Last Monday of October, the bounty of summer

“Once business and trade, main purpose of the market, have been carried out, the crowds started to spread around the food stands that made Gernika gastronomically acclaimed in order to meet one of the main foundations of the Basque lifestyle: to eat and drink well, to enjoy large meals, calmly, with lively discussions. Consequently, the court, where cesta-punta and esku pilota are played, ends up filled with really excited people.”

Last Monday of October in Gernika is written in capital letter. Mondays are traditionally a big day for the baserritarras (farmers) of Busturialdea. A fair, a day for the big crowds, for the farm, for the fun.

Located in Gernika, 36 km from Bilbao, the fair of the Last Monday has become a special, fun and enjoyable event. It is indeed the perfect day to discover Basque cuisine, traditional crafts, culture and Basque folklore. Don´t miss out!

The market fair, hosted since ancient times, never seems to go out of fashion. The market has become a milestone, with great reputation over the North of Spain.

During the day, visitors are able to taste the local treats. The list of products on display is long and varied: from cheese, fresh vegetables and fruit to txakoli sampling, bread, pastries and pâté. You will also be able to savour the local honey, cider or talo with chorizo or black pudding, heart of the fair. Despite the wide range of products, quality is always assured.

In the morning, different contests for the different categories (honey, flowers, fruit, txakoli, etc) do take place and once the jury awards and notifies the winning stands, an auction for Idiazabal cheese is organized. In the evening, visitors can enjoy and immerse themselves in Basque culture.

Bertsolaris (Basque improvised poetry singers), trikitilaris (trikitixa players, Basque diatonic button accordion) and oxen pulling contests are just a part of the scene. Besides, you can also attend zesta-punta and esku pilota games at the Jai Alai (joyful celebration), the impressive court of the village.

José Antonio de Aguirre y Lecube, first lehendakari (president of the Basque Government) ever, described the spirit of the fair in 1944:

“Once business and trade, main purpose of the market, have been carried out, the crowds started to spread around the food stands that made Gernika gastronomically acclaimed in order to meet one of the main foundations of the Basque lifestyle: to eat and drink well, to enjoy large meals, calmly, with lively discussions. Consequently, the court, where cesta-punta and esku pilota are played, ends up filled with really excited people.”

 De Gernika a Nueva York, pasando por Berlín,1944

The book was published in 1944, but the spirit and atmosphere has not changed at all.  Don´t hesitate and come to Gernika next October 28th. Enjoy the authentic Basque way of life. You won't regret it!

Recommendations

Since it is a massive market, with around 300 stands spread around the main streets, we would recommend to use public transport. In case of getting there by car, we recommend you to arrive in the early morning in order to find a convenient car park. You can have a look at the map of Gernika, where you can find the main tourist attractions. We also recommend you to visit this touristic website of the town.

As for the “must”, once cannot leave the market without trying: talo with chorizo or black pudding, Idiazabal cheese, along with Txakoli or cider. Pastel vasco or rosquillas are a nice treat for those with a sweet tooth.

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Gernika, located within the region of Busturialdea and less than 40 km far from Bilbao, is very easy to reach by public transport.

You can get there by train (Euskotren, towards Bermeo).

 By bus (Bizkaibus, A3513, A3514, A3515 y A3525, towards Gernika-Lumo, Bermeo or Lekeitio). Public transport is usually reinforced for the date. You can check schedules, fares and routes in Euskotren y Bizkaibus.

Would you like to get there by car, you can take AP -8 to Amorebieta-Etxano and take the turn-off to BI-635 (37’, toll station) or drive along N-637 y BI-635 (35’, toll free).

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As a small town, Gernika does not have a wide hotel offer. However, you will find hotels, rural accommodation and apartments in surrounding villages.

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