September - October) when the weather is temperate and not so rainy.
Cider House Rules Cider etiquette can be confusing at first, especially if you don’t happen to speak Basque. Upon entry into the often cavernous spaces of the cider houses, you will be led to a long communal table and given a glass and usually a plate of spicy chorizo. When a man will a bucket yells out, txotx! (pronounced, “Choach!”) follow him to one of the barrels and get in line. When it’s your time, hold your glass at just the right angle to catch the stream of cider shooting towards you. Don’t fill it all the way, and move to the next barrel and repeat.
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