Ainhoa: Hawthorn Chapel hike

Ainhoa
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Ainhoa: Hawthorn Chap ...
Do you want to take a breath of fresh air? The Basque Country has countless hiking trails during which you can enjoy incredible landscapes and breathtaking panoramas. Some take you to the coast and others guide you through woods, forests and mountains. Put on good shoes and set off to conquer the Ainhoa Chapel hike. You can choose to do a round trip on the GR10, or to do a loop of a little over 6km. In the latter case, do not rely on the markings or signs, but on the following indications.

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An ascent through the undergrowth

Equipped with your hiking boots and a backpack with a bottle of water and possibly a snack, get ready to climb the 384m of vertical drop that separates you from the Aubépine Chapel, from the village of Ainhoa. Indeed, the departure is from the town of this pretty Basque village.

For the departure, follow the direction of the Oratory. The tempo is set, and we must already climb!


ainhoa

The village of Ainhoa below


Walk along the tarmac track to the D20, then turn left, and left again.

You will come to a farm. A dog may come forward to defend its territory, but its owner will be happy to offer you the possibility of passing to continue on your way. It will surely not fail, moreover, to indicate to you that you only have to go along the river to continue your walk.


undergrowth
undergrowth

Somewhere in the undergrowth, along the river


You will then enter the undergrowth. Nothing like this green environment to enjoy the shade and the fresh air, especially when the temperatures are high.


nature
nature   nature

A pretty green nature


Gradually, leave the river and continue your winding path, until you reach your goal: the chapel of the hawthorn.


view

An incredible view when leaving the forest

A 360 ° panorama

Congratulations, you have reached your goal! Take advantage of this panoramic point of view to observe the richness of the Basque landscapes.


view

The reward after 384m of vertical drop


Surrounded by mountains and valleys the place is breathtaking! It consists of a large chapel (dedicated to Sainte-Rita), as well as three crosses (Calvaries) and Basque discoidal stelae (fr). From here, you will have a breathtaking view of Ainhoa, but also of the Rhune, the bay of Saint-Jean-de-Luz and the ocean.


stelae
calvaries   Chapel

The chapel, the Calvaries and the Basque stelae


If you're lucky, you might come across a few pottoks (wild horses) strolling casually and grazing on some very green blades of grass or sheep and ewes doing the same!


wild horses

The animals do not care about the presence of hikers!


To fully feel the tranquility of the place, do not hesitate to take a little snack break, or a snack (depending on the time!) And why not a nap? This place is truly a haven of peace.


point of view
point of view

An exceptional point of view

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The GR10, the great crossing of the Pyrenees

For the return, we suggest you follow the GR10 (fr), also known as the Grande Traversée des Pyrénées. This links Hendaye to Banyuls-sur-Mer in the Pyrénées-Orientales.


gr10

The GR 10 goes through Ainhoa


This portion of the Grande Randonnée circuit is in fact a Stations of the Cross. So that the descent is also a moment of pleasure, do not forget to tie your shoes well and, if you are uncomfortable in the descents, walk on the grass so the chippings and stones will not roll under your feet and you will not slip!


GR10
GR10 You can reach the chapel by following this GR

Of course, the descent is faster than the climb. But there is nonetheless a moment of discovery and observation where you can appreciate the magnificent horizon that awaits you, as well as the surrounding pastures.


pastures
pastures

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Ainhoa, typically Basque

Classified among " The most beautiful villages of France " (fr) , the village of Ainhoa deserves that we linger a little while. Stroll around and see how the houses on the main street take on the traditional Basque architectural style. The white half-timbered houses in red, green or blue bring harmony, character and charm to this unmissable Basque village.


ainhoa
ainhoa

Take the time to make a detour through the village of Ainhoa


We wish you a beautiful hike, do not hesitate to do it all year round, in all seasons the landscape is magnificent!  



Did you like our article? Find others on the Guide du Pays Basque blog. We are also on social networks, come and consult the Facebook page of the Guide du Pays Basque, as well as our Instagram account @guidedupaysbasque


Article and photos prepared by Charline Prod'homme, La Plume Digitale



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