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

Price

$1190USD

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Overview

Trip Code: CMN

Trip highlights


  • Walking the Camino Norte from San Sebastian to Bilbao through Basque country
  • Visiting swish seaside San Sebastian / Donostia, a 'foodie' paradise
  • Stunning scenery - from the coast to mountain villages
  • Enjoying the camaraderie of fellow hikers and pilgrims
  • Bilbao and its great art and architecture

'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 second stage, from chic, gastronomic San Sebastian (Donostia in Basque) follows the Camino Norte through picturesque fishing villages and fertile valleys to the bustling city of Bilbao, home to the iconic Guggenheim Museum. Enjoy a variety of landscapes and architecture, both ancient and modern, while staying in small hotels with local character. The dramatic coastline of the Bay of Biscay 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

 

One of Spain's most attractive and sophisticated cities, San Sebastian/Donostia has a lot to offer. Situated on the Bay of Biscay, the beaches of La Concha and Ondaretta are a main attraction. In the old town, you’ll find several churches and the Baroque balcony-lined Plaza de la Constitucion. Bar hop for some of the best pintxos (Basque tapas) in this multi-Michelin-starred city.

Meals:  D

From Playa de la Concha, head towards Mount Iguelda and up to Orio before reaching the charming fishing village of Getaria, birthplace of couturier Balenciaga. This was once a whaling town, like many others along the coast. Enjoy great views from San Anton or relax with a glass of the local sparkling wine txakolis downtown.

Meals:  B,D

Walk along the undulating coast via the shrine of Santa Maria de Itziar, a mandatory stop on the Camino Norte. Descend to Deba with its beautiful beach and views of the Cantabrian coast.

Meals:  B,D

Leave the coast today and head to the Arnoate mountains. Walk along paths and country lanes, passing through villages on this beautiful stage to the town of Markina.

Meals:  B,D

Today’s walk is initially along a country lane and across a river, before the path climbs through woodland. A sharp descent leads to a river and the town of Gernika (Guernica), famously portrayed by Picasso, in the Biosphere Reserve of Urdaibai.

Meals:  B

On leaving Gernika, there is a steep climb taking you to the village of Morga (at 205m). The rest of today’s walk is along tracks and roads of great beauty, which gradually lead to Lezama.

Meals:  B,D

Today’s walk is quite short but quite challenging, marked by an ascent at Mount Avril which separates you from Bilbao. You will be rewarded with fabulous views of Bilbao and the valley ahead. Finish your Camino Norte at the Plaza de Unamuno in the old quarter of Bilbao. Host to some of Spain’s best art exhibitions, don’t miss the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum.

Meals:  B,D

Trip arrangements conclude after breakfast, or continue on the next stage to Santander.

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

  • 7 breakfasts, 6 dinners (no dinner in Gernika). 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.
  • 7 nights in a combination of hotels & 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)
  • Emergency hotline
  • Pilgrim's Passport

  • Travel to San Sebastian/Donostia and from Bilbao
  • Dinner on day 5, lunches and drinks daily
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees
  • Guide - this is a self guided tour
  • Transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • 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 14 and 25km / 8.7 and 15.5mi on well marked trails over diverse terrain – from relatively flat to coastal rocky to mountainous. 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
High season is during Easter (8 to 18 Apr) and from 1 Jul to 30 Sep - supplement applies. Trip subject to availability and supplements may apply during during local festivals and events eg, the Film Festival in San Sebastian.
DN2
Option available to start in Hondaribbia or Irun (on request - supplement applies).

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

$1190USD

Options & Supplements*
  • excess luggage (per piece, max 20kg in weight)USD$120
  • Single Supplement - low seasonUSD$340
  • Single Traveller SurchargeUSD$400
  • Single Supplement - High SeasonUSD$500
  • Single Traveller Surcharge - High SeasonUSD$600
*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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