Not only is Hondarribia one of the Basque Country’s most charming towns but it is also packed with a huge number of amazing restaurants and bars, some of the very best in the region.
Situated on Spain’s Atlantic coast, Hondarribia (Fuenterrabía in Spanish) sits on the banks of the Bidasoa River, which flows into the ocean just beyond the town’s port. On the other side of the river, a seven-minute ferry ride away, is France with the town of Hendaye.
What to Visit
The old town, the breezy riverfront promenade and the nice sandy beach make Hondarribia a natural destination for Spanish and French vacationers. The well-preserved architecture, a relaxing maritime atmosphere and fantastic food are only some of the reasons why Hondarribia is one of our favorite places in the region.
Hondarribia boasts a well-preserved old town that is surrounded by a fortified wall, the only one to be found in Guipuzkoa province. The old town is loaded with beautiful Basque houses, many having wooden balconies painted in a myriad of colors. There are also some baroque buildings thrown into the mix. The Marina Neighborhood is where most of the lively pintxo bars and restaurants that have made the town famous can be found. The main street that runs through the neighborhood is a pedestrian street, lined with trees, lovely houses, and places to eat.
In recent years, Hondarribia has seen a boom in its culinary scene due to many young chefs who, after studying under Michelin-starred Basque chefs, have taken their knowledge and set up shop in cozy Hondarribia.
A touchstone of Basque culture and a focal point for the new breed of chefs, pintxos are small, often bite-size creations similar to Spanish tapas. The tradition of txikiteo, or pintxo bar hopping, is to go from bar to bar, grabbing a pintxo or two and a drink before moving on to the next. Throughout Basque Country, pintxo bar chefs strive to outdo one another, and formal pintxo competitions up the ante. In recent years, Hondarribia bars have competed against San Sebastián’s with favorable results, earning regional and national recognition for their tiny masterpieces.
Gran Sol is perhaps Hondarribia’s most successful pintxo bar and has trophies and plaques to prove it. In addition to a stop here, any good Hondarribia txikiteo would include Vinoteka Ardoka across the street, and Enbata a few blocks away.
Cover image via www.hondarribia.eus