If you have stayed 2 nights in Bilbao, as we recommended, your body will be eager to get back on the road.
If, because of time, or because the city is still attracting you, you will have decided to continue without taking a day off for sightseeing, surely you will also find yourself much stronger today, after yesterday’s lighter stage.
On this stage, there are some pilgrims who decide to start their journey from the capital city of the Basque Country, to them, we welcome you.
Let’s continue on the Camino del Norte!
Much of today’s route takes place in urban areas. Leaving Bilbao will take some time, walking through its old town and passing through some of its suburbs and shopping areas.
Then, we move forward in the company of the River Nervión to Portugalete, the municipality with the highest population density in Spain. Not without first crossing the magnificent Puente Colgante.
If you are thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago from Bilbao tell us what your plans are for the Camino de Santiago and we will contact you to advise you on everything you need.
Itinerary stage Bilbao – Portugalete
Today’s stage is just under 20 kilometres long. Contrary to what one would expect, given its strong urban character, slopes remain on this stage. The one that will need the most effort will be the climb to Monte Kobetas.
Bilbao (km. 0). Beginning of stage
Practical tips for this section: In this section, you will face the climb to Mount Kobetas. It involves an ascent of 180 metres in a distance of less than a kilometre, so make sure you have breakfast before starting the climb so that you do not lack the energy. Buen Camino!
We start the day on one of the seven primitive streets of Bilbao, Tendería, which flows into Calle de la Ribera, which we continue along, on the left, passing next to the large La Ribera Market. 120 metres after this, we leave the street on the right hand to cross the River Nervión by the San Antón Bridge.
After the junction, we turn right, by Calle Bilbao la Vieja, which leads us ahead to Calle San Francisco. We arrive at Plaza Zabalburu and continue straight ahead, for 1.3 kilometres, along the long Calle Autonomía, until linking with Avenida Montevideo (km 2.7).
Shortly after passing the Basurto Health Centre, we turn left, to go along Calle Lezeaga. Next, by a pedestrian path that zigzags, we arrive at Camino Kobetas, where we can again enjoy magnificent views of the city (km. 4.4).
Next to the Bilbobus stop, we turn left to descend, by a stony path, the other side of Mount Kobetas. During the descent, we turn left to take a curve. We pass a gate and continue to the road, by which we continue to descend.
After a tunnel, we reach the Estrada Bizkorta, next to the Basurto-Castrexana road. We continue to the left and take the junction to Las Delicias, where we cross the River Kadagua across the Devil’s Bridge (km 6.8).
Puente del Diablo – Las Delicias (km. 6,8).
Practical tips for this section: In this section, you will advance along a medieval road, which was the Camino Real, used by traders arriving from various points in Europe, who continued down to Castile. Buen Camino!
We enter the neighbourhood of Delicias-Urgozo, in the municipality of Barakaldo, and after crossing the tracks we go up the asphalt track that heads towards Santa Agueda. After several curves, we leave the track on the left, to advance along a medieval road surrounded by the mixed forest of Larrazabal.
The road leads us again to the track that leads to the Chapel of Santa Agueda, with a fountain (km 7.9). We continue along a paved track that descends to the district of Cruces in Barakaldo, with an emblematic hospital.
At the roundabout at the entrance (km. 11), we turn left, by Calle La Paz, to the football field. We skirt around it and go down to the bike path, which has a walkway for pedestrians. We go to the side of the River Castaños to a tunnel, where we turn right, to continue along Calle Ametzaga de Retuerto.
We cross the national N-634 road through an underpass and access the parish of Retuerto (km. 12,2), in Barakaldo.
Retuerto (km. 12,2).
Practical tips for this section: On this section, you will arrive at the Town Hall in Sestao, there you must turn right. It is easy to miss seeing the metal plate that signals the turn. Buen Camino!
Leaving behind the Sagrado Corazón Church, we continue along a narrow street and at the end of it, we turn to the right, by Calle Euskadi, under the motorway.
At the roundabout, we continue on the left, next to the Kokoxily restaurant, and we take Avenida de la Ribera towards Megapark.
At the entrance to the huge shopping centre, we follow a bike path on the right, to the end of the complex. On the left, we descend downstairs to the River Galindo, where we find a post for the Camino de Santiago indicating the distances to Sestao and Portugalete.
We advance a little more than a kilometre, cross the river and enter a declining area, where the Sociedad Cooperativa Aurrerá is located. We cross this unpopulated stretch and climb the slope of the Gran Vía de José Antonio de Aguirre, in the Kueto area.
We pass beside the Kueto Health Centre and reach the Sestao Town Hall (km. 17.8), where we turn right, going down Calle Aizpuru. We follow the mouth of the River Nervión to the Hanging Bridge that gives access to Portugalete, our destination today.
Portugalete (km. 19,7). End of stage
Practical tips for this section: Portugalete is the municipality with the highest population density in Spain, so we could not say that the end of the stage today, this is a place to relax. See you tomorrow!
Portugalete is a town with a high population density but also with a beautiful old town, declared as an Artistic Historic Site.
Among its medieval walls, you can find places of great interest such as la Torre de Salazar, the Basílica de Santa María and Convento de Santa Clara. You should not miss the Paseo de la Canilla, next to Canilla Station, and La Muelle de Hierro, where a peculiar tool, a mareograph, is located.
If after the walk you want to know more about the industrial past of the city, you can visit the Museo de la Industria.
If you prefer to continue walking, we recommend visiting La Casa Consistorial, Gran Hotel Puente Colgante, Kiosko de la Música and the Palacio Lexarza.
Comments stage Bilbao – Portugalete
Here’s how to access Bilbao, if you join the Camino del Norte, as well as some recommendations for today’s stage.
How to get to Bilbao
Getting to Bilbao is relatively simple, as it has different main roads and motorways that connect the Basque capital easily with Lugo, Aragon and Santiago de Compostela.
Buses link Bilbao with the main Spanish cities, as well as some international destinations. It can also be accessed by train from cities such as León, Santander or Madrid, among others.
12 kilometres from the city centre, the airport that offers scheduled flights, both to Spanish and international destinations is located.
Precautions stage Bilbao – Portugalete
Once again, the Camino del Norte gives us another leg-breaking day. What could be an urban walk becomes a physical test with the climb to Mount Kobetas and then to the Chapel of Santa Agueda, which forces us to overcome an elevation of 180 metres in just over a distance of a kilometre.
However, the stage does not mean any additional difficulty for people with reduced mobility or cyclists.
On this day, it can be exhausting to look for directions for the Camino de Santiago, arrows, poles or tiles, among so much urban signage. The route is well signposted but the presence of other indications can make it difficult for us to see them as clearly as in other sections of the Camino del Norte.
Food stage Bilbao – Portugalete
On today’s stage, you can delight in some of the dishes that we recommend below. Tomorrow we will enter Cantabria, so it is your last chance to enjoy Basque cuisine.
- Perretxicos (mushrooms)
- Baby Squid with Onions
- Pork soup with potatoes
- Purrusalda (Leek Soup)
- Txangurro (Basque Crab)
- Goxua, a cream and caramel sweet
- Basque cake
Services stage Bilbao – Portugalete
Meet the main health care services, cafes, ATMs, restaurants and are in this stage of the Camino del Norte.
Map stage Bilbao – Portugalete
Consult the map with the route, points and towns along the stage.
Profile stage Bilbao – Portugalete
Consult the profile of the stage: altitude and degree of difficulty of each section.
What to do stage Bilbao – Portugalete
Here are some points with historical and cultural interest that you’ll find on today’s tour. We also provide you with information about them so that you can enjoy the visit even more.
Ermita de Santa Águeda
The Chapel of Santa Agueda is located at the foot of the Camino de Santiago, in Kastrexana, Barakaldo. Its construction dates back to 1584, although it has undergone numerous renovations over time.
The last modification was made at the end of the 20th century, which is why, today, it presents a renewed appearance, without remains of the original church.
Its interior highlights the main altarpiece, in rococo style, which covers the images of Santa Agueda, Santiago and Santa.
Puente de Bizkaia
The Bizkaia Bridge, or Hanging Bridge, is the junction point between Portugalete and Getxo, located in the place where the estuary of Bilbao widens to flow into the sea.
It was inaugurated in 1893 and was designed by Alberto Palacio and Elissague. In 2016 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Hanging Bridge was the first ferry bridge made with a metal structure, formed by four towers of 61 metres in height, connected to each other by a walkway, located 45 metres above the sea. The building is painted in a blood red colour.
The visitor who wants to know in depth about this peculiar building can join one of the guided tours that take place, in which you ascend to the anchor pool, visit the terraces or take the elevator to cross the walkway.
Price of the guided tour: 9 euros (the tour is given with an audio-guide in Basque, Spanish, English and French.
Portugalete is within the metropolitan area of the city of Bilbao and has just over 47,000 inhabitants. The old town, declared an Artistic Historic Site, is located within the walls that during the Middle Ages protected the centre.
In this area are located some of the buildings of great interest, such as the Salazar Tower, the Basilica de Santa Maria and the Convent de Santa Clara.
A tour of the Paseo de la Canilla, next to which Canilla Station is located, and the Iron Pier, where a mareograph is located, will help the visitor to better understand the city. You can also visit the Museo de la Industria if you want to dig deeper into the economics of the place.
From the point of view of civil architecture, the Consistorial House, Gran Hotel Puente Colgante, Kiosko de la Música and Lexarza Palace are also of interest.
Basílica de Santa María
The Basilica of Santa Maria is located in the old town of Portugalete and its construction dates back to 1492. The Gothic-Renaissance-style temple was built on another simple church. The aspect of the basilica we observe today is due to the renovation carried out in 1691.
The basilica consists of three naves and an octagonal apse. On the outside, you can see two medieval gargoyles, supported by the buttresses. The two doors in the temple are in Renaissance style.
The main altarpiece stands out from the interior, which combines different styles. On its sides, you can see various Gothic-Flemish paintings, such as the portrait of the Virgin of the Pear and the Coronation of the Virgin.
Hours: In summer it is open daily, Monday to Friday (from 10:30 to 13:30 and from 16:30 to 19:00) and Sundays (from 10:30 to 13:30).
Mass times: From 1 September to 30 June, working (19:00), eve (18:30) and public holidays (12:00).
The Portugalete Town Hall is located in a historic building built in 1883, designed by the architect Atanasio Anduiza, although it was renovated and expanded in 1985, to make better use of its space.
The construction has a neoclassical style and is rectangular in plan, with austere low arcades. Currently, the highlight of the building is its ornamental elements, such as the wrought iron railings on its balconies, the Corinthian columns attached to the façade or the city sheild, located on the ledge.
Hours: Closed On Saturdays and Sundays. Open Monday to Friday (8:00 to 14:00).
Convento de Santa Clara
The Convent of Santa Clara de Portugalete is baroque in style and was founded in 1614. The most noteworthy thing about the construction is its main façade, of Plateresque renaissance style. It is presided over by a triumphal arch and topped with a niche that houses the image of Santa Clara.
In 1987, the building was acquired by the City Council and today, it houses the Portugalete Cultural Centre, the cloister having been transformed into a landscaped area and an amphitheatre.
Hours: Monday to Friday (8:00 to 21:30) and on Saturdays and Sundays it is open according to the schedule of events. It is closed in August.
Paseo de la Canilla
The Paseo de la Canilla is a landscaped promenade that runs parallel to the estuary and allows the visitor to get to know the town of Portugalete better. In the centre of the promenade a fountain presided over by four marble sculptures symbolizing the seasons of the year is located.
In the final part of the tour, there is another sculpture made of bronze, which represents man’s struggle to dominate the estuary.
Estación de la Canilla
Canilla station is located on the Old Pier next to Paseo de La Canilla in Portugalete. The building is classical in style and its construction was carried out in the late 19th century, to house the Bilbao-Portugalete train station.
Currently, the station is no longer in operation and inside, it houses the Tourist Office, the delegations of the Department of Procurement and Purchasing, together with the Economic Promotion and Employment Area.
Gran Hotel Puente Colgante
The Gran Hotel Puente Colgante is located in the vicinity of the Bizkaia Bridge, in a 19th-century building. Although the building was completely rebuilt to suit the needs of the hotel, as can be seen, the façade has been almost entirely conserved.
Kiosko de la Música
The Kiosko de la Música is located in the Plaza del Solar in Portugalete. The building was built in 1912 by Emiliano Pagazaurtundua.
Its name is because in olden days this space hosted Sunday concerts and parties in which the Municipal Music Band played. Today, the kiosk is a meeting place, in which nearby, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, a country market is installed, where flowers and products from the countryside are sold.
Muelle de Hierro
The Iron Pier of Portugalete was built between 1881 and 1887 by the engineer Evaristo Churruca, in order to end the shipwrecks that were produced in the area. The construction extends over 800 metres in length, of which 600 are iron and 200 are stone.
The construction of the pier facilitated the development of the activity of the port of Bilbao and quickly became one of the safest ports in Spain. Today it houses a busy promenade, from which you have beautiful views of the estuary and the Hanging Bridge.
The Mareograph is located at the end of the Iron Pier of Portugalete. It is a nautical instrument manufactured in Paris and installed there, in 1883, by the Port Works Board.
The purpose of this nautical tool was to measure the depth of the channel, recording the rise and fall in sea level. The need to control these measures was essential, in the old way, for ships to cross, saving them from the dreaded sandbanks.
Monumento a Víctor Chávarri
The monument to Victor Chávarri is located in the Plaza del Solar de Portugalete. The monument was erected in 1903 and is the work of Miquel Blay.
The structure consists of the bust of Victor Chávarri, to whom the monument pays homage, for his work in the development of the economy and politics of the Basque community in the late 19th century.
Surrounding the bust appears the figure of two workers, representing those who worked thanks to him.
Museo de la Industria
The Portugalete Industry Museum was started in 1993, although it was not opened until 2006. The space aims to disseminate and preserve the remains of the industrial past of the Basque Country.
Currently, the museum space has a large number of collections, with which it aims to become a regional reference.
Hours: Closes on Mondays. From April to September, it is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (10:00 to 14:30), Friday and Saturday (10:00 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 19:00), Sundays and public holidays (from 10:30 to 15:00).
From October to March, it is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays (9:30 to 13:30), Thursday and Friday (9:30 to 13:30 and 15:00 to 17:00), Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays (from 10:00 to 15:00).
Admission: General (2€), persons with disabilities and students aged 14 to 26 years (1€), under 14 years and retirees 65 years of age or older (Free).
The Lexarza Palace is located in Doctor Areilza Park, next to the Chapel and the House of Spiritual Armies of San Ignacio de Loyola, with the three buildings forming a beautiful neoclassical set.
The palace, built in the 19th century, has a quadrangular floor and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. In the centre of its façade, you can see a shield which shows the Lexarza family lineage.
Torre de Salazar
The Salazar Tower is located in the old town of Portugalete. It is an old tower house from the 15th century, owned by the Salazar family. In 1958, it was rebuilt by the architect Joaquín de Yrizar.
In 2003, the City Council acquired the tower and rebuilt it in order to adapt it for cultural activities. Today, the tower house houses a museum where you can contemplate a variety of elements related to the history of Portugalete and Salazar.
Hours: Closes on Mondays. Open Tuesday to Friday (17:30 to 20:30), Saturdays (11:00 to 1:00 and 17:30 to 20:30), Sundays and public holidays (11:00 to 14:00).