Kilometres with a strong character
The Camino de Santiago along Bizkaia’s coast features four stages spanning 91km from Markina-Xemein to Kobaron
Thousands of pilgrims embark every year on a walk to Santiago de Compostela via the Camino del Norte (Northern Way).
The stretch of the Camino that passes through the Basque Country is greener and hillier than the French route. So the Camino del Norte will be wonderful for nature lovers.
The route along the coast is one of the oldest leading to Santiago de Compostela. The trails and roads on the Cantabrian coast will get you deep into the rural areas and fishing ports of Bizkaia.
The Camino de la Costa features four stages from Markina-Xemein to Kobaron that will lead you through the Lea-Artibai and Busturialdea Valleys.
You will hear the phrase ‘¡Buen camino!’ (Have a nice walk!) hundreds of times along your way.
Dig into our culture
An interesting range of options for culture vultures
There is more than one route leading to Santiago de Compostela, but the Camino del Norte is really wonderful. The coast offers a variety of landscapes in four stages.
In the past, the Camino de la Costa was not very popular. It featured few hostels and almost no signs or markers for directions. Nowadays, however, the landscape is quite different, and more and more pilgrims walk their way through this route. Covering 91km from Markina-Xemein to Kobaron you will find 12 pilgrims’ hostels. And the villages on the coast offer everything you might need on your pilgrimage to the west.
The Camino de la Costa is as old as the Camino Francés (French Way) is. Many European kings in the Middle Ages would follow this route to reach Santiago de Compostela. During the Spanish Reconquista and inensuing centuries, the Northern Way was neglected in favour of other routes. Fortunately, the route along the Cantabrian coast has regained popularity.
The Camino del Norte is the second longest route, only behind Vía de la Plata in southern Spain. Unlike the southern route, the northern way offers a variety of landscapes: forests and hilly greenery in the countryside, the sea and the briny breeze in the coastal villages, the vestiges of an industrial past that revolved around iron, and the contemporary architecture of Bilbao. As you can see, there is something for every taste along the northern route.
5th stage. Markina-Xemein to Gernika-Lumo. The fifth stage starts in Markina-Xemein, the first village of the Camino upon entering Bizkaia. Worth visiting are the shrine of San Miguel de Arretxinaga, with its hexagonal plan and three huge rocks inside held together to form a tiny chapel, and the Zenarruza Monastery, named a National Monument of Euskadi.
Along the four stages, you will enjoy amazing natural and urban views that will leave you speechless
6th stage. Gernika-Lumo to Bilbao. Along the Ruta Juradera (Oath-Swearing Route), the one followed by the Señores de Vizcaya noblemen, you'll see Muxika and Morga
You will leave Urdaibai behind to enter the Txorierri Valley and pass through Larrabetzu, Lezama, Zamudio and the Avril hill on your way to Bilbao. Spanning 29.8km, the sixth stage is the longest of the route.
7th stage. Bilbao to Portugalete. The countryside gives way to the city. You will walk through the Casco Viejo, Bilbao La Vieja and Calle Autonomía. Climb the Kobeta to observe the contrast between Bilbao’s industrial past and its futuristic present. At this stage you will also go across Barakaldo.
8th stage. Portugalete to Kobaron. Here you will return to the coast through Meatzaldea, the Mining Area of Bizkaia. In Portugalete there is an undulating cycle path leading to Muskiz. This is the easiest stage. It passes through Ortuella and Abanto Zierbena and reaches La Arena beach. Leave Pobeña to get to Kobaron on the Vía Verde, the old Meatzaldea railroad. The views are amazing.