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.











Cheese cake at La Viña in San Sebastián

Bar La Viña is on 31 de Agosto Street in San Sebastian’s old city. It is a very popular spot for pintxos, casual dinners and formal events for tourists and locals alike. Their formula for success consists of using all high quality ingredients. In the last few years the most popular menu item has become their cheesecake. It’s different than a traditional cheesecake, lighter in texture, and impossible to try without getting addicted. A stop at this lively bar located on one of the city’s most historic streets makes the perfect ending to a night out in the city.

I am posting this because many guests are amazed by this desert. They wanted to know how to make it so today I wanted to share the secret with you. Although you won’t have the same lively surroundings with a mix of strangers and friends, the big wooden bar covered with exquisite pintxos (unless you’re quite fortunate), and the thrill of spending a few days in this gorgeous coastal city, you will have this fabulous desert. I’ll leave the ambience up to you to create at home.

Cheese cake recipe

Use a cake pan about four inches deep. The only tricky part is the baking time. Depending on the oven and the pan, the time can vary slightly. The goal is a moist, spongy filling – test it with a cake tester or something similar as often as necessary. Eternal vigilance is the price of the perfect cheescake!


  • 1kg cream cheese, such as Philadelphia
  • 5 egg
  • 350g sugar
  • 500ml heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon flour

Preheat the oven to 230ºC/450ºF. Mix all the ingridients in a bowl and beat until smooth. Pour mixture in to the cake pan and bake for around 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Best enjoyed at room temperature.

And that’s it! Enjoy!

Pintxo tour in San Sebastian