Everybody knows San Sebastian, its three beaches, wonderful arquitecture and of course, the great atmosphere and food of pintxos bars. It´s a delightful city that probably ranks No 1 among the most beautiful cities in Europe (my biased opinion!!). But visitors to San Sebastian normally miss the quaint fishing town of Getaria, whose peninsula resembles a “mouse” (“the mouse of Getaria”). Few know that the first person that circumnavigated the world, Juan Sebastián Elcano, second to Magellan (who died in the Philippines before completing the route), was born in Getaria (there´s a monument to this deed).
And fewer know that Cristóbal Balenciaga Eizaguirre, Balenciaga, the most famous designer of all times, was born in Getaria in 1895. Son of a seamstress, in a very catholic family, he soon became interested in the art of sewing and making dresses for the wealthy. In 2011, Queen Sofía of Spain inaugurated in his hometown the Balenciaga Museum (link) The museum has a collection of more than 1,200 pieces designed by Balenciaga and the building deserves a visit by its spectacular arquitecture. Dresses are shown as works of art and, in an atmosphere where lights have been dimmed so you can center your attention on the designs.
A must. If this museum were located, say, in Paris, it would be one of the most visited. Unfortunately, it´s in a fishing town of the Basque Country (as is the biggest Rolls Royce museum in the world and many others, but that´s a different story).