On this route you’ll have insider access to the famed Camino de Santiago, an expansive and historic network of ‘pilgrims’ ways’. Established from the 9th century, these stunning trails are rich in culture and significance. Come and experience first hand what Pope Benedict XVI has called ‘a way sown with so many demonstrations of fervour, repentance, hospitality, art and culture, which speaks to us eloquently of the spiritual roots of the Old Continent’.
Taking the quieter ‘Northern Route’, this 7 night self-guided holiday offers a magnificent blend of coastal hiking on the Costa Verde and Basque inland hillwalking. Starting at the old city gates of Hondarribia near San Sebastian, you’ll discover traditional fishing ports, timeless hamlets, vast surf beaches, enchanting woodland and cliff-tops with panoramic views, before finishing at the historic Guernika, and a final night in Bilbao – near the astounding Guggenheim museum.
On a Collett’s village to village holiday, you do the walking – and we take care of all the rest. Our comprehensive maps and route notes make for effortless navigation, while your baggage is transported daily to the next carefully-selected overnight stop. Each evening you’ll be welcomed into the comfort of traditional Basque accommodation, in charmed surroundings. You decide your dates, and we’ll ensure everything else is organised to perfection.
At a glance
1 April – 30 November 2024
(You can start any day)
from £1395 (1 June – 30 September)
from £1295 (all other dates)
Single Supplement – £295
Expect to walk for 5 – 9 hours each day (with various options to shorten the longer days), with between 485m – 950m of ascent and 500-850m of descent each day.
Welcome briefing plus 24hr telephone support, as required
7 Nights B&B accommodation at handpicked hotels or guest houses
Dinner on 3 of 7 nights including house wine
Transfer from San Sebastian, to the first hotel in Hondarribia (Day 1)
Transfer from Guernika to Bilbao (Day 7)
Packed lunches on walk days
Holiday Pack, with comprehensive route notes, maps & more
Baggage Transfers each day from hotel to hotel
This holiday starts in Hondarribia and ends in Bilbao. Unless you can fly to San Sebastian (where you will be met on arrival), we recommend that you fly into either Bilbao (Spain) or Biarritz (France).
Bilbao airport is served by regular buses to San Sebastián. Buses leave the airport every 45 minutes and take approximately 1 hour 10 minutes (€17pp) – check times at www.pesa.net. In San Sebastian, you will be met and transferred (35 mins, included) to your first hotel. Alternatively, you can book a private taxi transfer directly to your first night’s hotel in Hondarribia. Contact us for prices and details.
From Biarritz airport, the journey to San Sebastián is only 35 minutes, but there are fewer available buses. Please contact us for more information. Alternatively, you can book a private taxi transfer directly to your first night’s hotel in Hondarribia. Contact us for prices and details.
Day 1 - Arrive
Arrive in Hondarribia, an historic walled medieval town on the coast near the French border. You’ll stay in the heart of the city, near an atmospheric pedestrian street filled with bustling bars and restaurants. Today you’ll have a sit-down briefing with our local partner Javier at the hotel, to talk through your Information pack and the week ahead. During your trip Javier will provide 24hr phone support to your party, as required.
Accommodation : 3* Hotel Jaúregui
Day 2 - Hondarribia to San Sebastian
Distance: 23.1 km, 6 – 8 hours walking, 830m ascent/descent
Distance with bus/taxi: 15.3 km, 4 -6 hours walking, 550m ascent
Leaving Hondarribia, you’ll climb to the ridge of Jaizkibel (525m) which boasts a number of old watchtowers that were used to signal whale sightings to ships at sea. Descending to the fishing village of Pasai San Pedro, a water taxi will take you to San Sebastian – a remarkable place to explore, with its world-famous food, beachfront promenade, and cobblestoned old town.
Accommodation: 2* Hotel Parma
Day 3 - San Sebastian to Orio
Distance: 16 km, 4 – 5 hours walking, 450m ascent/descent
The day starts with a climb to the peak of Igeldo for fantastic views back over San Sebastian’s La Concha beach. Passing through fields and woods, you’ll enjoy wonderful views of the coast before descending to Orio, an old whaling town. Orio has a lovely medieval old quarter, with the ancient chapel of Saint Martin, and carvings dedicated to the pilgrims of the Camino.
Accommodation: The Mirotza Rooms
Day 4 - Orio to Getaria
Distance: 12 km, 3 – 4 hours walking, 345m ascent/descent
On this shorter day, you’ll walk through the stunning vineyards that make Txakolí – the light, acidic white wine that is typical of the Basque Country. The town of Zarautz has a long beachfront, often full of surfers. Today’s final destination is the fishing village of Getaria, with its cobbled streets and fantastic fish restaurants. You’ll stay in the heart of the old town, in an impressive 15th century building.
Accommodation: Hotel Saiaz
Day 5 - Getaria to Deba
Distance: 18.4 km, 5 – 6 hours walking, 945m ascent, 715m descent
Leaving Getaria on an ancient paved way, you’ll climb the first hill of the day, following a path that hugs a spectacular section of rocky coastline and passes through a geological reserve. You’ll end the day in Deba – a medieval shipping village – before staying the night at a hotel perched on the coastline.
Accommodation: Hotel Arbe, Pikua Rural House or Hotel Kanala
Day 6 - Deba to Markina
Full Distance: 21 km, 6 – 8 hours walking, 625m ascent, 705m descent
Today the route leaves the coast behind, heading inland through the rural heart of the Basque country. Forests, tiny farms, and rolling green hills characterise this day’s hiking. You’ll spend the night near Markina, in a delightful and traditional ‘casa rural’.
Accommodation: Intxauspe or Ikestei Rural House
Day 7 - Markina to Guernika
Distance: 28 km, 7 – 9 hours walking, 675m ascent, 775m descent
Today, as pilgrims have for centuries, you’ll pass the tenth-century monastery of Ziortza, one of the most significant stops on the Camino de Santiago. From there you’ll navigate the forests of Gorontzugarai, before entering the green valleys and hamlets surrounding Guernika. After the horrendous bombing immortalised by Picasso, Guernika symbolises the traditions and freedom of the Basque country – an apt place to reflect on your time in the region.
You’ll then transfer to Bilbao for the final night. Bilbao is home to a Guggenheim museum, and Bilbao’s is one of the largest museums in Spain, boasting an enormous collection of modern and contemporary art. Regularly featured as one of the most-visited museums in the world, the Guggenheim offers a fantastic end to your holiday. Alternatively you can choose to be transferred back to San Sebastian for a supplement of £80 (high season) or £50 (low season)
Accommodation: 4* Hotel Abando
Day 8 - Depart
Independent onward travel, or option to extend your stay by adding extra nights
This itinerary is based on bed and breakfast accommodation in handpicked 3* and 4* hotels and guest houses.
Need to Knows
Group Size – this holiday requires a minimum of two people.
Luggage transfers – please note, each morning your luggage must be left at reception by 08:00 at the latest, and whilst there is no limit on the number of bags or suitcases, there is a 15kg (33lb) weight limit per item to be transferred from one hotel to the next.
Terrain – Walks on this route only use waymarked and signposted routes. Trails vary from well-trodden woodland paths to steeper paths on looser, rocky terrain.
Dinner – where included, expect traditional Spanish cuisine that showcases local flavour and produce.
Packed lunches – these are provided by your overnight accommodation for your walk days. Additionally, you can generally pick up supplies from local bakers or mini markets before you set off walking each day.
Extra nights – you can add extra nights either at the start or the end, or indeed throughout the week in any village. Please contact us for more details.
Booking Conditions – be sure to read our full terms and conditions here before booking.
At Your Own Risk – please read the important notes here.
Travel Advice – check your government’s travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice here.
Passport & Visa – any questions should be directed to the relevant embassy of your destination country; find out more here. It is your responsibility to be in possession of a full passport, valid for your chosen destination.
Travel Insurance – having adequate and valid travel insurance is a condition of booking with us. Details of our insurance partner, Campbell Irvine, are here.
Health Information – You should carry either an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) Neither is an alternative to adequate travel insurance. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/
ABTA – Independent travel advice and help is always available from ABTA by calling 020 3117 0599 or visiting www.abta.com.