On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Deba to Ermita del Calvario

February 18, 2015 — 4 Comments

When I think about the Camino del Norte, the stretch between Deba and Markina-Xemein always comes to mind. This wasn’t the Camino Francés that was relatively tame for days after the initial climb through the Pyrenees. Between the two towns is over 25 kilometers of steep climbing, 3 altos, and numerous ups and downs. There were few facilities, and after misjudging my water needs, I found myself lacking in the afternoon. After walking 42 kilometers the previous day, my out-of-shape body was really tired, and my energy waned. And while the previous day was warm, this day was downright hot!

The stretch is very peaceful and pleasant through forest and farmland, and has some beautiful views early on. Please don’t take it lightly though, as it will feel like 35 kilometers for many pilgrims. Carry enough water and energy food, and take it slowly if needed on the climb from Deba. Fill your water at Olaz and carry extra. If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to stay the night at the albergue west of the Ermita del Calvario.

I left my last post, On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Itziar to Deba, at the municipal albergue after a long day. I started a little late and stepped out to this fine view over the town of Deba (formally Deva). Tourism and sevice industries along with more traditional ones such as fishing and farming are important to the town’s economy. The municipality of Deba has 130 hamlets scattered and we’ll visit a few of them along the Camino del Norte.

Deba Gipuzkoa Spain Camino del Norte


I am a bit of a purist on the Camino and tried to walk as much of the original route as possible. However, the elevator intrigued me and since the arrows pointed to the entrance, I thought it would be okay. Plus I didn’t know of any other way of getting down the hill.

Deba elevator Spain Camino del Norte



Time for a little ride…

Deba Spain Camino del Norte elevator



I didn’t realize how tall the elevator was until I looked back.

Deba Espana Camino del Norte elevator



I had a quick visit to the town center for food and a look at the Nuestra Señora de la Asunción. The church was locked but I understand it’s well-worth seeing inside. I continued on this scenic walk alongside the Deba River.

Deva Deba Spain Camino del Norte promenade



Deba River Spain Camino del Norte promenade



 The Camino climbs steeply once we leave the road.

Deba Spain Camino del Norte path



I’m not sure what this method of bailing hay is but I thought it was interesting.

Deva espana Camino del Norte haystacks



 Some of the paths were rough!

Deba track Camino del Norte Basque



Only 1.8 kilometers? Still a long walk ahead!

Deba sign Camino del Norte Basque



 A good climb rewards us with beautiful views as we get closer to the coastal town of Mutriku.

sea deba Camino del Norte Basque country



Mutriku biscay Camino del Norte Basque



The track on this day was mostly dirt trails and roads such as this one.

Mutriku path Camino del Norte Basque



 Overlooking Mutriku.

Mutriku bay biscay Camino del Norte


 Another climb to…

Mutriku trail Camino del Norte



the Ermita del Calvario which has scenic views of the sea and countryside. The church serves the direct small farming community but didn’t look that old.

Ermita del Calvario Maia Camino del norte



We’ll get no closer to Mutriku and have one of the last looks of the Cantabrian Sea for many days!

Cantabrian Sea Mutriku Camino del Norte



We’ll stop at this cross beside the road for a moment.

Ermita del Calvario Maia Camino memorial

I’ll leave my post near the Ermita del Calvario de Maia with Olatz still four kilometers away. Please join me on my next post, On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, Ermita del Calvario to Olatz, as I visited friendly donkeys but struggled, and slowed considerably in the heat of the afternoon.

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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, Deba to Ermita del Calvario

  1. The traditional method of packing the hay is called “belar-meta”. It has a central post on the newly cut grass accumulates. The grass withers on the “belar-meta”. To feed livestock hay is taken directly from the bottom of the “belar-meta” and grass falls above ground level around the central post. In this old picture (on the left) you can see how the “belar-meta” is used.

    The “belar-meta” is disappearing. Now they are big plastic balls that generate large amounts of waste. But these balls do not give much work to farmers.

    • Thanks again, Gonzalo. I saw the big plastic balls. We have them in Canada too. Belar-meta seems interesting though. They look attractive too in the right setting 🙂

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