Call us 

Camino del Norte 1/4 - From San Sebastian to Bilbao


  • Camino del Norte 1

This first section of the Camino del Norte takes you from the city of San Sebastian to the city of Bilbao.  San Sabastian makes a wonderful starting point for the Camino del Norte. Located on the Bay of Biscay in the mountainous Basque Country, San Sebastian is known for its beaches and waterfront promenade.  Here you can enjoy world-renowned cuisine as well as the more informal dining experience of Pinxto’s and wine pairings.
This walk will take you from the city out along the coastline past traditional whaling towns to arrive in the harbour village of Getaria.  From here continuing to follow the coastline, walking on quiet country roads will take you to the wonderful beach town of Deba. After Deba you will move inland through the countryside and will not come back to the sea until Bilbao.  In Markina you will witness a village that holds strongly to its Basque traditions. Following cobbled roads, passing an ancient Monastery and woodland you will arrive to Gernika. Farmland, forest and traditional villages take you then to Lezama before your last day from here through more farmland to summit of Mount Avril where you get a spectacular view of Bilboa before descending to the industrial port city that mixes the modern with the old to spectacular effect.


Camino del Norte 1/4 - From San Sebastian to Bilbao map
Camino del Norte 1/4 Day 1San Sebastian
Once you arrive you’ll be booked into a hotel in the heart of the town. The rooms are en-suite.
Camino del Norte 1/4 Day 2 From San Sebastian to Getaria (26km, 6h30)
Leaving San Sebastian and the unspoiled Bay of Biscay, this route curves along the coastline through grassy fields and rolling hills. First, you’ll see the Church of San Martin de Tours, a lovingly resorted national monument, before passing through some traditional whaling towns. Later, you arrive in the picturesque village of Getaria, perched on a rocky headland above a cute harbour.
Camino del Norte 1/4 Day 3From Getaria to Deba (17km, 4h15)
For Day 3 you’ll set out on a small country road hugging the coast, eventually arriving in Zarautz. From there, take the small footpath into farmlands until you reach the Church of Santa Maria la Real and birthplace of explorer Juan Sebastian Elcano, the first man to circumnavigate the earth back in the 16th Century. Once you’ve stopped to admire the town, continue along the coast to the last stop – the stunning beach town, Deba.
Camino del Norte 1/4 Day 4 From Deba to Markina (20km, 5h45)
Today, we leave the sea behind for more mountainous landscapes and won’t see the coast again until Bilbao. The route crosses a river and starts climbing into dense scrub, until it reaches the Hermitage of El Calvario. From here, keep to the narrow footpath (GR-121), which passes through many hamlets. Finally, the trail descends steeply into Markina, a village with strong Basque traditions.
Camino del Norte 1/4 Day 5 Markina to Gernika (24km,6h)
Leaving Markina, the route follows an ancient cobbled road and crosses the river in Bolivar (28 km). It ascends to the 15th Century Monastery of Cenarruza, which contains a Gothic Renaissance church and medieval cloister. Leaving the monastic site, the path moves into dense woodland, up to Gontzegarai, and down to Gerikaitz. At the Hermitage of Santiago, a steep footpath leads downhill to a creek and finally to Gernika.
Camino del Norte 1/4 Day 6From Gernika to Lezama (20km, 5h45)
Setting out this morning you’ll leave Gernika by the hermitage of Santa Luzia Zallo. Shortly after, we’ll reach the road (PR-173) that will take us to Morga. Here, we leave the farmland and enter a forest, following a steep descent to the traditional villages of Goikoletxea, Larrabetzu, and finally, Lezama.
Camino del Norte 1/4 Day 7From Lezama to Bilbao (11km, 3h)
This is a relatively short stage through pastoral farmland. First, we pass Zamudio and the Roman Church of San Maarten, where the Tower of Malpica is visible above. Slowly climbing to reach the summit of Mount Avril, we’re rewarded with spectacular views of Bilbao and the valley below. On arrival in the suburbs of Bilbao, don’t forget to visit the beautiful Basilica of Our Lady of Bego, as well as Place de Unamuno, in the old quarter of Bilbao.



  • Great mix of comfortable accommodation in 2-3* hotels or equivalent
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
  • Our Holiday/ Pilgrim Pack
  • 24/7 Customer Service


    • Great dinners with local food
    • Extra nights
    • Upgrade to authentic & luxury accommodation
    • Airport transfers
    • Visit San Sebastian with a guide

Not Included

  • Flights/train
  • Insurance
  • Drinks/Lunch


Flight information

(It is best to fly to Bilbao and back from Bilbao)

1 – To France, Biarritz

Ryanair, easJet, Air France (via Orly)
Biarritz airports information:
Virtually all companies fly to paris

2 – To Bilbao

A large amount of the passenger traffic at Bilbao Airport is from internal destinations and you can fly from Bilbao to any of the following Spanish airports: A Coruna, Alicante, Barcelona, Badajoz, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Jerez, Lanzarote, Madrid, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Tenerife, Valencia and Vigo.
There are also European flights to Brussels, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Milan, Munich, Paris and Stuttgart.
At the moment easyJet, Iberia and AerLingus fly from the UK and Ireland to Bilbao. easyJet offer daily flights to Bilbao from London Stansted Airport, Iberia flies from Gatwick or Heathrow via Madrid and AerLingus operate out of Dublin.

3 – To Santander

Ryanair is the only low-cost airline that currently offer direct flights to Santander. They offer flights from London Stansted and now Dublin, Frankfurt, Milan and Rome as well as Reus and Madrid in Spain.
Iberia offer a good selection of internal flights from Alicante, Barcelona, Gran Canaria, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Seville and Valencia.
More info see:

To start your walking holiday: San Sebastian


1 – From Bilbao airport

Bus to San Sebastian (takes 1hr15), several buses a day

2 – From Biarritz

Train to Handaye (45mins), several trains a day
Then bus to San Sebastian (45mins), several buses a day

3 – From Santander

Bus to Bilbao 1hr, several buses a day
Then take a bus to San Sebastian (1hr15), several buses a day

Back home

1 – From Bilbao airport

(see above)

2 – From Santander airport

Bus to Santander (1hr), several buses a day


Camino del Norte map


powered by Advanced iFrame free. Get the Pro version on CodeCanyon.

5% off for early bookings
  • Grade: Camino Difficulty Rating image
  • Distance: 120 km
  • Duration: 8 Days Camino Trip Legend 1
  • Trip style: Self GuidedCamino Trip Legend 2
  • Price from: 749 EURCamino Trip Legend 3
Download Follow the Camino Brochure Print this page

Get your FREE Customised Camino Itinerary...

Follow the Camino Awarded Certificate of Excellence

Call one of our Camino experts today!

Silvia: Camino experts from Follow the Camino Eva: Camino experts from Follow the Camino Barbara: Camino experts from Follow the Camino Patricia: Camino experts from Follow the Camino Viktorija: Camino experts from Follow the Camino Katherine: Camino experts from Follow the Camino

Why should you choose Follow the Camino?

  • Peace of Mind

    Follow the Camino- Checked box in BlueExpert advice
    Follow the Camino- Checked box in BlueDedicated point of contact
    Follow the Camino- Checked box in BlueLuggage transfer

  • Quality Time

    Follow the Camino- Checked box in GreenLeading Camino tour operator
    Follow the Camino- Checked box in Green98% customer satisfaction
    Follow the Camino- Checked box in Green24/7 customer service and emergency support

  • Authenticity

    Follow the Camino- Checked box in RedOnce in a lifetime trip
    Follow the Camino- Checked box in RedSelected and tested accommodation
    Follow the Camino- Checked box in RedExplore Europe on foot

Customising Camino tours since 2007