Camino del Norte walking from Bilbao to Santander

102 km
6 days | 5 nights
May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
price from
€ 0
CO2 footprint
112 Kg/person
  1. Spain
  2.  | 
  3. Solo Holidays
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode ESSWSL26

Embark on a short but inmersive adventure, walking this part of the Camino del Norte. Over the course of six days, you will connect two of the most important cities in Northern Spain, walking from the vibrant city of Bilbao to the charming coastal city of Santander. You will experience breathtaking coastal landscapes, immerse yourself in local culture, and discover your own inner strength and resilience in this beautiful area in the Cantabrian Sea. 


  • Short but inmersive trip with the stunning cliffs of the Cantabrian coastline as leitmotiv
  • Bilbao, an energetic city filled with gastronomy and cutting-edge art at the Guggenheim Museum.
  • Santander, a thriving harbour and beach town, with a suprising modern art museum
  • Charming villages and vast white sandy beaches along the way


Day 1

Arrival in Bilbao

Arrival in Bilbao

As you arrive in the modern and vibrant city of Bilbao you can sample the renowned Basque cuisine. If you arrive early (or it's your second day in town), it's worth visiting the Guggenheim Museum, do a pintxos tour through the historical centre or follow the Camino along the banks of the river Nervión*. 

*Since tomorrow's hike on the Camino starts in Portugalete, you might want to book an extra night in Bilbao in order to do this first urban section of the Camino between Bilbao and Portugalete along the river bank of the Nervion to the famous hanging bridge Puente Vizcaya in Getxo and take the bus back into town. This hike is 13 km / 8 mi and totally flat.

Day 2

Bilbao – Portugalete – Castro Urdiales , 20,7/26,7 km

Bilbao – Portugalete – Castro Urdiales , 20,7/26,7 km

After a transfer from Bilbao to Portugalete or San Fuentes, you will start walking. A long cycle path leads us to the beach of La Arena, where we can have coffee or lunch before crossing the footbridge into Cantabria. Then we start a section along the spectacular coastline of the Bay of Biscay, on top of rugged cliffs and stunning ocean panoramas, to Ontón. Unfortunately, there is a rather dull section along the National road to be taken until you reach Mioño and continue along the coastal footpath to your hotel in Castro Urdiales, a town with a beautiful harbor and a rich history. Take some time to explore its historic streets and taste the local seafood. 

Distance: 20.7 or 26.7km

Elevation gain: m?

Day 3

Castro Urdiales – Laredo 17-26,5 km

Castro Urdiales – Laredo 17-26,5 km

Again you'll start the day with a short transfer to either Cérdigo OR Rioseco de Guriezo to avoid some boring sections but then another interesting stage awaits, with beautiful sceneries, several beaches, cliffs, and stretches through forest alternating with green inland valleys; continously going up and down, but with moderate gradients. Laredo, your destination for the day, is a historical port known for its golden sandy beaches. Although it suffered from an urbanistic (beach-)boom mid-19th century it's still a great place to relax and recharge.

Distance: 17/26,5km

Elevation gain: +460 or 575/-515 or 625m

Day 4

Laredo - Güemes, 25 km

Laredo - Güemes, 25 km

Today the Camino del Norte winds through lush countryside and charming villages, crossing two long beaches at the start: Salvé (in Laredo) and Berria (after Santoña). From the Puntal de Laredo to sardine-capital Santoña you will have to catch a tiny ferry. After Berria you will then turn inland to Castillo Siete Villas and follow quiet tarmac lanes to Güemes, a peaceful respite with its green and quiet landscapes. Although the stage is long, there are less steep ascents.

Distance: 36 km

Elevation gain: + 385/-335 m

Day 5

Güemes – Santander, 14-24 km

Güemes – Santander, 14-24 km

A pleasant and easy route today with hardly any ascents, allowing for an afternoon at the beach of Somo or a visit of the city of Santander, capital of Cantabria. The total distance depends on where you take the passengers boat (in Somo or Pedreña) and if you do a detour in the morning via the Chapel of Saint Julian, a small sanctuary of intimate testimonies of pilgrims dedicated to the priest of Güemes. The ferry boat leaves you right in the centre of the city and very close to the art museum Centro Botín. Santander offers a blend of culture, history, and natural beauty, making it a perfect ending point for your pilgrimage. 

Distance: 14-24 km

Elevation gain: +215 or 250/-175 or 210 m

Day 6

Goodbye Santander!

Goodbye Santander!

After breakfast your journey comes to an end. 



What is included

  • 5 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B with breakfast
  • Luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
  • maps and detailed description of the itinerary
  • Medical and luggage travel insurance
  • 24h phone assistance

Not included

  • Transfers to the starting location and from the arriving location of the tour
  • lunches and dinners, if not otherwise stated
  • visits and entrance fees - tips
  • personal expense
  • possible sojourn taxes
  • everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section.

Optional Services

These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:

  • Single room supplement
  • cancellation insurance
  • Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.


We work with 3* hotels, B&Bs and farmhouses that reflect our way of experiencing travel: they are comfortable and characterful structures, which we choose one by one, managed by passionate and welcoming people.

Unless otherwise specified in the travel listing, all provide private en-suite rooms with breakfast included.

Below you see some examples of the facilities used for this trip, but keep in mind that they may vary based on availability in the period. We could therefore book for you structures different from those you see listed here, but of the same category and carefully chosen according to SloWays criteria.

What to bring

Clothing and other items
You will need your regular walking/cycling gear, including some sort of reflective garment. For the evenings, smart outdoor style trousers (or shorts) are invaluable, as are quick-dry t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town.

Take as little as possible to avoid potentially lugging a heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs at the end of the day. Please be aware that laundromats (“Laverie”) are not common in rural areas, so plan to do handwashing of small items.

Lightweight walking shoes/ trainers
For wearing around towns & villages. They can also be a back-up pair.

Socks & underwear
Take only good quality socks with quick-dry and insulating qualities. Road test them before you go on the trip. Take a suitable quantity of underwear as washing facilities are limited.

Warm jacket, hat, gloves
Bring a fleece, Polartec or warm layers for the evenings especially in spring or autumn; be sure it is totally suitable for your needs.
A fleece jacket which blocks the wind (Wind-stopper) is the most preferable. In the summer months a lightweight jacket is suitable for evenings.
If you are cycling/walking in mountainous or coastal areas, even in the height of summer, the weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly and you should be prepared for fog, mist, rain, snow or hail at any time. Always take an extra layer with you, as well as a warm hat and gloves.

Waterproof jacket & trousers
If you are caught in heavy rain, with good waterproof clothing you should remain dry. Remember that most garments will lose their properties over time. Few will remain waterproof for more than five years and many deteriorate in three years or less. We recommend a rain jacket with a good hood and collar and waterproof or thermal walking/cycling trousers or tights.

Dress code
In general, you should wear suitable clothing when entering a church (in many places, it is considered unacceptable to go inside wearing shorts or a tank-top). We suggest that women carry a shawl to cover up bear shoulders or low-cut tops. It also comes in handy when your shoulders get sunburned!

It is considered inappropriate for men to go without a shirt / T-shirt (other than at the beach).

Trekking poles (adjustable)
Highly recommended. A pair works best, depending on what you are comfortable with. If you suffer from back or knee pain this should be considered essential. Remember to practise walking with your pole(s) on different types of terrain in the months preceding your trip.

Walking boots
The importance of good footwear cannot be stressed enough. Your boots should be sturdy and of good enough quality to handle all types of terrain. Lightweight boots, (cordura/leather boots) which have Gore-Tex or sympatex water-proofing are most suitable for this trip. They should provide good ankle protection and be well broken in. Waxing leather boots regularly prolongs their life.

Walking tops & trousers
We recommend walking trousers and shorts and quick-dry wicking t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town. Wicking T-shirts are fast drying, keep moisture away from your skin and are available at outdoor stores. You should also bring one pair of loose-fitting trousers to wear in cities and for evenings out, etc. Shorts or zip-off trousers are useful in warmer weather.

Practical info

Mobile App

Use the SloWays APP for iOS and Android smart phones in combination with the written documentation provided.

The App has the detailed tracks and maps that you can use offline and without roaming. Thanks to the phone’s internal GPS, you can check your exact position on the map, so you always know exactly where you are. It also helps you self-navigate you way while travelling. More information on how to use the App inside the roadbook documents.

The navigation features include:

  • Offline navigation. Mobile data not required after initial download
  • Accurate GPS tracks
  • Autorotation of the maps
  • Daily route summary and elevation chart
  • Panorama of the track and at street levelAlarm and vibration that alerts you in case you go off track.
  • Emergency SMS button with position coordinates
  • Possibility to record and take georeferenced photos of problems on route alerting fellow travelers
  • Hotel information
  • Points of interest along the way
  • Historical background

Wanderlust Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
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S-Cape Countryside Travels srl
Borgo Allegri 16R
50122 Firenze FI
P. IVA 05227330486

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Touroperating S-Cape Countryside Travels srl Borgo Allegri 16R 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
VAT Nr 05227330486

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