Pintxos Hondarribia An Adventure in Basque Cuisine by

Pintxos Hondarribia: An Adventure in Basque Cuisine

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Usually, ordering food in a foreign country is not difficult for us…but, in Hondarribia, Spain, we were having some trouble. We had read about Pintxos Hondarribia – Basque-style tapas – and we were beyond excited about the concept.

We love to try new things, seek out local twists and need to snack while drinking – it was as if the idea of pintxos was created to satisfy just us. The problem was: We were feeling completely lost in Basque food translation! 


Our First Attempt Eating Basque Cuisine

Row of Popular Restaurants, Hondarribia, Spain

Our first attempt at eating Basque cuisine was at a seaside spot. We thought all Hondarribia restaurants served pintxos, but quickly found out that the place we chose to eat didn’t have the bite-size Basque cuisine.

Instead, we ordered the few things on the menu we could translate: croquettes (served as a platter of six, breaded balls of cheese and ham the size of tater tots), a heaping plate of thick, lightly battered calamari, bread and a bottle of wine. That seemed simple enough, but we were anxious to taste the Basque culinary treasures we’d read about.

Stunning Sunset, Hondarribia, Spain

However, by the time we were ready for our next meal, we found ourselves smack in the middle of Spain’s siesta…and every Hondarribia restaurant we tried to go to was closed. Our internal clocks were struggling with jet lag, so we opted for a trip to the market to pick up a quick meal: meat, cheese, bread, wine, bottled water. We ate on our apartment’s rooftop balcony and watched a stunning sunset.

Not exactly the Basque cuisine we hoped to be eating on our first day in Hondarribia, Spain, but we were looking to rectify that the next day.


A Taste Of Hondarribia Tapas

Traditional buildings in the Old Town of Hondarribia, Spain

After a morning of wandering the quaint streets and out along the pier, we decided to have lunch at one of the trendy Hondarribia restaurants at La Marina Hondarribia.

There seemed to be a good mix of locals and tourists, but no one was speaking English…not even our waiter (who spoke Euskara, the Basque language, and Spanish). Still not confident on how to decipher the menu, we ordered the recognizable “Uno Croquettes.”

Ordering One Croquette in Hondarribia, Spain

The waiter seemed confused by our order, which was followed by our confusion when it arrived: a plate with ONE croquette. We were tempted to share it, but I went ahead and let Kris have the whole thing.

Thankful for our sense of humor and that I recognized one additional item on the menu, Paella, we had a second round of food in no time…but still no pintxos.

Paella dish in Hondarribia, Spain

After an afternoon spent walking to the Faro de Higuer Lighthouse, we stopped at a restaurant next to our hotel for a couple of glasses of wine. We noticed some basic bar-top snacks – prosciutto on bread and grabbed one each to have with our wine.

Eating our first pintxos in Hondarribia, Spain

Little did we know, we just ate our first Hondarribia pintxos! However, with limited variety, we turned our focus to the restaurant’s full menu.

Hungry from our light lunch, we quickly decided what we wanted: A Whole Crab and Meatballs! What was delivered to our table was neither of these.

Whole crab baked dish in Hondarribia, Spain

The ‘Whole Crab’ was a baked, crab casserole and ‘Meatballs’ were three meat patties drowned in tomato soup. We were definitely missing something and completely lost in food translation (again). Our Basque culinary adventures would have to wait at least one more day.


Pintxos Hondarribia: Finally Getting It Right! 

Hondarribia pintxos on bar in Basque Country, Spain

Our beginner attempts at Basque Country pintxos were failing miserably. But, we were determined to try the much talked about Basque-style tapas. After spending a fabulous day in St. Jean de Luz, France, we returned to Hondarribia.

On the advice of locals, we made our way to the lower town where we were told we could find the best Hondarribia pintxos restaurants. We walked into a bar to find the entire bar covered in platters of pintxos.

The presentation of the Basque Pintxos seemed to be just as important as the food itself. Most were bruschetta-like. Small slices of bread were topped with everything from cheeses, meats, vegetables and shrimp to creamy spreads, hard boiled eggs and anchovies. 

Eating pintxos in Hondarribia, Spain

We carefully selected our first round, but couldn’t tell what exactly it was. We immediately broke the unstated “one pintxo per bar” rule and, instead, selected three: a fried nugget with a mixture of goodness inside; a mayo-based spread with hard-boiled egg and shrimp and one with a mushroom and red pepper. They were divine

Absolutely stoked that we were finally eating pintxos in Hondaribbia, we moved on to the next restaurant and found that bar also covered in the delectable, carefully-crafted bites.

This time we each just got one, accompanied with a glass of wine. I chose the prosciutto, Brie, dried tomato combo and Kris had a mini-sandwich with baked chicken and a sauce. Incredible

Hand-crafted pintxos in Hondarribia, Spain

We felt quite proud of ourselves that we had finally gotten our first taste of Hondarribia pintxos. Although it was delicious and I could have binged on the little Basque snacks forever, it was enough for one night. 

Read about our next stop in Basque Country, San Sebastian, and the pintxos we discovered there! 

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Getting To Hondarribia, Spain

Turbo prop plane we flew from Madrid to Hondarribia, Spain

We arrived to Basque via plane from Madrid. The Basque Country airport we flew into was San Sebastian Airport (which is actually located in Hondarribia). There are two other Basque Country airports: Bilbao Airport and Vitoria Airport. You can search for the Best Prices for Flights on SkyScanner


Where To Stay in Hondarribia, Spain

Location of Hotel San Nikolas, Hondarribia, Spain

In Hondarribia, we stayed at the charming Hotel San Nikolas in the Old Town. After reading our Top Tips on Booking Hotels, start your search for Hondarribia accommodations on


What To Pack For Hondarribia

Bay of Hondarribia in Basque Country, Spain

Our final advice for your Spain trip planning covers some essential European Travel Tips, our Complete Packing List and all our Best Packing Hacks!


Spain Travel Planner

As you begin making your plans for Hondarribia, Basque, Spain; it’s essential to keep track of the details. Our Printable Travel Planner is designed to ensure you stay on top of your trip specifics!

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Walking Shoes

Be sure to pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes for your trip to Hondarribia. I like to explore on foot in my Columbia shoes – and Kris prefers wearing Merrell trail shoes. Read all of our tips in our best Travel Shoes article!


Travel Camera

Basque Country Spain is an absolutely gorgeous country! Capture the beauty with a real camera, rather than using your phone. We carry a DSLR Canon Rebel (which is great budget camera for beginners!) with a 18-135mm lens (so we only have to carry one with us). 


Spain Travel Insurance

Travel insurance may protect against cancelled flights and lost luggage, but it can come in handy if you get ill or injured abroad, too. If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, consider traveling protected with World Nomads.


We want to know: Have you eaten Pintxos in Hondarribia, Spain? How did they compare to Tapas in Barcelona or Seville Tapas Bars? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments! 


Start planning your trip to Basque Country! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!


Visiting Other Top Destinations in Spain? We’ve got you covered with our Best of Spain Itinerary taking you to Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville!


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