7 good reasons to visit Irun and Hondarribia

Irun
7 good reasons to vis ...

Are you on holiday in the Basque Country? Plan an excursion or a stay in the twin cities of Irun and Hondarribia! We offer you 7 good reasons to go there. Whether for culture, landscapes, nature, sport, gastronomy, heritage... There are many ideas to pick from to discover this rich and fertile region, bordering and imbued with a culture as colorful as attractive! On the way!


Photos of the report: OT of Irun and Hondarribia

1- Beautiful nature and breathtaking hikes

Mount Aiako Harria

Come and discover this space of great beauty, very attractive in various respects:

  • Geological: See fossil remains of marine animals over 300 million years old
  • Botany: Walk through beech groves and oak groves, crossed by rivers and translucent rivers
  • History: Find out about the preserved vestiges of the main historical events
  • Recreational: Many leisure and walking areas await you!


MOUNT AIAKO HARRIA


Mount San Marcial

The Aldabe peaks at 224m above sea level. This is the official name of this mount, but it is known by the inhabitants of Irun as the Mount of San Marcial!

MOUNT SAN MARCIAL

The original hermitage was destroyed by a fire caused by lightning in 1796; it was rebuilt in 1804 and a new statue was installed there. A watchtower near the hermitage allows you to enjoy a great view of the city, the bay of Txingudi, Fontarabie-Hondarribia, the Bidassoa, the Jaizkibel, etc. and even to taste in the annex restaurant, the most varied dishes of Basque gastronomy. There used to be a farm bearing the name of the mountain (caserío Aldabe) whose rustic richness from the 19th century was remarkable.

MOUNT SAN MARCIAL


Mount Jaizkibel

Mount Jaizkibel

Mount Jaizkibel is located in the Jaizibel chain. The geology here is of the flysch type (impressive vertical or horizontal strata in the rock), with the Ulia and Igeldo mountains. This formation dates back 54-45 million years! It culminates at an altitude of 545 m. It is home to rare species of flora and fauna. Arranged parallel to the coast, the falls of the flysch towards the sea are very steep in the western part. It is the most majestic landmark in the landscape. Along the coast, the mountain has cliffs up to 240 m high.

On the other side, the relief is less steep and forms creeks and gullies, dotted with meandering streams to the Cantabrian Sea. These areas are also home to flora species that are extremely rare in the rest of Europe, including tropical ferns.


Mount Jaizkibel
Mount Jaizkibel


Fort of Guadalupe

To discover: Fort Guadalupe: This is one of the most beautiful defensive constructions in the city of Hondarribia. This fortress is located near the Sanctuary of Guadalupe.

Guadalupe Sanctuary

Sanctuary of Guadalupe: This hermitage is mentioned in 1526 on the occasion of the gift of six gold ducats to this hermitage, by the navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano. Here you will see a single nave church with a transept and a flat facade. The current church – which probably replaces another older one, at least from the 16th century – dates from the end of the 18th century. One of the most significant elements, which give it a special character, is the contemporary stone capital, from around 1860, even if the supports – supports and cornices – seem to date from the 17th century.


2- Hondarribia Beach and the Bidasoa River

Hondarribia beach extends over almost 800m in a recently redeveloped environment. You can swim there quietly and enjoy a vast expanse of sand. There are toilets, showers, changing rooms, games for children, a kiosk, a bar, a lifeguard, parking and services for people with reduced mobility and with disabilities.

Hondarribia Beach


The Bidasoa River has a total length of 66 km. It rises at the peak of Astaté, near the village of Erratzu, at the confluence of the Izpegui and Iztauz streams. Upstream, it receives the name of Baztán, then it becomes Bidasoa from Oronoz-Mugairi.

It empties into the Atlantic Ocean crossing Txingudi Bay, located between Hendaye and Hondarribia, near Cap du Figuier. It thus forms the Txingudi Marshes which shelter natural sites such as the alluvial plain of Jaizubia, Plaiaundi, the islands of Bidasoa, the Island of Pheasants...

Bidasoa

The convergence of the sea, the river and the mountains makes this region an ideal site for the practice of many sports. Bring your equipment or rent on site, you can go surfing, diving, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, aerial flight….

Diving Hondarribia
Canoeing Hondarribia
Swimming Hondarribia
Velo Hondarribia


3- Plaiaundi Ecological Park and the Txingudi Ekoetxea Interpretation Center

This exceptional enclave serves as a refuge for migratory birds and currently represents a natural area of great value recognized internationally and included in the Special Protection Area for Birds (ZPSO) “Txingudi”, as well as in the Site of Community Interest (SIC) “Txingudi-Bidasoa”.

Txingudi


This park extends over 24 hectares and has two interior lagoons connected to each other to the rhythm of the tides through a system of valves, as well as a beach, not to mention its freshwater lagoon. In addition to housing the “Txingudi Ekoetxea” interpretation center, the park is also equipped with observation hides for birds (watchtowers, or photographic hides, observation posts, etc.), interpretation panels, a network of trails, a fountain, a picnic area and parking.

Hondarribia Ecological Park
Ecological Park 2


4- Hondarribia, medieval town

The silhouette of Hondarribia appeals to tourists and travelers. A call from the dawn of time, deep and vibrant, which inevitably attracts anyone who contemplates this imposing fortified enclosure classified as a Monumental Ensemble, where a castle of medieval origin sits enthroned. An invitation to forget time, to stroll through its streets with sea scents, to let yourself be carried away by the architecture of its medieval streets and to listen to the history of the city through the silence of its walls.


The Gate of Santa Maria

santa maria gate

It is one of the old main entrances to the city. This consisted of several elements, such as the drawbridge, guardhouses and even a chapel. There remains only this simple arch which keeps the hinges of the door inside. On the arch, we can see in relief the coat of arms of the City, dating from 1694. To the left is the circular Tower of Santa María from the 16th century.


San Nicolas Gate

The outer door dates from the 16th century. It opened on a bridge partly fixed and partly lifted allowing to span the height existing between the door and the pit. The footbridge was recently rehabilitated and today constitutes one of the most practical accesses to enter the old town.

Gate of San Nicolas


The Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption and the Apple Tree

Our Lady of the Assumption

Built on the ruins of ancient walls, this church is located in the center of the old town. Gothic in style with Renaissance and Baroque additions. It is a construction with elements that go from the 15th to the 17th century.


The Castle of Charles V

Castle of Charles V

It is a fortress built on the ruins of a medieval castle located on the highest point of the promontory, in the old town, and which overlooks the mouth of the Bidasoa.


5- Discover Irun, Roman city

Between the 1st century BC and the 3rd century AD, the Roman Empire was established in these lands with the foundation of the city of Oiasso, one of the most important in the Atlantic arc, traces of which remain. still in the numerous remains found, among which the port that appeared at Santiago de Irun street and the thermal baths, behind the current Oiasso Roman Museum that collects all the remains found in the territory.

The Roman Museum Oiasso

This Museum is the gateway to the Roman city of Oiasso. It is also the starting point of the Roman Train which transports visitors to the necropolis of Santa Elena and the mines of Irugurutzeta.

The Roman city is located on the very spot where the city of Irun was later established. At the mouth of the Bidasoa, on the border between Hispania and Aquitania, Oiasso was in antiquity the port city of the Vascons. Under the Roman Empire it became an important center of communication and trade in northern Hispania and was part of the Tarraconense province.

Oiasso Museum


The Necropolis and the Santa Elena Hermitage

Necropolis

Inside the medieval chapel of Santa Elena, remains of the necropolis, or cemetery, of Oiasso have been discovered. Urns containing ashes have been uncovered near funerary objects such as ceramic vessels, acus crinalis or bone needles to tie hair.


Irugurutzeta Ovens

Irugurutzeta ovens

Aiako Harria has been an important mining basin since the Iron Age, exploited by the Romans, then during the Middle Ages, the Modern Age and the contemporary era. From the 19th century, and especially at the beginning of the 20th century, the exploitation of mines in the mountains of Irun is at its peak. At first it was the iron oxide that was extracted from it, then, as this became rare, calcination furnaces were built to exploit the iron carbonate. The Irugurutzeta site is the most important battery of ovens in Gipuzkoa and one of the most important in the Basque Country. It is held to be one of the most representative examples of the industrial heritage of our territory: a true historical monument. Originally there were eleven but only nine remain.

Go back in time with the new Irunberdea app! Aim with your mobile phone at the different images that you will find on each of the panels along the route and enjoy the augmented reality. You will know much more about this place.


App partners


6- Shopping, bars and restaurants

A crossroads between avant-garde and tradition: this is what shopping in Hondarribia looks like. A place where this artisanal spirit continues and where things are done as before, but which has also been able to adapt to new trends. All without losing its charm!


Shopping Hondarribia
Shopping Hondarribia
Shopping Hondarribia


Markets in Hondarribia

Damarri (Alameda) and San Pedro (La Marina-Portu Auzoa): Every Wednesday morning of the year, a market of local agricultural products is held in Damarri square next to the Alameda and on Saturdays, this same market is set up in rue San Pedro in the Marina District (Portu auzoa).

Markets in Hondarribia
Markets in Hondarribia


Commercial Routes, Shopping Centers and Markets in Irun

The central shopping center presents the most complete offer in the city. The Paseo de Colón promenade, its “backbone”, invites tourists and residents to admire the shop windows where the most important franchises mingle with modern businesses. Complementing this area, there is the Luis Mariano neighborhood, with its great commercial intensity, and the Argentine Republic neighborhood, in which the Mendibil Shopping Center is located with its many shops and with MercaIrun, the municipal market of Irun.

The good idea: Mercairun is the taste of proximity, land and sea, seasonal vegetables and fresh fish. If you are looking for color and flavor, do not miss the top quality local products offered by the municipal market of Irun.


The Uranzu Market, in the San Miguel district, is a wholesale market with more than 20 stalls specializing in fresh and dry food, where you can find top quality products and have the pleasure of shopping in a pleasant atmosphere and with a local welcome

Discover the Saturday morning market which, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., takes place in Place d'Urdanibia, where traders in food, clothing, shoes, leather goods and other items gather at more than 150 stalls.


Mendibil Shopping Center

Mendibil Shopping Center

This modern shopping center has some 24,000m2 dedicated to fashion, sports, accessories, leisure and catering, as well as 300 covered parking spaces on the lower floors.


Txingudi Shopping Center

Located on the outskirts, it is easily accessible both from the A8 motorway and from the GI-636 (old N-1 road). It covers 40,000m2 of which 11,000 are devoted to food in the form of an Auchan hypermarket, while the remaining 29,000m2 house specialized areas devoted to fashion, sports, automotive equipment, furniture, shoes, toys, catering and leisure, not to mention 2,500 free parking spaces.


Txingudi Shopping Center


Where to eat in Hondarribia and Irun?

A walk in Hondarribia and Irun will whet your appetite. Nothing better than enjoying good company and a good table with a wide choice of fish, meat, vegetables and exquisite desserts on the menu, all prepared with local seasonal products. To whet your appetite before a good meal in Hondarribia, you won't fail to taste the succulent pintxos that cover the bar counters like a multicolored carpet. Author's cuisine has become the protagonist of the most diverse and attractive bars that respect the primary taste of the product with an elegant staging.


Where to eat Hondarribia
Gastronomy Hondarribia
Gastronomy Hondarribia
Restore


7- Celebrate!

Many festivals enliven the region in summer. You will never run out of opportunities to come and party!

  • Kutxa Day July 25 - Fishermen's Festival -Hondarribia
  • Euskal Jira- Basque Festival August 5 - Irun
  • Bidasoa Folk August 18,19,20 - Hondarribia-Irun-Hendaye
  • Hondarribia Fiestas September 6-11 (8 Parade) - Hondarribia

fishermen's party
Basque Festival
Basque Festival
Bidasoa Folk
Hondarribia festivals


We wish you a great holiday! For more information, visit the Bidasoatourismo Tourist Office website.


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


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