Distance: 422 km
Date prepared: 0000-00-00
Date updated: 0000-00-00
A lovely bendy route that will bring us close to Pamplona while following the Basque coast until we reach Donostia, probably the prettiest town in the world.
We will drive into Navarre from the North, following the Urumea river, and reach our final destination after driving through towns such as Leitza and Lekunberri.
422 km. (37 sections)
Motorways and highways: 40 km
Local / Secondary: 382 km
SANTANDER - CA-652 (20 km)
As always we set our milometers on 0 before we start our bike and head for Bilbao, on secondary roads, to reach this big city by lunchtime.
And so we take the A-8, to get out of Santander as quickly as possible, and cover these easy 20 km before leaving this road at exit 197, towards Solares.
CA-652 - CA-266 (13 km)
We drive on the N-634 for a short stretch and leave it to join the CA-652 towards Entrambasaguas. We join this road in the town of Hoznayo, right beside the Minaya restaurant, a good place to stop and have breakfast if you haven't had any yet.
It's best if we don't go over 50 km/h on this road, as it is narrow and there are quite a few buildings alongside it, so get comfortable and enjoy the Cantabrian scenery with the mountains on the background.
Once past Entrambasaguas, Hornedo, Garzón and Riaño, we reach a Stop where we turn left towards Solorzano and Beranga.
CA-266 - Solórzano (3 km)
We continue on this road for 3 more km and reach Solorzano, where we leave the CA-266 to join a similar road: the CA-267, towards Sacadura and Bádames.
Solórzano - Bádames (11 km)
We drive east and, at the 40th kilometer point, we drive up Campo de la Cruz, at an altitude of 359m. It's not a great heigth, but the scenery is spectacular from this point, as we have been driving at sea level and the visual reach from this point is impressive.
We drive down on a bendy road until we reach Secadura. Four km on, we reach Badames, where we turn right, towards the south.
Bádames - San Pantaleón de Aras (1 km)
We drive on straight for a km and reach San Pantaleón de Aras, where we turn left towards Bueras and towards the Santuario de la Bien Aparecida.
San Pantaleón de Aras - CA-684 (10 km)
We are now on the CA-683, and the first 8 km are full of curves, until we reach Puerto de Campo el Hayal, 435 km over sea level, to then start heading down on a straighter stretch of road until we reach the Santuario de la Bien Aparecida, where, without noticing it, we will change roads.
CA-684 - CA-685 (5 km)
We are now on the CA-684, road which we will leave in 3 km, to join the CA-685 by turning right in a near u-turn towards Coterillo and Udalla. Be careful as you may drive past this crossroads.
CA-685 - N-629 (9 km)
We now drive south on the CA-685 following the Asón river. We drive past Fresno and at the 72nd kilometric point of the route and on a notably narrower road, we stop at a stop sign and continue towards Burgos.
N-629 - CA-150 (1 km)
After only a few metres, we reach another stop where we turn left to join the N-629 and, just a kilometre on, we leave this national road to join the CA-150, a secondary road, at the 72nd kilometric point.
CA-150 - BI-630 (6 km)
The next 6 km on this road, the CA-150, are nearly straight and make us temporarily leave Cantabria to enter the Basque Country. The landscape is pretty closed in, with an abundance of trees flanking the road, until it opens up as we reach the signpost that welcomes us into Euskadi (the Basque Country).
BI-630 - CA-152 (11 km)
We enter into Vizcaya, a province of Euzkadi, driving up the Alto de la Escrita, a mountain pass that reaches 430m over sea level, point at which we reach the 90th kilometric point of the route and which coincides with our re-entry into the province of Cantabria.
CA-152 - BI-630 (6 km)
And so we continue down this pass on a zigzagging road until, one third of the way through our route, we re-enter Euskadi and say goodbye to Cantabria.
BI-630 - BI-3614 (5 km)
Once in the Basque Country, we drive on the BI-630 towards the east. This road has good tarmac, is quite wide and is bordered by trees on both sides of the road.
After 5 km in which we don't pass through any towns, but drive through some neighbourhoods that belong to the town of Basauri, we change roads in the neighbourhood of Lehendakari Aguirre to head north-east on the BI-3614.
BI-3614 - Mercadillo (8 km)
We drive between two mountains on a third level road that is quite wide and has a lot of vegetation bordering it, so we can't see very far.
After driving over 8 km of wide curves, we reach Barrio Mercadillo and a roundabout where we take the third exit to continue on a straight road for a further kilometre. Here we turn right towards Galdames and Güeñes.
Mercadillo - Güeñes (13 km)
Very close to Bilbao, we continue driving on the BI-3631 towards Güeñes, town which we reach after driving for 13 km on a road with two tight turns at its end.
Güeñes - BI-3742 (12 km)
We leave Güeñes on the BI-3651 and drive on for 12 km, to enter Bilbao on this road, that runs parallel to the faster, double-lane BI-636 road. We are now at the 134th kilometric point of our route, and are inside the biggest city of the Basque Country.
As we are here, it would be sensible to visis the Guggenheim Museum and have a bite to eat in one of the near-by restaurants. After lunch, we continue towards Donosti on a road with a beutiful coastal scenery.
BI-3742 - Sopelana (29 km)
And so we leave Bilbao on the N-637, road which we leave to take the BI-637 towards leioa, Getxo and Plentzia until, at the 163rd kilometric point, we reach Sopelana.
Sopelana - Gorliz (9 km)
We start driving on a coastal road that will take us to our final destination, driving on the BI-2122 on which we will reach Gorliz after driving across the Butrón river.
Gorliz - Armintza (4 km)
Al Gorlitz we change roads and reach Armintza after driving 4 km on the BI-3151, a road with a few open curves.
Armintza - Bakio (14 km)
We leave Armintza and head towards Bakio on a bendy road, with the Cantabric Ocean accompanying us the whole way. Curiously, we will drive past the remains of the Lemoniz Nuclear power plant, which was never brought into action.
Bakio - Bermeo (12 km)
We drive towards Bermeo on the BI-3101, town which we will reach in 12 km. Half-way there we can take a detour to visit the San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Hermitage, a small island joined with the mainland with a small, two arch bridge, and a seemingly endless staircase. Once there, a sense of calm prevails.
Bermeo - Gernika (15 km)
Once past Bermeo, we drive into the Urdaibay nature reserve, and head for Gernika, a town famous because of its symbolic tree. We drive following the Mundaka river, and reach the town after diving 15 km of mostly straight road towards the south.
Gernika - Lekeitio (21 km)
We leave Gernica heading north and, 8 km on, we leave the natural reserve and reach Lekeitio at the 238th kilometric point of our route. This road is a well-kept stretch with plenty of curves and abundant vegetation flanking it.
Lekeitio is a quaint fishing village that has privileged views, adorned as it is by the isle of San Nicolás and the sea inlet of Lea, as well as by two beaches. You can make the most of these beaches to take a dip into the ocean, if it is summer and warm enough for it.
Lekeitio - Ondarroa (15 km)
We leave Lekeitio and drive on the BI-3438, until we reach Ondarroa, the last town in Vizcaya. The vegetation won't let us see the coast, but the curves and the salty smell let us know the ocean is still there.
Ondarroa - Deba (9 km)
We enter Gipuzkoa from the west, heading for Mutriku, town which find four km after Ondarroa. We drive on for another four km, crossing over the river Deba, before driving into the town of Deba, which bears the same name as the river.
Deba - Orio (34 km)
This is the longest stretch of this coastal route, and we start it by joining the N-634, road which we will stay on for 34 km.
We will lose sight of the coast until we reach Zumaia, where we will regain sight of the coast. We then reach Getaria, with a little isle that resembles a mouse (it's called the mouse of Getaria), and continue towards Zarautz, where the restaurant of a TV cook, Arguiñano, stands.
Once past Zarautz, we lose sight of the coast once more as we drive up the Zudugarai mountain pass, rising to just 90 m above sea level, and drive down a bendy road for two km, until we reach Orio.
Orio - DONOSTI (13 km)
If you are running late, we suggest continuing on the N-634 until you reach Donosti, but if you have 10 minutes, there's a country lane that will take you to Donosti over a mountain pass, without losing sight of the coast.
If you select this option, take the exit towards Igeldo at the roundabout that stands at the end of Orio. The kilometric point 0 of the road we were on is here, at this roundabout.
We go up a short bendy stretch as we drive towards Igeldo, which has a small amusement park and a lovely hotel with turrets, like a castle. The views onto the bay from the amusement park are spectacular.
When we finally leave Igeldo, we drive down a shors bendy stretch and reach Donostia by driving past the Ondarreta beach.
DONOSTI - Hernani (8 km)
We leave San Sebastian on teh A-15 and, after driving past the towns of Loiola and Martutene, we leave this fast road at Exit 169, towards Hernani.
We drive past a couple of roundabouts towards Goizueta until we reach one where, a few metres on, we find another roundabout that indicates the road we have to follow: the GI-3410.
Hernani - Entrada en Navarra (10 km)
We drive parallel to the Urumea river on a road with good surface for 40km. Along this stretch we will find picnic areas on the side of the road, great for a break if needed.
Along the banks of the river we can see old stone buildings, which were probably used to use water power for industrial activities.
Be careful and keep an eye out for cyclists who frequent this stretch, as they also like the not-too-tight zigzagging curves on this road.
Entrada en Navarra - NA-170 (30 km)
We enter into Navarra and start an ascent while still following the Urumea river. This is a narrow road full of curves and bends, uphill, and surrounded by thick foliage.
As well as the aforementioned stone buildings we can see “caserios señoriales” (big Basque manor houses) and we will be able to make out some stone towers through the foliage, now in disuse but likely once used for storing grain or other goods.
A slight incline takes us to Goizueta and its narrow streets. The uphill grows steeper until we are about 800m above sea level, and we will be able to see some hydroelectric power plants.
Then we will come to a t-junction opposite the Basa Kabi hotel.
NA-170 - Leitza (4 km)
Once past the hotel we start teh descent on a wide road, well kept, and with some tight bends, which takes us to Leitza.
We will drive through this town until we reach a roundabout just beside a petrol station, where we start the new leg.
Leitza - Lekunberri (14 km)
The 11 km separating the towns of Leitza and Lekunberri are on a well-kept wide fast stretch with some curves. It rises to the Uitzi high point to then go down until you reach Larraun and then there’s a level stretch to Lekunberri.
There are some “caserios” to be admired as you drive past, but beware! You may find cattle grazing on the sides of the road.
Lekunberri - Irurtzun (12 km)
Whether or not you decide to visit the town of Lekunberri, we will leave it by taking the A-15 which we will stay on until we reach Irurtzun by taking exit 113, passing through the Dos Hermanas (two sisters) mountain crags which stand imposingly on either side of the dual carriageway.
Irurtzun - NA-4120 (3 km)
We leave behind Irurtzun while driving on the N-240-A until we reach a stop sign, where we turn left to take the NA-4120 towards Muskitz, which takes us into the Iza Valley.
NA-4120 - NA-4100 (13 km)
Only 15km away from our final destination we are back on a lovely well kept local road, our favourite kind of road.
We will drive through Zia, where we can stop and have a drink at its fountain if necessary. The countryside changes between woods and pastureland where the typical herds of mares and flocks of sheep graze in contentment.
We drive past Muskitz and, at milepoint 13 we reach a stop sign where we turn right onto the NA-4100
NA-4100 - Aizoain (12 km)
The surface on this road is in worse state of repair than that on the previous stretch.
The scenery turns urban as we get close to Pamplona by driving through the houses of Berriosuso and Berrioplano, on the outskirts of Pamplona. After Berrioplano we reach a roundabout where this leg ends.
Aizoain - PAMPLONA (7 km)
We turn left at this roundabout and join the N-240-A, the old national road towards our final destination, Pamplona. Before we reach it, however, we will drive past Berriozar, a town that has been absorbed into the Navarrese capital.