Today’s route is a fast-paced adventure that runs from the historic city of Irun, witness of important historical events, to the beautiful San Sebastian (Donostia). The route runs through forests and dense forest trails, although with the occasional slope, will make your route present some spectacular natural scenery.
We start our journey on the road to the North, leaving Irun and heading for one of the most beautiful cities in the whole Cantabrian strip: San Sebastian (Donostia).
There is no better way to start the northern route than crossing the bridge of Santiago, the natural border between France and Spain over the river Bidasoa. After crossing the promenade and strolling through a few streets, the next milestone on the route is the church of Nuestra Señora del Juncal. We continue walking until we come across the train tracks, which we cross to continue our walk, entering a paved track between the Txingudi Marshes.
The Txingudi Marshes are considered one of the richest wetlands in the north of Spain.
From here we continue towards the Arkolla neighbourhood, where the Santiagotxo hermitage is located, which housed the black carving of the apostle St. James known as Santiago Beltz (black in Basque), which disappeared in the 1970s.
Our next point of reference is the sanctuary of Guadalupe, from where we will get spectacular views of the mouth of the Bidasoa, with Hondarribia and Hendaye in the background. We continue on our way along a long track of almost 10km that skirts the Jaizkibel mountain at medium altitude. There is a variant marked with the sign “for mountaineers”, which runs along the top of the mountain and shortens the route by 1 kilometre. We recommend following the official route, which takes us through old oak and chestnut trees, so typical of the Atlantic vegetation.
Afterwards, we take the GI-3440 road, which leads us to Passages of San Juan. From here, we will have to cross by boat to Pasajes de San Pedro. We head towards the lighthouse of La Plata and from there we enter one of the most beautiful paths of the whole route, with impressive views of the coast and the Bay of Biscay.
Now we only have one last effort to make, after skirting the Ulía mountain, during the descent we will have spectacular views of San Sebastian and its bay. We will enter the capital of Gipuzkoa along the Zurriola promenade, arriving later at the old town.
There are some pilgrims who decide to divide the stage in two, instead of reaching San Sebastian, and spend the first night in the pilgrims’ hostel in Pasajes de San Juan, 17 kilometres after leaving Irun.