Camino Del Norte from San Sebastian to Bilbao has the most dramatic scenery of Camino de Santiago. It lies on the coast of the Bay of Biscay in the Basque Country, Northern Spain.

Begin your Camino Adventure in the elegant yet vibrant seaside City of San Sebastian (Donostia in Basque). Known for its beaches, gastronomy and Culture. With the highest density of Michelin stars per inhabitant in the world, and world-class cultural events such as the International Film Festival, Jazz Festival and much more!

Along the Way

As you make your way to the bustling city of Bilbao, you will walk through small fishing villages and historic towns. Enjoy architectural wonders, modern and ancient, with something to capture and hold your attention at every turn. You will walk on mixed terrain from rocky outcrops, bush paths, and urban streets passing by secluded beaches and rocky coves.

History and Culture

There are many significant sites between San Sebastian and Bilbao, some of the notable sites are: In Zarautz there is the Roman Church of San Martín de Tours, Gernika, made famous by Picasso’s masterpiece. Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, which was declared by UNESCO in 19843, is a beautiful natural site that offers a peaceful respite from the journey. And of course the famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. These sites offer a mix of cultural, historical, and natural attractions offering a truly enriching experience.

Gastronomy

As your imagination is captured with the history your taste buds will be delighted with the consumption of some of the most amazing food and wine ever! Eat from humble local fare to Michelin-starred restaurants, with a wide variety of specialities in each region that will leave you astonished. Fortunately, you will be walking it off 😅.

You reach your destination 

Bilbao is the largest and most populated city on Camino del Norte. Visit Bilbao’s Casco Viejo: the historic quarters known as “the seven Streets” to taste their famous “pintxos”. A not to be missed, as mentioned is the impressive Guggenheim Museum, with some of the best art exhibitions in the country.

Buen Camino!

  • Difficulty: Rest day
  • Length: 0 km.
  • Hours: 0h.

Today Day 1: San Sebastian (Donostia) is a stunning sophisticated coastal city in the Basque Country, Spain. There is so much to see and do here however it is especially famous for its beaches, culture, cuisine and festivals. Walk the Promenade then visit the old town by bar hopping your way from one end to the other and enjoy some Pinxos (Basque tapas).

Don’t overdo it though, you have a big first day ahead of you tomorrow!

Buen Camino!

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Length: 22 km.
  • Hours: 6h.

Today Day 2: San Sebastian-Zarautz. Heading out of San Sebastian if you can’t initially find any arrows, keep the magnificent views of the Cantabrian Sea to your right. Finding arrows when exiting a city on the Camino can often be tricky. Once you are at the edge of the city the path is well-marked.

Along the Way

It is quite a steep incline as you exit the city however the view once you get to the high point is magnificent. You will soon see the Igeldo Lighthouse. As you climb up to the Monte Igueldo Mount, passing through Orio, a historic village declared a place of cultural interest. Wander through its old town and visit the Church of San Nicolas de Bari. Walk among vineyards and witness some impressive houses of granite and stone.

Alternative Path

Just before reaching Zarautz, there is an alternative route. A well-signed path that leads you through a camping ground to Mollarri de Zarautz a mineral loading dock located on the east side of Zarautz beach. This cultural heritage site can be visited from the outside with scenic coastal views.

While in Zarautz visit the convent of San José and the hermitage of Arritokieta. A beautiful coastal town known for its Gastronomy. enjoy your stay!

Buen Camino!

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Length: 21 km.
  • Hours: 6h.

Today Day 3: Zarautz-Deba is a challenging day with many ups and downs. There are 2 paths today, you have a choice to follow the official path, which goes through the hills and vineyards, or the alternative path, which follows the coast and the beaches. Both paths offer stunning views of the sea and the cliffs, with some historical and cultural sites along the way.

Points of interest along the way

The town of Getaria, famous for its fishing port and its church of San Martín de Tours
The town of Zumaia, where you can see the church of San Salvador and the palace of Aldamar
The sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Itziar, a popular pilgrimage site
The geopark of Zumaia, where you can admire the geological formations of the flysch
The chapel of San Sebastián de Elorriaga, a Romanesque monument

Deba your destination for today is a small coastal town with a population of around 5,400 inhabitants. Visit the church of Santa María de Deba, the cave of Praileaitz, and the bridge of Deba

Buen Camino!

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Length: 24 km.
  • Hours: 7h.

Day 4: Deba to Markina-Xemein is a solitary walk with few services. Prepare your day pack with plenty of water and food for fuel. One of the tougher days running through the hilly rural Basque valley, with hamlets, forests, and meadows. From the Hermitage of Calvary, the path moves away from the coast and you will not see the sea for several days until Portugalete and Pobeña. This is also one of the most difficult climbs today up to 300m in just 3 kilometres.

Buen Camino! 

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Length: 25.5 km.
  • Hours: 7.5h.

Day 5: Markina-Xemein to Gernika, is another long and difficult day. With rough mountainous terrain and some local roads. A steep climb after Bolibar to the monastery of Zenarruza (Ziortza). Here a community of Cistercian monks are found.  Your destination for today Gernika is home to Casa de Juntas and its famous Oak tree, it is customary that visitors go around the tree clockwise. The name of the town has been associated with the devastating bombing to which it was subjected in 1937. Picasso painted a painting in its memory.

Buen Camino! 

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Length: 20 km.
  • Hours: 5.5h.

Day 6: Gernika to Lezama a demanding day through Vizcaya and its mountainous landscape with deep valleys. A challenging terrain dotted with forests, hamlets and meadows until Goikolexea. The most demanding is the climb to Mount Billikario around 300 meters ascent in just three kilometres.  At the end of the day there is relief as from Goikolexea to Lezama you have a relatively flat walk.

Buen Camino! 

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Length: 11 km.
  • Hours: 3h.

Day 7: Lezama to Bilbao is a short stage with a difficult climb up Mount Avril. During the ascent, you will follow along a medieval road. On the descent, you pass the Begoña Basilica a temple built in the sixteenth century over a primitive hermitage, in honour of the patron saint of Bizkaia. The devotion to the Virgin of Begoña makes the pilgrimage to the Basilica of Begoña a tradition. Then continue, eventually arriving at Plaza de Unamuno. It is located in the old quarter of Bilbao. The Cathedral of Bilbao is a definite stop, dedicated to the Apostle Santiago.

You have reached your final destination!
It’s time to relax and celebrate your achievement.
Buen Camino! 

  • Difficulty: Rest day
  • Length: km.
  • Hours: h.

On Day 8: Bilbao, Explore Bilbao the largest and most populated city on Camino del Norte. Indulge in your last taste of Basque gastronomy. Visit Bilbao’s Casco Viejo: the historic quarters known as “the Seven Streets”. Here you will taste their famous “pintxos”.

Make sure you keep some time to visit the impressive Guggenheim Museum, housing some of the best art exhibitions in the country.

Wherever you are off to in the world, safe travels and thanks for allowing Crossroads Travel to support you on your Camino Adventure, we hope to see you again

Buen Camino! 

Dates: Flexible, set your own agenda

Direct deposit payments in $ AUD and € EU.

Inclusions Camino Del Norte – San Sebastian to Bilbao 

  • 7 nights’ accommodation preferably charming/Iconic/boutique hotels and rural Casas
  • Private Bathroom in all rooms
  • Daily breakfast
  • Luggage transfer daily (1 x 15kg bag per person)
  • Maps of your accommodation locations
  • Pre-trip Camino guidance and planning
  • Australian and Spanish emergency phone numbers
  • local support person in Spain
Welcome Pack:
  • Pilgrim’s passport
  • Camino shell
  • Luggage tags
  • Full Camino walking guidebook with maps
  • Camino Journal with Pen
  • Other goodies for your Camino
Not Included 
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Additional bag transfer (will incur additional costs)
  • Single Supplement
  • Any meal not specified in the Inclusions list
  • Any other item not specified in the Inclusions list
  • Flights/Transfers/Extra Accommodations.
Optional Services: 
  • Airport transfers from the start point and end destination
  • Extra night accommodation at the start point and end destination
  • Extra luggage transfer or storage
  • Fisterra experience: Tour from Santiago to Fisterra return 2 days
  • If you wish to upgrade to the Iconic Parador Hotel in Santiago de Compostela the cost is from $180 per person/per night twin share and $250 per person/per night single occupancy when booked 6 months in advance.
  • Ask us about adding an extra night in Santiago or extra rest days en route.
  • For any part of your trip that falls between 31 October and 01 April, there is an out-of-season luggage transfer surcharge of $25 per day. And $35 per day to Fisterra and Muxia.

Today Day 1: San Sebastian (Donostia) is a stunning sophisticated coastal city in the Basque Country, Spain. There is so much to see and do here however it is especially famous for its beaches, culture, cuisine and festivals. Walk the Promenade then visit the old town by bar hopping your way from one end to the other and enjoy some Pinxos (Basque tapas).

Don’t overdo it though, you have a big first day ahead of you tomorrow!

Buen Camino!

Today Day 2: San Sebastian-Zarautz. Heading out of San Sebastian if you can’t initially find any arrows, keep the magnificent views of the Cantabrian Sea to your right. Finding arrows when exiting a city on the Camino can often be tricky. Once you are at the edge of the city the path is well-marked.

Along the Way

It is quite a steep incline as you exit the city however the view once you get to the high point is magnificent. You will soon see the Igeldo Lighthouse. As you climb up to the Monte Igueldo Mount, passing through Orio, a historic village declared a place of cultural interest. Wander through its old town and visit the Church of San Nicolas de Bari. Walk among vineyards and witness some impressive houses of granite and stone.

Alternative Path

Just before reaching Zarautz, there is an alternative route. A well-signed path that leads you through a camping ground to Mollarri de Zarautz a mineral loading dock located on the east side of Zarautz beach. This cultural heritage site can be visited from the outside with scenic coastal views.

While in Zarautz visit the convent of San José and the hermitage of Arritokieta. A beautiful coastal town known for its Gastronomy. enjoy your stay!

Buen Camino!

Today Day 3: Zarautz-Deba is a challenging day with many ups and downs. There are 2 paths today, you have a choice to follow the official path, which goes through the hills and vineyards, or the alternative path, which follows the coast and the beaches. Both paths offer stunning views of the sea and the cliffs, with some historical and cultural sites along the way.

Points of interest along the way

The town of Getaria, famous for its fishing port and its church of San Martín de Tours
The town of Zumaia, where you can see the church of San Salvador and the palace of Aldamar
The sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Itziar, a popular pilgrimage site
The geopark of Zumaia, where you can admire the geological formations of the flysch
The chapel of San Sebastián de Elorriaga, a Romanesque monument

Deba your destination for today is a small coastal town with a population of around 5,400 inhabitants. Visit the church of Santa María de Deba, the cave of Praileaitz, and the bridge of Deba

Buen Camino!

Day 4: Deba to Markina-Xemein is a solitary walk with few services. Prepare your day pack with plenty of water and food for fuel. One of the tougher days running through the hilly rural Basque valley, with hamlets, forests, and meadows. From the Hermitage of Calvary, the path moves away from the coast and you will not see the sea for several days until Portugalete and Pobeña. This is also one of the most difficult climbs today up to 300m in just 3 kilometres.

Buen Camino! 

Day 5: Markina-Xemein to Gernika, is another long and difficult day. With rough mountainous terrain and some local roads. A steep climb after Bolibar to the monastery of Zenarruza (Ziortza). Here a community of Cistercian monks are found.  Your destination for today Gernika is home to Casa de Juntas and its famous Oak tree, it is customary that visitors go around the tree clockwise. The name of the town has been associated with the devastating bombing to which it was subjected in 1937. Picasso painted a painting in its memory.

Buen Camino! 

Day 6: Gernika to Lezama a demanding day through Vizcaya and its mountainous landscape with deep valleys. A challenging terrain dotted with forests, hamlets and meadows until Goikolexea. The most demanding is the climb to Mount Billikario around 300 meters ascent in just three kilometres.  At the end of the day there is relief as from Goikolexea to Lezama you have a relatively flat walk.

Buen Camino! 

Day 7: Lezama to Bilbao is a short stage with a difficult climb up Mount Avril. During the ascent, you will follow along a medieval road. On the descent, you pass the Begoña Basilica a temple built in the sixteenth century over a primitive hermitage, in honour of the patron saint of Bizkaia. The devotion to the Virgin of Begoña makes the pilgrimage to the Basilica of Begoña a tradition. Then continue, eventually arriving at Plaza de Unamuno. It is located in the old quarter of Bilbao. The Cathedral of Bilbao is a definite stop, dedicated to the Apostle Santiago.

You have reached your final destination!
It’s time to relax and celebrate your achievement.
Buen Camino! 

On Day 8: Bilbao, Explore Bilbao the largest and most populated city on Camino del Norte. Indulge in your last taste of Basque gastronomy. Visit Bilbao’s Casco Viejo: the historic quarters known as “the Seven Streets”. Here you will taste their famous “pintxos”.

Make sure you keep some time to visit the impressive Guggenheim Museum, housing some of the best art exhibitions in the country.

Wherever you are off to in the world, safe travels and thanks for allowing Crossroads Travel to support you on your Camino Adventure, we hope to see you again

Buen Camino! 

At Crossroads Travel your comfort after a long day of walking is our focus. Hence extensively researched accommodation options on Camino de Santiago are a part of our packages.

Our choice is based on location.

We personally book your rooms, and for this reason, we know exactly where they are located. Our primary aim is for you to be in the vibe of Camino amongst the other pilgrims, restaurants, bars, and cafes.

We want you to be welcomed and taken care of.

Meeting regularly with the owners/management to discuss our client needs ensures your hosts have direct personal contact with us. If any needs arise we can manage them immediately.

Finally, we choose accommodation in charming, iconic hotels and rural Casas.

The number of stars is not our criterion. A comfortable room and a private bathroom come first. In some of the more humble areas of Camino de Santiago, we offer you the best of what is possible. So the longer your Camino the more varied your accommodation will be. This is part of the charm of being on Camino de Santiago, remember you are not on a holiday with multiple options in one spot. Fortunately, with options in the bigger cities, we can throw in a few nights with lots of stars for indulgence. After all, you deserve to have a soak in a spa. Likewise, an indoor pool doesn’t hurt. 

Note: There are a few extraordinary options off the Camino if “humble” is not your thing. Also If we locate you outside of the Camino you will have contact with the owners who will pick you up from the Camino and deliver you back to the same spot the next morning. We will discuss this with you when booking.

Book 60 days in advance

Camino de Santiago is a unique destination with limited quality accommodation ON Camino hence we advise booking a minimum of 60 days in advance. The sooner you book the better the options that will be available. 

Examples of our chosen accommodation.

Images below are examples of what you can expect from your booking. Tailor-made Packages are available if you wish to stay 5-star all the way. 

Please note: we adhere to the same standard when you book accommodation with us pre and post-Camino in Spain, France and Portugal.  

 

Spain

Fly to Bilbao and then take the bus to the City

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AUD: Australian dollar ($) ^
 Info
  • From - To: San Sebastian to Bilbao
  • Length: 123.5 km
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Cost: $1,590
  • Dates:

    Dates: Flexible, set your own agenda

    Direct deposit payments in $ AUD and € EU.

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