The remains of the savior of Zumaia’s sailors

Jul 07, 2021

A sailor fell into the sea and, when he was about to perish, he began to pray for help from San Telmo, who appeared to him, saying "I am here to rescue you from danger". The saint then took the sailor's hand and took him back to his ship, which was already far away. In another storm some seamen, seeing that they were in danger, began to pray to San Telmo, and were immediately delivered from their perilous plight. Shortly after the saint’s death, a marvellous aromatic oil began to flow from his tomb,  and was used to cure many ailments.

Mariners, pirates and privateers, brave fishermen who travelled to Newfoundland, whaling… these and many more are steeped in legends, but they all have a direct connection with Zumaia. In fact, being a coastal town, it has been rich in stories throughout its history, and it is often difficult to draw the line between reality and fantasy. But, given the close relationship between Zumaia and the sea, it is hardly surprising that San Telmo is the town’s patron saint.

San Telmo has left marks on our town, including the Cofradía de San Telmo, the fishermen’s guild building, and the Ermita de San Telmo, a historic hermitage, both of which are real gems just waiting to be discovered! Zumaia boasts the only fish auction machine of the type formerly used in the Basque Country; you will find it at the Cofradía building, one of the town’s most historic and symbolic. The  Ermita, meanwhile, is easily recognisable, one of those places that need no introduction. Even so, it has its hidden secrets.

If you want to learn the old stories and curiosities they harbour, now you can. Zumaia’s Tourism Department has organised guided tours during the summer period. All the visits will last 5 minutes, will be offered in Basque and Spanish, and will cost 1.50 (euro). If you need more information, the Tourism Office will be glad to answer all your questions.

Don't miss this opportunity to discover the clues and stories left by the saviour of Zumaia’s sailors!