Castle Butron: Fortress in the Forest
There are few places in this world that can take you to a different time. Take you to a century long past. A time when you feel the history in your bones and can't help but experience a sense of life back then. Butron Castle is one of these special places.
Butron Castle does not disappoint. Some places promote themselves as a castle but leave something to be desired. In the case of Butron there is nothing left to be desired. This is the type of castle you would imagine a castle would look like as a kid. A fortress where a princess would be held captive. It is a sight that cannot be found often in this modern world.
Butron Castle is found in a rural area surrounded by forest. Luckily, it is only 20km from downtown Bilbao. If you have a car it can be reached in about 20-25 minutes. It is accessed through provincial highways so you don't have to worry about any tolls.
Getting to Butron can also be reached through public transportation. The simplest way to get there is using the BizkaiBus. BizkaiBus is green while the local BilboBus is red. The fare for the bus is around two Euros.
Take bus A3225 from Moyua Plaza to Mungia. To catch bus A3225 you need to be at the bus stop in front of the Deutsche Bank located on the east side of the plaza. The Butroe (Butron in Basque) stop is the 20 stop upon departure. Don't worry, the buses indicate what the next stop is so you don't have to count every stop that passes. Look for the bus to indicate the next stop is "Butroe."
Once you're off the bus you'll want to keep walking in the direction the bus was going. If you look to the left you will be able to see the top of the high tower of the castle standing out above the trees. You will want to take your first left about 100 meters from the bus stop. Follow this road for a few minutes and you will arrive at the front of the castle.
The BizkaiBus website (no english version).
-Park that you may picnic.
-Playground for young children.
-Hiking and biking trails.
The origins of the Butron Castle starts in the Middle Ages. In the 11th Century the Butron family built a medieval tower on the property of their old family home. This tower stood as a lonesome sentinel until turned into a fortress. Castle construction occurred in the 16th century.
This fortress was built in its Gothic style due to the wars at the time. A continuous power struggle raged among the nobility. Primarily contenders were the Gamboinos and the Oñacinos families. The Burtons were aligned with the Oñacinos and were active in these gruesome and bloody battles.
It wasn't until spouses Fernando II of Aragon and Isabel I of Castile known as the Catholic Monarchs ascended the throne that the war ended.
The castle was abandoned when the wars ended. It was left to erode and deteriorate for a couple hundred years. Finally, in the 19th century it was transformed from the ruins it had become. This restoration drastically transformed the castle into its current form. Architect Francisco de Cubas was in charge of the project and designed it to the style at the time.
Only one of the outside pillars and the main floor remain of the original castle. Due to the centuries of neglect much of the original building could not be saved. You can tell the difference between the original parts and the restored parts by the different colour of stone. The restored section looks weathered as the restoration took place in the mid to late 1800's.
Butron is currently vacant and looking for new ownership. This means two things. Firstly, if you're looking to buy your own castle here's your chance! Secondly, this means that you are unable to go inside this fortress at the time being. Hopefully this will change in the near future.
The upside is that you can go to the castle and walk around the grounds, including the ecological reserve that surrounds. It is free of charge. This is absolutely worth doing. The sure grandeur of the castle in its setting is a site to behold. It cannot be understated how gobsmacking this place is. Simply put, it's magical.
Standing in front of Castle Butron is a memory you will cherish for years to come. It's a legit castle, like from a fantasy or movie. If you hate castles then this place isn't for you. Otherwise, come check it out for yourself. You will not be disappointed.
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