Irun – Irún

Elegant border crossing and scene of battles

Irun is the main border connection between Spain and France, which was the scene of epic battles. Now it has become a modern and cosmopolitan city with all kinds of services; an excellent base for excursions to beaches and mountains surrounding both Spain and France.

Plan your visit to Irun

This pleasant town is famous for its epic story. The sights of the town can be seen in one morning. In the surrounding area there are many attractions that can occupy several days of excursions. The neighboring Hondarribia is home to all kinds of nautical activities of active tourism and the starting point of a road that climbs to the sanctuary of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Continuing along the narrow coast road leads to the unique town of flights from San Juan, a good place to eat. Mountain fans can also enjoy the opportunities offered by the nearby natural park Peñas de Aya.

Do you want to visit this place?

Irun means “place of water”, a name relates to being based on a hill on the banks of the Bidasoa..

The first written history of Irun appears in 1203 that links the city to the civil and criminal jurisdiction mayor of Hondarribia. For centuries this situation led to numerous lawsuits between the two cities since, although Irun maintained political, economic and military jurisdiction. Hondarribia put continuous obstacles to its economic development. Already in the Modern Age, in 1660, Irun was put under the category of town and in 1766 finally achieved independence.

In 1512 Ferdinand had built the Castle of Gaztelu, but his grandson Carlos I destroyed it in 1539, denying the city the right to walling. This decision sought to concentrate defenses as well as prevent Irun from becoming an enemy stronghold of the French occupation.

On June 30, 1522 was the first battle of San Marcial, in which a small Castilian contingent commanded by the Duke of Alburquerque and supported by the popular militia completely defeated the Franco-Navarre army, led by Enrique II Albert. This victory is remembered every year with a show on the day of San Marcial.

During the French invasion of 1638, 248 buildings and all mills and local economic utility of the municipal area burned.

On August 31, 1813 came the second battle of San Marcial, where the Spanish army, supported by Anglo-Portuguese troops under General Wellington defeated the French troops of General Soult, who tried to assist the French garrison of San Sebastian.

Irun suffered by the continuing armed conflicts in which has been involved, especially during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries but still retains a rich cultural heritage worth visiting. Our city tour can be started with the Paseo de Colón, which continues along Avenida de Colón and Avenida de Navarra, constituting the main linchpin of the city center. Walking through this we will see various parks and gardens, such as Luis Mariano, next to the Tourist Office, as well as some of the most prominent city business.

Taking the street Eskoleta, our first stop can be the Oiasso Museum, where you can trace the Roman past of Irun and its surroundings. In the same way you get to the Plaza del Juncal, one of the most interesting places in the historic center, are a stretch of wall and the Church of Our Lady of Juncal, built between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries on a previous temple. Its construction was controversial, as the town of Hondarribia and the Viceroy of Navarre opposed the project because of its size and location, arguing that it could serve the enemies for shelter. The Historic-Artistic Monument of 1973, is known for its Gothic and baroque facade style. Its structure is a rectangular hall with three naves and and apse of flat front. In its interior you will find a Cavaillé-Coll organ with over 130 years of history and in the high altar, the figure of the Virgin head, a work of the eleventh century which is the oldest Romanesque Guipúzcoa size. Another curious fact is that in the rear are hot springs and public baths of Roman origin.

Very close to the square is the Casa de Beraun, a building that caught fire in the sixteenth century, although rebuilt in 1910.

Eliza street leads to the Plaza de San Juan, where the City Hall (1763), baroque style, is the main civil building in the city stands. It stands out for its portico of five arches, its facade of stone and its coat of arms. In the Chapter Room you can enjoy the extraordinary painting of Ignacio Zuloaga “Women of Sepúlveda”. The column opposite the town hall of San Juan Harri was built as a symbol of the independence of the city with respect to Hondarribia, and declared an Artistic Historical Monumentin 1964.

Going down the street or Larretxipi, San Martzial passes in front of the Hospital Sancho de Urdanibia, (also called the Immaculate Conception), 1646, and by a curious Baroque fountain covered with barrel vault. This path will lead us to Ama Xantalen (Ermita de Santa Elena) of century. XIV, located on the bank of river Estebenea. The current building is rectangular with a hipped roof and masonry walls. It was a place of worship in ancient times, as evidenced by excavations in the 70s, which have uncovered a necropolis from Roman times with over one hundred cremation urns and the remains of a former Roman temple century I. The chapel was later reconverted as a museum, becoming second seat of the Roman Museum Oiasso.

In the natural environment, we recommend visiting the Plaiaundi Ecological Park, twenty hectares of marshland along the Bay of Txingudi; the Natural Park of Peñas de Aia, a spectacular mountain andPheasant Island, witnessed many historical events.


Ayuntamiento de Irún
Dónde dormir en Irún

Practical Data


43° 20′ 16.13″ N, 1° 47′ 19.72″ W


Donostia-San Sebastián 18 km, Bilbao 117 km, Madrid 469 km

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