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 289

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

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. Elegant architecture sits well alongside the reputation San Sebastian is gaining worldwide as a destination for a wonderful culinary experience.

Deba on a hazy morning


Deba is the last coastal town for a few days until you reach Bilbao further along the Camino. This quaint seaside town traditionally relied on whaling and sea trade but nowadays it focuses on its tourism offering. Here you will 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 by Italian and German forces supporting Spanish dictator, General Franco. The town, in true defiant Basque fashion, didn’t let this be its end, and, with the survival of the Biscayan Assembly and the Guernica Tree, 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 Country.

San Sebastian to Bilbao

Starting from € 780



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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

A number of airlines from Ireland, the UK and across European capital cities – including Ryanair, easyJet and Air France (via Orly) – fly into Biarritz Airport.

The easiest way to get from Biarritz Airport into San Sebastian is to take a bus. From the airport, there is a direct line into the centre of San Sebastian.

    Fly into Paris, France

    Virtually all airlines fly to Paris from Ireland, the UK and across European capital cities. From Paris Airport, make your way to Paris Montparnasse train station. From there, you go to the border town of Hendaye, and then change for a train heading to San Sebastian.

      Fly into Bilbao, Spain

      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/BA and Aer Lingus fly from the UK and Ireland to Bilbao. EasyJet offers daily flights from London Stansted Airport, Iberia/BA flies from Gatwick or Heathrow via Madrid and AerLingus operates out of Dublin. The bus from Bilbao Airport to San Sebastian takes 1 hour and 15 minute, and runs several times 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, 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. Arriving at Santander Airport, make your way into the centre of the city.

        Then, you can catch a direct bus to San Sebastian, which will take 2 hours and 45 minutes. Altertnatively, you can catch a train to Bilbao and then change to another train bound for San Sebastian.

          Getting home from Bilbao, Spain

          Fly from Bilbao

          The bus to Bilbao Airport runs several times a day from the centre of the city.

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            This route has a mixture of coastal, countryside and hills finishing with a wonderful view over the city of Bilbao.
            January Off season
            February Off season
            March Off season
            April Good time
            May Good time
            September Good time
            October Off season
            November Off season
            December Off season