After yesterday’s short stage and from the quiet afternoon in Lezama, today we are full of energy entering Bilbao. The excitement of the arrival in the capital of the Basque Country will help us to cope with the industrial stretches on today’s stage.
Before we enter Bilbao we will still have to face another climb: the ascent to Mount Avril. However, this day will be much easier compared to the toughness of the previous ones. At the top of the mountain, we can enjoy panoramic views over Bilbao.
After overcoming the unevenness that separates us from the top of Mount Avril, with more than 300 metres of altitude, we gradually descend to the Basilica de la Virgen de Begoña, patron saint of Bizkaia.
Finally, through the numerous steps along the roads of Mallona, we will enter the most populated city of the Basque community, famous for the Guggenheim Museum, on the banks of the Bilbao estuary.
Itinerary Lezama - Bilbao
Today's itinerary poses no difficulty. The route during this stage is one of the shortest on the Camino del Norte, only 11.2 kilometres and the route's surface is in good condition.
The biggest challenge of the day is the ascent of more than 300 metres to reach the Mount Avril pass, but this is done progressively, so it is very bearable, compared to the slopes during previous stages.
Lezama (km. 0). Beginning of stage
Practical tips for this section: On the first section of the morning we face the climb to Mount Avril, but the ascent becomes very bearable, you only need to eat a good breakfast. Buen Camino!
We leave Lezama next to the BI-637 road, crossing several neighbourhoods of the town, under the planes that land and take off from Loiu airport. We pass next to the detour towards the Torre de Lezama and after the Humilladero de Cristo, in the neighbourhood of La Cruz.
Through a landscape dotted with industrial areas, gas stations and canopies, which already herald the proximity of Bilbao, we reach Zamudio. In the neighbourhood of Arteaga, we find the church of San Martín and behind it is La Torre de Los Marqueses de Malpica.
Next to the church we turn left, 90 degrees, to cross the Pinoa industrial estate. After the slope, we take a road that leads to the Txorierri ring road, a six-lane road, which surrounds the northern and eastern part of Bilbao (km. 4,3).
We cross the road by a bridge and turn right. Soon after, we take a beautiful path surrounded by deciduous trees that continues uphill, until linking with a paved track, which crosses the neighbourhood of San Antolín, passing next to the viewpoint of the Amairu Aretxeta Restaurant.
The pilgrim trail links with the BI-3732 road (km. 6.7), and continues to the left for 60 metres. You then follow the Los Zamudios road, an ancient royal road, to the top of Mount Avril, also known as Iturritxualde, at 382 metres above sea level.
Monte Avril (km. 7,3).
Practical tips for this section: In this section, we enter Bilbao, although the entrance may seem somewhat overwhelming due to its strong industrial configuration, do not get carried away by first impressions, Bilbao is a fascinating city, full of life. Buen Camino!
After the residence of the Sagrado Corazón de Jesus, the Camino de Santiago gives us a panorama of Bilbao. We continue to the BI-631 road (km. 8.8), over which we cross by a pedestrian bridge.
Through Calle Camino de Atxeta, Grupo Arabella and Zabalbide, we cross the neighbourhood of Begoña, to the Basilica of Our Lady of Begoña (Km 10). By Calle Andra Mari, signposted with tiles decorated with a scallop, we continue straight ahead to the Mallona crossing, where we can continue along the road if we want to avoid the stairs.
We go into the lively Plaza Miguel de Unamuno. We continue straight through Calle La Cruz and Tendería, arriving at the Cathedral of Santiago de Bilbao, where today's tour ends.
Bilbao (km. 11,2). End of stage
Practical tips for this section: As in other big cities, if you have time, we recommend that you stay two nights in Bilbao so that you can discover its heartbeat. See you tomorrow!
Bilbao is a city with a multitude of life in its streets. Its culture of pintxos and txakolí make walking around the city from its old town to the estuary a cultural and gastronomic pleasure.
The presence of both tram and metro services greatly facilitate the visit to the great Basque city. The famous Guggenheim Museum, El Arenal, Las Siete Calles, the emblematic Gran Via or the Puente de Deusto are just some of the attractions that visitors will find between the historic centre and the estuary, as the Basque capital has a wide heritage, both religious and civil.
Examples of the city's religious heritage include the Cathedral de Santiago, the churches of Sagrado Corazón, San Vicente Mártir, San Antón or San Nicolás and the Basílica de la Virgen de Begoña.
Among the civil architecture, it is worth highlighting Las Casas Americanas, Chalet Allende, Los Palacios de Chávarri, Euskalduna, Foral, Gortázar or Olabarri and Casa Lezama or Casa Montero, Kiosko Arenal or stations such as Atxuri, Concordia or Abando.
Comments Lezama - Bilbao
Here are some tips for you to enjoy today's stage, both the tour and its gastronomy.
Precautions stage Lezama - Bilbao
Today's stage, despite climbing Mount Avril, with 320 metres of elevation from Zamudio, is not a hard day. The worst part of today is the entrance to the city, which, as in all major cities, is somewhat monotonous because they are all industrialized areas.
Food stage Lezama - Bilbao
At this stage you will enter Bilbao, in this city, you can enjoy wide and exquisite gastronomy. Here are some suggestions.
Vegetables such as cauliflower, leeks and mushrooms
Canutillos de Bilbao, made of puff pastry stuffed with cream and sugar
Agua de la Ciudad, a famous cava
What to do Lezama - Bilbao
Below we provide you with information about places you can visit in Bilbao.
Bilbao is the most populous city in the Basque Country, with just under 350,000 inhabitants. The city was awarded the British Foundation's "The City Mayors" award for the urban transformation which it has undergone since 1990.
The city, which has a great historical heritage, is very accessible and has both metro and tram systems.
From its old area to the banks of the estuary, visitors will find various attractions such as the famous Guggenheim Museum, El Arenal, las 7 Calles, the emblematic Gran Vía or Puente de Deusto.
These are just some of the city's heritage sites, the city also has a large number of religious sites, such as for example, the Catedral de Santiago, the churches of Sagrado Corazón, San Vicente Mártir, San Antón or San Nicolás and the Basílica de la Virgen de Begoña.
In order to appreciate Bilbao's civil architecture, you could visit Las Casas Americanas, Chalet Allende, Los Palacios de Chávarri, Euskalduna, Foral, Gortázar or Olabarri and Casa Lezama or Casa Montero, for example.
Las Casa Americanas are located in the city of Bilbao. They form a set of social houses, built in 1964, by three young architects: Rufino Basañez, J. Larrea and E. Argárate.
The houses stand out for their originality and innovation, as well as for their architectural quality. The houses are divided into three blocks that combine volumetric composition and colour usage.
Highlights include the sculptural exterior staircase that gives meaning to the entire façade.
Casilda de Iturrizar
Casilda de Iturrizar is a park in Bilbao, inaugurated in 1920, although its construction began in 1907, from land that Doña Casilda gave to the Bilbao City Council.
That is why in the park, specifically on the Pergola promenade, you can find a bronze bust erected in her honour, the work of the sculptor Agustín Querol.
The park has a romantic style and is the work of the architect Ricardo Bastida.
Since its origins, it has been continuously renovated but has always preserved its majestic air, characterized by the presence of a pond full of ducks and surrounded by rowing boats.
Catedral de Santiago
The Cathedral of Santiago in Bilbao dates back to the 15th century and is Gothic in style, although its façade and tower are in a neo-Gothic style.
This is due to the ongoing renovations it has undergone throughout history, the last being undertaken in 2000.
The access door known as the Pilgrims' Gate stands out. The interior of the temple has a Gothic cloister, of small dimensions and 26 altars.
Hours: Open daily. Monday to Saturday (11:00 to 13:00 and 17:00 to 19:30) and Sundays and holidays (11:00 to 12:00).
Chalet Allende is located in the city of Bilbao. The construction dates back to 1910 and was carried out at the request of Luis Allende. Leonardo Rucabado was the architect of the work.
The chalet is the only preserved example of the type of luxurious bourgeois houses that were built in the Indautxu area. The property has a traditional mountain style, combining stone and brick with a half-timbered structure.
Atxuri station is a train station in Bilbao, inaugurated in 1912 and the work of the architect Manuel María de Smith. The station has an original architecture that combines a mountain and Basque style.
At its entrance, you can see several shields belonging to the three Basque provinces: Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa and Alava.
BBVA Bank Head Office
The building that currently houses the BBVA Bank headquarters is located on Calle Gran Vía D. Diego López de Haro.
The classic-style construction was built in 1912 by Pedro Guimón. Formerly the Bank of Commerce of Bilbao was located in the building.
The property has three façades that have columns in a Corinthian style. From its outer structure, a temple stands out in honour to the god Mercury.
The renowned Bilbao Hotel Carlton is located in a historic building, built in 1926, declared an Architectural, Historical, Artistic and Cultural Monument.
The majestic building stands out for its three-street façade, and today, it is in perfect condition.
Bilbao Hotel Carlton is located in a historic building, built in 1926, declared an Architectural, Historical, Artistic and Cultural Monument. The majestic building stands out for its three-street façade, and today, it is in perfect condition.
Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón
The Church of the Sacred Heart is located in the city of Bilbao and dates from the late 19th century. The neo-Gothic construction is made of brick and stone and is the work of José María Basterra.
At the end of the 20th century, the original pinnacles were removed from their towers, as there was a risk of collapse, and cleaning of its magnificent façade was carried out.
The interior of the temple features Byzantine décor. Today the church is the headquarters of the Society of Jesus.
Mass times: From 1 July to 15 September, working (7:15, 09:00 and 12:00), eve (12:00 and 20:00) and public holidays (9:00, 12:00, 13:00, 19:00 and 20:00). From 16 September to 30 June, working hours (7:15, 09:00 and 12:00), eves (12:00, 19:00 and 20:00) and public holidays (9:00, 12:00, 13:00, 19:00 and 20:00).
Estación de la Concordia
The Concordia Station is located parallel to the estuary and is the stop linking Bilbao with Santander.
The construction opened in 1902 and features a façade with influences of romanticism, leaving aside the industrial appearance that the rest of Bilbao stations have.
The rest of the building has a modernist style, in which elements such as wrought iron, ceramics or glass stand out. The station also has magnificent panoramic views over the estuary, constituting one of the best viewpoints in Bilbao.
Iglesia de San Vicente Mártir
The Church of San Vicente Mártir is located in the city of Bilbao. The temple dates back to the 16th century and is in the Basque Gothic style. The exterior of the church stands out for its unique Renaissance façade.
Inside houses the tomb of the writer Antonio Trueba, on whose tombstone are inscribed the last verses of the famous poet: "They say that the swan sings when he dies, and today my pain is so deadly that it is that the swan is in my throat".
Mass Hours: From September 12 to June 30, working (11:00 and 18:00), eve (18:00) and public holidays (11:00, 12:00 and 18:00).
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao had its main building opened in 1997, the work of the American architect Frank Gehry, who, after visiting the city, was clear where he wanted to physically locate it.
The land where the property was built belonged to the old Compañia de Maderas, located on the left side of the estuary. Thus, according to the architect, the design of the building represents a ship anchored on the banks of the River Nervión.
The museum is presided over by two huge sculptures that have become a symbol of identity, both of the space and of the city of Bilbao itself. The first is the sculpture of a spider, located in the nearest part of the estuary, by Louise Borgoise.
The other great sculpture is that of a dog, 12 metres high, composed of flowers, by Jeff Koons. Other works of interest, by artists such as Yves Klein, Eduardo Chillida and Fujiko Najaya, can also be seen in the surrounding area.
The museum has an area of approximately 24,000 square metres, of which 11,000 are equipped to accommodate works created from the middle of the 20th century to the present day.
Highlights include the ArcelorMittal room, with a permanent exhibition of eight works by the sculptor Richard Serra, constituting one of the most attractive artistic spaces.
Hours: Closes on Mondays. Tuesday to Sunday (from 10:00 to 20:00).
Admission: General (16€), retirees and students (9€), children and friends of the museum (Free).
Basílica de la Virgen de Begoña
The Basilica of Our Lady of Begoña is located in Bilbao and dates back to the 16th century. The temple, the work of Sancho Martínez de Arego, consists of three naves covered with cross vaults.
The façade and the tower that we can contemplate today are the results of a renovation, carried out by José María Basterra, between 1902 and 1907, as well as the sacristy, which was remodelled between 1900 and 1903.
In 1993 and 1994, there were also works aimed at repairing the stone and reforming the clock and bells.
Inside, the image of the Virgin of Begoña, also known, by the Basques, as Amatxo, for whom they feel great devotion, stands out.
Hours: Open daily. Monday to Saturday (10:30 to 13:30 and 17:30 to 20:30) and Sundays (only open during the hours of worship).
The Chávarri Palace is located in Bilbao. The building was built in 1889 and was designed by architect Paul Hankar.
The property was the home of the entrepreneur Víctor Chávarri and is considered one of the most emblematic buildings of the city.
The construction stands out for its unique facade, with curious colourful and irregular windows. Its fantastic roof also stands out. The property currently houses the headquarters of the Government delegation in Biscay.
Hours: Closes weekends. Open Monday to Thursday (09:00 to 14:00 and 16:30 to 18.309 and Friday (09:00 to 14:00).
The Euskalduna Palace is one of the main symbols of the city of Bilbao. The building was built in 1999, by Federico Soriano and Dolores Palacios, who wanted to give it the image of a ship leaving the dam where the Euskalduna shipyard was located.
The building won the Enric Miralles Prize 2001 at the VI Biennale of Spanish Architecture.
The palace offers numerous institutional, economic business and cultural activities. An example is the ABAO Opera Season, one of the most recognized in Spain and in the European Continent.
Guided tour hours: Saturday at 12:00
The Bilbao Foral Palace dates back to 1900 and features an eclectic style. The building, the work of the architect Luis Aladrén, is solid and majestic, reflecting the bourgeois taste of the time.
Inside, the halls with a great decorative richness stand out, as well as interesting works of art.
Visiting hours: Holidays and weekends are made. Monday to Friday (at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 17:00 and 17:45). In the months of July and August, visits can only be made in the morning hours.
The Gortázar Palace is located in the Plaza Nueva in Bilbao. The Baroque-style building dates back to the 18th century and was built by order of Domingo Martín de Gortázar y Guendica.
The palace was erected on a part of the property of Gortázar's parents, which is why on the façade of the construction you can see the family shield.
Palacio de Olabarri
The Olabarri Palace is located in the city of Bilbao. The building, designed by the architect Julián de Zubizarreta, dates back to 1894 and has clear English and French influences.
It is one of the few preserved examples of the old palaces in the Campo Volatin area.
The property was the residence of José María de Olabarri, an important businessman of the time. Currently, the Bilbao Port Authority offices are located inside.
The Plaza Nueva in Bilbao was inaugurated in 1851, after five years of construction. The space presents architectural values of neoclassical style and today functions as a dynamic space throughout the day.
Calle Bailén Sckyscraper
The Calle Bailén skyscraper in Bilbao is known for being the first construction in the city that exceeded 40 metres in height. The building was built in 1946 and was designed by Manuel I. Galíndez. The construction highlights its rational façade and is devoid of superfluous or decorative motifs.
Kiosko Arenal is located in the historic centre of Bilbao. It is a construction that evokes the shape of a shell, designed by Pedro Ispizua, of Bermeo. Its structure is circular and has a blown roof. Currently, this space is used for private events, concerts, etc.
Iglesia de San Antón
The Church of San Antón is considered one of the most characteristic temples of Bilbao since, along with the bridge that accompanies it, it appears on the coat of arms of the city.
The church was built between 1546 and 1548, on an ancient temple, from which remains are preserved in the part of the altar and at the chancel.
The construction has a Gothic style, except for its door, of Renaissance influence, and its bell tower, with baroque lines. Inside the temple, houses works by Manuel Losada and Luisa Paret and an altarpiece, in the plateresque style, the work of Beaugrant.
From the San Antón Bridge we can say, which, according to stories, criminals were thrown into the River Nervión with a stone tied around their necks.
Hours: Closed On Saturdays and Sundays. Open Monday to Friday (18:30 to 20:30)
Teatro Campos Elíseos
The Campos Elyseos Theatre is a modernist building designed by the architect Alfredo Acebal in 1902. The construction, listed as an Artistic Historic Monument, stands out for its art nouveau façade, the work of the Basque-French decorator Jean Batiste Darroguy.
Hours: Closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Open Tuesday s/Thursday (17:00 to 20:0) and Fridays (17:00 to 20:00).
Abando Station, or North Station, is located at one end of Bilbao's Plaza Circular. The station is considered the main transport interchange in the city.
In the interior of the building, its large stained glass window in which refers to the traditional life and customs of the city stands out, referring to defining elements of Bilbao such as the steel industry, sport or the San Antón Bridge, among others.
Hours: Open daily (4:45 to 00:00). On Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays the hours are extended until 00:30.
Universidad de Deusto
The University of Deusto was built by the Society of Jesus, in 1886, following the design of the architect Francisco de Cubas. At that time, it was one of the largest buildings in Bilbao.
In 1916, the Commercial University was inaugurated in the building. Today, the property stands out for its eclectic façade, which dominates the space of the estuary.
Casa Lezama is located in the extension of Bilbao. The building was built in 1922 and is the work of Ricardo Bastida and José María Basterra. The construction is an example of the collective houses that chose to build the bourgeoisie of the time in this new area of the city.
Casa Montero stands in Bilbao's Calle Alameda Recalde. The building, built in 1904 by Luis Aladrén, is the only display of modernism in the city.
It highlights the fact that among the residents it is known as La Casa de Gaudí since its appearance is reminiscent of many of the designs made by the Catalan architect.
The house stands out for the abundant decoration of its viewpoints and balconies. The construction is listed as an Artistic Historic Monument.
Iglesia de San Nicolás
The Church of San Nicolás is located in the area of El Arenal in Bilbao. It is a temple from the mid-18th century, erected in honour of St. Nicholas, patron saint of navigators
Museo de Bellas Artes
The Bilbao Museum of Fine Arts integrates the city's original Museum of Fine Arts, which opened in 1908, and the Museum of Modern Art, founded in 1924.
The museum space stands out for the chronological amplitude of its exhibition, which extends from the 12th century up to the present day. The collection consists of more than 6,000 works of art, such as paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, engravings and drawings.