Whilst dropping in on some friends in Mungia we were treated to a guided tour of Butron Castle in Gatika, Basque Country. The child in me was excited at the prospect of visiting a proper Spanish castle where battles between noble men and marauders had been waged for centuries.
The fairy tale looking castle was built in the 16th century and served as home to local lords who tried to maintain control of the land. Butron was considered impenetrable and its current condition would indicate some truth lies in that notion, on first impressions at least.
In the 1878, however, the castle was renovated (in fact almost rebuilt) by Francisco de Cubas, also called Marques de Cubas and he modelled the rebuild in the style of castles found in the then free state of Bavaria which now falls under Germany’s umbrella.
The doors have been closed to the public since 2008 when an unsuccessful attempt to revive its fortunes as an exclusive hotel cum function venue failed. The grounds are still open to the public and make for a great afternoon on the well kept lawns or among the tall trees which give excellent shade from the Basque sun.
Spring and summer months bring a deluge of picnics, horse riders, mountain bikers and kayakers to the area and even though the walls stand silent, there is a lively buzz to the place.
The outside is impressive enough and leaves you wondering just how it looks inside; what the original noble man made of his fortress and how he lived his life within its confines. Spain is rich in bloody history and Butron Castle is another example of a place which could tell fantastic, romantic and equally gruesome tales could its aged stone speak.
I enjoyed my afternoon romanticising the history of the place and fully recommend a visit if you find yourself in and around Bilbao.
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