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Find your perfect trip!
Find your perfect trip!
Camino del Norte walking from Irún to Bilbao
style :
Level :
Duration :
8 days
Comfort :
May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
Pilgrimage Walking
price in double room from: € 697
Camino del Norte walking from Irún to Bilbao

Camino del Norte walking from Irún to Bilbao

The 1st stage of Camino del Norte walking

  • Tremendously beautiful first section of the Camino del Norte along the green and wild Golf of Biscaya
  • Beaches, hermitages, and forests inviting reflection and relaxation.
  • Places of historical significance like Gernika and Hondarribia.
  • Experience Basque gastronomic culture in San Sebastian, Bilbao, Zarautz and Zumaya 
Route map
View map
Day 1: Arrival in San Sebastián
Day 2: Irun or Guadalupe – San Sebastián (19-23 km / 11.8-14 mi)
Day 3: San Sebastián – Zarautz (16-22.5 km /10-13.5 mi)
Day 4: Zarautz – Deba (21.7-32.2 km / 13.5-14.4 mi)
Day 5: Deba – Markina (24.5 km / 15 mi)
Day 6: Markina – Gernika (19.3-25.5 km / 12-15.8 mi)
Day 7: Gernika – Bilbao (16.2-30.5 km / 10-19 mi)
Day 8: End of Program

Day 1:    Arrival in San Sebastián

San Sebastián (Donostia in Basque) is a refined city focused on offering the enjoyment of all the senses: its gastronomy, the Concha beach, the Basque culture, a great film festival ... In the city there is no shortage of places to visit; the old port district, take a dip in the Concha beach or stroll through the 19th century Ensanche district which is now the fashionable district for shopping. Did you know that San Sebastian has the highest density of Michelin stars in the world? Make sure you book well in advance if you want to dine at one of these fancy restaurants.
San Sebastián is easy to reach from Bilbao airport, as there is a direct connection to San Sebastián. 

Day 2:    Irun or Guadalupe – San Sebastián (19-23 km / 11.8-14 mi)

After a transfer to either Irun, on the border to France where the Camino enters Spain, OR to the Chapel Guadalupe, above Hondarribia, you will start walking at the flanks of the Jaizbikel mountain to walk back to San Sebastián along an incredible scenic route. Close to the end a iny-tiny ferry takes you across the Oyarzun river mouth in Pasaia

Challenge: min 19 - max 23km / 11.8 - 14mi, ascent & descent 600 / 875m

Day 3:    San Sebastián – Zarautz (16-22.5 km /10-13.5 mi)

Your journey along the Camino del Norte continues as you head to Zarautz, a charming coastal town. The trail meanders through lush green hills with isolated farms and some wooded areas, providing now and then magnificent views of the ocean. After the descent to Orio, a small town at the river mouth of the river Oria with a peculiar church, a final steep ascent and descent awaits before you reach Zarautz; another vibrant town with a beautiful beach where you'll have the chance to relax and rejuvenate by the water.  

Challenge: min 16 - max 22.5km / 10 - 13.5mi, ascent/ descent min 555m - max 700m

Day 4:    Zarautz – Deba (21.7-32.2 km / 13.5-14.4 mi)

The path leads you through the vineyards of Txacoli, a sparkling white wine that is produced in the hills between Zarautz, Getaria and Zumaia and goes so very well with the superb seafood dishes that are served in this area. The first section of 9 km to Zumaia is very easy going, hence doable in 2,5 – 3 hrs. But better not try the wine during lunch as we have included a spectacular detour to Deba along the exposed coastal GR-121 footpath, past the Flysch GeoParque. Most pilgrims take this detour to Deba as its much more interesting and 1,5 km shorter than the Official Camino further inland, although a bit more demanding in terms of ascent/descent and type of footpath.

Challengue: min 21.7 - max 23.2km / 13.5 - 14.4 mi, ascent/descent min 925 - max 1000m.

NOTE: if you have time to add an extra night in the middle of this trip, we recommend to book it in Zumaia, in order to fully enjoy the coastal footpaths, beaches and gastronomy, and have some days of relative rest before doing the last 3 challenging stages. Please indicate this on the booking form and we will make also the necessary arrangements for the luggage transfers.

Day 5:    Deba – Markina (24.5 km / 15 mi)

In Deba the Camino del Norte turns its back to the friendly and touristic coast of Gipuzkoa to explore the wooded hills of Vizcaya. This region is thoroughly anchored in the rural Basque tradition of mixed farming at isolated family farms although its capital Bilbao was marked by industrialization during the 19th and 20th century due to mining and metallurgic industry further inland.  After having crossed the river Deba you start directly with a steep ascent to the valley of Olatz, where there will be last opportunity for coffee and pintxo before you walk into the deep forests and follow mainly gravel and forest tracks for hours. At the other end of the woods, Markina-Xemein awaits; a lively town with an ancient history, as proven by the peculiar chapel of Sant Miguel de Arretxinaga, built around 3 monoliths. 

Challenge: 24.5km / 15mi, ascent 950m, descent 875m.

Day 6:    Markina – Gernika (19.3-25.5 km / 12-15.8 mi)

Your pilgrimage leads you further into the heart of Vizcaya, to Gernika, a town with a rich history and cultural significance. It’s the home of the Tree of Gernika, a symbol of Basque identity, and also famous for being the inspiration for Picasso’s painting Gernika after German and Italian allied troops bombed the town in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War.  Although this town (due to the bombing) has no cozy old city center, it is a memorable stop on your journey

Challenge: min 19.3 - max 25.5km / 12-15.8mi, ascent 625-7530m, descent 745- 820m.

Day 7:    Gernika – Bilbao (16.2-30.5 km / 10-19 mi)

On your last walking day, you continue towards Bilbao, the largest city on the route. You will experience the landscape transitions from rural to urban approaching the city. To avoid an industrial section on the sidewalk of a busy road, we advise to take a bus (or taxi) after 16.2 km in Larrabetzu to Zamudia and reduce the total of 30,5 km to 25 km. Or have the bus take you all the way to Bilbao, although the entrance into town on foot is surprisingly beautiful and entertaining and you might no want to miss this part.

In Bilbao, you can explore the Guggenheim Museum, savour more Basque cuisine, and reflect on the pilgrimage you've undertaken, weather it has been a transformative journey or just a pleasant active holiday. 

Challenge: min 16.2-max 30.5km / 10-19mi, ascent 555-925m, descent 500-925m.

Day 8:    End of Program

After breakfast your journey comes to an end. 

Hotel Niza (San Sebastián)
Hotel Niza (San Sebastián)

Hotel Niza in San Sebastian is an emblematic family-run hotel in an idyllic location just a stone's throw from La Concha beach, offering you everything you could want. Rooms have sea views to Playa de La Concha.


Olatu Hotela (Zarautz)
Olatu Hotela (Zarautz)

Hotel Olatu in Zarautz offers rooms with fixed internet connection and Wi-Fi, complete bathrooms with a shower and hairdryer, plasma TVs with satellite channels.


Pensión Zumardi (Deba)
Pensión Zumardi (Deba)

Pensión Zumardi offers cozy and bright rooms. In this pension, located in the center of Deba and next to the beach, you will find the tranquility offered by our house, where every detail has been carefully taken care of.


Hotel Antsotegi (Etxebarria)
Hotel Antsotegi (Etxebarria)

The hotel-restaurant Antsotegi is located in a valley near the town of Etxebarria, in a spectacular spot on the Basque coast in the historic territory of Bizkaia.


Hotel Gernika (Gernika)
Hotel Gernika (Gernika)

Located in the center of Gernika. It has a 24-hour reception desk, complete services and is well located close to Museo de la Paz de Gernika.


Hotel Iturrienea Ostatua (Bilbao)
Hotel Iturrienea Ostatua (Bilbao)

Iturrienea Ostatua is located in the heart of the historic centre of the city, on the first floor of a historic building built in 1906 for the Countess of McMahon. With a typical Basque farmhouse atmosphere, this accommodation treasures unique pieces of furniture and decoration, some of them antiques or true rarities.



You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between Abril 1st and October 15th.

The nearest airport is Bilbao (BIO)

The nearest international train station is Hendaye, on the border with France. From there you can travel by bus (www.alsa.com) or local train (www.renfe.com) from Irun to San Sebastian, called Donostia in Basque

GPS tracks area available upon request.



  • 7 nights' accommodation with rooms en suite
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfer
  • Digital route notes in English
  • Access to the trip on GUIBO
  • 24-hour telephone assistance

Not included

  • Lunches and dinners
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Tourist Tax
  • Transfers by public transportation
  • Transfer to first/ from last accommodation
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, tips, extra transfers, etc.
  • Any items that have not been specifically mentioned in the programme 


  • Extra nights at any of the accommodations of the programme or in Bilbao.

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