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Peñas de Aya is the biggest mountain in my hometown area

Today I want to tell you about my first escape into the nature after testing negative upon arriving to Spain. As you might remember from my previous post, returning from Bolivia in the middle of the COVID pandemic wasn’t easy and I had missed my friends and being outdoors so much. This weekend I had the perfect opportunity to catch up with them all in the biggest mountain close to home: Peñas de Aya. Stay tuned if you want to learn all you can do here!

Peñas de Aya (also known as Aiako Harria in Basque) is one of the main natural attractions in Irún. It is the only granite mountain massif in Guipúzcoa and it houses remains of fossils of marine animals over 300 million years old! Located between the municipalities of Oyarzun and Irún, its three peaks rise imposingly over the Bay of Txingudi and the Atlantic coast. This mountain range also gives its name to the 6,913 hectares that make up its Natural Park. In order to get here from Irún, head to sidrería Ola and then just follow the road going up until you reach Castillo del Inglés (the Englishman castle). You can park in Gorostardi.

What a view!
What a view!

What to do in Peñas de Aya

Hike one (or all three) peaks

There are three peaks at the top of Peñas de Aya: Irumugarrieta (806 m), Txurrumurru (821 m) and Erroilbide (843 m). You can follow various easy to medium tracks during your hike, the most difficult part being ‘el paso de la anilla’, where you have to climb with the help of a ring. Enjoy the panoramic views of the Atlantic coast from the top of any of the three peaks!

A breathtaking view of Fuenterrabía, Irún and Hendaye from Peñas de Aya
A breathtaking view of Fuenterrabía, Irún and Hendaye from Peñas de Aya
Hiking is a perfect plan for the weekend
Hiking is a perfect plan for the weekend
We made it to the top of Irumugarrieta
We made it to the top of Irumugarrieta

Explore the ´elurzulos´

During our hike to Irumugarrieta, we ran into an ‘elurzulo‘ (meaning hole in the ground in Basque). These natural structures were used to store and preserve ice back in the days. They used to consist of two elements: a well and a cover. Can you imagine storing wine here for a picnic in the middle of the forest?

An ´elurzulo´ in our way up to Irumugarrieta
An ´elurzulo´ on our way up to Irumugarrieta

Enjoy a barbecue in the middle of nature

Whether you´re with family or friends, Peñas de Aya includes some designated spots for barbecues. After hiking with friends, we had a great meal followed by a pleasant afternoon just taking it easy, chatting and playing guitar. The location where we had lunch was next to the Gorostardi parking.

Barbecue time
Barbecue time
Grilled sausages as an appetizer
Grilled sausages as an appetizer

 

For more information on the area in Peñas de Aya , you can browse these webs:

In the fall season, the area of Peñas de Aya is also great for picking chestnuts. I used to love doing this as a kid!

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