Xoldokogaina mountain is located in the border between France and Spain. This location can be considered like the heart of the Basque Country. It is 15 minutes from San Sebastian and 15 minutes from Biarritz. From the summit is possible to see both cities and the Pyrenees mountains. There is a fantastic view over Larrhune mountain wich is one of the icons at the French Basque. If you want to get to the top of this fantastic mountain there is an old train from the XIX centuries that goes to the top. The train station is located in litlle village called Sare wich is worth visiting.

The hike starts at the little village called Biriatou located in the french side of the Basque Country at the top of the hill and above the Bidasoa river.

Biriatou is a very charming village with a long basque tradition. It is a good example of the Labortan arquitecture. The Labortan style is one of the aesthetic characteristics that makes the French Basque country so picturesque and unique. You will also be able to find local cheese makers at the farms. They produce a type of seep chease called “Irati Ossau”. It is a world class chease and you have to taste it.

Close to the “fronton” and the unique church there is also a historical hotel and restaurant called “Pakea” where you can have a very good lunch. This restaurant is recomended by Michelin and it has a very good reputation.

I will post some videos of the hike so you can make an idea.

YouTube video



Peñas de Aia, the 1st mountain of the Pyrenees

One of the visually spectacular elements of San Sebastián is its unique setting between the mountains and the sea. One of these mountains, Peñas de Aia, is a mere 15 kilometers from San Sebastian. It is approximately 850 meters (about half a mile) high. It is a rocky mountain of rugged beauty and dominates the city’s horizon. It is considered the first mountain in the Pyrenees from the western end. In addition, it is located in a truly spectacular conservation area, whose slopes are crisscrossed by rivers and punctuated by waterfalls in the rainy season. The views from up there are spectacular – on one side, you have the Atlantic coastline of Spain and France, and on the other, the Pyrenees stretch out before you. On most days, you can see the first snow capped peaks in the distance.

The hike

There are two ways to reach the summit. You can start from the base of the mountain, at the source of the Oiartzun river. From here the climb is hard and steep, but at a good pace you can reach the summit in about 2 hours. The other option is to park the car in an area near the summit on the north side. From here we have a 1 hour walk.

During the ascent you can enjoy the local fauna and flora, like wild horses and sheep grazing placidly on mountain slopes. Our local pride is the Latza breed sheep, which produces the milk that is used to make Idiazabal cheese, one of the best known local products in the Basque Country.

It is an easy route, suitable for all people with a minimum of physical ability.

"peñas de aia hiking"

At the feet of Peñas de Aia mountain. From here we start the hike.















Cider house restaurant

After the hike, it’s time to eat! Since we are in the Basque Country we will go to a traditional cider house to eat fresh fish, tender beef, and cheese from the local farms. These foods go perfectly with a tart, lightly carbonated hard apple cider, always poured directly from the barrel. While cider is a very tasty and even healthful drink, it’s easy to drink fast after a hike, so we encourage moderation.