Information about stage 1: Stage from Irun to San Sebastian-Donostia
It take 7 to 9 hours if you walk it in one day
Km 0.Irun(All services)
We leave the hostel, to our right where there is a roundabout, we take the GI-2134 towards Hondarribia and a few meters later pass under the GI-636, we continue along the GI-2134 and after half a kilometer we reach a large roundabout which we cross to continue straight ahead and pass over an estuary, as soon as we cross the bridge we have to turn left, be careful here that the zebra crossing is a little further on, to take a pedestrian walkway that initially runs parallel to the estuary and then uphill will take us to the hermitage of Santiago.
Km 3. Hermitage of Santiagotxo
At the crossroads of the hermitage we continue to the left and after about half a kilometer we take the path that ascends to theSanctuary of Guadalupe.There are 155 meters of unevenness and just over a kilometer.You have to dose yourself to the maximum because the stage is long and breaks legs.On the last ramps you can already see the peaked tower of this sanctuary that keeps the polychrome carving of the patron saint of Hondarribia.It is believed that it comes from the figurehead of a Basque ship.Next to the temple there is a fountain (pray not suitable for consumption) and behind it a bar-restaurant.Also behind, a short distance from the sanctuary and off the itinerary, there is a fort from the year 1900(Km 4.7).
km 4.7.Sanctuary of Guadalupe(Bar-Restaurant)
The panoramic view is amazing, with an unbeatable view of theTxingudi bay.On the other shore we see Hendaye and on ours Hondarribia and Irun.Next to the Sanctuary we take a track next to theJaizkibel Forest House, the name of the mountain that we will skirt from now on.In short, after some stairs, the path is divided into a couple of options: one for‘mountaineers’, the most spectacular one that goes over the top and follows the GR-11 (links to the official itinerary after about 3 km) and the one for the pilgrims of all life.We resumed the march through the latter.The track is comfortable, spacious and surrounded by conifers and many chestnut trees.We pass next to a camouflaged fountain with the inscription Year 1940(Km 6.9)and soon the track descends. In this section we may see somepottokas, a pony native to the Basque Country.If it has rained, the descent can be slippery and the ‘bicigrinos’ will have to carefully manage the successive curves.After a while we cross aCanadian passand turn right towards Pasaia(Km 9.8).The profile is somewhat leg-breaking for a couple of kilometers in which we will overcome another Canadian pass.Afterwards, the track descends for as many kilometers through a beautiful mixed forest, exceeds the Pasaia Donibane indication for 3.4 km and reaches theGI-3440 (Km 14.2). We take it straight on, ascending, and 150 meters after kilometer point 4 we leave it to the left.At this point, the stage presents us with a slanted V-shaped view of the lighthouse and the Pasaia cove.The strong subsequent descent takes its toll, the backpack pushes forward more than it should and you should let yourself go and not retain your momentum with your quadriceps, which will end up sore.We enterPasai Donibanethrough the Larrabide neighborhood and on the flight of stairs we find the detour to the left towards theSanta Ana hostel, for those who wish to spend the night here.The rest continue down to the right to the houses and the jetty.Pasaia is divided into four districts: Pasai Donibane, Pasai San Pedro, Pasai Antxo and Trintxerpe.
km 16.7.Pasai Donibane/Pasajes de San Juan(Shelter. Bars. Shops. Ambulatory. Pharmacy. ATM)
Here we take a small motorboat for a reasonable price and cross the few meters that separate us fromPasai San Pedro.After disembarking we turn to the right, along Torreatze street, and we go along the estuary towards the sea and passing next to aMaritime Cultural Center.We come across a tough flight of stairs that will seem endless if we start it with too much joy.It comes out onto theFaro de la Plataroad and 150 meters before reaching the building we turn left along a coastal path in the direction of San Sebastián.
km 18.9.La Plata Lighthouse
This beautiful course by the sea is quite undulating.The ruins of an old water pipe come our way and in a shady bend we leave a small stone picnic area.The path ends at the neighborhood ofPaseo de Ulía (Km 20.5). We pass next to number 375, where there is acommunity that welcomes pilgrims, and further on we come to a car park.Here is the detour to the Ulía youth hostel, which is 150 meters away.They do not serve dinner and it is quite far from the city.The Camino descends through enviable surroundings to aspectacular viewpoint over San Sebastián.In the foreground the Zurriola and Kursaal beaches and after the mouth of the Urumea you can see La Concha beach and Mount Igeldo.We still have a long and beautiful walk to the hostel.After the panoramic view, we turn right and descend abruptly toZemoriade San Sebastián street(Km 23.4). Be careful with the signs in the city, it is easy to get lost.We continue further down to the right along Avenida de Navarra and we come out onto the promenade parallel to Zurriola beach.There is little loss.We pass in front of the Kursaal, we cross theUrumea riverand we do the same with theAlameda del Boulevard(theTourist Officeis located here ).Soon we will stand next to theTown Hall.Remember that on the right hand side is theold town of San Sebastián, where everyone should treat themselves to a good round of pintxos.
km 24.8.San Sebastián (City Hall)(All services)
We continue straight along the famous and endless La Concha beach.After the tunnel under theMiramar Palace,we will see yellow arrows (on stickers) at the pedestrian crossing on the left.These lead tothe Ikastola Jakintza pilgrims’ hostel, managed by the Association of Friends of the Camino de Guipúzcoa andopen during the months of July and August.The signs lead next to a Banco Popular office and continue straight on Matia street until the junction withEscolta Realstreet . The rest of the months, if our intention is to sleep in the La Sirena youth hostel, we must continue straight ahead after the tunnel and cross a stretchof Ondarreta beachalong the promenade .Then turn left to continue parallel to Avenida de Satrústegui and after the Ezeiza hotel turn left to take Paseo de Igeldo.At number 25 is theyouth hostel.
km 27.6.San Sebastián (Youth Hostel)(All services)
- Ascent to Guadalupe: There are 155 meters of unevenness and the real ascent begins five hundred meters after the Santiagotxo hermitage.This is just an appetizer, throughout this month the Camino del Norte will make us try stronger dishes.Although it is short, only 1.7 kilometres, the effort must be measured as it is at the beginning of a tough stage.
- Provisioning: Between Irun and Pasaia Donibane (km 16.7)there is only one provisioning pointalong the Camino.Abar-restaurant that is located behind the hermitage of Guadalupecannot be seen from the itinerary and its schedule is uncertain. It is convenient to bring water and food for the nearly four hours that it will take us to get to Pasaia.
- Stairs to the La Plata Lighthouse: After crossing by boat from Pasaia Donibane to Pasai San Pedro and skirting the estuary, there is a hard flight of stairs that later connects with the road to the lighthouse, which will remind more than one of the crowded snack that was taken in Pasaia.
- Thecredentialcan be obtained at theIrun pilgrims’ hostel,Calle Lesaka 1, even if you do not decide to stay there, at thePasionistas parishon Calle Estación 24, at the Juncal church or at the Local Police.
- Itinerary from the Santiago bridge: This section of nearly two kilometers can be done the afternoon before departure, since it is customary to start early from the pilgrims’ hostel at 1 Lesaka street. Some white plaques, already worn and with the everlasting shell that will accompany us to Compostela, mark the first step.Tradition requires starting the steps over the border bridge of Santiago that crosses theestuary of the Bidasoa river.At the first roundabout, you have to turn left and go towards Paseo del Real Unión, which runs along the banks of the river, in an almost maritime landscape populated by seagulls, small boats – some of them reduced to their skeletons – and early-rising sailors.We left this pleasant company to enter theSantiago neighborhood, an area covered by water until the 19th century that leads us to the Gothicchurch of Nuestra Señora del Juncal, with three naves and a Baroque doorway that houses a precious carving of the Virgin.We go around the church and from the Juncal square we go up the stairs of Eskoleta street, passing by a bronze figure that represents a bartender of the boast of San Marcial.Then we turn left to cross the Paseo de Colón, next to theArbelaiz palace, and we headed towards the Irun Town Hall.Leaving its façade on the left we access Calle Mayor (karrika Nagusia in Basque), and in the first street on the right we find the detour to the Camino del Norte or Camino de la Costa.Straight ahead there is another Camino, the Camino del Interior.
- About 3 kilometers beforeSan Sebastián, at the foot of the road, there is a traditional welcome for pilgrims for donations from the “the twelve tribes” community, it is located at Paseo de Ulía 375, it is open all year round and its telephone number is 943 32 79 83.
What to see, what to do
A document dated in the year 1014, on the donation ofthe Navarrese king Sancho El Mayorof the monastery of San Sebastián in Leire, constituted the first clear evidence that speaks of the existence of this beautiful coastal city.Its foundation took place in the year 1174. The then alsoKing of Navarre,Sancho El Sabio, interested in having an outlet to the Cantabrian Sea for his kingdom, promulgated a charter granting San Sebastián a set of laws.Maritime trade, its fishing activity and why not, its passage on the route of theCamino de Santiago del Norte, promoted its development. In a strategic location, fortified in the XII century, it was always besieged by invading troops and fell into the hands of the French on several occasions.In 1813, after the liberation by Anglo-Portuguese soldiers, it almost completely burned down andhad to be rebuilt stone by stone.Who was going to say that only 32 years later, in 1845, San Sebastián would become the pretty girl of the Spanish summer resort.Queen Elizabeth II‘s skin problemsand her bathing in the sea in the Gipuzkoan capital made a city that was gaining popularity fashionable.At the beginning of the 20th century, following the initiative of Isabel II,Queen María Cristina chose it again as a holiday destinationand in the summer months he moved his court to the Miramar Palace.A fact that caught the attention of the European upper class and allowed the construction of luxury hotels, casinos and theaters.Thus came the demographic and urban expansion of it, gaining land from the marshes at the mouth of the Urumea River.Today, the city has known how to combine tradition with modernity and has many first-rate tourist resources.
The San Telmo Museum
,housed in a Dominican convent from the mid-16th century.The original structure was the work of the Dominican Fray Martín de Santiago who designed a building characteristic of 16th century monastic architecture, similar to the convent of San Esteban in Salamanca.It is a transitional building between Gothic and Renaissance art and its cloister and tower were declared a National Monument in 1913. It is located at number 1 Plaza Zuloaga.
The Church of the Good Shepherd
, from 1897, which in 1953 acquired the category of Cathedral.Its most outstanding element is the 75-meter-high tower visible from any point in the city.
The Miramar Palace
, designed in 1888 by the English architect Selden Wornun, and carried out by Benito Olasagasti, was the summer residence of the Royal Family.It consists of a basement and three floors.The first two for private use and the last one, with sloping ceilings, reserved for servants.Located between the beaches of La Concha and Ondarreta, it has been the property of the San Sebastián City Council since 1972.
The Comb of the Wind
, by Eduardo Chillida, located at one end of Ondarreta beach.Emblematic work of art where three large pieces of steel cling to the rock and challenge the waves of the Cantabrian Sea day after day.
The fishing port
, theAquarium, thebridges over the Urumea;thebeachesof La Concha, La Zurriola and Ondarreta;theisland of María Cristina , theKursaalconference center, the views from the Igueldo, Ulía and Urgull mountains and many more.
.It will not be history and culture that will satisfy the appetite of the tired pilgrim, but thefamous San Sebastian pintxos, which can and should be enjoyed, above all, in its old part, will.Located next to the Town Hall, at the foot of Mount Urgull,the old part is full of bars, whose bars are also served with pintxos.The gilda – with olives, chilli peppers and anchovies -, brick of cod or leeks and prawns, foie, shellfish…