Hola from the Camino del Norte! We just completed the hike through the Basque region of Spain and crossed the border into Cantabria.
We are enjoying ourselves on this sometimes challenging but very scenic Camino. We booked accommodations way ahead as the popularity of the Camino continues to make it harder to find rooms. We have stayed in apartments, hotels, a casa rural, and one albergue so far.
We are seeing other pilgrims and making friends along the way. The locals have been wonderful! The Basque people are friendly and proud of their culture. It definitely felt like walking through a different country at times. The language is completely different from any other European language. I learned to say “thank you” in Basque as “eskerrik asko” and the locals appreciated the attempt.
We are using the Wise Pilgrim guidebook and app which have been useful, and we have the Cicerone guidebook for an alternative viewpoint and more commentary.
The Wise Pilgrim App divides the Norte into four sections based on the autonomous communities of Northern Spain: País Vasco (Basque Country), Cantabria, Asturias, and Galicia.
This year, I am able to walk for about a month so will hike through Basque and Cantabria sections. My Camino friends, Jane, Katie & Scott, are retired (lucky them!) so will continue all the way to Santiago. I hope to return next year to hike more of the Asturias and Galicia sections.
I tracked each day’s hike with Map My Hike and made Relive videos which I have shared below.
Note: We used San Sebastián as a base camp for the first three stages, which we did out of order based on changing weather. We wanted to do the scenic and challenging stages (Irún to San Sebastián) with clear skies, so we walked them first. But I’ll list our stages starting from France in the logical east-to-west order.
Also note that we are deliberately splitting most stages to make for a slower-paced and more enjoyable experience. We just might be the slowest strollers on the Camino del Norte yet!
Basque Region stages:
Hendaye, France to Hondarribia, Spain
6 miles / 9.65 km
Irún to Pasaia San Pedro
13.7 miles / 22 Km
Pasaia San Pedro to San Sebastián
7.8 miles / 12.5 km
San Sebastián to Orió
10.4 miles / 16.7 km
Orió to Getaría
8 miles / 12.9 km
Getaria to Deba
13.3 miles / 21.4 km
Deba to Markina-Xemein
Markina to Ziotza-Bolivar
Bolivar to Guernica
Guernica to Lezama
Lezama to Bilbao
Bilbao to Portugalete
Portugalete to Pobeña
And last but certainly not least, our stage from Basque Country to Cantabria. We broke a few rules, hopped a few fences, and had fantastic views all the way!
Pobeña to Castro Urdiales
There are some pilgrims friends following our footsteps and some planning to do this route soon so I hope they and you find this helpful. I’ll do a more thorough route report and write about the Cantabria section when I return home in June.
If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.
Adiós for now!