Three towns make up the commercial port of Pasaia (Rentería in Spanish): Pasai Antxo (Pasajes Ancho), an industrial port; Pasai de San Pedro (Pasajes de San Pedro), a large fishing harbor; and historic Pasai Donibane (Pasajes de San Juan), a colorful cluster of 16th- and 17th-century buildings. The most scenic way in is via Pasai de San Pedro, on the San Sebastián side of the strait: catch a five-minute launch across the mouth of the harbor (€0.70 one-way, €1.40 round-trip).
In 1777, at the age of 20, General Lafayette set out from Pasai Donibane to aid the American Revolution. Victor Hugo spent the summer of 1843 here writing his Voyage aux Pyrénées. The Victor Hugo House is the home of the tourist office; the exhibit Victor Hugo, Traveling Down the Memory features drawings and documents that belonged to the writer. Albaola Factory, a center of maritime culture, is directed by Xabier Agote, who taught boatbuilding in Rockland, Maine.