10.90km → Alonsotegi
To end of camino: 
500.00
Altitude: 
20

And another disclaimer — The Olvidado/Invierno combination is my all time favorite camino. So don’t expect balanced and objective information from this peregrina!

As always, the first task is to get yourself to Bilbao and get oriented. There’s a great airport bus, but of course that’s to be expected since you are in Spain. I don’t believe the tram goes to the airport, but the bus will drop you off at the station if you are going to a place served by the tram. But I just got off at the main stop and crossed the river to get to the old town where my pensión was.

Bilbao, in my...

History: 

Though settled by the Romans, the modern city of Bilbao didn’t really take root until the 14th century, alongside the majority of cities along the Basque coastline.

Within a few centuries iron ore would be discovered in the mountains nearby and the city would achieve a level of...

Fiesta: 

The main festival of Bilbao is known as La Semana Grande (though you will more likely see posters for ‘Aste Nagusia’); it celebrates the Assumption of Mary on the 15th of August. The 9-day celebration kicks off the following Saturday.

The Road: 

Day 1. Bilbao to Güeñes, 25 km.

The departure from Bilbao has changed since I walked the Olvidado from Bilbao in 2014. It now continues along the river past the Guggenheim and splits from the Norte when crossing a small tributary at Puente del Diablo. Comparing...

Accommodation in Bilbao at the start of the Camino Olvidado

Photo of Bilbao at the start of the Camino Olvidado on the Camino de Santiago
Photo of Bilbao at the start of the Camino Olvidado on the Camino de Santiago
4.60km → La Quadra
To end of camino: 
489.10
Altitude: 
29

Accommodation in Alonsotegi

Private

1

Albergue Mendizain
Private
Hotel Rural

2

Agroturismo Ordaola
Hotel Rural
Booking.com
Camino de Santiago Accommodation: Agroturismo Ordaola
4.00km → Sodupe
To end of camino: 
484.50
Altitude: 
50
5.40km → Güeñes
To end of camino: 
480.50
Altitude: 
56
To end of camino: 
475.10
Altitude: 
76

The 25 km option takes you to Güeñes. It is a good sized town, with all services.

Hotel Erreka.  It is a good sized town, with all services.
Report of a single room in 2018 — 38.5€ with breakfast. Yes, prices are higher in País Vasco. Recommended restaurant — Katay. 100 m from hotel, to the left in front of a furniture factory. Menú was 10€ in 2018.

There is an albergue on the outskirts of town, but it is only open to groups, not individual pilgrims. So, just ignore anything you see about it....

The Road: 

Day 2. Güeñes to Nava de Ordunte (22.5) or Villasana de Mena (27.5)

If you’ve slept in Güeñes, you will go through several good sized towns. Zalla at 4 km,  and Balmaseda is 5 km beyond that. Balmaseda has a very pretty old bridge with tower.

After...

Accommodation in Güeñes

Municipal

1

Albergue de Santxosolo
Municipal
36
1.90km → Mimétiz
To end of camino: 
472.90
Altitude: 
85
7.90km → Balmaseda
To end of camino: 
650.70
Altitude: 
91
To end of camino: 
462.90
Altitude: 
147

Balmaseda is the terminus for the Bilbao-Balmaseda train line, something to keep in mind if you are struggling to slice up these first kilometers into walkable sections.

Balmaseda has a very pretty old bridge with tower. In addition to the hotel I mentioned in the last post, it also has an albergue that takes pilgrims.

The Road: 

After Balmaseda, believe it or not, the País Vasco ends and the province of Burgos begins. The landscape becomes much less urban, lots of forests, nice dirt paths, and streams. This is not a stage of exceptional scenery, but it is very pleasant. Still not much...

Accommodation in Balmaseda

Municipal

1

Albergue Ikastola Zaharra
Municipal
Private

2

Albergue La Garbea
Private

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