It’s quite an adventure out to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, but it’s definitely worth it. The tiny island is connected to the mainland by a bridge and hosts a small 10th century church atop. Though the rocky waters isn’t ideal for a swim, it is ideal for a picnic and lots of photos. You may access the island via a narrow bridge and 231 steps.
Travel (from Bilbao):
Unless you have your own car, you will need to take a bus to Bakio and a taxi to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe.
1) Metro/bus/walk to Mayua Plaza.
2) Bus to Bakio. The first bus you will need to take is the Bizkaibus bus into Bakio (Bilbao-Muniga-Bakio #3518). There are a few bus stops in Mayua Plaza (it’s a round-about), but look for stop ID #1052. It runs every 30 minutes. It costs 1.70 euros (one way).
The bus ride is 28 minutes long with 18 stops, according to Google, but I don’t remember that many stops. The bus stop is called Olaskoetxe, but it will be easier to know it’s the very last stop.
At the bus stop will be a Bizkaibus information station and a Bakio information station. Either station can give you further directions, but they weren’t open when we were there.
3) Taxi/Walk to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. You can get a taxi or a bus. The buses do not run too often, but probably more in the summer months. The taxi ride is about 5-10 minutes and costs 10 euros from the bus stop.
4) Hike. The hike is about 20-25 minutes (we didn’t actually keep track, but that’s our estimate). It’s steep and parts of it are uneven.
5) Return to Bakio. We walked back, which took about 25-30 minutes. We were told there was a bus and a taxi to take us back, but the restaurant at the top said we had to walk. It’s a gorgeous walk nonetheless.
6) Return to Bilbao. It’s the same bus stop and bus back home. Easy. It runs every 30 minutes.