Guided: San Sebastian to Bilbao

Stage 1 of 4


8 days


Popular time


Starting from




9.6 min | 17.3km average | 22.8 max


57.4 min |697.1m average | 1116.1 max


2   2.8   4

Follow the Camino Preview Map Trip 1247

This first section of the Camino del Norte takes you from the city of San Sebastian to the city of Bilbao. San Sebastian 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 pintxos and wine pairings. This route will take you along the coast’s scenic beaches to Bilbao, the capital of Basque culture.

San Sebastian

San Sebastian is a great place to start your Camino. From the rolling green hillsides that surround the city to the golden beaches that frame the coastline you can experience, city life, beach life and country life all within a short distance of each other. Elegant architecture sits well alongside the reputation San Sebastian is gaining world wide as a destination for a wonderful culinary experience.


Deba is your last coastal town for the next few days until you reach Bilbao. This quaint seaside town traditionally relied on whaling and trade via the sea but nowadays it focuses on its tourism offering. Here you will also find the National Monument of the Church of Santa Maria, one of the finest churches in the region. From the 16th century this church is a prime example of the Basque Gothic style.


Rich in Basque heritage many will know the name of this town from the famous painting by Pablo Picasso. The town was almost completely destroyed in 1937 when it was bombed bu Italian and German forces support General Franco. The town however in true Basque fashion didn’t let this be its end, with the survival of the Biscayan Assembly and the Guernica Tree the town rebuilt itself. Here you can learn more about the Basque culture and how it is preserved today. Every Monday there is a market held that is one of the best in the Basque so if you are here on Monday be sure to peruse the market for some local treats.

Guided: San Sebastian to Bilbao

Starting from € 1331



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Included in this package

Bed & Breakfast

Specially Hand-Picked Accommodation

Our Holiday or Pilgrim Pack

24/7 Customer Service

Virtual Face-to-Face Pre-Departure Briefing


Premium Accommodation

Airport Pick-Up

Additional Nights


Luggage Transfers from Hotel to Hotel

Day Tours to Local Sites of Interest

Not included: Flights/trains, Insurance, Drinks/Lunch






Once you arrive you’ll be booked into a hotel in the heart of the town. San Sebastien is located on the Bay of Biscay in the mountainous Basque Country, and is a city known for its stunning beaches and waterfront promenade. Here, you can enjoy world-renowned cuisine as well as the more informal dining experience of pintxos and wine.



22.8 km


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 restored 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.



16.2 km


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 in the 16th Century. Once you’ve stopped to admire the town, continue along the coast to the last stop for the day – the stunning beach town, Deba.



18.4 km


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 secluded hamlets. Finally, the trail descends steeply into your destination, Markina. This is a village with a strong sense of history and Basque traditions.



22.3 km


Leaving Markina, the route follows an ancient cobbled road and crosses the river in Bolivar. It ascends to the 15th Century Monastery of Cenarruza, which contains a Gothic Renaissance church and mediaeval cloister. Leaving the monastic site, the path moves into dense woodland, up to Gontzegarai, and down again to Gerikaitz. At the Hermitage of Santiago, a steep footpath leads downhill to a creek and finally into the town of Gernika.



14.3 km


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 Goikoetxea, Larrabetzu, and finally, Lezama.



9.6 km


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 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.





After breakfast we bid you farewell. There is so much to see and do in Bilbao, including the renowned Guggenheim Museum. For something more off the beaten track, check out Place de Unamuno, in the old quarter of Bilbao. Or, if you just want to relax, find a pintxos bar and settle down with a glass of wine, a few small plates of food, and watch Basque life unfold.

How to Get There

Getting to San Sebastian, Spain

It is best to fly to France (Biarritz or Paris), or Spain (Bilbao or Santander).

Fly into Biarritz, France

Ryanair, easyJet, Air France (via Orly). Biarritz airport info.

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

    Fly into Paris, France

    Virtually all companies fly to Paris.

      Fly into Bilbao, Spain

      A large amount of the passenger traffic at Bilbao Airport comes from internal flights 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. European flights to Brussels, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Milan, Munich, Paris, and Stuttgart are also available.  At the moment, EasyJet, Iberia and Aer Lingus fly from the UK and Ireland to Bilbao. EasyJet offers daily flights to Bilbao from London Stansted Airport, Iberia flies from Gatwick or Heathrow via Madrid and AerLingus operates out of Dublin.

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

        Fly into Santander, Spain

        Ryanair is the only low-cost airline that currently offers 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 offers a good selection of internal flights from Alicante, Barcelona, Gran Canaria, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Seville and Valencia.

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

          Getting home from Bilbao, Spain

          Fly from Bilbao

          Take a bus to Bilbao Airport.

            Fly from Santander

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

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