Start: San Sebastian Finish: Lekeitio
What makes San Sebastian special? ...
It is a refined city focused on enjoying with the five senses: their gastronomy, the summer beach, the basque culture, a great film festival ... In the city, the "Old Port"neighbourhood is a must visit along with a dip in their everyday beach and a stroll along the 19th century shopping district.
It is easy to travel from Bilbao airport (BIO) to San Sebastian, since there is a direct connection with San Sebastian.
It takes a while before you leave the city, but if you are dropped off at the foot of the Jaizkibel peak, you will immediately enjoy it. Views of the bay of Hondarribia, the Gulf of Bizkaia and, of course, San Sebastian, will guide you along the walk on the mountain ridge. There are remains of at least 5 military forts here, the last one built in 1900 needs no further explanation, being so close to the French border. Then, close to the Jaizkibel cantina - the last chance for coffee or beer - you leave the ridge and descend through an open meadow and heath landscape to the narrow fjord-like port of Pasaia. Here you take the pedestrian ferry and then decide (after 9 km of walking) whether you want to take the bus back to San Sebastian or walk another 9 km to the door of your hotel. A surprisingly rugged coastline ends abruptly above Zurriola beach and the Urumea estuary. Afterwards, just 2km to get back along the beach, via the modern art centre Kursaal and the oldest district of the city, near the harbor.
A realizar: 19 km, 4,5 – 5 hrs, 200m ascent, 600m descent.
Today you walk 16 km, unless you want to shorten the hike and take the bus from the city to the Monte Ezquiel (150 m) getting off at the point where you can choose one of two variants: the Camino del Norte pilgrimage path or the GR-121 coastal path. The first follows mostly paved and unpaved roads and remains higher than the coastal path, which constantly goes up and down. Both routes join finally in the village of Orio. This typical fishing village has many attractions; located where the sea, the mountains and Oria river mouth merge together, this small fishing village has witnessed the passing of pilgrims throughout the centuries. It is worth visiting its old quarter, strolling and "getting lost" along its narrow, cobbled streets.
Challenge: 16 km, 6 - 7 hrs, 865m ascent/descent
Today you follow the GR-121 trail, which leads over the ridge and follows entertaining paths with beautiful views of both the inland areas and the Bay of Biscay. Today is also the only day that you cross a real city, Zarautz. A welcoming, modern and quiet town, with a great summertime and surfing atmosphere. You walk along the seafront with many cozy cafés and restaurants, such as the one of Spain's most famous television chef - Arguiñano. Your final stop today is Zumaia; a town that became better known in Spain because of the film '8 Apellidos Vascos´ (with the English version translated as "Spanish Affair"). The port of Zumaia and the chapel of San Telmo appeared in several scenes, so now they have suddenly become popular selfie decors. In the welcoming centre of town there are several good (fish) restaurants and, as in every Basque port, there is also a small beach near the centre.
Challenge: 16 km, 6 - 6.5 hrs, 685 m ascent/descent.
Today you can fully enjoy the coast and the bizarre rock formations that appear along the way. Flysh is an interesting sequence of sedimentary rock layers that has a marine origin. The entire area of the Geopark contains excellent examples of tectonic deformation structures such as different types and scales of folds and faults, which were created during the opening of the Bay of Biscay and the compression and lifting of the Pyrenees; 60 million years of geological history!. There are also many fossils that evidence the marine life in the area. Besides old and impressive, it is almost artistic and certainly unique. At the beginning and the end of the hike, you follow parts of the Camino del Norte and you will end at the train station network in Deba, where every hour a slow train leaves for Zumaia.
Challenge: 12 km, 5.5 hrs, 740m ascent/descent.
Today you start in Ondarroa, on a final hike parallel to the coast, walking through an empty rural area, with large areas of pine and eucalyptus forest. At the end you follow an almost flat footpath along the river mouth of the Lea before you reach the beautiful town of Lekeitio. This is really a typical Basque port and seaside resort, where the economy is not only based on fishing and tourism, but there is also enough (small-scale) industry to support the population. It was the most important port of Bizcaia, after Bilbao, for 4 centuries, which is now surprising when you see how narrow the port access is and how it is protected against silting up by a small dam between the beach and the island of San Nicolas. The Gothic cathedral is impressive and the well-preserved historic center near the harbor is a great place to visit and taste the delicious (fish) at one of the restaurants while enjoying a glass of Txakoli; the Basque white wine.
Challenge: 12.5 km, 4.5 - 5 hrs, 625m ascent/descent.
Today you have one more day in Lekeitio, where you can enjoy either a day of rest on the beach or some further exploration of the area. In Lekeitio you can descend to the Txatxo port in order to see the fishing activity. Then visit the Isuntza Bridge, the San Nicolás Island, - that can be accessed by foot - and Santa Catalina lighthouse, all of them offer a beautiful landscape and amazing views.
If you want to hike today, we suggest a couple of options for today. The first one follows the GR-123 for miles to the West, you decide how much you want to walk; you can reach the town of Ea - which lies on the banks of the river Ea, sandwiched between two steep mountain slopes and where there are a number of typical Basque tabernas and restaurants - and then take a bus back to Lekeitio. For the second option, you take a taxi or bus to Amoroto and follow the GR-38 back to Lekeitio.
Challenge (Amoroto - Lekeitio): 10.5 km, 4.5 - 5 hrs, 350m ascent/descent.
Today your programme comes to an end after breakfast. From Lekeitio a bus goes to Bilbao every hour.
The hotels on this trip have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite. Some of the hotels we work with appear here. If a certain hotel is unable to confirm due to lack of availability, we will request a similar one and inform you about the alternative booked.
Extra nights can be booked at any of the accommodations along the way.
Hotel Niza in San Sebastian is an emblematic family run hotel in an idyllic location just a stones´ throw from La Concha beach, offering you everything you could want. The rooms offer sea views to La Concha beach.
Mailan, a rural traditional Basque-French manor house that was restored and converted in this nice rural hotel. With a personal and tasteful decoration and beautiful gardens. The rooms offer lovely views to the mountains and the estuary.
A newly built construction, only 3 years old, designed to ensure that visitors enjoy a restful and comfortable experience. Directly above the famous Flysch - a privileged spot - and only a moment’s walk from the San Telmo hermitage. The hotel has a unique decoration made by the Basque artist Anton Eguiguren,giving a unique personality to each room. We pay great attention to details to ensure that our guests leave with the memory of a unique and friendly experience.
A 17th century palace converted, with a traditional beautiful façade and wooden carved eaves, that was restored and converted into a hotel in 2008. It is in the very heart of Lekeitio, an ideal location for visiting this lovely fishing village; just a few minutes from the port, the beach and in the centre of the historic quarter.
You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between May 1st and October 25th..
The nearest airport to fly to is Bilbao (BIO)
Arrival in San Sebastian
It is easy to travel from Bilbao airport (Loiu) to San Sebastian, since there is a direct connection with San Sebastian. Check at Bilbao airport website: www.aena.es
A bus leaves every hour from 6.45 hrs from the exit of the “Arrivals” hall. It has a possible stopover in Zarautz, on the way to San Sebastian, about 1,15h from Bilbao. In the summer months (July and August) the bus even leaves every half hour from 7.15 hrs.
The bus (line DO50B) only stops in San Sebastian on Pius XII Square. From here, there are 1.7 km to the hotel; most convenient by taxi. Check bus time schedule at www.pesa.net. Buy tickets in advance via their internet website!
Departure from Lekeitio
From Lekeitio a bus goes to Bilbao every hour, from Bilbao Termibus you can get a shuttle bus that will take you back to the airport, bus Line A3247.
GPS tracks available upon request