Hondarribia, a beautiful village near San Sebastián

Discover Hondarria and the Basque Country

Meaning of Hondarribia

Hondarribia is a village located 20 km from San Sebastián by the sea.  It is also known as Fuenterrabía which was its name until the 1980s. However, the official name is Hondarribia a term that has been found written in different historical documents with other variants such as "Ondarribia" and "Hundarribia". This name can be broken down into two words: “Hondar” and “ibi”, meaning sand and ford in Basque. Thus, we can deduce that the meaning of Hondarribia is "ford of sand". What do you think? This municipality holds the title of city, a title that was granted in the seventeenth century as a gift for being victorious in the containment battles of the French troops. Therefore, we can say that we are visiting the city of the sand ford. Interesting right?


The Bay of Txingudi, formed by the towns of Hondarribia, Irun and Hendaia, offers us a beautiful environment in which to carry out activities both on land and water activities. The mouth of the river Bidasoa invites us to stroll while we contemplate the sea. A space of great landscape value, which dazzles all the people who visit it. The strategic location of Hondarribia is one of the great advantages that this tourist destination offers us. And it is that, many people, knowledgeable about the location of Hondarribia, make this town their base camp to be able to know a large part of our territory. Places near Hondarribia are Iparralde (also called the French Basque Country), the Navarrese Pyrenees or the always impressive city of Donostia San Sebastián, which are just some of the many spaces that the surroundings of this charming city offer us. Without a doubt, this is a strategic place for a vacation in Gipuzkoa. In this way, being able to visit spaces such as Pasaia or Hendaia without wasting great time traveling is an advantage. Of course, if you are interested in knowing some of the tourist enclaves of Bizkaia or Araba, you will have to travel for just over one hour to reach your destination.

A little bit of history

Hondarribia's border location has marked its character and personality for centuries. Located in the province of Gipuzkoa, in a strategic point of our geography, there were many who wanted to take over this Basque town. During these armed conflicts, a large part of Hondarribia's agricultural exploitation was displaced to nearby towns. Agriculture had to be protected from destruction and looting resulting from these attacks, which is why practically most of the farms in Hondarribia disappeared. This is how the indigenous variety of Hondarrabi Zuri vine disappeared from its place of origin.

What to see in the village?

We are going to give you a small tour of the city of Hondarribia. Starting in the upper area through the old town, within the walls. This is where we find such interesting places such as the stone wall, the Castle of Carlos V or the door of Santa María. Remember that to get from the lower part of the town to this point, there is an elevator located at sea level that takes us directly to the back of the Castle of Carlos V. This elevator is comfortable, practical and free. Once at the top, we recommend you get lost in the charming streets and squares of the old town.  Thourhg the Streets in the old town in  Hondarribia  you can see , a section of the  stone wall, and  the best preserved part. We recommend that you do not miss the opportunity to visit this historic enclave of the village. Once you have seen these places, we recommend walking down to the old fishing district, the Marina district, also known as Portu Auzoa. It is time to enjoy the already famous fishermen's houses, full of colors and vitality.

Where to eat

The old town is the best part of the city to make a stop and recharge your batteries with the fantastic pintxos that you will find in the bars and restaurants of the cities. After eating, it is time to walk again towards the Paseo Butrón, a space that runs along a large part of one of the shores of the Bay of Txingudi. This will allow us to contemplate the beauty of this Basque landmark. If we make this route towards the sea, we will find the beach and the marina of Hondarribia, a place where we find restaurants, bars, and the different maritime services of the town. If we make this route in the opposite direction, we would get to see the Donostia San Sebastián airport, a small and charming airspace that has become famous for its proximity to the sea.

Finally, to finish this quick tour we recommend several spaces on the outskirts of the urban center. Examples of this are the Higuer lighthouse, the Fort of Guadalupe, the sanctuary of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mount Jaizkibel or the Hiruzta txakoli winery. As you can see, a very complete planning that helps us to know in detail all the corners of this magnificent Basque town: Hondarribia.



Places to Stay

Is better to rent a place in a city near Hondarrabia which will serve as the centre point to get around in Gipuzkoa and explore the region. We recommend to rent an apartment in San Sebastian. From San Sebastián you can get to Hondarribia and other places in Iparralde and the Basque Country. Hondarribia is just 27 minutes from San Sebastián city centre, where you can catch the bus from the company Lurraldebus Ekialdebus and get a ticket to get there. There is a frequent service of buses from San Sebastián. This way you can enjoy and plan a great day in the beautiful town of Hondarribia.

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