Stage 5
Markina - Gernika 25 Km
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Information Markina - Gernika

We hope that the continued ascents and descents on yesterday's stage have not affected your knees or ankles too much. Today's stage on the Camino de Santiago presents a much easier profile.

Let’s continue on the Camino del Norte!

Today's stage is marked by great historical events. During the day, we will pass through Bolibar, the town in which Simón Bolívar, the ancestral liberator was born.

We'll visit the Monastery of Zenarruza, where we will have the opportunity to enjoy beautiful views and discover the peculiar legend that explains the origins of the temple.

Finally, we will arrive in Gernika, a villa known world-wide by the tragic events that occurred there in April 1937 and that Pablo Picasso captured in his famous work "Guernica".

This tour will be completed on a profile of the Camino del Norte, with continuous ascents and descents, surrounded by the beautiful environment that will provide us Monte Oiz and the Atalaya de Bizkaia and the sweet company of the Rivers Lea and Artibai.

Itinerary Markina - Gernika

On the fifth stage of the Camino del Norte we do not leave the profiles with all their ups and downs, but the descents are much less pronounced than yesterday.

The main challenge of this stage is the frequent sections that we will find, along our route totalling 25 kilometres, on which the surface will be slippery or muddy.

Markina (Km. 0). Beginning of stage

Markina

Practical tips for this section: In Iruzubieta you will find a couple of bars but they are likely to be closed first thing in the morning, so we recommend you have breakfast in Markina before you leave, or you will have to wait until you to get to Bolibar. Buen Camino!

We start the day next to the Kai Cafeteria, where we turn to cross the River Artibai. We follow the route close to a park, to lead to the hard shoulder of the BI-633 road, by which we reach the Chapel of Nuestra Señora de Erdotza.

After the visit, we leave the road on the right and pass through a neighbourhood in Markina. On the cycle lane (Bidegorri), flanked by a polygon and the river, we reach Kareaga Bridge.

We cross the river over the footbridge located next to the bridge and turn left. We pass a gate and we go along a nice riverside path that leads us to Iruzubieta (km. 3.8).

Taking a small detour, we pass the locality and we leave next to the BI-2224 road to take a road that begins next to the Armola restaurant and that goes up to the district of Altzaga.

Next to a farmhouse we turn to the right, to be surrounded by pines and over various gates, to the district of Arta, and the municipality of Ziortza Bolibar.

From here we descend to the BI-2224 road Again and enter Bolibar, where the family of Simón Bolívar originated. We pass by a museum dedicated to the Venezuelan liberator and we reach the town square, where the Town Hall is located.

Bolibar (km. 6,2).

Bolibar

Practical tips for this section: Do not forget to discover the legend that lies behind the construction of the Monastery of Zenarruza. Buen Camino!

From the Church of Santo Tomás, we go towards the road, to quickly enter a street and follow the way of the cross and the medieval road that goes up to the Monastery of Zenarruza (km. 7.5). We enter the religious site, crossing an arch with an Eagle's shield with the skull, and then cross the garden.

After the visit, the pilgrim path continues to be irrigated by several streams up to the Alto de Gontzagarigana pass (km 9). There, the main road is found on the right and the path continues on the left, following an asphalted track leading to the district of Uriona (km 9.8).

We continue down a hillside and then along a dark path surrounded by a thicket, with a pronounced slope, which ends next to a beautiful country house. Following a track, we go into Gerrikaitz, with its Church of Santa Maria, located on the left side. We cross the River Lea and arrive in Munitibar.

Munitibar (km. 11,7).

Munitibar

Practical tips for this section: At the detour leading to the Zarrabenta restaurant, pilgrims who ride bicycles must follow the road, this route is not advisable to walk on. Buen Camino!

In the locality, we find the Church of San Vicente de Arbaztegi and again, the River Lea, from where we face the small climb that leads to the district of Aldaka, in which it is located, 50 metres from the pilgrim path, the Church of Santiago.

The track continues on the right, passing under high tension lines, where, without going to the BI-2224 road, we take a track on the left to get down to the hamlet of Urnatei. Here we take a path that runs through a muddied zone affected by the water of several streams, passing through a section full of weeds.

Finally, we reach the district of Berriondo (km. 16.2), belonging to the municipality of Medata. Along a local track, we continue to the BI-3224 road, and along its hard shoulder to the district of Zarra (Olabe). When you reach the crossroads, continue to the right, towards the Zarrabenta restaurant.

In the neighbourhood, we find the Chapel of San Pedro and San Cristóbal and leave it from the detour to Torre de Montalbán. We take a path in descent that crosses an old oak wood, inside the Urdaibai Reserve.

Further along, we join the road, well recovered, which passes over the medieval Artzubi Bridge, located on the border of the municipalities of Mendata and Arratzu. We cross the River Gola and we enter the district of Elexalde, where the Church of St. Thomas awaits us.

Elexalde (km. 19,1).

Elexalde

Practical tips for this section: Just 6 kilometres separate us from our destination today, so, take advantage and enjoy this beautiful stretch. Buen Camino!

Following the way of the cross, we go down to the banks of the River Gola, finding our way an ancient foundry. From there, we start a hard ascent to the district of Marmiz (km 20.3).

At the village entrance, instead of following the BI-3224 road, we turn to the right-hand side, next to a house, and continue with the ascent, now much easier.

We will leave the urban environment behind to follow a path that runs along the side of Burgogana, between pines and eucalyptus. On this beautiful journey, we descend to the district of Mendieta, in the municipality of Ajangiz, where we find the Church of the Ascension (km. 23).

From Ajangiz, we continue along the road, we take a shortcut on one of the curves, and then we arrive in Gernika.

Gernika (km. 25). End of stage

Gernika

Practical tips for this section: In this locality, you will find all kinds of services. See you tomorrow!

Gernika is a place to delve into Picasso’s work and think about the tragic events that happened in this locality.

The place does not have a large old town because the place was almost totally destroyed, but you will still find different places to visit in the afternoon: La Casa de Juntas and the Gernika tree, the Church of Santa Maria, the Convent of Santa Clara, the Peace Monument, the Euskal Herria Museum, the Parque de Los Pueblos de Europa, the Fundación Museo de la Paz and the Jai Alai Basque handball court.

Comments Markina - Gernika

Here are some tips for you to enjoy the most from today's stage.

Precautions stage Markina - Gernika

Today's stage again presents a profile full of slopes but after five days on the Camino del Norte, nobody is surprised anymore. The route is much simpler than yesterday, but it faces some pronounced climbs such as that of Aldaka and Marmiz.

The section that runs between Aldaka to Berriondo is usually affected by the water and is muddy due to several streams that run near the pilgrim path, here, you have to pay attention in this area to avoid slipping and use, if possible, waterproof footwear.

The pilgrims who take the cycle route should follow the road from Berriondo, without deviating at the Zarrabenta restaurant, like the rest of pilgrims who go on foot.

Food stage Markina - Gernika

In this area, traditional gastronomy is very similar to those on other stages, therefore txakolí and pintxos, among others, continue to be present. However, we suggest some typical dishes from the local cuisine.  

  • Gernika beans
  • Gernika peppers
  • Gernika cake, made with franzipan and pastry
  • Ori-Baltzak, white and dark chocolate cakes.

What to do Markina - Gernika

Throughout the day you will pass through various places of historical and cultural interest, here, you will find information on each of them.

Monasterio de Zenarruza

Monasterio de Zenarruza

The Monastery of Zenarruza, or the Old Collegiate Church of Cenarruza, is located at the top of the parish of Zenarruza, in the municipality of Puebla de Bolívar. The monastic site dates from the 10th century and its construction was carried out following divine designs.

According to the legend, in 968, when the residents of the parish were attending the Assumption Mass in the Church of Guerricaiz, an eagle caught a skull from one of the tombs opened and moved it to the place where the temple is today. The locals, surprised, interpreted the feat as a divine fact and decided to build the monastery there.

The reflection of this tradition is embodied in a shield on the façade of the monastery in which an eagle and a skull are depicted. Next to this, a small explanatory sign narrates the legend.

In 1937 the temple was named as a collegiate church and in 1948 was declared an Artistic Historical Monument because of its great architectural and cultural value.

However, the facilities were abandoned little by little, given the lack of economic contributions, until in 1980 restoration of the whole monastic site was undertaken.

From 1988, a community of Cistercian monks was installed on the site, which enabled a part of the monastery to function as a shelter for pilgrims.

With regard to its current structure, a church is preserved from the 14th century, which has undergone various renovations throughout its history, and which have conferred its current Gothic style. The cloister is in Renaissance style and stands out for its scallop ornamentation.

Practical information:

Opening hours: Open daily (from 8:00 to 22:00).

Monumento a Simón Bolívar

The monument to Simón Bolívar, also known as the Monolith of Ziortza, is located in the main square of the town. The monolith, in homage to the liberator Simón Bolívar, was erected in 1927 by the Venezuelan government and is the work of the architect Pedro Ispizua.  

The relationship between the independence leader of various republics in Latin America and this small locality of Basque Country is an ancestor of Simón Bolívar. Specifically, a fifth grandfather, known as El Viejo, who emigrated to America in the mid-16th century.

Regarding the structure of the monument, it should be noted that the family crest can be seen and a bas-relief with the figure of the liberator and father of the homelands.

Museo Simón Bolívar

The Simón Bolívar Museum is located on the main square in Ziortza, behind the monument in homage to it, in a building known as the Errementarikua Mansion.

The museum space houses exhibitions of both the life and customs of the region during the Middle Ages, as well as the political and personal life of Simón Bolívar, who fought for the independence of several countries in South America (Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia).

Practical information:

Timetable: In July and August, it opens every day (from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 17:00 to 19:00). The rest of the year, it closes Mondays, from Tuesday to Friday (from 10:00 to 13:00) and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays (from 12:00 to 14:00).

Admission: Free

Gernika

Gernika

Gernika-Lumo is a municipality of Vizcaya of almost 17,000 inhabitants, world famous for the painting of Pablo Picasso, Guernica, which depicts the bombardment of the German and Italian air forces on the town in April 1937.

Of that attack, little was left standing, only the Casa de Juntas and the Gernika tree, a reason why the locality does not have a large historic old centre.

Nevertheless, the locality has interesting places like the Church of Santa Maria, the Convent of Santa Clara, the monument to the peace, the Euskal Herria Museum, the European People’s Park, the Peace Museum Foundation or the Jai Alai Basque handball court.

Árbol de Gernika

The Gernika tree is an oak that is located in front of the Casa de Juntas. It is one of the most recognized symbols of the Basque Country, since the tree symbolizes the freedom of the Basque people, being one of the few elements that remained standing after the bombardment in 1937.

However, throughout history it has not always been the same tree that has occupied the place. The first was the parent tree, which was planted in its place until 1742. This was replaced by the old tree, which was replaced by the younger tree, in 1860.

In 2004, it was also left lifeless and was replaced by one of its descendants, which is the tree that can be seen today.

Practical information:

Timetable: Closes every Monday and the month of January. From March to September, from Tuesday to Saturday (from 10:00 to 19:00) and Sundays (from 10:00 to 14:00). From October to February, from Tuesday to Saturday (from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 18:00) and Sundays (from 10:00 to 14:00).

Entrance: General (€5), Reduced (€3), temporary exhibition (€1), Civil War refuge and Museum (€3.60), under 12 Years and Sundays (free).

Casa de Juntas

The Casa de Juntas is located in front of the Gernika tree and in the same way, it is one of the few elements that survived the bombardment of 1937. The neo-classical building was built in the first half of the 19th century and is the work of the architect from Etxebarría.

The most remarkable thing about the building's interior is the large window that depicts scenes from the Gernika tree and the meetings held in its halls. These meetings are still held, some of them in the well-known boardroom, in which the inauguration and swearing-in of the oath of the position of Lehendakari takes place.

Practical information:

Opening hours: open every day. In summer (from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 19:00) and in winter (from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 18:00).

Frontón Jai Alai

Fronton Jai Alai

The Jai Alai Basque handball court is located in Gernika and is one of the most important courts in the Basque Country. In the space there are several festivities during the year and classes are held for the pelotaris (handball players) in the region. The sports space has a capacity of 1,500 spectators.

Practical information:

Opening hours: open every day. From Monday to Sunday (from 16:00 to 19:00).

Iglesia de Santa María

The Church of Santa Maria is found alongside the Casa de Juntas, in the town of Gernika. The construction of the temple began in 1418, in a Gothic style, but the work did not conclude until 1715, which is why the construction combines both Gothic and Renaissance elements.

The temple, built of carved stone and masonry, consists of three naves topped by apses and covered with ribbed vaults. These elements are arranged on eight grandiose ionic-style columns. in the interior, the Walckler organ stands out, from 1889, and a spectacular belfry, the work of Manuel Capelastegui.

Monumento a la Paz

The Peace Monument is a reminder of the 50th anniversary of the bombardment suffered by the town of Gernika in 1937, with the assistance of German and Italian troops.

The sculpture, located in the European Peoples Park, is the work of Eduardo Chillida and was constructed at the request of the Basque Government. The work is named: "Gure Aitaren Etxea" which means "Our Father's House".

Museo Euskal Herria

The Euskal Herria Museum in Gernika is based in a Baroque-style palace, built in 1733. This museum space is intended to disseminate the historical and cultural significance of the forum in which it is located, as well as to disseminate the different customs of Basque culture.

Its interior is divided into four floors. The ground floor hosts an exhibition on different ways of life of the country, the first floor focuses on historical evolution and political configuration, and finally, the second floor is dedicated to disseminate the sport, folklore, festivals and music of the region.

Parque de los pueblos de Europa

The European People's Park is located next to the Casa de Juntas in Gernika. The space, inaugurated in 1991, accommodates a wide variety of tree species and diverse sculptures of great interest such  as "Large Figure in a Shelter", the work of the Englishman, Henry Moore or "Gure Aitaren Etxea" (The House of our Father), by Eduardo Chillida, and the Humboldt bust.

Practical information:

Opening hours: Open daily (from 10:00 to 21:00).

Fundación Museo de la Paz

The Peace Museum is located in the centre of Gernika-Lumo, in the Plaza de Los Fueros. The museum aims to disseminate the history of Gernika and what it symbolizes worldwide in terms of human rights, peace, etc.

Practical information:

Timetable: Closes every Monday and the month of January. From March to September, from Tuesday to Saturday (from 10:00 to 19:00) and Sundays (from 10:00 to 14:00). From October to February, from Tuesday to Saturday (from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 18:00) and Sundays (from 10:00 to 14:00).

Entrance: General (€5), Reduced (€3), temporary exhibition (€1), Civil War refuge and Museum (€3.60), under 12 Years and Sundays (free).

Convento de Santa Clara

The Convent of Santa Clara is located in the town of Gernika. It was first established in 1422, being occupied by the Third Order of San Francisco. However, the current building, which is managed by the Santa Clara nuns, was built in 1880.

Attached to the convent, by a half-point arch, is the old Manor Hospital. Its construction was carried out by the command of the Corregidor Gonzalo Moro. In 1636, this was ceded to the nuns of Santa Clara. At present only the main building is preserved, but with a largely refurbished structure.

Services Markina - Gernika

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Services stage from Markina to Gernika

Map Markina - Gernika

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Map stage from Markina to Gernika

Profile Markina - Gernika

5.Perfil-Markina-Gernika

Profile stage from Markina to Gernika

Stage from Markina to Gernika
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