Hondarribia, Fuenterrabía in Spanish and Fontarrabie in French, is a Basque town with a French attitude and French flair. Which is hardly surprising, for here is an old fort town, situated on a promontory on the Bay of Txingudi, at the mouth of the Bidasoa River, directly across the border from France, facing the French port town of Hendaye. How much closer could a Spanish town get to France?
Hondarribia's principal attractions are its lovely, walled old town, Casco Viejo, which is entered through the ancient Puerta de Santa María and is centered around the Calle Mayor (Cale Nagusia), upon which are the Ayuntamiento (town hall), the Gothic Iglesia Parroquial, and a string of 17th-century Baroque palaces; and its vibrant fisherman's quarter, La Marina, located outside the walls and filled with brightly-colored red, blue, yellow and green houses with balconies draped in flowers. Most of the markets, restaurants and small boutiques are concentrated in this area as well, and, too, the beachside promenade that leads from here to the beach and the entrance of a hike up to the Castillo de San Telmo and the Faro del Cabo Higuer (lighthouse). The Plaza de Armas, dominated by the Castillo de Carlos V which is now a tourist parador, is worth a visit too.
Hondarribia is situated just to the east of San Sebastián, and is the locale of the San Sebastián Airport. It is also a popular weekend retreat for Donostrias (residents of San Sebastián). The town has a population of around 16,000.
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