Camino Del Norte Day 8 Bilbao to Playa de La Arena

Are you planning the next stage of the Camino del Norte from Bilbao ? 

Walking from Bilbao to Playa de la Arena is relatively easy but you get the reward of a fantastic small Cantabrian beach resort on arrival in Playa de Arena.

Bilbao to Playa De Arena Overview

  • Distance – 28km
  • From – Bilbao
  • To – Playa de La Arena
  • Terrain – pretty flat

We had a great night in Bilbao old town last night. The old cobbled streets are a miss mash of bars and cafes and the atmosphere was fantastic.

It was also pretty cheap as well. 2 large beers and a red wine was €4.50. We had to have a few of those.

After a few beers we had a meal of spaghetti washed down with a nice Rioja and then played cards whilst we watched locals and Pilgrims enjoy themselves. 

Pilgrim Burny is ahead at the moment in our Camino card tournament, I have some catching up to do.


As we set out from Bilbao on the journey to Playa de La Arena, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement and anticipation at being back on ‘the way’ again.

The Camino del Norte is a long and challenging route, but it is also one of the most beautiful and rewarding experiences a Pilgrim can have.

From the rolling hills and picturesque villages to the dramatic coastline and stunning beaches, every step of the way is filled with wonder and adventure.

We left the bustling city and walked out of Bilbao along the river heading towards the Vizcaya bridge.

walking from Bilbao to Play de Arena

As we approached the bridge, I was struck by its size and grandeur. Built in the late 19th century, it was the first bridge of its kind in the world and a true engineering marvel. 

Its distinctive design, with its hanging gondola that transports pedestrians and vehicles across the river, is a testament to the ingenuity and skill of its creators.

walking on the river from bilbao to playa de arena

The Vizcaya Bridge, also known as the Puente de Vizcaya or Bizkaia Bridge in Spanish, is a remarkable engineering marvel spanning the Nervión River. 

It connects the towns of Portugalete and Getxo, and is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the region.

The bridge was designed by Alberto Palacio, a disciple of Gustave Eiffel, and was built between 1887 and 1893. It was originally conceived as a solution to the problem of transporting people and goods across the river without obstructing shipping traffic.

This was critical for the region’s economy and was the first of its kind in the world featuring a hanging gondola that transports passengers and vehicles across the river. 

The gondola is suspended from four steel cables and carries 200 passengers at a time. 

The bridge has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site has also been featured in numerous films and TV shows, including the James Bond movie “The World is Not Enough”.

The Nervión river in Bilbao

The path along the Camino Del Norte was pretty boring and flat after passing the bridge. We had picked up supplies on the outskirts of Bilbao to have for lunch which is a really great way of eating really inexpensively

We picked a large long fresh bread roll, 1 beef tomato, some slices of cheese and 3 tins of sardines in tomato sauce. Cut the bread into 3, layer the tomato and cheese topped off with some lovely sardines. Does it get any better than this ?

Top Tip I always carry a Spork with me as can be used as a spoon, fork or knife and great for anything on the Camino.  It’s really light too.

Pilgrim Mark Stevens eating a sardine sandwich
Pilgrims having an impromptu lunch walking from Bilbao to Playa de Arena-2
Camino del Norte: Irún to Santiago along Spain's Northern Coast (Village to Village Map Guide)

Camino del Norte: Irún to Santiago along Spain's Northern Coast 

  • Author - Matthew Harms, Anna Dintaman & David Landis
  • Village to Village Map Guidebook
  • 96 pages
  • 3.5 ounces
  • 143 detailed stage, city and town maps and elevation profiles including town amenities

After lunch we walked for a couple of hours of easy walking before working our way out to the coast and wasn’t long before we could see the sea and our destination wasn’t far away.

Finally, I arrived at Playa de la Arena, a beautiful beach resort located on the Cantabrian Sea. The beach is known for its crystal clear waters, golden sands and stunning views of the coastline. If you are a surfer, you can rent surfboards as well.

As we sat on the beach, watching the waves crash against the shore, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for the amazing experiences I had on the Camino del Norte

It was the perfect place to rest and relax after a long walk.

Pilgrims on the beach in Playa de Arena
Pilgrim Mark Stevens jumping for joy on the beach in Playa de arena

We check into the La Arena beach sunset hotel in the centre of the village and settled down and had a few beers in the TIKI bar.

After a few beers, a game of cards we all settled in for a good nights sleep. The walk from Bilbao to Playa de La Arena was a nice easy walk and sets us up for a good day tomorrow.

Our next destination on Day 9 of the Camino Del Norte is a long walk to harbour town of Castro Urdiales.

Related Articles

More Articles

Free Camino packing List

I have developed a simple lightweight Camino packing list after walking The Camino de Santiago numerous times. If you want to travel with a lightweight pack this is the packing list for you.

Some of the links above are affiliate links via amazon and other partners, which means that I will receive a small commission should you purchase using my link. This doesn’t cost the purchaser any extra money and helps fund my adventures and ongoing content creation for all my readers.