El Camino del Norte – The Northern Way, begins in San Sebastian and finishes in Santiago de Compostela. Stage 1: San Sebastian to Bilbao This first stage of the Camino del Norte links two great Basque cities San Sebastian and Bilbao. Walk along the coast and up into the mountains, passing by beautiful Basque villages. […]
El Camino del Norte – The Northern Way, begins in San Sebastian and finishes in Santiago de Compostela.
Stage 1: San Sebastian to Bilbao
This first stage of the Camino del Norte links two great Basque cities San Sebastian and Bilbao. Walk along the coast and up into the mountains, passing by beautiful Basque villages. Stay in lovely friendly towns along the route including Guernica – the inspiration for Picasso’ great anti-war painting.
£775 per person, sharing a double/twin room
£230 supplement for a single room
7 nights accommodation in en-suite rooms
Route notes & maps
Holiday Insurance – please ensure that you have adequate insurance
Drinks and picnics
Transport to/from the start/end of the walk
Daily from April to October, according to accommodation availability
Stage 1: San Sebastian to Bilbao – 8 days/ 7 nights/ 6 days walking
DAY 1: Arrival in San Sebastián
Arrive in San Sebastián (Donostia in Basque) – this beautiful seaside city is also a paradise for foodies. Stroll down the Playa de la Concha and treat yourself to dinner in one of the city’s many Michelin-starred restaurants before you start your Camino! San Sebastián has 16 Michelin stars, the second highest number per square metre in the world (just after Tokyo). Overnight Hotel Codina *** B&B
DAY 2: Walk to Getaria – 26.8 km 7h00 | +943m / -911m
Today, walk from San Sebastian and the Bay of Biscay along the coastline through beautiful pastures and gentle hills. You will see the Roman Church of San Martín de Tours before passing charming coastal villages.The day ends in Getaría and its picturesque harbour. Make sure to try the local Txakolí wine. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Itxas Gain Getaria **
DAY 3: Walk to Deba – 19.5 km 6h00 | +617m / -654m
Today’s walk follows the coast along a quiet rural road to Zarautz with its magnificent sandy beach, the longest in the Basque Country. From Zarautz, the route continues through farmland passing the church of Santa María la Real and the village of Elcano along the way. Today’s section finishes in the lovely seaside village of Deba. Dinner and overnight at Rural Hotel Zumardi
DAY 4: Walk to Markina – 23 km 6h30 | +663m / -741m
Today, the Camino goes inland (you will reach the coast again in Bilbao) as you head for the mountains. Cross a river and then the path climbs quickly into an area of thick vegetation before it reaches the chapel of El Calvario. The narrow footpath (GR-121) passes through a number of charming villages before arriving at today’s destination: Markina. Dinner and overnight at Rural hotel Casa Ikestei
DAY 5: Walk to Gernika – 26.3 km 7h00 | +663m / -741m
The trail from Markina follows a quiet country lane, crossing the river at Bolibar before rising to the medieval monastery at Zenarruza. From here, the trail keeps climbing through sheltered woodland to the top of Gontzegarai and onto the hamlet of Gerrikaitz. Pass the Hermitage of Santiago and then there is a sharp descent to a small river and the historic town of Gernika (Guernica), made famous by Picasso’s masterpiece. Overnight and breakfast Hotel Gernika ***
DAY 6: Walk to Lezama – 25.3 km 6h30 | +824m / -771m
As you leave Gernika you will pass the hermitage of Santa Luzia Zallo shortly before climbing towards a road (PR-173). From here, a cobbled path continues climbing to the village of Morga where you will begin a sharp descent through the hamlets of Goikoletxea and Larrabetzu and once again enter woodland before reaching today’s destination at Lezama. Dinner and overnight Rural Hotel Matsa.
DAY 7: Walk to Bilbao – 12 km 3h00 | +343m / -387m
The last day of this section is also the shortest. The path will take you through farmland to the town of Zamudio, the Roman church of San Martin and the Tower of Malpica. From here, there is a gradual climb to the top of Mount Avril, where your efforts will be rewarded with stunning views of Bilbao and the valley below. As you enter the suburbs of Bilbao you should visit the delightful Basilica of Our Lady of Begoña. The day’s walk finishes in the Plaza de Unamuno, in the old quarter of Bilbao. Hotel Petit Palace Arana *** B&B
Day 8 : End of the trip
San Sebastián – Overnight Hotel Codina ***
Getaria – Hotel Itxas Gain Getaria **
Deba – Rural Hotel Zumardi
Markina – Rural hotel Casa Ikestei
Gernika – Hotel Gernika ***
Lezama – Rural Hotel Matsa
Bilbao – Hotel Petit Palace Arana ***
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE
How to get to San Sebastián:
1/ The best option is Bilbao airport (95km)
Bilbao is an international airport, connected with many cities all over Europe, e.g. London (Stansted, easyJet), Manchester (easyJet), Dublin (Aer Lingus), Paris (Orly, Vueling), Frankfurt (Lufthansa), Lisbon (easyJet), Brussels (Brussels Airlines).
2 /Alternative option : Santander airport (190km)
Ryanair operates in Santander serving flights, e.g., from/ to London (Stansted), Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt (Hahn), Paris (Beauvais), Milan (Ciampino) and Dusseldorf (Weeze).
3/ Alternative option : San Sebastian airport (20km)
Iberia offers flights from/to Madrid and Vueling from/ to Barcelona.
How to get back from Bilbao:
1/ The best option is Bilbao airport (10km)
2/ Alternative option: Santander airport (100km)
Transfers to and from Airport
TRANSFERS TO & FROM AIRPORTS
How to get to San Sebastián:
1/ From: Bilbao airport (95km)
Shuttle bus (line A3247) from Bilbao airport to Bilbao bus station (stop name: Termibus, every 30min). See www.bizkaia.net. Then a bus from Bilbao to San Sebastian (10 times/day, 1h10-2h journey time). See www.movelia.es.
2/ From: Santander airport (190km)
From/ to Santander airport, the best option is a direct bus (1-3 times/ day, 2h45-3h45) to San Sebastian, stop name Estacion de Autobuses (bus station). See www.movelia.es.
Another option is to take 2 buses: a bus between Santander airport and the city (every 30min, 15 min travel time), then a bus between Santander city and San Sebastian (Estacion de Autobuses, 10 times/ day, approx. 3h travel time). See www.spanish-airports.com for the airport shuttle and www.movelia.es for the bus route between San Sebastian and Santander.
3/ From: San Sebastian airport (20km)
There is a bus (line E21) between the airport and the city centre (stop name: Gipuzkoa plaza 10), see www.ekialdebus.net.
How to get back from Bilbao:
1/ To: Bilbao airport (10km)
Shuttle bus (line A3247) from Bilbao bus station (stop name: Termibus, every 30min) to Bilbao airport. See www.bizkaia.net.
2/ To: Santander airport (100km)
3/ To get back to Santander airport, the easiest way is to take the direct bus from Termibus in Bilbao (6 times/ day, approx. 1h30). See www.movelia.es.