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Basque Coast and Bay of Bilbao, Basque Coast Walking Holiday

The Natural Adventure Company

Self Guided Walking Holidays and Cycling Holidays

Basque Coast to Bay of Bilbao


Basque Coast and Bay of Bilbao, Basque Coast Walking Holiday
Average rating:   5,  1 reviews
Activity type
Self Guided Walking
8 days & 7 nights
May - June, September - November


Day 1: Lekeitio
Day 2: Lekeitio
Day 3: Ea
Day 4: Mundaka
Day 5: Bakio
Day 6: Plencia
Day 7: Bilbao
Day 8: Departure

Overview for Basque Coast to Bay of Bilbao

The Basque coast is green, wild and steep, with old forests, stunning cliffs, beautiful beaches and estuaries. This jagged landscape has shaped the character of the Basque sailors and fishermen who have lived there for centuries. The coastal towns are quiet and charming. Enjoy this walking holiday along the coast from the rural tranquillity of the fishermen villages to the lively city of Bilbao. Take in the nature, culture and gastronomy of the Basque Country.


  • The coastal walks and the inland mountain views from Illuntzar Peak
  • Laida and Laga beaches, among the most beautiful in Spain
  • The Basque fishermen villages which have preserved their fascinating character and culture: Lekeitio, Ea, Elantxobe, Mundaka and Plencia
  • The iconic San Juan’s hermitage
  • The grand finale at the Bay of Bilbao
  • Enjoy lively Bilbao at the end of the week

Itinerary for Basque Coast to Bay of Bilbao

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Day 1: Arrive Lekeitio

Lekeitio is one of the most beautiful towns in the Basque Country. Visit its harbour, church, mansions and enjoy its bars by the sea.

Day 2: Lekeitio Walks

Today you can choose between two routes: Walk along the river Lea to Aulestia (15 km), or take a short bus ride to climb Illuntzar peak (726 m uphill and 14 km) with stunning 360º views. Return to Lekeitio using the excellent local bus service.

Day 3: Lekeitio to Ea

Start with the ascent of Otoio, rewarded by incredible views of cliffs and remote beaches. Descend to visit a couple of lonely coves and walk along the coast to the charming little coastal town of Ea.

  • Walking for the day: 13.7 km ↑↓600m or 8 km ↑↓300m if you start in Ispaster (optional bus transfer)
  • Overnight at Pension Bekale (modern, comfortable rooms)

Day 4: Ea to Mundaka

Start this stage along a nice coastal path and climb up to pretty Natxitua, the perfect place to take a short rest before walking into the unique town of Elantxobe, an authentic little fishing harbour. You can also take a short walk to Ogoño cliff offering impressive views. The first 8 km can be skipped by taking a bus or a taxi (paid locally). Head to Laga beach and from there climb up to pretty Akorda and to San Pedro de Atxarre hermitage, a magic place with probably the best views in the Basque Country. Descend to Laida beach, take off your shoes and enjoy a walk on the sand. Have a coffee (or a beer and tapas) at Atxerre bar, definitely a moment you will remember.

A taxi will pick you up at the beach to take you to Mundaka (or drop you in Guernica to explore this interesting town, to later head to Mundaka by train), but if you prefer a boat ride, during June and September you can take the small ferry to cross to the other side of the estuary.

  • Walking for the day: 17.5 km ↑↓630m or 13 km ↑↓600m or 10 km ↑↓600m
  • Overnight at Eco Hotel Mundaka (well located, friendly staff) or you can upgrade at a small extra charge to Atalaya Hotel (well located and elegant English-style hotel)

Day 5: Mundaka – Bermeo – San Juan – Bakio

Take the train or walk to Bermeo, a lively and interesting fishing town, from where you hike to the San Juan de Gaztelugatxe hermitage, one of the most famous and iconic places in the Basque Country. After that, head to Bakio along a quiet lane with great views and enjoy the beach and the surf of this coastal town.

  • Walking for the day: 13.5 km ↑↓630 m or 17.5k m ↑↓800m (shorter option with bus transfer)
  • Overnight at Arimune (small hotel by the beach), Villa Isabela (lovely room in a villa; shared bathroom!), or Joshemari (friendly hotel with a nice bar and terrace)

Day 6: Bakio to Plencia

Hardcore walkers can take the challenge of the full stage, and even climb up to Jata, a hill with amazing views. Most mortals will travel with luggage to the small harbour of Armintza and walk the beautiful cliffs for the last 12 km to Plencia, a lovely town with a great beach, an estuary and an interesting Gothic town centre.

  • Walking for the day: 23km ↑↓980m or 12km ↑↓ 500m) (shorter option with transfer)
  • Overnight at Hotel Kaian (nice hotel in the harbour), Bahia Plencia (nice hotel close to the river) or Casa de Marinos (small hotel close to the river, with nice restaurant and bar)

Day 7: Plencia to Bilbao

Walk the cliffs from beach to beach, with views of the whole coast and even of faraway Cantabria, and then, all of a sudden, after the Punta Galea cape – the Bay of Bilbao! Enjoy this last part with magnificent views and head to the pretty old fishing harbour of Algorta. You can keep walking along the promenade for one more hour to the end of the Bay and admire the fantastic hanging bridge, built in 1890, or you can take the metro in Algorta and stop to visit the bridge and later head to Bilbao’s town centre, where you will stay. The length of this stage is variable: you can walk the full length or take a bus at the start and stop at different places of interest.

  • Walking for the day:  Choice of 22, 18, 15 or 11km ↑↓450m
  • Overnight at Hotel Cosmov (nicely decorated hotel located close to the Guggenheim), Caravan Cinema (highly rated boutique pension in the old town), , or Basque Boutique Hotel (nicely decorated pension in the heart of the old town)

Day 8: Departure

Departure, or stay for a few more days in Bilbao.

Hotels for Basque Coast to Bay of Bilbao

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On this walking holiday, you will be staying in nice 3-star hotels and pensions. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Sample hotels: Hotel Silken Palacio Uribarri, Palacio Oxangoiti, Pension BekaleEco Hotel Mundaka, Atalaya HotelVilla Isabela, Hotel Kaian, Bahia Plencia, Hotel Cosmov, Caravan Cinema, Basque Boutique Hotel,

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.


Breakfast is included on all days. When no restaurant location is available on route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before.

Travel for Basque Coast to Bay of Bilbao

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Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Bilbao.

Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.

Transfers to/from Airports

Private Transfers

Airport transfers by public transport are recommended for this trip.

Baggage Transfers

All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on walking days are included (maximum one piece of 20 kg per person).

Country Info

Up-to-date travel advice on Spain is available here.

Detailed travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info for Basque Coast to Bay of Bilbao

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Difficulty Grade: Moderate

This holiday is appropriate for experienced walkers (no high mountain experience required) and requires a good level of fitness (read more about difficulty grades). On many days there is a choice of easier or more demanding walks.

Route Navigation

We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available in April, May, June; September, October and early November. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season.


Generally, in this part of the range, winds blow from the humid Atlantic north, creating cooler, cloudier and wetter conditions on the French side. The southern-facing Spanish side, where our walking takes place, sits in the rain shadow and enjoys a much better climate, usually dry and sunny during the summer. The best months to come are May and October.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (cotton or preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included for Basque Coast to Bay of Bilbao

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  • Detailed holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps
  • GPS tracks
  • 7 nights in small hotels or guesthouses
  • 6 breakfasts (no breakfast in Bilbao) and 1 dinner (in Ea)
  • Taxi lift at the end of Day 4 (in the case you prefer it to the optional boat transfer)
  • Taxi lift at the start of Day 6
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office / representative

Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements

  • Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable.
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers. As costs are not shared, a supplement is payable on the standard trip cost

Please click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above to see the price of the holiday and the different options, extras and supplements for your desired dates.

Other Trip-Related Costs

  • Entrance fees for attractions and museums


  • Flights and airport transfers
  • Bus ticket from Bilbao to Lekeitio (around 4€)
  • Bus tickets from Lekeitio or back for optional shorter walks (around 1.5€) on Day 2
  • Boat tickets (around 3€) for the optional boat trip on Day 4 available in June and September
  • Train tickets from Guernica to Mundaka or Bermeo (around 1.5€)
  • Metro or bus tickets at the start or end of Day 7
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches, dinners (dinner in Ea is included), breakfast in Bilbao
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme

Extensions and Optional Extras

  • Extra night in Bilbao after the holiday

Gallery for Basque Coast to Bay of Bilbao

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Reviews for Basque Coast to Bay of Bilbao

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Basque Coast and Bay of Bilbao
Average rating:  
 1 reviews
by Christine and Alan on Basque Coast and Bay of Bilbao

This part of Spain is very different from most of the country being very green. There is great variety in the area covered by these walks with first-rate hills and a lovely rocky coastline, full of character. There are some fine sandy beaches and an area of coastal marsh that is excellent for birds. We only met Spanish people on the walks and had the impression that visitors from overseas were most unusual except in the larger towns.

The hill we climbed on the first day was stunning, such that we did not expect the other days to be anywhere near so good. We were wrong; the rest of the holiday lived up to the promise of the start but with an amazing amount of variety. San Juan, with a short climb to a hermitage on a rocky island in the sea reached by a causeway, was spectacular.

The maps were accurate, well-drawn and clear; the notes were easy to use and to the point. Everything had been very well thought through and route finding was never a problem. The background booklet provided all the information anyone could possibly want.

The Basque people were very welcoming and hospitable, going out of their way to be helpful. The accommodation and hosts gave us just what we needed at the end of each day and the local food, especially the seafood and tapas, was most enjoyable.

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