Really, flying (from Bilbao) is the only sensible option if you want to go direct. Travel by land will take you around 11 hours by bus or train (a little quicker by private car).
Good Places to Stop En Route
There is so much to see in the 600km between these two cities. Transport connections are good between all the cities along the way (particularly by bus but often trains too), so whether you're traveling by car or public transport, it's easy to make stops along the way.
There are two routes I would suggest for this journey: the coastal route and what I will call the 'Camino Frances' route.
Travel along the Atlantic coast and visit the following cities:
- Bilbao Home to the Guggenheim museum
- Picos de Europa Spain's most beautiful mountain range
- Oviedo Try the local cider, the region's unique Asturian cuisine and see the 1,000 year old Pre-Romanesque churches
- Playa de las Catedrales Often described as Spain's most beautiful beach
- A Coruña Home to the Torre de Hercules Roman lighthouse and a vibrant tapas scene
Camino Frances Route
Named after the popular Camino de Santiago route, this path takes you to the cities visited by pilgrims on their way to Santiago:
- Logroño The capital of the Rioja wine region and perhaps the best city in Spain for tapas.
- Burgos Home to one of the most impressive cathedrals in Spain.
- Leon Free tapas all round! (Yes, really.)
How to Get from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela by Plane
There are no direct flights from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela, but you can get flights from nearby Bilbao to Santiago de Compostela.
How to Get from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela by Train
There is one train from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela, taking 11 hours and costing between 20€ and 65€. Book from Rail Europe. This is quicker and cheaper than the bus, though with the bus you have the option of traveling overnight (thus saving a lot of time).
How to Get from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela by Bus
The bus from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela takes between 11 and 13 hours and costs about 60€. The advantage over the train is that you can travel overnight. Book from ALSA.
How to Get from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela by Car
You have two choices for driving from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela. The more direct but slightly slower (due to inferior roads) takes about eight hours and follows the coast takes seven-and-a-half hours to cover the 730km journey, which takes in Bilbao, Santander, and Gijon along the way. Follow the A-8, A-67, E-70, A-6 and AP-9.
Alternatively, take the longer but quicker route that passes through Vitoria, Burgos, Leon and Ponferrada and takes seven hours to cover the 780km route. Follow the A-1/AP-1/Autovia del Norte, A-231, AP-71, A-6 and AP-9.
Read more about Renting a Car in Spain.