Way of Saint James from Bilbao to Santander

We welcome you to the Camino de Santiago from Bilbao. Walk with us from one of the main Basque capitals to Santander, a stately city considered one of the most beautiful on this route. Walk parallel to the Cantabrian coast and discover the fishing tradition, the millenary Basque culture and the spectacular coastal landscapes, crossing beaches on foot, and estuaries and bays by boat. Six stages to understand why the Northern Way is one of the favourite destinations of many walkers who dare to take a step away from the more beaten French Way.

Itinerary

Camino de Santiago from Bilbao to Santander |

Day 1. Arrival in Bilbao

To make the most of the Camino de Santiago from Bilbao, it is important to arrive in Bilbao in good time. We recommend a stroll through the old quarter, in search of the Cathedral of Santiago, the only one on the entire Pilgrim's Way dedicated to the holy pilgrim, as well as the Cathedral of Compostela. The Guggenheim Museum is another option.

And if you have an extra day, you can spend it visiting Elorrio, Oñati and the Sanctuary of Arantzazu. As you can see, there is a wide range of possibilities before starting your pilgrimage.

Day 2. Stage Bilbao - Portugalete

Distance: 19.9 km.
Duration: 5 hours
Accommodation: Portugalete

The first stage of this section is the most urban of the Camino de Santiago from Bilbao to Santander. There is the possibility of choosing a variant on the banks of the Nervión estuary, so as not to make it so monotonous. This option will take you to Barakaldo. The official route, on the other hand, will take you through the streets of the towns that grew up on the outskirts of Bilbao, and allows you to save 7 km and some slopes.

On your arrival in Portugalete you will see the Hanging Bridge, also known as the Bizkaia Bridge, the charming medieval old town, the 14th century Salazar Tower and the Gothic-Renaissance style Basilica of Saint Mary.

Day 3. Stage Portugalete - Castro Urdiales

Distance: 32.4 km.
Duration: 8 hours
Accommodation: Castro Urdiales

On the Camino de Santiago from Bilbao to Santander, this is undoubtedly the longest stage. From Portugalete to the next town, La Arena, there are twelve kilometres that run inland along a cycle lane, in basque language called bidegorri. From there, the route continues along the coast, through Pobeña.

From here, a beautiful stretch of greenway awaits you, a real balcony overlooking the sea that follows where the mining railway used to run. Before reaching Ontón, you leave the Basque Country and enter Cantabria. From this town, the route forks into two options: the official route goes through Otañes, away from the coast.

The alternative shortens the stage by 7.2 km and runs along the hard shoulder of the N-634. On your arrival in Castro Urdiales, in addition to its impressive heritage, you can enjoy the Cantabrian gastronomy, although it still shares much with the typical Basque dishes. Undoubtedly, fish and seafood are still the main protagonists.

View of the Bay of Biscay at the exit of Castro Urdiales, on the Way of St. James from Bilbao to Santander.
View of the Bay of Biscay at the exit of Castro Urdiales, on the Way of St. James from Bilbao to Santander.

Day 4. Stage Castro Urdiales - Laredo

Distance: 26.6 km.
Duration: 6:30 hours
Accommodation: Laredo

Leaving Castro Urdiales, the path climbs up to Allandelagua, at the top of which we can contemplate the remains of a medieval Templar tower-fortress. Further on, another fork in the road makes it necessary to make a decision. The official route lengthens the stage by almost six kilometres and increases the number of slopes along this stretch, but it is the most peaceful and scenic. The variant runs along the hard shoulder of the national road, and although it is shorter, it is also more dangerous. We recommend that you choose the official route.

After passing Liendo, you will quickly reach Laredo, where you can enjoy the Convent of San Francisco, the church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción - a jewel of Gothic art -, the Merenillo or San Marcial gate, which formed part of the 13th century wall, and the 18th century Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de la Bien Aparecida.

Day 5. Stage Laredo - Güemes

Distance: 29 km.
Duration: 7 hours
Accommodation: Güemes

On this section of the Pilgrims' Route to Santiago de Compostela from Bilbao, there are two options at the start: the first is to border the Santoña estuary, lengthening the route and enjoying the coastal scenery. The second is to go to Puntal de Laredo and, from there, cross by boat to the town of Santoña. From there, you will cross Noja, Isla, Arnuero and Castillo Siete Villas before reaching Güemes, the ideal place to rest and finish such a long stage.

Day 6. Stage Güemes - Santander

Distance: 12 km.
Duration: 3 hours
Accommodation: Santander

The last stage of the Camino de Santiago from Bilbao is very short, so we recommend that you enjoy it and take it easy. Although we recommend you to leave early to have more time to enjoy the Cantabrian capital.

Once again, there are two alternatives to choose from: the first is the official route, which joins Galizano with Somo for 7 km parallel to the road. The second option would be the coastal variant, which joins the official route a little before Somo, in the vicinity of the Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Latas. This variant is longer, approximately 4 km longer, but you will walk along the coast on your last stage and pass through the towns of Langre and Loredo.

On your arrival in Somo you will have to go to the pier to take one of the boats, popularly known as pedreñeras. These ferries run regularly throughout the year to link Somo and Santander across the bay. When you arrive in Santander you will find a welcoming and peaceful coastal town with its wide harbour, one of the most beautiful bays in Spain.

Day 7. Discover Santander

After the break and breakfast, our services come to an end. If you have time in the city, we recommend you to distribute the visits of the previous day. Santander does not leave you indifferent and is one of the main attractions for those who make the Camino de Santiago from Bilbao.

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Lodging

During the Camino, good night's sleep and rest are essential.
Here are images of the types of accommodation we use to book on this route.

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.