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Title: Adarra  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Leitzaran, San Sebastián
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The Aballarri rocks on the left and Adarra (centre)
Elevation 811 m (2,661 ft)
Translation Place of horns (Basque)
Pronunciation Basque: [aˈdara]
Gipuzkoa, Spain
Range Adarra-Mandoegi

43°12′25.78″N 01°57′43.9″W / 43.2071611°N 1.962194°W / 43.2071611; -1.962194Coordinates: 43°12′25.78″N 01°57′43.9″W / 43.2071611°N 1.962194°W / 43.2071611; -1.962194

Easiest route From Besabi in Urnieta

Adarra (short for "Adarramendi", 'mount of horns') is a mountain south of the city of San Sebastian in the Basque Country much appreciated and popular with the donostiarras and other neighbouring inhabitants. It is flanked on the north by the minor mount Oindi or Onddi (IPA: ['onɟi], 545 m) and Onddo (781 m) on the south, all of them located at the top of a long mountain range of modest height establishing the division between the Urumea and Leitzaran valleys, which extends south right to the vicinity of the Navarrese town of Leitza.

Geology and vegetation

That disposition of the big geological formations sticks to a distinctive north-south pattern of the short Gipuzkoan valleys ending up in the Bay of Biscay. The present area stands on the westernmost end of the Pyrenees, where outcrops of slate, sandstone, conglomerates, red silt and other materials can be found, largely from the Paleozoic Era and Mesozoic Era.

The vegetation landscape is split in two distinctive sides, the first one locating on the Eastern slopes and the second on the Western part. On the former patches of autochthonous forest and vegetation abound, while on the latter (especially on the way down to Leitzaran) pine tree used for logging (aka Pinus radiata) prevails.[1] There are noticeable grassland strips for grazing sheep and horses interspersed with forest.

Prehistoric monuments

The mountain and the whole area show several vestiges of megalithic art, for the most part small monuments much in step with the customary practice on the Atlantic basin of the Basque Country in the Neolithic and Bronze Age. The megalithic sector Adarra numbers 34 stone circles, 4 dolmens, 3 cists and 2 menhirs. Furthermore, remains are ubiquitous all over the ridgeline Adarra-Mandoegi that stretches out south. The conspicuous menhir of Eteneta at the centre of the meadow on the back of Adarra doesn't go unnoticed. However, while the menhir stands currently upright, some decades ago it lay on the ground, the stone being reverted to the original position by regional authorities. This spot has long been a meeting point for shepherds.

Some monuments cluster around the Aballarri rocks. Legend as collected by anthropologist J.M. Barandiaran goes that the Basque mythological gigantic character Sanson got angry with a crowd of people dancing in Arano, so he intended to kill them. Yet when he was about to hurl a stone at them from the mountain Buruntza, he slipped on a cow dung and the stone fell short on this spot, resulting in the current prominence.

At this point, an older vestige should be noted, the cavern Mari Zulo (access from the farmhouse and inn Besabi), where the remains of a man buried along with a dog and lamb were unearthed, dating from the 4th millennium BC. Plenty of evidence suggests that it was long used at different stages of prehistory. Unfortunately, the surroundings of the cavern are currently somewhat deteriorated due to a polluted stream nearby.


On New Years Day early in the morning, people of all ages, the bravest of whom had been celebrating the night before, pour into Adarra to see the sunrise or just to have a good starting year. Some people may carry music instruments (trikitixa, tabor and pipe, etc.) that enliven the atmosphere.

Access points and trails


The main access point widely used, especially on Sundays, lies on the farm-turned-snack bar Besabi. In order to get there by car, starting from a T junction at the road GI-311 (Andoain-Urnieta), the minor road GI-3121 leading to Xoxoka should be followed, there switching to GI-4721 with direction to Besabi (dead end, 0h00). Car park at the end of the road. A concrete track heading south-east gains gradually height until a farmhouse with a yard is reached. There a makeshift gate should be crossed on the right (348 m, 0h10), a beaten mud trail bound south-east penetrates on the forest, increasingly sinking into a neatly delimited hollow.

At the beginning, pine forest towers on the left hand, soon shifting to an open charming beech forest. At this point, the stream Sorotxota is crossed (440 m, 0h30) and height is gained slowly out of the forest on to the fields. Overcoming the last south-bound stretch to the summit (open ground) does not take very long, but it is demanding. Right before the summit heaps of stone in a karst terrain cover the trail (811 m, 1h25). Height difference from Besabi: 514 m.

For the descent, walking down the southern side of Adarra the col of Eteneta is reached, where a prehistoric standing stone (menhir) rises proud. This spot has been for ages a landmark for shepherds. Turning direction and heading north-west, the meadows give way to bushy landscape and a patch of narrow paths, soon merging into one. The trails cut through the western side of Adarra until the beech forest of the ascent is again attained.

Another option back consists of heading down from Adarra straight to the north, the pass of Mantale is reached south of the Aballarri rocks (small dolmen and other vestiges around).[2]

The trail opens its way out of the rocks, then a dramatic slope leads down to a concrete track that heads west back to Besabi.


From Andoain, the GI-3091 road penetrates into the valley Leitzaran along the river. The former rail course has been arranged as a green way for bicycles and pedestrians. After a tunnel is passed a narrow signposted trail twists up out of the main track among pine trees.[3]

Further reading


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