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Duration
7 days
Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 6 nights in a combination of hotels & farmhouse B&Bs
Meals
  • 6 Dinners
  • 6 Breakfasts

Price

$1150USD

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Overview

Trip Code: BIL

Trip highlights


  • Exploring the fascinating city of Bilbao
  • Walking along the quieter Camino Norte
  • Staying in family-run, charming hotels and guesthouses
  • Enjoying stunning coastlines

'El Camino del Norte' originates from the 9th Century and was one of the original Camino routes for pilgrims walking to Santiago de Compostela. Sheltered from the rest of the Muslim dominated Iberian Peninsula by the Picos de Europa and Cordillera Cantabrica, it was considered the safest route for Christian pilgrims making their way to the tomb of St James. The full route starts in Irun near the French border and joins the French route at Arzua. This third stage, from the bustling city of Bilbao, home to the iconic Guggenheim Museum, takes you through a variety of landscapes and architecture, both ancient and modern, while staying in small hotels with local character. The dramatic coastline and mountain paths make the northern way both challenging and rewarding, whilst the quieter trails offer a great alternative to the more popular French route.

Trip Grading

moderate

More info about grading system

Traveller Rating

 

Make your own way to the hotel in Bilbao. You are free to explore the town for the rest of the day. This fascinating town is easy to get around, and is host to some of Spain’s best art exhibitions - don’t miss the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum.

Meals:  D

This morning you will take the Metro to Portugalete, where you will start walking. The walk today will take you towards the coast. As you head out of Pobena there is a surprisingly long flight of stairs, but the stunning walk along the following coastline is worth the climb. Part of the route also follows the track-bed of the former railroad that carried iron ore to waiting ships. Castro Urdiales is a long-inhabited town, with human remains dating back to 12000 BCE. Be sure to visit the Gothic church of Santa Maria de la Asuncion with its strange iconography on the main entrance’s frieze, which dates from Templar times.

Meals:  B,D

As you leave this morning you will start heading uphill, before walking along excellent coastal terrain to Islares. Here you can see the ruins of the 16th century Hospital de la Vera Cruz. Continue to La Magdelena and follow a beautiful dirt path to Liendo.

Meals:  B,D

This morning you will head to Laredo, which was an important Roman site known as Portus Luliobrigensium. Today it is Cantabria’s largest resort town - its beach is around 5km long at low tide. Continue walking to the end of Laredo's peninsula, at El Puntal, following the signs to the Santona ferry. The cost of the ferry crossing is approximately EUR2 per person. Continue north to the coast and the Playa de Berria, before ascending to the Punta del Brusco for impressive coastal views. Continue to the modern coastal resort town of Noja.

Meals:  B,D

Continue along quiet country roads to Guemes, from where the route leads northwest to the town of Galizano.

Meals:  B,D

From Galizano you head straight to the coastline and the path follows the cliff’s edge. You will reach Somo, from where you will catch the ferry to Santander. The ferry runs every half hour on weekdays and hourly on weekends and costs approximately EUR3 per person. Santander is the capital of Cantabria and a major city on the Camino del Norte. Whilst the harbour area is modern, as a result of a disaster explosion in 1893 and a fire in 1941 which destroyed much of the historical heart, the town has a lovely vibe and the beaches are a great place to relax after the camino walk.

Meals:  B,D

Trip concludes in Santander after breakfast.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 6 breakfasts and 6 dinners. Continental breakfasts are served and will often consist of breads, spreads, yoghurt, cheese, tea, coffee & juices. Dinner will consist of 3 courses, usually starting with a salad, followed by chicken, red meat, fish or a pasta dish & finishing with a dessert of fruit or cakes
  • 6 nights in a combination of quality hotels and farmhouse B&BS on a twin share basis generally with ensuite facilities
  • Information pack including route notes & guidebook per room booked
  • Luggage transfer (1 bag of 20kg max pp - additional bags and excess weight will attract a surcharge)
  • Visitor tax
  • Emergency hotline
  • Pilgrim's Passport

  • Travel to Bilbao and from Santander
  • Lunches and drinks
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees
  • Guide - this is a self guided tour
  • Transfers
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Metro ticket Bilbao to Portugalete, ferry tickets days 4 and 6
  • excess baggage charges - please advise us if you will have more than one bag weighing a max of 20kgs as extra charges will apply for additional pieces of luggage. Please do not tie smaller bags onto your main luggage as we only include one bag and they will be charged as an extra bag. Charges will be higher if not paid when final balance for your trip is due.

Grading

moderate  

The walking is graded moderate (3). Daily walks are between 11 and 27km on well marked trails over diverse terrain – from relatively flat to coastal rocky to mountainous. Part of the route is on paved surfaces – you should pay particular attention to your footwear to ensure that it is suitable to avoid blisters. This is a well worn path where route finding will be reasonably straight forward (refer below for further details on self guided adventures). The main areas to concentrate on route finding are arriving and leaving towns and cities. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure


Departure dates

Daily

Notes

H
High Season
DN1
A high season supplement applies at Easter (8 to 18Apr), 1 Jul to 30 Sep and during special events eg Film Festiva San Sebastian. Subject to availability during local festivals.
DN2
Subject to availability over the Xmas and New Year period

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$1150USD

Options & Supplements*
  • excess luggage (per piece, max 20kg in weight)USD$110
  • single supplement - low seasonUSD$380
  • single traveller surcharge - low seasonUSD$430
  • single supplement - high seasonUSD$500
  • single traveller surcharge - high seasonUSD$560
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

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