Anyone beginning the adventure of crossing the Pyrenees from the Cantabrian Sea who decides to spend the night in Hondarribia or Irún, might consider the possibility of walking the prologue stage on the day of their arrival. A leisurely walk to Cabo de Higuer, bathing on Hondartza beach, discovering the fishermen’s quarter in Hondarribia or a few glasses of beer in the old town in Irún, are all well worth a visit.
Once you have reached Hondartza beach in Hondarribia (see below the section "transport" for how to get to Hondarribia) you follow paseo Ramón Iribarren in a westerly direction, past the port docks and continue along the road which climbs up to the lighthouse, leaving the Castle of San Telmo on the right. Just after the castle, before reaching a horseshoe bend, leave the road to follow a path waymarked as GR-121. In just a few minutes you reach Higuer Lighthouse, the spot you may consider to be the starting point of your route.
The alternative option is to take a taxi up to Cabo de Higuer from the railway or bus station in Irún (7kms; 1h45min walking).Route/Itinerary:
This (urban) prologue stage is unmarked, and marking only begins at the other end of Irún. From that point onwards, waymarking is excellent.
Erdiko Punta (0 kms). Return to Hondarribia along the described itinerary. We recommend crossing the historic town centre rather that following the seafront walk as most publications indicate. This detour through the centre is the same distance and is well worth doing. So, once back in Hondarribia, you continue walking, leaving on your left...
Hondartza Beach (2kms) (drinking fountains) and the marina until you reach the mouth of the river Bidasoa. Turn right (S) and keep walking alongside Txingudi bay, leaving a sports complex (football fields and athletics tracks) on your right, until you come to the start of paseo Butrón. Head for the fishermen’s quarter in search of the typical houses in...
calle San Pedro (3,5 kms), the fourth street parallel to paseo Butrón. Keep going to the end of the road, until you come to a roundabout (Plaza San Kristobal). Go straight ahead, taking the second exit on the right, calle Javier Ugarte, and further ahead turn right – up the hill – along calle Santiago de Compostela. Continue the tourist route crossing...
Plaza Guipúzcoa (4,1 kms), then calle Harategi and later on the left along calle San Nicolás until you reach the Plaza de Armas (Parador hotel). From this point, go down calle Mayor and exit the old town via the...
Puerta de Santa María (4,5 kms). To carry on towards Irún, you turn right after crossing the bridge and follow calle Minasoreta as far as a large roundabout next to an Eroski supermarket. Exit the roundabout to the south, road GI-3440, leaving it immediately to continue along calle Santa Engracia, which you follow as far as road N-638, next to the airport. You continue walking in a southerly direction until just after passing a bridge over a river (Amuteko canal), where you leave it to continue to your left/straight on along the GI-2134 road which takes you into Irún.
Plaza Zubi Muxu (6,7 kms), a large roundabout with a fountain. Go straight on, down calle Fuenterrabia, cross over a railway bridge and keep going along paseo Colón until at the end of the street on your right you come to...
plaza de San Juan (8,2 kms), where Irún Town Hall stands. Turn left down calle de San Marcial and then follow calle Pellegrin de Uranzu as far as Estebenea stream. Just after crossing the stream, turn right and follow it for about 100 metres until you see a roundabout with a palm tree to the left. Head towards it and go straight ahead down calle Alzukaitz, cross another roundabout and follow in the same direction until you reach a small stream – don’t cross it. Just before it, on the right, is the beginning of a path and cycle lane where you will find the first markings of the GR11 trail.
End of urban section (9,2 kms).
In Irún we recommend Pensión Gema (//) (affordable and close to the railway station and GR11) and Hotel ETH Irún (//) (very comfortable, an eco-building, with a restaurant. It is situated close to the border, next to the AP-8 motorway).Transport:
You can get to Hondarribia by city bus from Irún (lines E22 and E25) and San Sebastián (E20 and E23). From San Sebastián the E20 takes us quite close to cabo de Higuer, but the best option is to take lines E24 or E26 and change at the Colón 42-43 stop (Irún), then take the E25 towards Lurgorri.
Hondarribia and Irún:
City buses from Donostia/San Sebastian::
To get there by bus from anywhere:
To get there by train consult routes and times at:
Renfe, Renfe cercanías, euskotren o SNCF (from France).
By plane, there are regular flights from Madrid and Barcelona to Hondarribia airport, and from Biarritz (28kms) you have a wide choice of international flights.
|- Prologue: Cabo Higuer - Hondarribia - Irun|
|- Stage 1: Cabo Higuer - Bera|
|- Stage 1v (GR 11.3): Cabo Higuer - Lesaka|
|- Stage 2: Bera - Elizondo|
|- Stage 2v (GR 11.3): Lesaka - Elizondo (Spanish)|
|- Stage 3: Elizondo - Pto de Urkiaga|
|- Stage 4: Puerto de Urkiaga - Burguete|
|- Stage 5: Burguete/Auritz - Villanueva de Aezcoa/Hiriberri (Spanish)|
|Stage 6: Villanueva de Aezcoa/Hiriberri - Ochagavia (Spanish)|
|Stage 7: Ochagavia - Isaba (Spanish)|
|Stage 8: Isaba - Zuriza (via Belabarce)|
|Stage 8v (GR 11.4): Isaba - Zuriza (via Ezkaurre)|
|Stage 9: Zuriza - Aguas Tuertas|
|Stage 10: Aguas Tuertas - Lizara|
|Stage 10 (discontinued): Aguas Tuertas - Candanchú|
|Stage 11: Lizara - Candanchú|
|Stage 12: Candanchú - Sallent de Gallego|
|Stage 9v (GR 11.1): Zuriza - Puente de Santa Ana|
|Stage 10v (GR 11.1): Puente de Santa Ana - Lizara|
|Stage 11v (GR 11.1): Lizara - Canfranc Estación|
|Stage 12v: Canfranc Estación - Sallent de Gallego (via C.Izas)|
|Stage 13: Sallent de Gallego - Refugio de Respomuso|
|Stage 14: Refugio de Respomuso - Balneario de Panticosa|
|Stage 15: Balneario de Panticosa - San Nicolas de Bujaruelo|
|Stage 16: San Nicolas de Bujaruelo - Refugio de Goriz|
|Stage 17: Refugio de Goriz - Circo de Pineta|
|Stage 18: Circo de Pineta - Parzán|
|Stage 19: Parzán - Biadós|
|Stage 20: Biadós - Puente de San Jaime (Spanish)|
|Stage 21: Puente de San Jaime - Refugio de Cap de Llauset (Spanish)|
|Stage 22: Ref. Cap de LLauset - Conangles|
|Stage 23: Conangles - La Restanca|
|Stage 24v (GR11.18): La Restanca - Colomers|
|Stage 25: Colomers - Ernest Mallafré|
|Stage 26: Ernest Mallafré - La Guingueta|
|Stage 27: La Guingueta - Estaón|
|Stage 28: Estaón - Tavascán|
|Stage 29: Tavascán - Areu|
|Stage 30: Areu - Baiau|
|Stage 31: Baiau - Arans|
|Stage 32: Arans - Encamp|
|Stage 33: Encamp - Ref. l'Illa|
|Stage 34: Ref. l'Illa - Malniu|
|Stage 35: Malniu - Puigcerdá|
|Stage 36: Puigcerdá - Planoles|
|Stage 37: Planoles - Santuario de Nuria|
|Stage 38: Santuario de Nuria - Refugio de Ulldeter|
|Stage 39: Refugio de Ulldeter - Molló|
|Stage 40: Molló - Talaixà|
|Stage 41: Talaixà - Albanyà|
|Stage 42: Albanyà - La Vajol|
|Stage 43: La Vajol - Requessens|
|Stage 44: Requessens - Vilamaniscle|
|Stage 45: Vilamaniscle - El Port de la Selva|
|Stage 46: El Port de la Selva - Cap de Creus|