The Northern Way from San Sebastián to Bilbao

The Northern Way from San Sebastián to Bilbao

Walking the Camino de Santiago from San Sebastian is one of the best ways to venture on the Camino del Norte. It crosses the Basque Country along its shores and offers an unparalleled fusion of pilgrim experiences, Cantabrian beaches and cliffs, and a millenary immaterial Basque culture - one of the oldest peoples in Europe. What we propose here is the stretch between Donostia, the Basque name for San Sebastian, and Bilbo - or Bilbao - in a six-stage itinerary. A great way to get to know this land and discover why it is one of the favourite destinations of many walkers who dare to take a step off the beaten track of the French Way.

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrival in San Sebastian

On your arrival in San Sebastian (in Basque, Donostia) you will discover a modern and cosmopolitan city, with must-see places you cannot miss. The Wind Comb, the Royal Palace of Miramar, the Convent Museum of San Telmo, the Castle of La Mota, the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, the Plaza de la Constitución and the María Cristina Bridge are just some of the charms of this Basque capital and the start of the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago from San Sebastián.

Day 2. Stage San Sebastián - Zarautz

Distance: 19.7 km.
Duration: 5 hours
Accommodation: Zarautz

We start the Camino de Santiago from San Sebastian in a stage in which we will have the sea as a backdrop. We start the ascent to Monte Igueldo, at the top of which stands the Torreón, a 180-metre high lighthouse built in the 18th century. If you think it's a tough start and prefer to enjoy the forceful but beautiful descent to Orio, you can always take the funicular railway, which has more than a hundred years of history.

Once in Orio, be sure to visit the Way of St. James Interpretation Centre. The end of the stage is in Zarauz (in Spanish, Zarauz), another town linked to the sea. It is said that the carrack Victoria set sail from here: the first to circumnavigate the world.

Day 3. Stage Zarautz - Deba

Distance: 23.3 km.
Duration: 5:30 a.m.
Accommodation: Deba

The second stage presents us with two possible options from the start. Either follow the promenade through Getaria, next to the road; or take the path through the mountain, passing by the Saint Barbara hermitage and enjoy its impressive views after a steep but short climb.

Both options are good and of equal mileage. It depends on the personal tastes of each walker. Both paths lead to Zumaia, a beautiful town with spectacular cliffs. On your arrival in Deba, the end of the stage, be sure to visit the parish church of Saint Mary with a Gothic façade that still conserves its polychrome.

Day 4. Stage Deba - Markina

Distance: 23.6 km.
Duration: 5:30 a.m.
Accommodation: Markina

In the third stage of the Camino de Santiago from San Sebastian we will face a mountain route and we will say goodbye to the Cantabrian Sea for the rest of the programme. It is a more solitary stage than the others, since we will only pass through a small village and we will find some scattered farmhouses.

Our recommendation for this stage is that you stock up on everything you need. Finally, as you enter Markina, you will be able to smell (and taste) one of its most typical sweets: the kokotes, which are delicious aniseed-flavoured doughnuts.

Day 5. Stage Markina - Gernika

Distance: 24.8 km.
Duration: 6 hours
AccommodationGuernica

The fourth stage of the Camino de Santiago from San Sebastian is similar to the previous one in terms of gradients but with the presence of more small towns that make the route more bearable. The route will take you through Bolibar and the monastery of Saint Mary at Zenarruza.

When you arrive in Gernika you can enjoy not only the town's most outstanding gastronomic products, such as peppers and beans, but also a free visit to the Assembly House and the Tree of Gernika, a historic symbol of the Basque people.

Day 6. Stage Gernika - Bilbao

Distance: 31.6 km.
Duration7:30 a.m.
Accommodation: Bilbao

This stage of the Camino de Santiago from San Sebastian is undoubtedly the longest. Some pilgrims prefer to divide it at the town of Lezama, to do two stages: Guernica - Lezama (20.8 km) and Lezama - Bilbao (10.8 km). This route was sworn in by the lords of Biscay, who took the oath of the privileges and guaranteed the laws and liberties of the people of Biscay.

The last eight kilometres run without any intermediate towns until the entrance to Bilbao. As in other large cities, access is through an industrialised area of little scenic value, but a visit to the city is well worthwhile. Walk through the old quarter and discover the Cathedral of Santiago - the only one on the Pilgrim's Way, apart from Compostela, dedicated to the holy pilgrim -, the Basilica of Our Lady of Begoña and the Guggenheim Museum.

Day 7. Discover Bilbao

If you have a full day in Bilbao, after a rest, breakfast and the end of our services, we recommend more specialised visits, such as the one we offer around the historic centre and the Cathedral of Santiago, the Guggenheim or the boat trip along the estuary and the Abra Bay. And if you have an extra day, you can spend it visiting Elorrio, Oñati and the Shrine of Arantzazu. Here you can enjoy stately homes and palaces carved in stone, the sanctuary considered to be the best example of contemporary Basque art and many other surprises. As you can see, a wide range of possibilities.

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Lodging

During the Camino, good night's sleep and rest are essential.
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Frequent Asked Questions

MaribiArana
I have done part of the Camino de Santiago with Proguías, specifically from Roncesvalles to Logroño. My Camino has been a unique, emotional and unforgettable experience. I am very grateful to Proguías and especially to Alba for helping me to prepare it, with great enthusiasm, and for feeling accompanied throughout the journey. Next spring, without a doubt, I will do it again with them, from O Cebreiro to Santiago. Thank you very much!
Maribi Arana
Juanma Pastor
We would like to thank Proguías (specifically Alba, as she was the permanent contact, even in hours and days out of hours), the attention, kindness, empathy and ability to work to make us feel at home. We started to enjoy the route from the first day we contacted you, it was all very easy and uncomplicated.
Juanma Pastor
The experience was great in every way. The accommodation was perfect, the luggage transport, the contact and follow up with you all ideal. The weather was unbeatable and the trail very easy to walk, with clear signage and beautiful at every turn.
Luz Aceytuno
Joan
It is impressive what a small agency like this can do. Fluid and direct communication, without promising the impossible and always with the truth up front. Some bigger companies could learn something.
Juana Bermúdez Cea
The English Way to Santiago
The wonderful organization of the trip has greatly enhanced the experience of our journey. Any problems that have occurred (which have been minimal) have been solved quickly and efficiently. I have travelled with peace of mind. The experience with you has been 10 out of 10 and I will recommend it, and of course I will count on you for my next trip.
Carla Miñambres
Manuel Fernández Doallo
My experience has been very good. You have been very attentive at all times. The accommodation was very good and very close to the way itself. I can't say anything bad about it. A hug and thank you for everything.
Manuel Fernández Doallo
andres
I wanted to do the Camino de Santiago, but I didn't want to walk so many kilometres. So I contacted Proguías and they took care of everything with professionalism and exquisite treatment.
Andrés Santos

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Request a quote for this programme

We prepare a personalised quote and send it directly to your e-mail. 

Person responsible for processing: Your data will be processed by ALBA RODRIGUEZ SILGO with registered office at Rua do Rego 6C 5°D - Milladoiro, 15895 - Ames (A Coruña). Purpose and legitimacy: Your data will be processed for the purposes specified in the reason for contact and in order to respond to your requests or queries, legally based on express consent. Transfers: they will not be transferred to third parties, unless legally obliged to do so. Term: Your data will be processed for the time strictly necessary to fulfil the specific purpose or purposes for which they were collected, until the loss of relevance of their use or, in any case, until they are cancelled in response to the exercise by the owner of the corresponding rights. Rights: We inform you that you can exercise your rights of access, rectification, cancellation and opposition to the processing of your data through this contact form or by sending an e-mail to the following address: administracion@proguias.es, or in writing, attaching a copy of a document proving your identity to the address: Rua do Rego 6C 5°D - Milladoiro, , 15895 - Ames (A Coruña). Additional information: You can consult additional and detailed information on Data Protection in our privacy policy.