Camino del Norte Day 5 Markina To Gernika

The Camino del Norte Day 5 Markina to Gernika is a tough stage of the Camino del Norte and one to be aware off before setting off for the day. We have some hills to climb !

elevation chart from
elevation chart from

Day 5 Markina to Gernika

Last night we played cards and eat pinxtos as well as chilling out. We topped this off with some amazing food and a few beers. Markina is a really great town. We knew we had a tough day so hit the sack early.

Camino del Norte Day 5 Overview

  • Distance – 31km
  • From – Markina
  • To – Gernika
  • Terrain – tough
  • 38,000 Steps
  • 4,673 Calories
  • 252 Floors 

We were once again early to bed and I was asleep by 10 after waiting for all the other pilgrims to get into bed.

The alarm rang and we we’re up and on the trail just after 6am.

As soon as we left Markina we walked through fields and into a path in the woods. We crossed the River Artibai a couple times and are headed for the village of Bolibar for breakfast.

We’re in Basque Country now and our destination of Gernika is regarded as the heart of the Basque Country. We found a sign telling us just that which Bob proudly displayed. !

pilgrim basque country sign

The Camino del Norte is a challenging trail and the section from Markina to Gernika is no exception. 

The trail is known for its rolling hills, steep climbs and rough terrain and is a physically demanding hike. However, many people find that the effort is well worth it for the beautiful views and I can confirm they are breathtaking.

We left Bolibar after having no breakfast as none of the cafes were open. We ended up just resting in Bolibar Plaza in the early morning sun.  It was pretty serene.

Bolibar plaza

One of the highlights of this stage is the Monastery of Zenarruza and that is where we are heading to next. There is a steep climb directly from Bolibar and we just took short steps and worked our way up slowly.

I found this strategy works well for me taking shorter steps but keeping a good pace up until you get to the summit.

I always use walking boots with high ankle support and have found that they have become really helpful on this Camino with all the descents and ascents. My walking boots are a German boot called Meindl Meran GTX. Check them out.

the monastery at Zenarruza

Monastery of Zenarruza

The Monastery of Zenarruza is a historic monastery located along this stage of the Camino del Norte route. It is situated on a hillside overlooking the town of Markina below and the views of the surrounding countryside are amazing. 

The monastery was founded in the 12th century and was an important centre of religious and cultural activity for many centuries and is one of the bestl preserved monasteries in the Basque Country.

Visitors to the monastery can explore its stone cloisters, peaceful gardens and its historic church which contains beautiful stained-glass windows and intricate carvings.

In addition to its historical and architectural significance, the Monastery of Zenarruza is also known for its peaceful and contemplative atmosphere.

Many pilgrims choose to visit the monastery as a place of rest and reflection along their journey on the Camino del Norte.

Whether you are a seasoned pilgrim or simply looking to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life, the Monastery of Zenarruza is a must visit destination along this stage of Camino del Norte.

large door at the monastery of zenarruza
Camino del Norte Day 5 Markina to Gernika

Today’s hike was very similar to yesterday with a couple of big ascents and climbs. The countryside was just pine forests and streams with the odd monastery and hamlet thrown it.

We walked through Munitibar where we managed to get a coffee and some cake which was well received. We needed some food.

The rest of the days walk was lots of up and downs and the scenery continued to amaze us.

scenery on the camino del norte
pilgrims looking down a valley on the camino del norte


Gernika is a town steeped in history and culture and is one to definitely visit for any Pilgrim walking the Camino del Norte.

The town is best known as the site of a bombing during the Spanish Civil War in 1937, which inspired Pablo Picasso’s famous painting “Guernica” which is housed in the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid.

Visitors can also visit the town’s Peace Museum, which offers a thought provoking look at the history of the bombing and its aftermath.

In addition to its historical and cultural attractions, Gernika is also a charming town with plenty to see and do. Be sure to check out the town’s impressive church, the Palace of Ajuria Enea, and the stunning Basque Parliament building, which dates back to the 16th century.

The bar and café culture is also really interesting and fun. We booked a private room at the hotel Bolina for the night and had a few beers and chilled in the evening sunshine.

Albergues in Gernika


  • 70 beds
  • €18 per person
  • Open April to October
  • Washing facilities, terrace, lounge


  • Double rooms
  • €65 per room
  • Open all year
  • 24 hr reception


  • Double rooms
  • €50 per room
  • Open all year
  • Reception

Tomorrow we march for Bilbao. One way or the other…. all dependant on knees and someone’s hurting a lot after todays walk. I’ll leave you with this cracking pic of the three of us.

pilgrim shadows

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