From San Sebastian to Zarautz, Camino del Norte, stage no. 2




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Basic Details

  • Starting point: Center of San Sebastian
  • Ending point: Convent of the Franciscanos, Zarautz
  • Availability of alternative routes: YES, there is a small alternative detour on the coast close to Zarautz, to visit El cargadero de minerales Malla Harria o Mollarri de Zarautz (mineral loading area , interesting historic building that served to load the iron extracted from the Andazarrate mines, in the town of Asteasu, more than 10 km away to sea). It is a nice and short detour, worth taking.
  • Link to online map: Official camino route: here. Alternative route: here.
  • Distance: Official camino route: 20.7 km (download GPS here), Alternative route, 21.4 km (download GPS here) * the exact distance depends on where you sleep in San Sebastian.
  • Elevation difference: Official camino route: + 590, – 600m, Alternative route: + 610m, – 630m
  • Difficulty score: Official Camino route 3/5. Alternative route: 3/5
  • Beauty score: Official Camino route: 4/5. Alternative route: 4/5.
  • Terrain/asphalt: Official Camino route: 25%/75% , Alternative route: 35%/65%.
  • Next stage: Camino del Norte, stage no. 3, Zarautz – Deba.
  • Previous stage: Camino del Norte, stage no. 1, Irun – San Sebastian.


Elevation profiles for routes

-Official camino route, graph generated by

– Alternative route, graph generated by


Advanced info about the stage

  • Trail marking: This stage is well-marked and the trail is easy to follow. The only tricky point is the start in San Sebastian, as it is always the case in bigger cities. When walking, just make sure to always have the sea on your right, that means that you walk in the right direction :).
  • Alternative route info: This short alternative route is worth taking. You won’t find the detour marked directly on the route, but you should simply turn right once you approach the sign leading to “Camping Zarautz“. In theory, the trail should be marked by white/yellow marks (not arrows!), but they are rather sparse, and it is better checking your position on the map, or download the GPS file for this alternative route.  Following this route, you will make a little circuit, and reconnect with the “official camino” route just at the entrance of Zarautz, on the national road N-634.
  • Natural places worth seeing: The biotope near Zarrautz, on the alternative route.
  • Historical, architectural, and culinary places worth seeing: The mineral loading area, Mollarri de Zarautz, many nice (and pretty expensive) big houses of granite, that you can see in the sparsely populated areas along the camino way. Basque people are typically proud on their region and houses, and hence almost all “casas” are decorated with flowers and kept in perfect condition, at least on the outside. It is also interesting to see many signs, graffiti, or even billboards calling for independence of the Basque country, or for the liberation of political prisoners. You will see quite a few on this stage and on the next ones.
  • Camping/bivouac options on this stage: There are four official organized camping places along the route, to reach each of them you’ll need to walk a bit off the trail. Keep in mind that these places open only for summer, so if you walk the Camino anytime between October and May they won’t be open, and it makes no sense trying to go there. Camping on your own along the trail is definitely possible too, though this stage does not offer any “fantastic spot” really, and the way is often enclosed with fences, hence you need to really look for a spot and ideally pitch your tent only when darkness approaches. The locations of the official camping places are:
    • No. 1. (Close to San Sabastian) : Here
    • No. 2: (Close to Orio, if you want to take it easy for the day): Here
    • No. 3 (Camping Zarautz, good ending spot if you want to sleep close to Zarautz): Here.
    • No 4. (Another camping near Zarautz): Here.
  • Dog friendly score: 3/5. A lot of asphalt roads but on the other hand you have the breeze from the sea and often also protection from the sun. This part of the Camino is green and water is typically plentiful, so if your dog is fine with drinking from a random pool of rainwater, it will be fine and you do not need to carry a lot of water on you.
  • Special remarks: No special remarks.


Accommodation options on today’s stage

* The infographic displays the number of pilgrim hostels (only pilgrims allowed), hostels (anyone allowed, shared rooms), and other accommodation options (hotels, pensions, etc, private rooms) in each point along the route, together with price range. For exact explanation of the pictograms we use check the explanations page. Below the infographic you will see our recommended picks (up to 3 pilgrim options and 1-2 “privacy” options, maximum five) for the stage, together with important information (but not too much info, just what you need :-)).

Recommended places to sleep along this stage

Pilgrim options:

  1. Hostel Blai Blai Zarautz, Zarautz (km 22), location & reviews on Google maps here. New, clean, and with modern beds that afford a decent level privacy even in a hostel setting. It is the most economical option on the town of Zarautz, and actually the only hostel in town (many pilgrims walk further on to Getaria, see the info for next stage for this), seeking other economical options. The hostel is quite quiet and a good place for pilgrims especially outside of the months of July and August. In summer the vibe changes a bit with lot of surfers and you may not have the best sleep. Still, on this stage, this is the best pilgrim option. You can book in on for the best price on Hostelworld here. Price from 25 euros/night.
  2. Hostel Zarautz, Zarautz, km 22, location and reviews on Google maps here. Clean, with a very nice terrace, little bit further from the city center, frequented by pilgrims, good reviews across all platforms. Price from 27 euro/night (can go up in the high season). Lovely host, speaks well English. Contact and reservations directly on the website of the hostel. We recommend a phone call to +34 943 833 893 to make your booking for the best price.


Privacy/luxury options:

If you find any information on this page incorrect or outdated, or have a suggestion how to improve it for fellow pilgrims, please let us know. Thank you for helping the pilgrim community, and buen Camino 🙂
  1. Hotel Ur Bare, Zarautz (km 22). The best rated hotel in the zone, across all platforms. Location and reviews on Google maps here. Quiet and beautiful location right on the beach, all services spotless. Prices start at 200 euro/night in low season. Unforgettable views. At times organized groups on luxury Caminos stay here. You can reserve your night at here.
  2. Hotel Olatu, Zarautz (km 22). Location and reviews on Google maps here. A more economical option, very central, decent soundproofing of some rooms, considering the central location and all restaurants nearby. You can get a room for as low as 50 euro/night, but the prices may go up a lot in summer, especially in August. You can check it out on here.


Short description of the stage

  1. Beach/Center of San Sebastian – Scenic viewpoint (with a view of Igeldo lighthouse), 3.5 km. After a 2km long flat section in the city you eventually leave it, and take a trail to your right, climbing quite steeply to rejoin the asphalt road close to a parking place, and a further 200m ahead a scenic point awaits (see the first picture in the “photos” section below, I took it from this viewpoint).
  2. Scenic viewpoint – End of the asphalt road, 4.9 km. Following a pleasant country road with virtually no traffic and passing through colorful Basque settlements with huge houses and endless flower beds, you will gradually climb 150 meters on this section, eventually reaching the end of the road.
  3. End of asphalt road, Orio – Church of San Nicolas, 7,4 km. From now on you will alternate between sections on tarmac roads and pleasant trails, sometimes climbing a bit but mostly going down. Shady and sunny spots alternate too, and eventually you’ll drop all the way to the city of Orio, with all services (restaurants, bars, pharmacy, accommodation options etc). On this section of the hike you’ll climb 150 meters but drop over 300 (that’s quite a bit for the knees, so make sure to use your walking sticks).
  4. Orio – Zarautz (center of the city), 4.9 km on the official route, 5.7 km on the alternative route (over the Mollarri de Zarautz). This section is entirely on tarmac, and it is flat, with one steep hill in the middle, where on 800 meters you will climb 100 meters, reaching a high point where you can actually take the alternative road to the Mollarri de Zarautz. Eventually on both roads you will have to go down all the meters you have climbed from Orio, emerging in the center of Zarautz (with all services).


Pictures from the stage

-Igeldo lighthouse, on the cliffs right after San Sebastian

-Translation: “I ask for nothing more: A sky above me and a way to walk on under my feet”.

-Orio, the crossing of river Oria


– Mollarri de Zarautz, alternative route (a nice one to take, and makes just a little difference in elevation)

Few tips at the end

  • The stage doesn’t seem too long, but you’ll need to cover over 800 meters elevation, and some of the climbs are quite steep. What’s more, rain is more frequent in the afternoon in this part of Spain (when the clouds gather in the surrounding hills), hence it is better starting quite early, trying to reach Zarautz early in the afternoon.
  • Basque country is the most expensive part of Spain, and if you’re on budget, I strongly recommend you booking your place in Zarautz in advance. There are plenty of options on, but only few of them are “relatively budget“, meaning 20-30 euros/night for bed. If you do not make your booking in advance, you can easily end up paying 50+ euros/night in Zarautz, especially in July or August (the high season on Camino del Norte and north of Spain in general).


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