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Traveller Rating


  • self guided walk
  • 6 nights in a combination of hotels & farmhouse B&Bs
  • 6 Breakfasts

7 Days£740GBP


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.



Starting Point:


Finishing Point:


Bilbao is a wonderful city filled with art, history and flavour of Northern Spain. Spend time walking the old city exploring the cobbled streets filled with fashion, food and charming shops. For art lovers a visit to the Guggenheim Museum is not to be missed.

Meals:  Nil

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. Distance: 28km/17.3mi

Meals:  B

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. Distance:24km/14.9mi

Meals:  B

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. Distance: 23km/14.5mi

Meals:  B

Continue along quiet country roads to Guemes, from where the route leads northwest to the town of Galizano. Distance: 22km/13.75mi

Meals:  B

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. Distance: 11km/7mi

Meals:  B

Trip concludes in Santander after breakfast.

Meals:  B



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.


  • 6 breakfasts. Continental breakfasts are served and will often consist of breads, spreads, yoghurt, cheese, tea, coffee & juices.
  • 6 nights in a combination of quality hotels and farmhouse B&BS on a twin share basis generally with ensuite facilities
  • Digital information pack with route notes, maps & GPX
  • Luggage Transfer, 1 piece maximum 20kg, supplement applies for excess
  • Pilgrim Passport
  • Visitor tax
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to Bilbao and from Santander
  • Meals not listed as included, drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Guide - this is a self guided walking holiday
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Entrance fees not listed as included
  • Transfers not listed as included
  • Metro ticket Bilbao to Portugalete, ferry tickets days 4 and 6
  • Transfers by taxi or public transport if you need to skip a stage
  • Excess luggage
  • Items of a personal nature




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 from 1 Apr to 31 Oct


High Season
High season is Easter period and from 23 Jun to 30 Sep - supplement applies.
Trip subject to availability and supplements may apply during local festivals and events
Due to limited accommodation, return transfers may need to be booked to other overnight locations at an additional cost.

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Excess luggage (per piece, max 20kg in weight)GBP£110
  • Single supplement - low seasonGBP£300
  • Solo traveller supplement - low seasonGBP£340
  • Single supplement - high season (season surcharge also applies)GBP£420
  • Solo traveller supplement - high season (season surcharge also applies)GBP£470
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews

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Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

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We have been operating active self guided holidays since 1973. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.


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