Three Crowns Hike Aiako Harria

Irun
Three Crowns Hike Aia ...

Do you like hiking in the Basque Country? Here is an easily accessible hike, a few minutes from the Spanish border. The 3 crowns are 3 mountain peaks which overlook the ocean and which can be climbed in two ways: either a lovely family hike with superb panoramic views of the ocean from the first peak Irumugarrieta. Or in sports mode for experienced hikers by doing the complete circuit of the 3 peaks, which we did in reverse (everyone told us it's better and it's true!). Here we go?


Photos from the report: Guide to the Basque Country


The 3 crowns view

Access the easy hike and prepare

Use your favorite GPS or hiking application, you will very easily find “Las 3 Peñas”. From the border, take the highway and exit to go to Irun. At the roundabout just before the town, follow the exit “Aiako Harriak, Parke Naturala Peñas de Aia”. Continue the mountain road which winds until you reach a plateau with a parking lot on your left (and overhanging right), it's there! Put “Le col d’Elurretxe” in the GPS if necessary.

The 3 crowns car park


To do a simple version of this hike, with the family and peacefully, put on a pair of sneakers and bring a snack. It takes 5km round trip, the first peak Irumugarrieta (806m) is accessible in 30 to 50 minutes of easy walking (okay, it goes up a bit!). Take the path on the left from the parking lot. You will go through a forest path, see some water points, then climb a little. A cave with a sanctuary “Cueva del Juncal” is on your left, feel free to enter and walk around respectfully. Arriving at the summit, you will see a metal monument with a cross and a superb panorama with the ocean on one side and the Pyrenees on the other. From here you can see La Rhune and Le Jaizkibel. At this point, either you do not go back down the same path, or you can continue to the second summit Txurrumurru (826m). Be careful, walking becomes much more difficult and people prone to vertigo will be uncomfortable. You need good shoes and follow the markings with red dots. I do not recommend this part to families or people who are not used to the mountains.

The 3 crowns, seen from Irumugarrieta


The 3 crowns complete hike

If you are used to walking, mountains and small steep trails, set off for the complete hike! Be careful about the weather, choose a clear day to enjoy the view but also so that the rocks are not slippery. Wear hiking crampons, real mountain shoes for easy climbing. The path is not dangerous, there is no risk if you are experienced, but there are consequences to take into account: below is emptiness! Some passages are impressive and dizzying. Do not take a dog with you (several people turned back the day of our climb) and especially no children! You have been warned, we can go.


From the parking lot, take the path on the right, we will hike in reverse. For what? Because the landscapes are prettier and the part of the last summit (which will therefore be the first for us) is safer to climb than to desclimb. You will understand with the photos!

Walk about 4 kilometers, in the forest path, you will come across beautiful waterfalls, tempting viewpoints which announce what is to come! You follow the white, red and yellow markings. At one point, turn left to follow the sign indicating the top of the mountain. We then climb into the ferns, a classic in the Basque Country!

The 3 crowns
The 3 waterfall crowns
The 3 crowns towards the top

As soon as the landscape clears you will see about 180 degrees towards the ocean, look up there is a raptor nesting site! You will see lots of vultures, it's a majestic ballet offered by nature... We took a break before climbing the first part. To find the path through the rock, look out for the red dots. You will then arrive at a plateau with pottocks and cows. Continue before starting the real climb.

The 3 crowns
The 3 tray crowns
The 3 pottok crowns
The 3 cow crowns


It's climbing, don't hesitate to get on all fours and help yourself with your hands. It is not dangerous, but there is always the risk of slipping and therefore falling: be careful of your steps. You arrive at the summit of Erroilbide peak (836m). Breathe! Enjoy the extraordinary view… Below, the stunning sparkling blue Lake Endara. Opposite the Pyrenees and all around, the ocean and the towns of the Basque Country. The day of our ascent, we could see the entire Landes coast, the fine sandy furrow stretching to the horizon, tens of kilometers further!

The 3 crowns
The 3 crowns summit 1
The 3 crowns summit 2
The 3 crowns panorama


Continue towards the second summit (the middle one!), for this, roll up your sleeves, it is the most difficult and can be dangerous part of the route. The path is on the ridge, there are rocky escarpments to pass , you must follow the red dots. Take a rope to secure your teammates if necessary, remember that you need to have experience in this type of sporty hike! There are hand and foot holds everywhere and in one somewhat dodgy spot, an anchor ring. You arrive at the summit of Txurrumurru. The view is substantially similar.

After your hike, visit Irun and Hondarribia!

The 3 crowns
The 3 crowns
The 3 crowns
The 3 crowns


The rest of the hike is easier, the path is no longer aerial and you will quickly reach the third summit: Irumugarrieta. More people are now on the trail which has joined the family hike. To return to the car park, simply go back down and at one point, a junction appears, you have to turn left to take the path again towards the Elurretxe pass (I took a right and made a detour!). And There you go ! You have walked about 9km and 700m of elevation gain! You deserve some refreshments and a few pintxos!

Do you like hiking? Read our article on the most beautiful hikes in the Basque Country


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View from Txurrumurru
Sheep with 3 crowns


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