Over 1,000 years ago, the original Camino to Santiago wove along the Northern Coast, entering Spain through the Basque Country. Along the coast the Camino crosses a number of towns that bear testimony to the importance the sea has had for this region. These fishing towns in the Basque Country still conserve much of their heritage, bearing testimony to the importance religion and tradition have also played. Nowadays, the sea continues to define the region and, although modern commerce and tourism have dramatically transformed these towns, the locals continue to proudly safeguard their culture.
The Basque have always been know for their seafaring skills. Their sailors and whalers reached as far as Labrador and Iceland, and their seamen joined expeditions that explored the world. Basque entrepreneurs set up commercial ports that traded with the whole world. Nowadays, the fishing towns in the Basque Country have adapted to the realities of our modern world. However, it is not hard to imagine what a pilgrim from a thousand years ago experienced as you stroll through the historic quarters of any of these towns.
The Camino enters the Basque Country at Hendaya and follows the coastline of the eastern Basque province of Guipuzcoa. It then leaves the coast and makes its way to the city of Bilbao, crossing the western province of Vizcaya. Thus, all of the fishing towns you will encounter are found in Guipuzcoa, arguably the heartland of Basque culture.
From east to west, these are the towns you will walk through as you make your way to Santiago. The names are in Spanish and Basque language (Euskera).
Pasajes de San Juan / Pasai Donibane
San Sebastián / Donostia
Have we whet your appetite? Then join us on our Basque in the Glory Tour and discover these fisging towns!