The longest voyage. The first journey around the world

The exhibition, “The longest journey”, produced by Acción Cultural Española and curated by Antonio Fernández Torres, is on display at the San Telmo Museum after being shown at the General Archive of the Indies, in Seville. It narrates and commemorates the first journey around the world as a key event in world history, and to do this it brings together the most important documents and chronicles that for centuries have made it possible to study and analyse the first journey around the world.

  • 26th June - 24th Octobre, 2021
  • From Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00-20:00.
  • Admission: 6 €
Manuscrito de Elcano (Palacio Laurgain, Aia, Gipuzkoa)
Busto de Carlos I (anónimo flamenco, 1520)


Linked to the exhibition, the catalogue, published by AC/E, the annex published by the San Telmo Museum and the Euskadi Historical Archive, with emphasis on the manuscripts of Elcano de Laurgain, can be purchased at the museum.

The epic journey begun by Ferdinand Magellan in 1519 with the aim of reaching the Spice Islands from the west -a territory that had still not been explored-, would end up becoming the longest journey: the first journey around the world, completed by Juan Sebastián Elcano, who after being named captain of the expedition, decided to continue sailing west, together with the men on the nao Victoria, in 1522.

The presentation of the exhibition in Donostia/ San Sebastián is an opportunity to defend and promote the figure of the Basque sailor, whose importance has been highlighted in light of the letters written in his own hand found in the Laurgain Tower that have been included in the exhibition. Along with these, other collections kept at the San Telmo Museum, at Gordailua and at Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea that have also been included, bear witness to the heritage of the strong links between the Basque Country and the sea and navigation: links that have given rise to great advances and achievements over the centuries.

In September 2019 the first edition of the exhibition The longest journey: the first voyage around the world opened at the General Archive of the Indies in Seville. That year was the 500th anniversary of the departure of Magellan’s fleet from Seville, and at the time we were celebrating the enterprising success of the preparations and launching of that historic voyage.

In the Summer of 2021, The longest journey is now docking at the San Telmo Museum, and it can be said that the exhibition, which maintains its structure and a unique selection of original documents and pieces, is the same but has changed, and, true to its discourse, has been transformed as it coincides with another transcendental moment in the first journey around the world.

Five hundred years ago Juan Sebastián Elcano was named captain of the nao Victoria by the crew, and set course for the Moluccan Islands, and the events began to take shape that would make this journey into a key achievement in the history of exploration: the return by Elcano and the men on the nao Victoria following the western route, and the completion of the first journey around the world. It is therefore time to highlight the leading role played by the sailor from Guipuzcoa as a navigator and to make the nautical feat of his long return across the Indian Ocean better known. The exhibition aims to place the emphasis on this event, and what better way to do this than by including the valuable documents from the Getaria sailor’s personal archive recently discovered in the Laurgain Tower.

Accessible texts

In order to make the exhibition accessible for people with visual disbility, it is possible to download its texts on mobile phones, thanks to the collaboration with Begiris association.

Dowload texts in English

Activities and guided tours

All the activities (information in spanish)

This YouTube playlist contains the conferences related to the exhibition, as well as those organized by the museum within the Elcano Cycle (between 2018 and 2020) as a prelude to this exhibition. All of them help to understand and deepen the historical milestone and the work of its protagonists.


Exhibition at the Basque Maritime Museum

Also on June 25, the exhibition 24H-A Day in Victory, curated by Antonio Fernández Torres, opens at the Basque Maritime Museum. Collect the details of life on board and immerse each visitor in the voyage that changed the world. The setting, the building itself ... will make each visitor live a day and a night embarked on the Victoria, the only ship that completed the longest trip. It will be open until January 9, 2022.


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