I just rode this route. The scenery is picturesque and nice. Road surface was in good condition. If you want to open your bike up, this is a good stretch of road for it.
Did this route in reverse from Hondarribia to Pamplona. A busy fast road with coffee stoa not too far off track. Let down by rain and low cloud. Would have great views on a clear day.
Rode this from Pamplona to Irun in October 2009 and any roadworks are now finished. Its a good road with plenty of sweeping turns, but the main problem is the high number of heavy lorries than can inhibit the fun factor. I made the return journey form the coast to Pamplona via the A15 autoroute and, perhaps suprisingly for a motorway, reckon this is a much better route as it is set higher up in the mountains, and thus makes for outstanding views.
Rode this again in August 2008. Stay well clear for the near future. Major roadworks and widening project taking place. Lots of slow moving traffic and temporary traffic lights.
Ah how could I have forgotten the N-121a? Did this a couple of years ago with a friend and promised myself Id go back. Fast, fast straights and corners from Pamplona, get slightly more technical from Oronoz onwards. The condition of the road on the sharper corners as you get to Vera de Bidasoa isnt great so stay aware of surface changes.
The N121a begins its journey at the impressive Navarre
region capital of Pamplona and casually wanders the
70 kilometres north to the border city of Irún in
the Basque country. It winds along the Río Ultzama
and Mediano before joining with the Río Bidasoa,
which for its last 10km creates the border separating
Spain from France. It's a very green area with trees and
wildlife in abundance, along with many 'Granjas' or farms.
There are lots of traditional small Spanish villages
just off this route and you can always find a good
'Posada' for something to eat. Try the local dish of beef
cooked on coals, delicioso!
The road:- It's a fast route out of Pamplona and is typical of many routes in Spain. But the further north you go, the twistier and prettier it becomes. The surface is good from start to finish with nothing to really worry you and is ideally suited to sports and sports tourers. It's quite a busy route and you'll not have the road to yourself for long periods, but that's to be expected when you consider the geography. There is still lots of fun to be found and a rapid pace can be set if you 'feel the need for speed'. We took it relatively easy and enjoyed the scenery that you. There's not much in the way of elevation changes but if you want that sort of thing you're never far away from the mountains. There were loads of bikes travelling this road when we visited and to see other bikers enjoying the same road as me always makes me smile. Car drivers just don't get it do they?
Accommodation:- We stopped on this road at the Etxalar Hotel which is the stone building in the photos and is also shown on the map. It's a great hotel and has to be one of the best places we stayed on our trip. The staff were friendly, the rooms excellent, and the food was to die for (not literally you understand) It's right by the roadside so you can sit and listen to the bikes riding past whilst enjoying an ice cold lager. There was a traditional Spanish wedding reception taking place during our stay which was nice. The staff apologised for the noise but they needn't have. We enjoyed watching the Spanish partying as only the Spanish know how. You can have a much closer look at the Etxelar here It's their official web-site with details of activities in the area, photos, prices etc. Would I stop there again? A definite yes. Place of interest?:- Pamplona of course. You could spend a few days taking in its history and if you're there from 6th July you could join in the week long festival of San Fermin. Why not join in the Encierro The running of the bulls? If you're really lucky you could get yourself gored or trampled. How nice. I think i'll take my chances on a bike. P.s. A big Hello to Kev, the owner of the Beemer in the photos. We saw him the previous evening in Ainsa, some 250 kilometres away, and somehow ended up in the same place the following night. It was a pleasure to meet you and we'll share a few beers next time i'm in Barcelona. Hasta pronto.