Day 1 Irun vs Hondarribia?


2018 edition Camino Guides
#1
I’m starting my C del Norte March 1st alone. The only open accommodation Day 1 is San Sebastien so it would be a demanding 24k first day given the climbs. The Casa rural Postigu in Zimizarga outskirts of Hondarribia (not cheap but maybe worth the peace of mind) only 0.4km from the Santuario de Guadalupe vs 4.4km if I was to start in Irun. That means my first day would be 20k. Has anyone any thoughts on starting in the outskirts of Hondarribias or from a place in Hondarribia? Thanks.
 
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#2
Depends on your normal distances. My comment from my Camino Norte blog in 2021 states - Got away a little later than standard owing in part to the poor nights sleep because it was so hot. However, had a quick breakfast and left at 0830. A good days walk thereafter ending in San Sebastian at about 3pm. The walk was primarily along good woodland tracks with some pretty hefty climbs. Stopped about 4 Kms before the end for a lovely lunch of calamari and prawns. I think we walked about 28 Kms today which was a bit further than planned because last nights AdP was a further away from the start and today's is at the far end of town. Feet and legs are fine although we probably walked a bit too fast for so early in the hike. I think we are both too stubborn to say slow down. The start of this Camino certainly seems more demanding than the Camino Frances.
 
#3
Depends on your normal distances. My comment from my Camino Norte blog in 2021 states - Got away a little later than standard owing in part to the poor nights sleep because it was so hot. However, had a quick breakfast and left at 0830. A good days walk thereafter ending in San Sebastian at about 3pm. The walk was primarily along good woodland tracks with some pretty hefty climbs. Stopped about 4 Kms before the end for a lovely lunch of calamari and prawns. I think we walked about 28 Kms today which was a bit further than planned because last nights AdP was a further away from the start and today's is at the far end of town. Feet and legs are fine although we probably walked a bit too fast for so early in the hike. I think we are both too stubborn to say slow down. The start of this Camino certainly seems more demanding than the Camino Frances.
Thanks, I averaged 25-35km/day in 2017 on the CF but I like to start with shorter distances to avoid injury and blisters. I think I’ll start from the casa rural near Hondarribia, they are almost booked up so thinking they must be pilgrims....who,else would vacation in wet March in Hondarribia
 

Canuck

Veteran Member
#4
Another way to shave 4 km:
Once you get across at Pasajes de San Juan, rather than follow the way to the right back in the mountain, just go straight ahead and reach San Sebastian following the main road (sidewalk all the way).
You could decide if this a valuable option once you reach that point.
Hope you enjoy the Norte.
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Donating Member
#5
I will start around the 15th of May and am considering to fly to San Sebastian. The airport is very close to Hondiribia. I read somewhere just 3 minutes by bus. I understand that Hondiribia is a very nice place, without an albergue though.
By starting here I would not see Irun. Would that be a great loss?
 

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#6
I will start around the 15th of May and am considering to fly to San Sebastian. The airport is very close to Hondiribia. I read somewhere just 3 minutes by bus. I understand that Hondiribia is a very nice place, without an albergue though.
By starting here I would not see Irun. Would that be a great loss?
I’m arriving in airing by bus, will see Irun then continue Hondarribias. All within walking distances. The guides say Hondarribias is more historical vs Irun.
 

peregrina2000

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#7
I will start around the 15th of May and am considering to fly to San Sebastian. The airport is very close to Hondiribia. I read somewhere just 3 minutes by bus. I understand that Hondiribia is a very nice place, without an albergue though.
By starting here I would not see Irun. Would that be a great loss?
Irún is not much of a tourist destination, though at the end of town furthest from the albergue, there is a nice old core with a plaza and some bars, etc. You would not be missing much, IMO. Hondarribia is a very touristy place, but it is very pretty and a lot of fun to walk around for an afternoon. If you want to stay in the albergue in Irún, you could hop on a bus and go over and back to Hondarribia for a few hours. That's what I did when @NualaOC was staying in Hondarribia and I was in Irún in a hotel!

Also, I walked from the SS airport into Irún and it was about a 20 minute walk on the side of the road, very quick and easy.
 

jsalt

Jill
Donating Member
#9
and reach San Sebastian following the main road (sidewalk all the way)
And take the low route from Santuario de Guadelupe instead of the high route. (Probably the best idea in March anyway.) You could then stay in a cheaper pension in Hondarribia. (There is at least one on booking.com).
Jill
 
#10
And take the low route from Santuario de Guadelupe instead of the high route. (Probably the best idea in March anyway.) You could then stay in a cheaper pension in Hondarribia. (There is at least one on booking.com).
Jill
Thanks, I will assess weather and ridge route conditions when in Hondarribias, therevare many cheaper places but since my flight costs 16.99€ I can allow for a little luxury at the start.
 

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#11
Irun is not the most scenic start, so the walk up the mountain from Hondarribias sounds like a great option. The only thing I would miss is the symbolic walk across the river from France to Spain using the little pedestrian bridge from Hendaye (the train station is a couple 100 metres from the bridge) into Irun. The Irun albergue was welcoming but somewhat cramped I recall, so no huge loss there either.

Walking the north coast I must admit is quite a brave thing to do. I hope the weather gods are with you (the year I walked in mid April/May was sunny and pleasant but the Norte and Primitivo can be quite an adventure in early spring). Albergues that are open could be a bit of a challenge and not sure what the pilgrim traffic is like so it would be good if you like your own path to yourself.

I too plan to arrive in Spain on March 1st (from Toronto to Bilbao via London) and briefly toyed with walking the Norte/Primitivo, but decided to do a more leisurely Camino this time and probably just bus it to Pamplona and walk the CF to SdC in "off season". I'm just getting my fitness in anyway before heading to the Lycian Way in Turkey at the start of April for some bigger ups and downs and a little Mediterranean too.

Enjoy one of the most beautiful camino routes!
 
#12
Irun is not the most scenic start, so the walk up the mountain from Hondarribias sounds like a great option. The only thing I would miss is the symbolic walk across the river from France to Spain using the little pedestrian bridge from Hendaye (the train station is a couple 100 metres from the bridge) into Irun. The Irun albergue was welcoming but somewhat cramped I recall, so no huge loss there either.

Walking the north coast I must admit is quite a brave thing to do. I hope the weather gods are with you (the year I walked in mid April/May was sunny and pleasant but the Norte and Primitivo can be quite an adventure in early spring). Albergues that are open could be a bit of a challenge and not sure what the pilgrim traffic is like so it would be good if you like your own path to yourself.

I too plan to arrive in Spain on March 1st (from Toronto to Bilbao via London) and briefly toyed with walking the Norte/Primitivo, but decided to do a more leisurely Camino this time and probably just bus it to Pamplona and walk the CF to SdC in "off season". I'm just getting my fitness in anyway before heading to the Lycian Way in Turkey at the start of April for some bigger ups and downs and a little Mediterranean too.

Enjoy one of the most beautiful camino routes!
Thank you fellow Canuck. I fly from Slovakia to Girona Feb 26 and will make my way to Irun by train vía Zaragoza and Pamplona. My plan was to arrive in Irun early Feb 28, do the bridge thing, get my credential then head on to walk Hondarribias. I really praying that I meet another pilgrim if only to have someone aware that I’m on the camino. SoyGalego here walked last February and shared his experience. If it’s too lonely I’ll cut down tomthe Frances. I don’t plan on doing the Primitivo but to continue on Northern. I walked the Frances-Fisterra-Muxia last March and yes the weather was amazing especially for a Canuck....rain and a sprinkle of snow only 2 days in 39. You’ll be happy to escape the horrible winter.....I’m usually in Ottawa but not this winter. Thanks again and buen camino in Turkey (beautiful people, food, med coast).
 

NualaOC

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#13
Hi Colette, you've got lots of good advice here. Here are a couple of other suggestions that might be helpful.

Firstly, when you're booking accommodation in Hondarribia, make sure you check its precise location on something like Google maps. Some of the private options are quite far from the Camino. And if you're thinking of staying in Hondarribia itself, the old town is lovely. I stayed in the Hotel Palacate (the time I met @peregrina2000) and it was a really cute little place. If you prefer something more luxurious, the nearby Parador looks very nice!

When I first walked this part of the Norte, I walked from Hendaye and Irún to the Capitan Tximita albergue on the day I arrived in Spain. That suited my timings and shaved a few kms off the first day's walk. There are also some private accommodations in the the same area as the albergue.

I also noticed that some pilgrims took a taxi from either Irún on Hondarribia to the Santuario de Guadelupe, which is a nice place to begin a Camino. That shortens the first day by 5kms and cuts out a lot of road walking.

And just to confuse you even further .... when I walked this route last September with my husband, we didn't stay in either Irún or Hondarribia - we spent two nights in San Sebastian. For that first day of walking, we took the 6.30am airport bus to Amute, which is just outside Irún , and the last stop before San Sebastian airport. The bus took just 25 mins and we basically just sauntered back to San Sebastian, stopping for a long lunch in Pasaia. As we'd left much of our gear in the hotel, our packs were nice and light. That might be an awkward arrangement for you, but it worked really well for us.

Happy planning and Buen Camino!
 
#14
Hi Colette, you've got lots of good advice here. Here are a couple of other suggestions that might be helpful.

Firstly, when you're booking accommodation in Hondarribia, make sure you check its precise location on something like Google maps. Some of the private options are quite far from the Camino. And if you're thinking of staying in Hondarribia itself, the old town is lovely. I stayed in the Hotel Palacate (the time I met @peregrina2000) and it was a really cute little place. If you prefer something more luxurious, the nearby Parador looks very nice!

When I first walked this part of the Norte, I walked from Hendaye and Irún to the Capitan Tximita albergue on the day I arrived in Spain. That suited my timings and shaved a few kms off the first day's walk. There are also some private accommodations in the the same area as the albergue.

I also noticed that some pilgrims took a taxi from either Irún on Hondarribia to the Santuario de Guadelupe, which is a nice place to begin a Camino. That shortens the first day by 5kms and cuts out a lot of road walking.

And just to confuse you even further .... when I walked this route last September with my husband, we didn't stay in either Irún or Hondarribia - we spent two nights in San Sebastian. For that first day of walking, we took the 6.30am airport bus to Amute, which is just outside Irún , and the last stop before San Sebastian airport. The bus took just 25 mins and we basically just sauntered back to San Sebastian, stopping for a long lunch in Pasaia. As we'd left much of our gear in the hotel, our packs were nice and light. That might be an awkward arrangement for you, but it worked really well for us.

Happy planning and Buen Camino!
Thanks for the suggestions and yes I did google map the Casa Rural Postigu. I’ve emailed them and asked about accessing the Santuario de Guadalupe but they’ve yet to reply. Here’s a google map blue is google walk route to the Santuario and the red arrow I figure takes you to the path/Road going up to the Santuario. If you know differently let me know.
 

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NualaOC

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#15
Thanks for the suggestions and yes I did google map the Casa Rural Postigu. I’ve emailed them and asked about accessing the Santuario de Guadalupe but they’ve yet to reply. Here’s a google map blue is google walk route to the Santuario and the red arrow I figure takes you to the path/Road going up to the Santuario. If you know differently let me know.
That looks perfect, Colette. It seems like a short walk to Guadelupe - definitely shorter than from Hondarribia itself (which is a nice place to visit, if you have the time). I'm sure the people in the casa will give you directions when you're setting off.
 

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