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"The Camino Norte (1st section) ? Irun to Santander" Bilbao by into-thin-air

Bilbao Travel Guide: 873 reviews and 2,332 photos


This page is about the1st section of “The Camino Norte” – Irun to Santander (and although we walked through Bilbao not really about Bilbao – but I had to put the page somewhere ;-) )
Planning the route – As usual I bought my Guidebook from The Confraternity of Saint James (mail order from their website) and found this guide invaluable for both he planning and walking of the route, I also referred to
for additional information as well as comparing the distances of each daily stage and found this very useful too !!
My walking companions for the Camino were Stevie as far as Castro Urdales where Marianne joined me to complete the route
Accommodation was mainly in Refugio’s, particularly as far as Castro –Urdiales where Marianne joined me, after that there are more Refugio’s but we chose to stay in hotels for additional comfort.
I will post all the places we stayed during the walk in my accommodation tips as well as how we chose to break the walk down into manageable stages in my Sports Travel Tips.
Flights – Budget airlines fly into both Bilbao and Santander so picking up a cheap flight shouldn’t present to many problems.

The Walk - How we split it into daily stages

Day 1 (24thAug) Irun (Refugio) to San Sebastian New Refugio– aprox 26k
Day 2(25thAug) - San Sebastian to Zarauz New Refugio – aprox 20.5k
Day 3 (26thAug) -– Zarauz to Deva Refugio – aprox 24k
Day 4 (27th Aug) Deva –to Marquina to Jemein –New Refugio – aprox 24k
Day 5 (28thAug) - Marquina- Jemein to Guernica Private Albergue aprox 21.5k
Day 6 (29thAug) Guernica to Lezama – New Refugio – 27.5k
Day 7 (30thAug ) Lezama to Bilbao – New Refugio (3 k on in Basurto) – 13k
Day 8 (31st Aug) Bilbao to Portugalete –hotel– 19k traditional route (or 10k by river)
Day 9 (1st Sept) Portugalete to – Castro Urdales Refugio – aprox 33k (last section on old road as opposed to up and over mountain)
Day 10 (2nd Sept) Day Off – Hotel (Pension La Mar)
Day 11 (3rdtSept) Castro Urdales to Islares –Hotel aprox 9.5k
Day 12 (4th Sept) Islares to Laredo – Hotel (Pension Esmeralda) –aprox 27,5k
Day 13 (5th Sept) Laredo to Noja – Hotel (Los Tamarises) – 23.3k
Day 14 (6th September) Day off and Beach day
Day 14 (7th Sept) Noja to Langre – 20,5k Hotel (La Posada de Langre)
Day 15 (8th September) Langre to Somo aprox 5.5k then– Ferry to Santander.

After reaching Santander we had a few days remaining of our holiday so took the FEVE train to Bilbao, spent the night there and then caught the bus to San Sebastian and from there onto Guetaria, spent 2 night there then moved onto Zumaya for a night before catching the train back to Bilbao for our final night before returning home.
I will also include hotel recommendations for these places in my accommodation tips.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Another Excellent Camino with Wonderful scenery, Nice towns and villages en-rout and not to much road walking
  • Cons:Starting to get a little crowded which might cause accommodation problems in peek season
  • In a nutshell:I would recommend this Camino above The Camino Frances, Better scenery and less crowds
  • Last visit to Bilbao: Sep 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (46)

Comments (3)

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Dec 30, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    lovely views along the way - great to see some of the sights on your route - would love to do some of this one day! Happy New Year for tomorrow and all the best for your travels in 2012!

  • omidamini's Profile Photo
    Nov 10, 2009 at 9:50 PM

    Thanks for made very nice page.

  • bijo69's Profile Photo
    Sep 30, 2009 at 3:42 AM

    Excellent page again Rob! Definitely a pity that I missed this camino...

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