The location of the port-town of Elantxobe must be seen to be believed, for it is peculiar to say the least.
What started out as a handful of farmhouses which, dating from around 1524, make up the neighbourhood of “El Ancho”, and the huge limestone headland known as Ogoño, which forms the backdrop of its eastern-most point, was eventually to unfurl downwards along its vertiginous hillside towards the defensive port located at its base. Henceforth, the town would be known as Elantxobe, since the final syllable, “be” means “lower”: El antxo...be.
As a consequence of building a town in such a precipitous location, to this day the streets remain extremely narrow and some of its slopes will cause you to catch your breath, both when you first lay eyes on them and when you climb them. The streets are so narrow, in fact, that the only way that buses can turn round is on a revolving platform located in what, in the loosest terms possible, stands for the town square.
But please don't be put off by the slopes! There are three completely separate entrances for cars which allow you to visit both the highest part of the town and the port, obviously located right at the bottom, as well as the neighbourhood of Bermokiz.
As for the port, since 1783 it has undergone continual reconstruction and reinforcement since, as an open seaport, it is a sitting duck for the frequent poundings of the sea. It certainly takes a special kind of person to build a town on such difficult terrain, with a port that faces directly out to the Cantabrian Sea.
In the nineteenth century, thanks to its fishing industry, Elantxobe enjoyed much prosperity, when as many as seven pickling and one canning factory could be found in the town. It was the town itself that reaped the benefits of so much industry, and it was local fishermen that paid for the construction of the church, the St Nicholas of Bari.
And that concludes our introduction to the town of Elantxobe. All that remains is to experience it for yourself!