On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Bolibar to Zenarruza

June 6, 2015 — 4 Comments

If you are walking the Camino del Norte in the hills west of Markina-Xemein, please give yourself some time to visit the Colegiata de Zenarruza or Monasterio de Zenarruza. I wasn’t expecting the monasterio and was quite surprised when I visited late into a very long day. I was absolutely dead tired after walking over 32 kilometers from Deba, of which the last two hours were not planned. I arrived to the quiet grounds and felt a sense of peace and started to regain my strength. It also helped that I wasn’t carrying my backpack, as I left it in the near-by albergue where I would be staying the night.

I left my last post, On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Markina-Xemein to Bolibar, in the town of Bolibar. Let’s continue climbing with about 150 meters of elevation gain to Zenarruza. I couldn’t figure out what Ziortzara Doan Bidarria refers to. If you know, I’d appreciate a comment below. We’ll go right here…

Ziortzara doan bidarria sign spain


and start climbing to…

Bolibar path Camino del Norte Basque



an old cross overlooking the hillside. I love scenes like this!

Bolibar Zenarruza Basque camino crux



Similar to the previous day’s walk from Deba, the Camino between Markina Xemein and Gernika Lumo involves a lot of climbing with many ups and downs. It should not be taken lightly!

Bolibar Zenarruza Basque camino path



A good idea of the terrain you’re walking through.

Bolibar Zenarruza Basque camino farm hillside



This was a pleasant surprise! I enjoyed the sections of causeway on the Camino Francés, and although this one was probably not old, I still was amazed to walk along it.

Bolibar Zenarruza Basque camino causeway



After a good climb with little energy remaining, I arrived to the albergue in Zenarruza.

Zenarruza Basque Spain camino alberque



This albergue not only had a bed available, I had an entire dorm room for myself. When I last checked, there is also a hostel at the nearby monastery. This particular alberge was closed for a period but had reopened prior to the time of this writing. As always, carry the most current albergue guide. If you like quiet, sometimes you’ll find it in smaller places such as this one.

Zenarruza Spain camino del norte alberque



Zenarruza Spain camino norte alberque flowers



Zenarruza Spain camino norte farm wall



After checking in and dropping off my backpack, I went on the short walk to the Monasterio de Zenarruza which is just ahead.

Monasterio de Zenarruza Camino del Norte road


Another causeway on the way…

Monasterio de Zenarruza Camino del Norte causeway



This was late on a cloudy day and not all my photos turned out. I don’t have photos of the entire building but you can check out the Monasterio de Zenarruza website for more information.

Monasterio de Zenarruza Camino del Norte cross



The monastery has origins to the 10th century but flourished during the middle ages with the growing popularity of the Camino del Norte.

Monasterio de Zenarruza Camino del Norte arch



Information in Spanish. I’ll let you read it…

Monasterio de Zenarruza basque spain information



Monasterio de Zenarruza basque spain crosses



I believe this is the older church which would date to the 14th century. This look is representative of the simple style of architecture found in the mountains.

Monasterio de Zenarruza basque spain church



The peaceful cloister with no one else around.

Monasterio de Zenarruza spain Cloister



Panels of art depicting scenes from the bible.

Monasterio de Zenarruza spain painting



A courtyard between buildings.

Monasterio de Zenarruza spain courtyard



The office and what looks like the gift shop, obviously closed for the day.

Monasterio de Zenarruza basque office


I hope you get a chance to visit the Monasterio de Zenarruza one day. After my visit, I returned to the albergue in Zenarruza for the night. I was exhausted and concerned for my health. Although I was drinking, I felt dehydrated and wasn’t eating enough to sustain myself. I was also one of the few guests on the entire floor. It felt a little spooky and I took a while to fall asleep. On my next post, On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Zenarruza to Berriondo, we leave Zenarruza and continue walking through the hills toward Gernika. Please join me 🙂

If you have my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, or have ordered it, I really appreciate your support. It’s also out on Kindle and Kobo. My Goodreads and Amazon pages have reviews and more information. Please share this post, and thanks for your time.

About Randall St. Germain

Randall St. Germain, author of Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, is a middle-aged Canadian Boy who is passionate about nature, photography, hiking, music, and self-improvement. After the death of his mother, he chose to walk the famous pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, across the north of Spain, despite knowing little about it. He certainly didn’t plan to write a book until the latter days of his Camino. Similar to walking the Camino, writing and publishing a book was a learning experience. It was also very rewarding, and part of his ongoing journey. Please join him as he takes you along on his journey in Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, and on his blog Camino My Way.


4 responses to On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Bolibar to Zenarruza

  1. Great blog! I am hiking the Camino del Norte in may and we’re planning on camping. How feasible is this idea?

    • It’s likely that you could camp along the Camino, but weight and volume of the gear is an issue. Safety too. There are not a lot of designated campgrounds along the Camino but there is forest, parks, and beaches where you can pitch a tent. For me, I’d rather stay in an inexpensive albergue and odd hostal. I believe the albergues are part of the Camino experience. I’d say whatever you enjoy more, then that is what you should do. Hope that helps a little. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. This has been very useful. I am researching stops along the Camino del Norte and came across your blog when looking up Ziortza.
    I am looking forward to digging around for more information and to admire your lovely photos.
    This will be my fourth camino (Frances to Finisterre, Portuguese from Lisbon, Mozárabe from Málaga to Finisterre). I will be walking el Norte to Ribadeo and then taking the Ruta do Mar to Ferrol and on to the Ingles to Santiago. I also blog daily live from each camino, so appreciate the effort you have put into this site.
    Many thanks, Maggie (English living in Spain)

    • You’re welcome, Maggie. I didn’t blog live and wish I was further along on the del Norte here. I’ll keep posting, albeit slowly. I wish you a safe and pleasant Camino del Norte. Buen Camino 🙂

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