Based in Spain since 2006

Camino Norte Tour: Basque in the Glory

Over 1,000 years ago, the original Way to Santiago wove along the Northern Coast, passing through the fabled Basque Country. Come with us and discover this mysterious corner of the Iberian Peninsula known for its proud people and marked contrasts. Enjoy views of the sea to our right and the foothills of the Pyrenees to our left!

Experience and Expertise

Your two bilingual guides that accompany the tour are either Spanish or live in Spain year round. This is our home and we love to share it with you!

Fabulous Food

All your meals (B,L,D) are included except one dinner and one lunch, so you only need to worry about enjoying the trail! Weather permitting, our gourmet picnics showcase the freshest of local flavors.

Unique Accommodations

Charming restored Basque farm houses (Caserios) and 3-4 star hotels that offer the best in hospitality, comfort, and location.

Semi-Independent Tour

You choose! Walk alone with the assurance that we’ll take care of you or enjoy the company of others and your knowledgeable guides.

Van Supported

No need to carry a heavy pack – let us do the lifting while you do the walking.

Expect to have a wonderful time!

We’ve designed each trip to enjoy the stunning beauty of the Spanish Basque landscape, while giving you a true sense of the soul and magic of these exciting people and their culture. We love to share this magnificent country and want you to feel a part of it – for us it is more than just a trip, it is our home.

Loading...
The Guggenheim in Bilbao.

Day 1

Bilbao

Accommodations: Bilbao (D)

Meeting time: 3:00pm

In the afternoon, we meet our group in Bilbao, the one-time industrial powerhouse which is currently undergoing its own Renaissance. After introductions, your Fresco Tour guide will meet and greet you at your Orientation Meeting. Afterwards, our local art historian takes us on a guided visit of the internationally acclaimed Guggenheim Museum followed by a stroll, to discover the charm of Bilbao’s Old Quarter – the city’s medieval enclave. Travel back in time to the 6th century and visit ancient landmarks like the Cathedral of Santiago and Plaza Nueva. We finish our evening with a lovely dinner.
Fresco Tours gourmet picnic

Day 2

Chillida Leku & Hondarribia

Accommodations: Hondarribia (B, L, D)

Walking: 4 km / 2 mi

After our delicious breakfast, we will make our way to Hondarribia where our Camino starts. On route, we will have a chance to visit the fascinating museum of renown Basque artist Chillida, where will have lunch. On arrival to Hondarribia, we will stretch our legs and take our first steps on the Northern Camino de Santiago with a short climb to the Sanctuary of Guadalupe. We finish our day in the old quarter of town, where medieval walls have protected the villa for centuries.
Camino de Santiago Fresco Tours

Day 3

Sanctuary de Guadalupe to Pasajes San Juan

Accommodations: Hondarribia (B, L, D)

Walking: 12 km / 7 mi

Starting from Guadalupe, the yellow arrows take us a bit higher as we cross along the mountain of Jaizkibel enjoying the views of the beaches and sea below! After strolling the ridge, we work our way down to the port of Pasajes de San Juan, decorated with small fishing boats of another time. After a zurito (small glass of beer), we return to Hondarribia, where we finish the evening with a fine meal of Basque cuisine.
Views of the Bay of Biscay from the Camino Norte.

Day 4

Pasajes San Juan to San Sebastián

Accommodations: San Sebastián (B, L, D)

Walking: 11 km / 7 mi

This morning, we return to Pasajes de San Juan and cross over to San Pedro on the other side of the port like the pilgrims did a thousand years ago - via boat! We then work our way past old stone Basque farm houses, or ''caseríos'', old stone Basque farm houses, and are soon greeted by the stylish resort town of San Sebastián, a place that has long been popular with the Spanish bourgeoisie. Here the beauty of La Concha beach makes it a wonderful place for an afternoon stroll.
A classic Fresco Tours picnic cheese platter.

Day 5

San Sebastián to Orio

Accommodations: San Sebastián (B, L)

Walking: 15 km / 9 mi

With boots on, we leave San Sebastián to ascend Monte Igeldo and stop to enjoy the views of the bay below. The rocky coast of the Basque Country has us going up and down hills and through small hamlets. The many flocks of sheep remind us that the Basques not only ply the seas, but are also pretty good shepherds! With the sea to our right keeping us company, we quickly make our way to the fishing port of Orio. Here we regroup and return for another evening in San Sebastián.
The Camino Norte before Zumaia.

Day 6

Orio to Zumaia

Accommodations: Getaria (B, L, D)

Walking: 16 km / 10 mi

Returning to Orio, we pass through Zarautz and continue along the seaside walkway to Getaria, whose famous sailing son, Juan Sebastián Elcano, was the first to sail around the world. We follow the Northern Camino de Santiago passing the local vineyards of txakoli, the local white wine, until we reach the village of Zumaia, a Basque port famous for its whaling and now its shipbuilding.
Sheep on the Camino Norte,

Day 7

Zumaia to Deba

Accommodations: Getaria (B, D)

Walking: 13 km / 8 mi

Our day begins on the beach in the Basque Coast Geopark, where we’ll see 60 million years of history written in the layer-cake rock formations of Zumaia. On today’s walk we alternate between cliffside paths, rolling green farmland and views of the blue sea. Greet a local with Kaixo - Basque for hello - and watch them warm right up! Our day on the trail ends in Deba, where we can dip our feet in the Cantabrian Sea, and get ready for a Basque meal that you won't forget!
Camino de Santiago Fresco Tours

Day 8

Markina to Zenarruza Monastery

Accommodations: Guernica (B, L, D)

Walking: 9 km / 6 mi

This morning, we head inland to visit the Basilica of Saint Ignacio of Loyola nestled in the mountains of the Basque Country. Here, we visit the birthplace of the founder of the Society of Jesus, and learn about his life and his impact on the world! After lunch, we return to the yellow arrows of the Camino and get some km's in before finishing up the day.
Views from the Camino Norte near Gernika.

Day 9

Zenarruza Monastery to Guernica

Accommodations: Guernica (B, L, D)

Walking: 18 km / 11 mi

After a lighter day in the boots, we finish off our Camino de Santiago along the Northern Coast with a hike into Guernica, a name made famous around the world by Pablo Picasso's dramatic anti-war painting of the bombing of the town during the Spanish Civil War. Today we will pass through small hamlets and their caserios (large farm houses) and enjoy views of the Balcony of Biscay!
Fresco Tours Picnic Salad

Day 10

Guernica to Sopelana Beach & Portugalete

Accommodations: Portugalete

Walking: 15 km / 9 mi

This morning after breakfast, we head to Sopelana for our last walk of the tour. The walk is along the Getxo coast, where you can enjoy the best bird’s eye view of the El Abra Port. Very similar to the famous white cliffs of Normandy in France and Dover in England, this recreation area for locals and visitors alike offers extensive natural spaces to enjoy nature. In the afternoon, your guide will take you for a stroll in Portugalete. On arrival to Portugalete, we will visit the Biscay Bridge (Puente Colgante). This impressive 125-year-old structure links Getxo and Portugalete and was declared a heritage monument by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. Designed by the architect Alberto Palacio, a disciple of Gustave Eiffel, it opened in 1893. 
The Hanging Bridge in Portugalete near Bilbao.

Day 11

Portugalete

Accommodations: Itinerary ends (B)

It's time to say Agur, goodbye in Basque. We hope you have enjoyed your visit of our backyard!

 

*Please note: This itinerary is subject to slight modifications due to hotel availability, weather, festivals, and other occurences.

2 Guides

Our greatest resource! We know Spain, because it is our home. Both of your guides are experienced professionals that are either Spanish or live in Spain year round – no hired out summer help! When specified, local art historians will join us to provide further insights of the specific monument / museum that we visit.

* Groups of 3 – 6 pax are accompanied by only 1 guide.

Limited Group Sizes

Fresco Tours are in small groups to ensure that you receive the individual attention that you deserve. In order to treat each of our clients with a personal touch, we limit our group size to a maximum of 16 participants.

Local Guided Visits

In Bilbao, we will be joined by local art historians, who will bring the monuments and cityto life! A minimum of 5 people is necessary for this service to be provided.

Accommodations

Fresco Tours selects a combination of 3-4 star hotels and charming restored Basque farm houses (Caserios)  that offer the best in hospitality, comfort and location. All rooms have their own bathrooms. Tour prices are based on double occupancy.

All Meals

Food speaks volumes about a culture and we love to eat! During our walk days, when possible, we prepare gourmet picnics, using the freshest of local ingredients and selecting the tastiest recipes of the region. Dinners are celebrated in Basque restaurants chosen not only for their menu, but also their atmosphere and service. All meals except for one lunch and one dinner are included. We are proud to cater to vegetarians and those with food allergies as well.

Support Vehicle

Your walks will be accompanied by a support vehicle that will be there to provide you assistance when the route permits. The possibility of shorter routes and pick-up options will be explained on a daily basis.

Luggage Transfer

Your luggage will be transported between hotels. You do the walking, we’ll do the lifting!

Special Event Tickets

Wine tastings, garden tours, concerts, etc. as outlined in the itinerary.

Additional Assistance

We are here to help! Need assistance with hotels prior to or after your trip? Train or bus tickets to and from our tour? Questions about what to wear? Based in Spain, we are here to make sure that your trip runs smooth as can be – we are available!

Ground Transportation

All ground transportation between the designated starting and finishing point of your Fresco Tour is provided. We will help facilitate information for your travel arrangements prior to and after the tour start and finish.

Not Included

Airfare to and from Spain, airport taxes / departure fees, visas, gratuities or tips, items of personal nature – laundry, phone, luggage surplus charges, medical expenses, bar, etc.

Prior to / After your Fresco Tour: Should your vacation to Spain be for more than a few days prior to or after your Fresco Tour, perhaps you would be interested in a Spain-taineous Custom Tour and personalized private itinerary. Let us know and we’ll create an itinerary especially in tune with your needs and desires.

Table of Contents

Getting There & Back 

How do I get to the Basque in the Glory Tour starting point? 

Bilbao, Spain is the official starting point of the Basque in the Glory tour and can be reached via plane, train, or bus. Bilbao International Airport has service throughout Europe. For those looking to fly into Bilbao, please see the following link for all airports serviced. Traveling from Madrid, one can choose between the train (RENFE) or the bus (ALSA). For a sample of prices and timetables, please see: 

RENFE Train – Madrid to Bilbao 

ALSA Bus – Madrid to Bilbao 

How can I purchase my bus or train tickets beforehand?

We recommend the Omio website for purchasing tickets. Omio is a travel booking platform with more than 1,000 trusted partners across trains, buses and airport transfers. Search, compare and book all in one place so you can focus on the journey. Keep in mind that train tickets cannot be purchased until 60 days prior to departure. Schedules and availability are subject to change based on train maintenance needs.

How do I get from Bilbao to Madrid and other cities? 

There are now RENFE trains that will get you from Bilbao to Madrid in less than 6 hours. While routes and availability may vary upon time of booking, there are several daily trains from Bilbao to Madrid. If you are looking to fly, there are excellent internal flights that fly Bilbao to Madrid. 

How do I get from Bilbao Airport to the city center? 

From the airport, you can take Bizkai Bus #3247, which connects the airport with the center of town. There are buses every 30 minutes (from 6:20am to 00:00am). For complete details, please click here. 

On the Road 

What is the weather like on the Basque in the Glory Tour? 

The Camino del Norte covers over 790 km of Northern Spain and therefore has very different weather conditions depending on the region. 

Fresco Tours Basque in the Glory Tour covers a portion of the Camino del Norte. Here we enjoy a more temperate climate than other parts of the Camino de Santiago and in July and August the heat is not overwhelming. 

Visit this link for current and average monthly temperatures of Bilbao. 

What is a typical day like on the Basque in the Glory Tour? 

After breakfast, we lace up and get the blood going with a walk for a couple hours, where we will do a check point to make sure that everything is OK. You then continue along the Camino for another 1-2 hours where you will come across a complete gourmet picnic prepared with the freshest local ingredients. On some days, we continue for 1-2 hours more after lunch to burn off dessert. 

In the afternoon, we go to our hotels, where we take a shower, siesta and just relax! We finish our day with a glass of tinto and a feast of the local gastronomy. We then retire for the night and get ready to do it again! On some afternoons, we have planned excursions, such as a visit to an ancient monastery or perhaps a massage! 

Does the group stop for breaks on the Basque in the Glory Tour? 

The great thing about the Camino is that it is very well-marked and we encourage people to walk at a pace that is comfortable for them – this is not a race! We want you to enjoy the route and we also like to stop with our clients for a coffee or cerveza along the way and take everything in! 

What is the terrain like on the Basque in the Glory Tour? 

In the Basque country, the region where we walk, the terrain is green rolling hills – there are neither steep climbs nor treacherous descents. The trail itself is a combination of very well maintained compact dirt and stone footpaths with some impressive views of the coast. 

What is the change in elevation on the Basque in the Glory Tour? 

We will be walking from Hondarribia to Guernica. For a detailed map of the distances between towns along the Basque in the Glory trail and their respective altitudes, please click here. 

How many kilometers are walked each day on the Basque in the Glory Tour? 

The number of kilometers scheduled for each day varies from 5 km to 20 km. We have designed this tour to allow the possibility to walk a portion of the Camino del Norte. However, the walks are accompanied by a support vehicle and options for less (or more!) km’s are possible on a daily basis. We can tailor the walk to suit your needs! 

Will I be able to do laundry on the Basque in the Glory Tour?  

On the Basque in the Glory Tour we offer a Fresco Tours laundry service roughly halfway through the trip where you can send your clothes to the laundromat to have them washed and dried. In addition, some hotels will have the capability to do laundry on the premises or you can use local laundromats whenever you’d like. We also recommend that you bring quick-drying clothes that you can handwash and dry overnight at the hotel if all else fails! 

Before You Go / Preparing 

What type of shoes do I need to walk the Basque in the Glory Tour? 

Footwear is a very personal question – depending on how active you are and how much support you will need. Since we will be walking on a daily basis on the Basque in the Glory tour, I believe that comfort is key – you do not want to get blisters. You probably won’t need a full high boot that covers your ankle (unless you need this support), but rather light trail walkers or even running shoes if you are used to walking. In the spring, there may be mud and water along the trail, so keep that in mind. Most important: Make sure that they are well broken in! 

What sort of conditioning do I need to undertake before the Basque in the Glory Tour? 

We encourage you to walk before and be prepared for your own enjoyment. However, this is your vacation and not boot camp! During your walk, one of the two guides will be on the trail with the group to keep an eye that all is well. Also, we have planned check points along the way with our support van to make sure you have plenty of water, if you need a change of shoes, or just feel like taking a break. In most cases, you will see the van at a minimum every couple of hours. 

Booking a Tour

Thank you for choosing to travel with Fresco Tours! We are very excited for you to join the ranks of our Happy Customers. If at any moment you should have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you again and we look forward to sharing memories of a lifetime with you.

Reservations and Payments

To join us on a Fresco Tour, please visit our Secure Online Reservation Form or download and print a PDF version of the Reservation Form, one for each participant. To reserve your space on a tour, a 15% deposit per person is required and payment should be made via bank transfer or with a credit card (Visa or MasterCard only).

Confirmation

Once Fresco Tours has received your registration form and tour deposit, we will send you an email with an invoice of payments received and your remaining balance, a copy of our Assumption of Risk / Liability Waiver Form and a link to your Guest Questionnaire. These last 2 items must be returned 60 days prior to the start of tour. In addition, we will send you a Confirmation Packet with information regarding suggestions on preparation, a packing and reading list and other tips to get you excited and prepared for your Fresco Tour.

Final Registration

Once we have received final payment, the signed Assumption of Risk / Liability Waiver Form and Guest Questionnaire, you will be sent a receipt and final details regarding your tour, including a detailed itinerary and the hotel contact list.

Single Supplement Fee

Due to the nature of the accommodations we use, there are a limited number of single rooms available. Requests for these rooms are based on availability. Please see the tour itinerary for the cost of this fee. In some cases, it may imply a room smaller in size than a standard double room. If you are traveling alone, and would like to share a room, we will do our best to match you with a same-gender roommate.

Cancellation / Refund Policies

All cancellations must be made in writing. No refunds will be issued due to late arrival, early departure, or any unused portion of a tour. The Assumption of Risk / Liability Waiver form must be signed and received 60 days prior to tour departure or the reservation will also be treated as a cancellation. Cancellation fees are outlined below:

Time Price
Cancellations received 121 or more days prior to trip start
10% of trip price
Cancellations received 120 - 61 days prior to trip start
15% of trip price
Cancellations received 60 - 31 days prior to trip start
50% of trip price
Cancellations received 30 days or less prior to trip start
100% of trip price

Fresco Tours reserves the right to change, modify, or cancel a tour prior to departure for any reason, including lack of participants (tour minimum: 3-6 passengers with 1 guide, 7 passengers or more with 2 guides) or acts of nature and/or circumstances beyond our control. In this case, any payments received will be refunded in full, and this will constitute full settlement. Fresco Tours is not responsible for any additional expenses due to a canceled tour, such as the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets.

Fresco Tours reserves the right to accept, refuse, or decline any tour member’s participation at any time for any reason. In such a case, Fresco Tour’s liability is limited to the actual cost of the unused services.

Changing Tour Dates

If we are notified of a change to your scheduled tour date 6 months prior, you can apply your tour deposit to another departure date without penalty. This change can be up to 1 calendar year in advance and is subject to availability. Otherwise, the above Cancellation Fees will be applied.

As Spain-taneous Private Tours are custom built and created with specific dates in mind, any modifications will incur a 15% surcharge.

Insurance

In accordance with Spanish law and for the duration of your tour with Fresco Tours, you are covered by a basic insurance provided by Intermundial.  We  strongly advice the purchase of a more comprehensive travel insurance that includes trip cancellation / interruption. We suggest using TravelInsurance.com, which allows you to compare and assess top insurance provider policies and their different coverage plans.

Traveling Safely and Responsibly

Traveling during these complex times requires a bit more planning and a lot more reassurance. We believe that the Fresco Tours style of travel is particularly well-suited to safe activities: walking in the outdoors, small group sizes, strong reliable relationships with our local partners and, most importantly, we have the local knowledge of our home – the Camino de Santiago and the Spanish culture.

Guided

11 days / 10 nights

110 km / 68 mi

Northern Camino

Jun 9 - 19, 2024
Sep 1 - 11, 2024
Available
Oct 6 - 16, 2024
Half Full
May 4 - 14, 2025
Available
Jun 8 - 18, 2025
Available
Aug 31 - Sep 10, 2025
Available
Oct 5 - 15, 2025
Available

Price per person

4295 €

4,719.78 $

* USD$ price based on current exchange rate

Single Supplement Fee

595 €

Customer Reviews

The Latest Photos