The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees : the GRPdesBF
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- stage 1 -
Cabo Higer  - Col d'Ibardin (bm001-013)

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Only the bordermarkers along this stage are shown (and some adjoining ones). The main route is red, the variants are blue. The main route provides a smooth on-going route along most bordermarkers, the variants give access to the remaining bordermarkers. See the GRPdesBF-principles.
Click here for an fullscreen interactive map.

In short

This very first stage of the GRPdesBF might be your start of an unforgettable quest along every bordermarker on the esfr-border, bringing you from coast to coast in ± 50 days.

This stage: starting at the Spanish coast, you'll soon have a first border-experience by crossing the river Bidassoa on a ferry. Beyond Hendaye you will pass the famous island of Île des Faisans, shared between France and Spain. Then - after 2 hours of walking - the main route climbs steeply to bm003 and continues along the borderridge to Col d'Ibardin.
A variant covers bm001 and bm002 which includes a tough & rough ascent from bm001 to bm003.

This stage might be too long for one day. There are nice bivouac-possibilities near the meadow along the Bidassoa (after leaving the tarmac-road at Lizarlan).
When you reach Col d'Ibardin (lots of shops & restaurants), you'll have to add extra time to find a bivouac-place. At 2km NW there's a source at the foot of the Oneaga-hilltop and there are suitable spots for camping.

Change of the route in 2022

The original main route followed from Hendaye a scenic route at the east-side of the Bidasoa-river and climbed to bm003.

Disadvantage: it skips the very first esfr-bordermarker which had to be done on a variant if you wished to.

The new main route shifts in Hendaye to the west-side of the river Bidasoa and follows a cycle track along the river for 7,5 km.

Perhaps less scenic but the big advantage is that it gives a clear view of bm001 (at the other side of the river) just before the bridge over the Bidasoa-river.

My main GRPdesBF-route aims at connecting most of the esfr-bordermarkers in a smooth and elegant way from no. 1 up to no. 602. So no. 1 shouldn't be missed. That's why I changed the route.

This new route (approximately between Hendaye and bm003) has yet to worked out hereunder.

But the new gps-track (vs02) can be downloaded as
- kml-file (Google Earth) or
- gpx-file (altitudes added)

New distances and elevations:
-main route: 25km, 958m up, 666m down
-variant to bm001: 0,2km, 54m down, 54m up
-variant via bm002: 0,6km, 272m up

min - max
Cum. pos.
Cum. neg.
Cum. total
this stage
main route
incl. all variants
variant via

- the main route is a smooth trail along the border and most of the bordermarkers (within ±100m reach of the main route)
- the variants allow you to visit the remaining bordermarkers
- altitudes according to the NASA SRTM3 database, derived through
- km & elevations according to Basecamp
- time according to
Naismith's rule with average speed 4km/h; 10 min. extra for every 100m ascent and 5 min. extra for every 100m descent. Don't forget: this is a rough estimation.
- (+ or -) = extra km & elevation & time compared to continuing on the main route)
Bm's cum.
on main route:

Gps-files needed

gpx (with
altitudes added)
Waypoints of all esfr-bordermarkers esfr-bordermarkers-all-waypoints.kml
Tracks of this stage grpdesbf-000-013-vs01.kml

You might check the relevant webpages in the 'All markers'-section. They provide more pictures of the bordermarkers and additional information on them.

Version 01
February 2013. If you have any correction, suggestion etcetera -> please email me:


Print your own maps
It's easy to print your own - custom made - maps with the GRPdesBF-route and the bordermarkers on them.
See: Print your own maps

Overview on the French IGN-map: the variant is also blue on this map.

This is an aerial view of the start of the GRPdesBF at Cabo de Higer until the ferry-crossing over the Bidasoa. Navigation is easy.
Cabo Higer. This is about the beginning of the GRPdesBF-trail.

The path to the left takes you along
the Cabo Higer lighthouse and along
the coast, Hendaye comes gradually in sight.

When the trail ends at a tarmac road, go left and descend.
to the coastline.

Continue until the beach, cross the beach diagonally to the harbour and continue along it and beyond along the coast.
You will get to the landing-stage of the small ferry.

The ferry-trip to the French side of the Bidasoa will be your first bordercrossing experience on the GRPdesBF.

Check the actual timetable at this site.

At the French side, it's a pleasant stroll along the coastline until the old center of Hendaye.
Then traverse through the center of Hendaye on the Rue de Vieux Fort. Don't miss the mysterious 'Great Cross of Hendaye'  near the church at the town square. It's carved with alchemical symbols.

Then cross the bridge over the railway. Then continue SW along the railway station and bend to the left on the Rue de Béhobie.
You might make a little detour along the Avenue d'Espagne to the pedestrian bridge over the Bidasoa.

We can still see the old posts with the Spanish and French weapons. Their existence was already mentioned in the treaty of 1856. See this page

About the living-room furniture on this picture: that was meant for a radioshow that day.
After ± 0,5 km on the Rue de Béhobie, go right on the Rue Erotacillo.

The second street to the right brings you
to the riverside on a bicycle-trail.
Following the Bidassoa to the east, you get a first glimpse of the famous island of the pheasants: "l'Île de Faisans".

This is the place where the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed in 1659. That explains  its second name: " l'Île de la Conférence",
Considered as neutral territory because of being in the middle of the borderriver, it was transformed into a condominium.

That's a piece of territory shared by two countries. In this case the sovereignty shifts every six months from one country to another. There is no official possibility of visiting the island.  There used to be tourist trips but they have been cancelled.

Continue on the N-side of the Bidasoa along a busy road.
After ± 1km you will pass underneath the viaduct of the A63/E5-highway
Then it gets more quiet on rural roads. Keep to the right and pass  underneath the village of Biriatou.
In the front you see the hills where the border at some point leaves the river and and will climb uphill. That's where bm001 is located.

Keep following the rural road in its windings and later on entering the forest.

After ± 6km (from the highway-viaduct) the road ends at the farmhouse of Lizarlan.

Behind the farm there is a trail leading SE into the forest and gently descending.
The spot where the trail bends to descend to the river. As you can see, this is a suitable spot for camping with a stream nearby. Down by the river there are more bivouac-spots.

Close to the river - ± 75m before reaching the riverside - there's a steep trail (blue waymarked) climbing SE  through the forest uphill. It will bring you to the hillridge, close to bm003.

Variant 1 via bm001-002
Don't take the blue trail uphill but go to the river and follow the meadow along it to the S.

At the end, there's a ruined building at the forest-edge. Enter the forest on a trail.

It slowly climbs and is sparingly waymarked with blue paint and some cairns.
After ± 500m you will arrive at this spot. Be attentive not to miss it.

A blue arrow on a tree is pointing downwards.


Spot the small greenish boulder down the hillside where the trail continues to bm001. This boulder - together with the arrow - will help you recognize this location.

Descend towards

Then return uphill.
You are back at the blue arrow and look N from where you came from.

At this point, there's a bifork:
- to the left to where you came from (the meadow along the river)
- to the right: before the blue cross there's a continuation of the blue trail uphill .

The blue trail climbs NEE up the steep and rough hillside, probably bringing you to bm002.

In 2009 there wasn't a trail, I climbed straight uphill to bm002 so simply climbing NEE will bring you anyway to bm002.

NB: In between - ± 100m below bm002 - there's an unnumbered cross. If you are interested: See this page for a picture and directions.


NB: Just below this bm, there are 3 crosses engraved in a rock. If you are interested: See this page for a picture and directions.

Then 200m further uphill, you will join the main route.
End of variant 1
From here, the borderline follows the hillridge which winds roughly to the NE.

There are trails and dirtroads along the borderridge and navigation is easy.

NB: 6 meters SW there's a cross engraved on a rock. If you are interested: See this page for a picture.

NB: there's an intermediate unnumbered marker between bm011 and 012. If you are interested: See this page for a picture.

You can already see the venta's on Col d'Ibardin.

Bm012 is located on a peculiar spot.

It has been raised to the upperlevel of a parking-lot
with this venta-shop at its backside.

If you need to shop, take you chance here. The next shops are at Dantxarinea, 2 days later.

Bm013 at the Col d'Ibardin itself.

End of this stage.
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