Castro Urdiales Travel Guide
Castro Urdiales is rich in Spanish culture and historical beginnings. This is evident in the ancient caves and conserved Paleolithic art that were discovered in numerous mountains of the town. Historical references cited the town of Castro Urdiales as far back as 1102, in a document regarding the villas of the Bishop towns. In 1163, King Alfonso granted the humble municipality the freedom and liberty that they may acquire monetary benefits and stability in the commercial and economic progress of their very own town. This decree is known as the Law of Logroño. King Alfonso was a frequent visitor of Castro Urdiales. He oversaw the construction of the Church of Santa Maria that he instructed to be built together with a castle.
In 1296, Castro Urdiales was appointed to defend Spain’s commercial portals. Then, at the end of the 16th century, the town experienced a temporary crisis with the rise of plagues, instances of fire and the onset of war. During this period of temporary downfall, Castro Urdiales was under the ownership of a group of judges until the end of the 19th century. The town eventually mustered to stand up on its feet and blossom again, becoming an economic player, as old mines opened again for full operation. Then on, Castro Urdiales continually strived to be progressive until finally, with the town’s natural splendor and historical relevance, it opened its doors to foreign tourists and local travelers.
The town of Castro Urdiales is widely loved for its colorful festivals all through out the year. Every first Friday of July, the White Enclosure for bullfighting is a famous activity. The infusion of color and music has the small town come alive. Carrocistas and comparsas, the locales’ inventive creations, brighten up the street. The public fascinate themselves with balls of serpentines and confetti that are a common sight during the fiesta.
On Good Friday, the staging of Christ’s passion and death is one of most attended and relevant traditions in Spanish culture. The streets are transformed to the roads that Christ walked by. Tourists line up the street to join in the commemoration. Every year, the event gets better with improved costumes and more dedicated participants.
The feast of San Andres is held every November 30. The food specialty during the festival are snails and sea bream.
The feast of San Pelayo is celebrated every 26th of June. The festival is held in Castro Urdiales‘ watchtower with a bounty of refreshments, peppers and tortillas for merienda (afternoon snack). As any fiesta, good Spanish music plays in the background.
The feast of San Roque and Asuncion is one of the oldest fiestas in town. It starts with a procession of Velilas in Santa Maria church. The religious parade will then walk all through out the town. Regatas of traineras join in the fun by prominently displaying the flag of Castro Urdiales.
The feast of San Juan every June 24 is celebrated with a matching bonfire at the town’s famous watchtower. Before the festival, the Verbana is also held in the seat of the town. The soccer match of San Juan and Pasacalles are also a tourist attraction especially during summers.
The Carmen festival is a marine celebration held every 16th of July. A spectacle of colors is displayed on the beautiful Engalanadas boats merrily threading the tranquil waters of Castro Urdiales. The Virgin of Carmen is extravagantly adorned with flowers, a surely enticing sight for all tourists.
July 26th marked the feast of Santa Ana (Santa Na She). A Holy Eucharist is celebrated to commemorate the beloved saint.
Food and Drink
The lovely old quarter of Castro Urdiales, with its traditional narrow streets, is perfect for taking a stroll before delighting in the town’s local cuisine. Specialties of the local gastronomy are snails and red bream as well as canned anchovies and olive oil. The town has a booming canning industry, offering a variety of delicious eats and you are not to leave the place without giving them a try!