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Northern Way Basque Country

From San Sebastian to Bilbao

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  • Northern Way - Full Way-SanSebastian-caminoways.com
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This first 127km section of the Northern Way or Camino del Norte begins in the chic and elegant coastal city of San Sebastián, a gastronomic mecca, home to several Michelin-starred restaurants. From San Sebastián (or Donosti in Basque), the Northern Way travels West along the green hills of the Basque coastline. The trail passes the historic town of Gernika, made famous by Picasso’s master piece and finishes in Bilbao, where the impressive Guggenheim Museum is a must-see. The Basque Country is renowned for its cuisine, its ‘pintxos’ and some of the country’s best chefs so this Camino walk will be an unforgettable gastronomic experience. This section is classed as moderate to challenging, so a reasonable level of fitness is required.
Click on ‘booking’ or ‘get a quote’ to customise your Camino trip.

Trip highlights

  • Stroll down the stunning Cocha Beach
  • Taste 'pintxos': the Basque Country in a mouthful
  • Discover charming Northern fishing villages
  • Feel inspired at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

1 San Sebastián

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San Sebastián (Donostia in Basque) is a stunning and chic seaside city, as well as a paradise for foodies. Stroll down the Playa de la Concha and treat yourself to 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).

2 San Sebastián to Getaría - 25km

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7h30 | +943m / -911m
Today, the Camino leaves San Sebastian and the Bay of Biscay and travels 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.

3 Getaría to Deba - 18km

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6h30 | +617m / -654m
Leaving Getaría you will follow the coast along a quiet rural road before arriving in Zarautz with its magnificent sandy beach, the longest in the Basque Country. After Zarautz, the path enters farmlands and passes the church of Santa María la Real and the village of Elcano. Today’s section finishes in the lovely seaside village of Deba.

4 Deba to Markina - 23km

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5h | +1099m / -1019m
Today, the Camino trail leaves the coastline for the last time (you will reach it again in Bilbao) as you will head for the mountains. After crossing a river 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 on the way before reaching today’s destination: Markina.

5 Markina to Gernika - 23km

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7h30 | +663m / -741m
The trail from Markina follows a quiet country lane, crossing the river in Bolibar before rising to the medieval monastery at Zenarruza. From here, the trail keeps climbing through sheltered woodland to the top of Gontzegarai and on to the hamlet of Gerrikaitz. After passing the Hermitage of Santiago a sharp descent leads to a small river and the historic town of Gernika, made famous by Picasso’s masterpiece.

6 Gernika to Lezama - 21km

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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: Lezama.

7 Lezama to Bilbao - 15km

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3h30 | +343m / -387m
Your last day on the Camino 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. Your walk reaches its final point in the Plaza de Unamuno, in the old quarter of Bilbao.

8 Bilbao

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Bilbao (or Bilbo in Basque) has reinvented itself in the past 30 years, becoming host to some of the best art exhibitions in the country at the impressive Guggenheim Museum. Explore Bilbao’s old town with its quaint taverns and taste a few ‘pintxos’ before you head back home!

Hotels & country cottages have been carefully selected for their location, comfort, character, food, and friendliness of the staff. They are subject to availability and if the hotel described is not available, we will provide you with one of the same standard of comfort & price. Please note: Accommodation is subject to availability.

San Sebastián - Standard / Superior

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.
Superior Collection: Stay in the best hotels on the Camino de Santiago: we have selected luxurious 4 and 5-star hotels, boutique guesthouses, relaxing country homes and stunning heritage ‘Parador’ hotels so you can feel pampered.

Getaria - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Deba - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Markina-Xemein - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Gernika - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Lezama - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Bilbao - Standard / Superior

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.
Superior Collection: Stay in the best hotels on the Camino de Santiago: we have selected luxurious 4 and 5-star hotels, boutique guesthouses, relaxing country homes and stunning heritage ‘Parador’ hotels so you can feel pampered.

San Sebastián Average Temperature & Rainfall

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Bilbao Average Temperature & Rainfall

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How to Get There

Live information on Rome2Rio. We can also arrange private transfers if you prefer, just ask us.

 

San Sebastián

San Sebastián Airport 20km: The way between the city centre (stop name: “Gipuzkoa plaza 10”) and the airport (approx. 20km) can be taken with a bus (line E21), see www.ekialdebus.net.

Bilbao Airport 95km: Shuttle bus (line A3247) from Bilbao airport from/to Bilbao bus station (stop name: Termibus, every 30min). See www.bizkaia.net. A good bus connection between Bilbao and San Sebastian exists (10 times/ day, 1h10-2h journey time). See www.movelia.es.

Santander Airport 190km: For the transport from/ to the airport, the easiest way is to choose the direct bus line (1-3 times/ day, 2h45-3h45), stop name in San Sebastian is “Estacion de Autobuses.
See www.movelia.es. Another option is to take 2 buses: One between San Sebastian and Santander (“Estacion de Autobuses”, 10 times/ day, approx. 3h travel time) and then between the city and the airport (every 30min, 15 min travel time). See www.spanish-airports.com for the airport shuttle and www.movelia.es for the bus route between San Sebastian and Santander.

 

Bilbao

Bilbao Airport 10km: Shuttle bus (line A3247) from Bilbao airport from/to Bilbao bus station (stop name: Termibus, every 30min). See www.bizkaia.net.

Santander Airport 100km: For the transport from/ to the airport, the easiest way is to choose the direct bus line (starting point: Termibus) from/ to the airport (6 times/ day, approx. 1h30). See www.movelia.es.