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Walking the "wrong" way from Bilbao to San Sebastian

2020 Camino Guides


New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2003), St Jean - Logrono (March, 2013)
My girlfriend and I have a week free in mid-October, allowing for 5 or 6 days walking, and thought to do the first portion of the del Norte. We have booked flights in and out of Bilbao and had planned to spend a couple of nights in San Sebastian as it's such a pretty town and the food is great. I mentioned to her that we'd have to bus it from Bilbao back to our starting point and added, jokingly, that we should try not to look out the window so as not to spoil the scenery that would lie ahead of us once we started walking.

So she suggested that we could start immediately at Bilbao and walk "in the wrong direction" back to San Sebastian, where we can enjoy a day or two of relaxing by the sea at the end of our walk. I really like the idea of finishing there, but I'm a little concerned about two things:

1. How easy will it to be to find the route when we're walking backwards from Bilbao to San Sebastian?

2. Every day we will meet totally new people. I'm wondering if we'll miss the camaraderie that develops when you encounter the same walkers day after day.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
Hi Jim
I'm yet to walk this way myself early sept.
It looks like a bus or train from Bilbao to San Sebastion is only going to take between 1. 1/4 and 1 1/2 hrs. I would stick to your original plan. It will be a blink of an eye and you would be st San Sebastián when not walking! From a vehicle it would be a slightly different view in sections I'm sure. Lots of people walk the caminos more than once and they have seen the entire route before but it doesn't spoil it.

I think you'd have much more enjoyment doing it in same direction as others. With less worry about the possibility of taking the wrong fork and using up some of that precious 6 days.

Good luck in deciding regardless.
And Buen caminos to both of you,



You can do it, municipal/association will let you in to their Albergues as long as you have a credential. The route itself will be tricky to follow, if you can get good maps, mobile ones will be OK, then do so, it goes into quite a remote area between Markina and Deba. 5/6 days is very tight you could consider starting in Gernika, this would cut down on some of the asphalt you would have to walk on,there is good transport connections with Bilbao.
Buen Camino


New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2003), St Jean - Logrono (March, 2013)
Cheers, Mike. I found an XML file that I can load into Google Maps, so that should keep us on the right track. The distances don't seem too daunting, averaging 25k per day, but there does seem to be a lot of up and down.

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