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Sundays in September: mountain outings and party in Hernio

11/09/2019 |

Hernio (1078 m.) is one of the most emblematic mountains in Gipuzkoa. Declared a Special Area of Conservation, it receives thousands of visitors throughout the year, however the number increases considerably on Sundays in September.

This is because, as tradition dictates, every Sunday during this month pilgrimages are held on the hill of Zelatun (859 m.). Given the appealing festive atmosphere, hundreds of people from neighbouring towns make the most of these days to go on mountain outings throughout the entire day. 

After reaching the peak, the festive atmosphere is concentrated around the open fields of Zelatun, between the huts of Antonio and Agirretxe. These huts are open every weekend throughout the year, and every day between May and October.

The place is perfect for resting and having a chorizo or cooked meat sandwich, with hot broth. And, having got your strength back, it is time to dance to the rhythm of fandangos, pasodobles and passacaglias with trikitilaris (Basque accordionists) from the area. The atmosphere created is really unique.

Another of the great curiosities of the mountain is located under the peak, just before you head up the last slope. On one of its numerous crossings, there are five iron rings, and according to custom, it is necessary to go through them all once in order to get rid of pains and strengthen bones. There are even people who go through three times! 

At the same point, for more than 50 years, traditional red, green and white ribbons have been sold, along with crosses and cowbells.


How to get to Hernio

There are two ways to get to Hernio from Tolosa. The first of them is to climb up from the centre of the town, departing from the Church of San Francisco towards the neighbourhood of Montezuke, and then head to the neighbourhood of Urkizu.

The other option is to begin the climb from the neighbourhood of Urkizu, where you can leave your car. The path goes round the beautiful beech forest of Iraola and Mendikute, which is home to the archaeological remains of a medieval fort, belonging to the Kingdom of Navarre.

From Tolosa: 23 km, more than 6 hours, 1,184 m. climb. Wikiloc

From Urkizu: 15 km, almost 5 hours, 955 m. climb. Wikiloc

Difficulty: intermediate

Other starting points: Alkiza, Iturriotz (Asteasu), Larraul, Albiztur, Bidania-Goiatz, Errezil (old refuge of Trintxera).