▌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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.