Travel Guide

The Northern Camino de Santiago – a complete information

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The Camino del Norte is a spectacular mixture of gorgeous shoreline passing seashores and fishermen villages and inexperienced mountains, pasture fields, and plush forest. If you wish to see each; the ocean and the mountains the Northern Method is a superb path to stroll. This Camino is also called one of many hardest routes of the Camino de Santiago because of its mountainous terrain with frequent climbs and drops. If you wish to escape the crowds and go extra off the overwhelmed observe, the Northern Method is a superb different to the favored French Camino de Santiago.

The Northern Method of St.James route overview

  • Camino del Norte is among the pilgrimage routes of the Camino de Santiago.
  • Whole distance – 835 km.
  • Start line – Irún, a city within the Basque Nation on the border with France.
  • Ending level – Santiago de Compostela.
  • Lodging – public & non-public albergues, hostels, motels.
  • Common value – 25-30 Euro per individual per day.
  • The route is marked with yellow arrows and shells.
  • The Camino will be walked, cycled, or carried out on a horse.
  • The Northern Method crosses 4 Spanish areas: the Basque Nation, Cantabria, Asturias, and Galicia.

For an in depth daily itinerary that features strolling levels, distances, locations to remain, highlights, and challenges of the Camino take a look at our Camino del Norte strolling levels submit.

Our YouTube video in regards to the Camino de Santiago

Sensible information for planning the Camino

Each pilgrim wants a Credential. You’ll be able to stroll the Camino with out it however you gained’t be capable of keep in public albergues and gained’t get the Compostela on the finish of your stroll. You will get it from a Camino de Santiago workplace in your nation or purchase it on arrival. Normally, albergues, data workplaces, and a few church buildings alongside the route promote them. Each time you keep at an albergue or a lodge you get a stamp. Remember the fact that for the final 100 km to Santiago you want two stamps per day in an effort to get you Compostela. One stamp you will get at a spot you keep and one at a bar or a restaurant alongside the route. Don’t lose your Credential should you do it’s principally unimaginable to recuperate it.

On the finish of the Camino on the Pilgrim’s Reception Workplace in Santiago, you will get the Compostela. It’s a free certificates along with your title and the title of the Camino you’ve accomplished.

There may be one other certificates that you would be able to get for ending the Camino – the Certificates of Distance. It prices Three Euro. This Certificates comprises extra particulars: your title, the title of the Camino you’ve accomplished, the full distance, the start line, beginning, and ending dates, and so on. On the Pilgrim’s Workplace, you should purchase a Tubo (cardboard tube) for two Euro to place your Compostela and Certificates in for additional safety.

The route is marked (like some other Camino Method) with yellow arrows and shells, no want to fret about discovering the way in which – merely comply with the arrows.

Spain like most European international locations makes use of Europlug (kind C shops) be sure to have the suitable adapter for charging your gadgets.

In Spain, most supermarkets and retailers are closed on Sundays and public holidays. Many are closed at lunchtime for a few hours as properly. It’s not an issue in large cities there’s at all times one thing open however in small cities, you might need to attend for an hour or so. Fortunately eating places ane bars are open on Sundays and public holidays. 

We’d recommend shopping for a native SIM card you possibly can cellphone to guide a spot or to search out out if it’s opened and have Web entry (although many albergues and bars have wi-fi). You should purchase a Vodafone SIM card in Spain with 2Gb information, 200 minutes native cellphone calls, and lots of SMS for 15 Euro. It labored good, we used it quite a bit for importing images and video, Whats-app calls, and so on. and it was greater than sufficient.

We drank faucet water all over the place on the Camino del Norte (besides Barcelona, we have been advised it isn’t good) and by no means had any points however if in case you have a delicate abdomen deliver a Lifestraw bottle simply in case.

Two attributes of the pilgrimage to Santiago; the Credential and the Compostela
My Credential with stamps from completely different albergues and the Compostela that I obtained on the Pilgrim’s Reception Workplace in Santiago

Baggage switch service on the Northern Camino

For those who don’t need to stroll with a heavy backpack you should use a baggage switch service. On this case, you don’t have to fret about packing your backpack mild you possibly can deliver just about something you need. The Spanish submit workplace Correos provides baggage switch service on the Northern Method of St.James. It prices between 5 and 6 Euro per backpack per stage, relying on the space. It really works very simply, you allow your backpack within the morning on the reception. The corporate picks it up and delivers it to your subsequent lodging place. By the point you arrive your backpack shall be there. You’ll be able to organize the supply upfront or make up your thoughts when you begin strolling.

For those who determine to make use of the service it’s necessary to keep in mind that public albergues don’t often permit the supply, they don’t settle for backpacks. The principle reason is that you would be able to’t guide a mattress in a public albergue it really works on a first-come, first-served foundation. Even when your backpack is delivered to its door it gained’t assure you a spot within the albergue till you arrive there. Supply is often organized between non-public albergues and motels, these will be booked upfront.

The place to begin strolling the Northern Method of St.James?

Many individuals wish to stroll the Camino however they don’t have a 30-35-day vacation to finish the whole route. Irún is the official place to begin of the Northern Camino however you can begin strolling just about anyplace alongside the path. To stroll no less than the final 100 km to Santiago is the required minimal for getting the Compostela. Apart from that there are not any guidelines or necessities. You can begin strolling someplace nearer to Santiago or begin in Irún and skip some elements by taking a bus.

The preferred beginning factors of the Northern Camino

Title of the place Distance to Santiago
Irún 835 km
San Sebastian 808 km
Bilbao 680 km
Santander 556 km
Gijón 348 km
Avilés 324 km
Castromaior 114 km
Distances to Santiago de Compostela from completely different cities alongside the Northern Camino

For those who’d wish to stroll the whole route however don’t have sufficient time to do it without delay you possibly can break it down into a number of elements and stroll it over a few years, each time you will have an opportunity. Many Spanish folks stroll it this fashion.

How one can mix the Northern Method with a special Camino Route?

It’s doable to mix the Northern Method with the Camino Primitivo (the Unique Method), the Camino Finisterre, and the French Method. The primary two combos are fairly standard, the final one with the Camino Frances is never carried out.

Camino del Norte + Camino Primitivo

  • Whole distance – 824 km
  • The time required – 30-34 days

It’s doable to modify midway from del Norte to the Camino Primitivo and proceed to Santiago de Compostela following the Unique Method. The route break up is about 26 km earlier than Gijón, at Villaviciosa. The fitting route continues alongside the coast to Gijón, the left route turns inland in direction of Oviedo the place it joins with the Primitivo. It’s 43 km between Villaviciosa and Oviedo, 2 strolling days. From Oviedo, it’s one other 321 km to Santiago.

Northern Camino + Camino Finisterre

  • Whole distance – 924 km
  • The time required – 34-38 days

It’s doable to mix the Northern Camino with the Camino Finisterre-Muxia, after arriving in Santiago you possibly can proceed strolling to Cape Finisterre, it’s one other 89 km, 3-Four strolling days. From Finisterre, you possibly can stroll to Muxia, which is 29 km away, one strolling day. Many pilgrims after ending one of many longer Camino routes proceed strolling to Finisterre.

Northern Method + Camino Frances

  • Whole distance – 944 km
  • The time required – 35-40 days

The primary half is similar as for the Camino Primitivo from Villaviciosa stroll to Oviedo. From Oviedo proceed strolling to Leon following the Camino de Salvador, a 120-kilometer Camino route that connects the Camino Frances with the Primitivo. From León proceed on the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela, 319 km.

Journey insurance coverage for the Camino

Strolling like some other exercise includes dangers of getting an harm or shedding valuables. It’s at all times really helpful to have journey insurance coverage whenever you journey overseas. Although the Northern Camino just isn’t a excessive altitude hike via distant areas it’s nonetheless a bodily difficult experience and lightweight accidents like blisters or shin splints are fairly widespread.

Observe! When you’ve got a European Well being Insurance coverage Card you don’t want any extra medical health insurance for Spain.

All the time make certain it is possible for you to to get medical help any time you want it. Journey insurance coverage is nice to have in case of a gear loss or break down. It makes the Camino much less worrying if you recognize that you just’re coated in case of any unpredictable emergencies. Benefit from the stroll and let your insurance coverage firm fear about you. 

Finest months for strolling

In our experience (we’ve walked a number of Caminos in numerous seasons) the perfect time is simply earlier than or simply after the height season; Could – June, and September – October. Initially, it’s not too sizzling however nonetheless good and heat however your probabilities to get rain are increased. Second, it’s not too busy, there are considerably fewer folks in comparison with July and August.

To stroll the Northern Method fully low season (November – February) is kind of difficult; it rains quite a bit, it will get fairly chilly and windy, plus many albergues are closed for the low season – discovering lodging may turn out to be an issue. As for strolling within the peak season we aren’t large followers of overcrowded Camino, plus warmth makes you extra drained and exhausted but when it’s the one time you will have – it’s completely doable.

The price of strolling the Northern Camino de Santiago


The Basque nationone of the vital costly Spanish provinces, particularly essentially the most touristy coastal half. Normally to be a pilgrim is cheaper than to be an atypical vacationer no less than lodging prices you much less however in lots of locations within the Basque Nation public albergues (5 Euro or donation) are opened solely through the excessive season; July and August. Out of those two months, pilgrims don’t have any different choices as staying in hostels or non-public albergues, the worth for these is between 15 and 20 Euro pp. which is Three to Four occasions greater than you often pay for albergues. Some albergues within the Basque Nation are opened longer season between April and September/October. 

Motels and pensions could be a good different to remain low season (costs shall be decrease), the worth for a double room with a personal lavatory between 40 and 50 Euro. In summer season this sort of lodging shall be dearer (50-70 Euro relying the place) and have to be booked in superior particularly in locations like San Sebastián or different smaller seashore cities.

Cantabria, Asturias, and Galicia are on the similar worth stage. The general public albergues listed here are opened longer, a few of them keep open all 12 months, it considerably reduces the associated fee should you stroll offseason. Public albergues are 5-6 Euro, non-public between 10 and 12 Euro, there are fairly a number of non-public albergues for donations. For a personal double room (with lavatory) in these provinces, you’ll pay a mean of 30 Euro, generally extra, generally much less, relying on the situation and amenities of the place. The most cost effective double we obtained was in Asturias for 25 Euro with non-public lavatory, the costliest in Gijón for 40 Euro but it surely was an awesome place. In excessive season (July-August) within the seashore, cities put together to pay extra for motels. 


Meals within the Basque nation is scrumptious all these pintxos with seafood, fish, herbs, vegetable – the area is called the most effective world locations for gourmets. I do know in the beginning of the journey you don’t really feel such as you begin spending extra money however pintxos and seafood dishes within the Basque Nation is a must-try. Don’t get me unsuitable different three provinces have scrumptious meals as properly with an awesome number of fish, seafood, meat, and greens simply the Basque Nation is legendary for its delicacies.

To eat out prices kind of the identical all over the place; Menu del Día (set lunch) between 10 and 15 Euro, relying on a restaurant, space and meals high quality. A cup of black espresso – 1-1,20 Euro, espresso with milk – 1,50 Euro. Breakfast (toast with jam and butter and low) – Three Euro, English breakfast – 5 Euro. Dinner at a restaurant between 20 and 25 Euro pp.


Meals costs in numerous provinces are kind of the identical, the primary distinction is between shopping for meals in an enormous grocery store or in a small grocery store, the second is often dearer. Common buying will value you between 6 and 9 Euro per individual for two meals (dinner and breakfast).

Arrange your funds

  • Lodging – between 5-6 Euro pp. for municipal albergues; between 10-12 Euro (generally 15 Euro) pp. for personal albergues and hostels. Motels (double room) from 25 Euro (the most affordable), 30-35 Euro common, in some locations 50+ Euro.
  • Consuming out – common 10 Euro for Menu del Día; 1-1,5 Euro for a cup of espresso; 3-5 Euro breakfast with espresso; 2 Euro for a pintxo; 20-25 Euro for a restaurant dinner, 10 Euro for a dinner on the albergue (many non-public albergues serve meals as properly, it’s extra like Menú del Día).
  • Purchasing – between 6 and 10 Euro pp. per day.
  • Laundry – most locations cost 2-Three Euro for laundry and the identical for drying.
  • Baggage switch – 5-6 Euro per backpack per stage.

Our funds breakdown

For two folks, 30 days

  • Lodging300 Euro or 10 Euro per individual per day. For those who stroll within the peak season (July, August) when all the general public albergues are open you possibly can decrease the associated fee right down to 200 Euro pp. (about 7 Euro per evening common).
  • Purchasing180 Euro or 6 Euro pp. per day. We tried to cook dinner our personal meals each time we had a kitchen or purchased ready-made salads or microwave meals.
  • Consuming out (espresso, pintxos, menus) – 220 Euro or 7,Three Euro pp. per day.
  • Different (primarily laundry, occasional drugs) –  20 Euro per individual.
A four color pie-chart showing our spending on the Northern Camino
Our funds breakdown for the Northern Method of St.James

In whole, we spent 720 Euro per individual in 30 days or 24 Euro per individual per day. We didn’t attempt to funds an excessive amount of and stayed a few occasions in non-public motels, went out for drinks, and generally ate Menu del Dia. As I already talked about we walked offseason and lots of public albergues have been closed it made our funds a bit increased. For those who actually attempt to funds, keep solely in public or donation albergues, don’t eat out, purchase meals in supermarkets – the Camino will work out as low-cost as 15 Euro pp. per day. For a snug stroll (nonetheless staying in albergues, not motels), consuming Menu del Dia, stopping for espresso, going out generally – arrange your funds for 25-30 Euro per individual per day.

What to pack for the pilgrimage

We’ve walked seven completely different Camino de Santiago routes in numerous seasons and every kind of climate. Listed below are some objects we at all times pack on the Camino no matter what route we stroll and what month.

  • Merino Wool Darn Robust Hiker Socks – Merino Wool socks just isn’t a gimmick, my days of strolling with low-cost socks are over, fewer blisters and scent x100 higher, purchase correct merino wool sock.
  • Rain Poncho – Take a correct rain poncho and preserve your self and your bag form of dry when strolling within the rain for hours, makes an enormous distinction to how a lot you might be having fun with the hike!
  • Headlamp – you’ll want one to make use of in a dorm if you wish to learn or want to search out one thing in your backpack when the sunshine is off.
  • Kindle E-book – Carry no matter books you need, very mild, built-in mild, the battery lasts per week.
  • Neck Pouch/Passport holder – preserve money and passports collectively
  • GoPro Hero8 – an awesome factor to have if you wish to make a video about your Camino. It’s very small and lightweight, waterproof, straightforward to make use of, and the standard of the footage is superb.

We’ve got an in depth Camino de Santiago packing submit the place yow will discover the whole checklist of things really helpful to tackle the Camino for women and men for various seasons.

Books & guidebooks for the Northern Method

Helpful Camino apps

  • Camino Help Pilgrim Santiago. Free obtain, accessible for Android and Apple.
  • Buen Camino de Santiago. Free obtain, accessible for Android and Apple.
  • Properly + Norte; a Smart Pilgrim information. Value US$6, accessible for Android and Apple. We haven’t used it however I noticed many sad customers complaining in regards to the app, I’d suggest studying the critiques earlier than shopping for it.

Lodging on the Camino

The Camino has a large community of albergues, particular hostels for pilgrims. Albergues will be public, run by an area municipality, and personal, run by an individual or an organization. Public (municipal) albergues are solely for pilgrims with the Credential strolling the Camino. Public albergues is the most affordable lodging possibility on the Northern Method. They value between 5 and eight Euro per individual. Non-public albergues often permit vacationers however more often than not folks staying there are pilgrims. A mattress in a personal albergues prices 10-12 Euro. Each private and non-private albergues have dormitory rooms with a number of beds and shared amenities. Non-public albergues often have higher amenities than public ones.

Options Public albergues Non-public albergues
Might be booked no sure
Just for pilgrims sure no
Want a Credential to remain sure no
Permit baggage supply no sure
Worth 5-Eight Euro 10-12 Euro
Scorching bathe sure sure
Kitchen often often
Wi-fi generally sure
Restaurant no often
Washer often often
Evaluating private and non-private albergues

Many municipal and personal albergues on the del Norte are closed for the offseason should you stroll the route between November and February it’s higher to examine beforehand if the albergue you’re planning to remain is open or not. 

Most locations alongside the Camino have motels or guesthouses. These are dearer however rather more snug. For those who can afford I’d suggest once in a while staying in a personal room. It’s good to have some privateness and be capable of relaxation properly with out being disturbed. We often keep one or two nights per week in a personal room.

We haven’t seen many campsites on the Northern Camino there are some however most of them are off the route. We met a few folks carrying a tent on the route however they ended up staying in public albergues as an alternative of untamed tenting.

Social life on the Northern Camino

Like on some other Camino on the Northern Method there are lots of folks strolling solo. It’s not an issue to discover a firm or folks to speak with whereas strolling or staying in albergues. You at all times will discover somebody to exit for dinner or a drink. For those who stroll between April and October there shall be greater than sufficient folks, low season it may be a bit lonely.

On our Camino there was a bunch of Eight folks, all of them began separate and on the way in which fashioned a bunch. They walked many of the Camino collectively and after ending in Santiago continued to Finisterre. We noticed the identical on the opposite Caminos e.g. on the Primitivo some those that walked alone fashioned a bunch and walked collectively until the top. No want to fret should you can’t discover a strolling buddy beforehand it is perhaps even higher to begin alone and on the way in which discover those that stroll the tempo that’s snug for you.  

Well being suggestions for long-distance strolling

It’s necessary to take excellent care of your physique from the very first day. Don’t begin with strolling lengthy distances even should you’re comparatively match individual, strolling with a heavy backpack for a lot of days is kind of completely different from going for an hour run each night. Let your physique alter to the brand new rhythm, begin with 20-25 km days, and after per week or so should you really feel good you possibly can enhance your each day distance to 30 km. For some folks, it’s higher to begin even slower 15-20 km a day.

Be certain that to have the suitable sneakers and socks and care for your toes, the primary drawback on the Camino is blisters, that many pilgrims (particularly inexperienced) undergo from.

To stop blisters;

  • pack 2 or Three pairs of merino wool socks, they’re the perfect for climbing.
  • through the stroll each time your toes get moist from sweating take off a moist pair and placed on dry socks. You’ll be able to grasp moist socks out of your backpack to allow them to dry in the meantime.
  • you recognize your toes and the place you often get blisters, plaster these areas earlier than you get one.

The highlights of the Northern Camino

Out of 4 areas we walked via on the Northern Method the Basque Nation and Cantabria have been our favorites. There may be a lot to admire right here: stunning seashores, mountain ranges, dramatic cliffs, beautiful lookouts, scrumptious meals, and nice wine. When you’ve got some additional money and time I’d suggest staying longer within the Basque Nation. Don’t get it unsuitable different areas are nice and exquisite as properly. The beauty of strolling via 4 completely different areas is that you just really get to see the distinction between them; surroundings, structure, meals, and even language. 

Finest cities & city

San Sebastián/Donostia, the Basque Nation

Donostia the way it’s known as in euskera (the language of the Basque nation) is among the highlights of the Camino del Norte and positively the perfect and essentially the most stunning metropolis on the route. The one large metropolis on the Northern Method the place strolling out and in was not via industrial areas and alongside busy roads however on the gorgeous coastal path with implausible views over the ocean. I do know you don’t need to spend your additional days proper in the beginning of the stroll and moderately preserve them for later however if in case you have time I’d positively suggest to remain in San Sebastián for two days. The day you arrive you gained’t have a lot time to discover town should you come from Irún – it’s a protracted strolling day.

To not miss in San Sebastián

  • Pintxos, a small snack that often goes with a drink, will be something from a small jamón sandwich to a mini portion of the tortilla.
  • Seashores is among the major causes 1000’s of individuals come right here each summer season; Playa de la Concha (shell seashore) and Playa Ondarreta are two seashores to not miss (the Camino goes alongside each seashores).
  • The Previous City of San Sebastián – slim cobblestone streets, previous huge homes, church buildings, monuments.
  • Mount Urgull, a inexperienced hill squeezed between the ocean and town, it provides superb views over San Sebastian and its seashores.
  • Mount Igeldo – the alternative of Mount Urgull hill, you possibly can take a funicular automotive to get to the highest of it. One of the best panoramic view of San Sebastián at evening you will get from the lookout level on the prime.

As you possibly can see to go to solely the primary sights within the metropolis you´ll want no less than two days. For those who determine to spend two days in San Sebastian a metropolis biking tour is perhaps an awesome different to strolling across the metropolis by yourself.

San Sebastian on a beautiful sunny day
San Sebastian might be essentially the most stunning metropolis on the Northern Camino de Santiago

Getaria, the Basque Nation

A comfortable little city with a fantastic seashore and a small however charming middle. Approaching the city you possibly can benefit from the stunning surroundings; the final 4km from Zarautz to Getaria is on the Paseo Marítimo (promenade). The entire city is principally positioned on the cape, squeezed between two seashores; Geztetape and Malkorbe seashore.

Guernica, the Basque Nation

A city that was fully destroyed in in the future and have become an anti-war image and a reminder of the tragedies that the conflict brings. A small city of Guernica turned a primary goal of Francisco Franco through the Spanish Civil Conflict as a result of it thought of being one of many facilities of the Republican resistance and an necessary place for the Basque tradition. On Monday afternoon of 26th April 1937 German and Italian aviation repeatedly bombed the city, in a few hours it was become the ruins. Well-known Spanish artist Picasso painted one in all his finest and most emotional canvas Guernica impressed by the tragedy. These days you possibly can see the portray within the Museum of Reina Sofia in Madrid, the full-sized copy of it decorates the primary entrance of the Safety Council room of the United Nations workplace in New York.

Bilbao, the Basque Nation

Town was once an “ugly duckling” of the Basque Nation fully overshadowed by San Sebastian and different smaller seashore cities however all the pieces modified when in 1997 the Guggenheim museum was inaugurated. It’s unimaginable how the development of 1 constructing even when it’s a well-known trendy artwork museum can change town. Since then the entire new trendy neighborhood was constructed within the place of previous decrepit port space with many deserted buildings. At the moment’s Bilbao will be divided into two major touristy elements; Casco Viejo (the Previous City) and the New City.

To not miss in Bilbao

  • The Previous City and its Siete Calles (seven streets) that have been established within the 14th century and formally are the oldest a part of town. Strolling via these streets you possibly can mix the degustation of pintxos at native bars with sightseeing.
  • Puente de la Rivera – a bridge over the river with good views over town middle.
  • Guggenheim museum – the long-lasting constructing and the primary metropolis attraction that helped to rediscover Bilbao to the world. On the way in which to the museum don’t miss two bridges;
  • Zubizuri Footbridge also called The Calatrava bridge and Puente de la Salve simply earlier than the Guggenheim.

When you’ve got time and determine to remain in Bilbao an additional day  (and should not too drained from strolling) you possibly can organize a custom-made metropolis tour with a information and experience Bilbao like an area.

Colorful houses along the river bank in Bilbao, Spain
The view of the historic middle of Bilbao from one of many bridges

Portugalete, the Basque Nation

One of the best view of the city and its colourful neighborhoods you get from Getxo, on the alternative facet of the river. The principle attraction of Portugalete is the well-known Vizcaya bridge, the world oldest transporter bridge, it was in-built 1893. The journey on the bridge gondola is kind of thrilling with nice views over the river and the city. Worth – 0,40 Euro pp. The city has an awesome system of road escalators that helps pedestrians to go up steep streets, fortunately the Camino route follows them. Extra highlights; Torre de Salasar (tower), Basilica Santa María del Mar, Plaza del Photo voltaic. There’s a municipal albergue for donation within the city, opened from 1st June to 30th September.

Castro Urdiales, Cantabria

It’s fairly a bit larger than many of the cities on the way in which with good infrastructure; ATMs, supermarkets, motels, and so on. The city is positioned on the sea, there are a few good seashores and a picturesque harbor with many small colourful boats anchored there. One of the best view over the harbor and the citadel is from the Paseo marítimo, there are a number of road cafes the place you possibly can have lunch or espresso with an awesome view. Things to not miss right here; Santa Ana citadel, the church of Santa Maria Assunta, Ermita de Santa Ana, the Medieval bridge – all these sights are positioned in the identical space – on the Paseo Maritimo. Don’t overlook about native seashores; Playa de Brazomar, Playa Ostende. There’s a public albergue right here, it’s opened all 12 months, worth 5 Euro pp.

The historical center of Castro Urdiales and the harbor
The Cathedral and the harbor of Castro Urdiales from the Camino route

Laredo, Cantabria

One other seashore city that we couldn’t miss on the way in which. We occurred to be right here on a public vacation and it regarded so inviting with all of the bustling road cafes and eating places that we determined to remain right here. The seashore of Laredo is taken into account to be one of many nicest seashores on this a part of Spain and it’s actually an awesome seashore. By the way in which, should you determine to proceed from Laredo on the coastal route via Santoña you’ll get an opportunity to stroll within the morning alongside that seashore having fun with the gorgeous dawn.

Santander, Cantabria

A pleasant metropolis with nice seashores, a fantastic historic middle and waterfront, many good pintxo bars and seafood eating places. We have been very unfortunate with the climate it was tremendous windy, wet, and chilly so we couldn’t respect the pure great thing about Santander however we did exit and visited a few bars and ate the most effective ever churros with chocolate for breakfast. We have pals that reside right here it was straightforward for us to search out good locations, fascinating sights and get some insider details about town.

To not miss in Santander

  • Seashores – there are a number of in and across the metropolis should you’re fortunate to be right here in summer season you may need to keep longer.
  • The Previous City of Santander apart from its highlights just like the cathedral and Plaza del Ayuntamiento, it’s the perfect space within the metropolis to exit for drinks and tapas, particularly on Friday and Saturday evening.
  • Peninsula de la Magdalena – a inexperienced hill positioned between the Previous City and Sardinero seashore. The palace on the highest of the hill could be very spectacular although not that previous, it was constructed in the beginning of the 20th century.
  • Trendy Santander. The Centro Botín, a museum of up to date artwork and the Maritime Museum of Cantabria are a number of the finest trendy buildings within the metropolis.

For good tapas, we will suggest Taberna Al Punto, they’ve a protracted tapa menu (all types of tapas; fish, seafood, meat, hen, vegetarian), wine, and beer.

If you wish to strive good churros with chocolate (often for breakfast) go to Chocolateria Aliva. It’s a quite simple old-style place with tasty crispy churros and good not too candy actual sizzling chocolate.

The modern center of Santander, Spain
The view of Santander from the bridge on the Centro Botín

Santillana del Mar, Cantabria

It was one of the vital picturesque cities on the route however don’t let the title full you “del Mar” (by the ocean) doesn’t imply the city is positioned subsequent to the ocean, the ocean is about 7km away. We didn’t have any expectations, we didn’t even know in regards to the place until we actually walked into the city.

Santillana is a small city with one or two-story homes, slim cobblestone streets – all the pieces could be very stunning and comfy, you simply need to wander round all of it day. The city turned a preferred vacationer vacation spot after 1879 when Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola found the Altamira Cave, which is just 2km away.

The village of Santillana del Mar grew round the Colegiata – Saint Juliana’s collegiate church that was constructed right here within the 12th century. Many of the homes within the village are constructed between the 14th and 18th centuries – it’s an actual open-air museum. We’d suggest planning your itinerary the way in which you get to remain in Santillana; there’s a public albergue (6 Euro) right here that opened all 12 months spherical.

Comillas, Cantabria

One other charming little city in Cantabria. The gap between it and Santillana makes an ideal strolling stage – 22km. Not like Santillana, Comillas is a seashore city however the middle is a bit removed from the ocean, about 1km.

The highlights of Comillas

  • the Pontifical College of Comillas – a formidable constructing on the highest of the mountain, you gained’t miss it, it appears to be like beautiful on the sundown.
  • El Capricho, an eclectic palace constructed by well-known Catalán architect Antoni Gaudi.
  • Sobrellano palace, a constructing subsequent to El Capricho, solely guided visits allowed.
  • Puerta de los Pájaros or the Birds’ Gate
  • Fuente de Tres Caños (fountain)
  • Comillas Seaside and the harbor
  • Angel Exterminador, a sculpture, one of many symbols of the city.
A sunset view of the historical center of Comillas, Northern Way
The charming city of Comillas on the Northern Camino de Santiago

Llanes, Asturias

Another city by the ocean with a comfortable middle, a harbor with many small colourful boats, cobblestone streets, exterior cafes, and eating places. We have been overwhelmed by the variety of bakeries and pastries within the city; desserts, candies, desserts, and so on. are simply all over the place.

To not miss in Llanes

  • Puerto Chico seashore – a tiny seashore on the entrance to the city
  • Playa del Sablón
  • Paseo de San Pedro, it provides stunning views over the seashore and the Previous City.
  • Essentially the most stunning bench on the planet”, a bench with an awesome view of the ocean. One of the best time to go there simply earlier than the sundown
  • El Fuerte de Llanes (fort)
  • Ermita Virgen de la Guía (church)
  • the Lighthouse
  • the Cubos de la Memoria (gray cement blocks on the harbor that have been painted by a Spanish artist).

Gijón, Asturias

The middle of Gijón is good with a typical Previous City, Promenade, the Cathedral, many eating places, and several other seashores. The Camino goes via town nearly all the way in which alongside the coast, via the historic middle even should you don’t keep right here for an additional day you’ll get an opportunity to see rather a lot on the way in which.

To not miss in Gijón

  • Playa de San Lorenzo – the primary metropolis seashore, you gained’t miss it should you comply with the Camino route.
  • Cerro de Santa Catalina – a hill with a fortress and Elogio del Horizonte monument on the highest. On a windy day should you stand contained in the monument you possibly can hear “the echo of the ocean”.
  • The Previous City of Gijón positioned between two seashores; San Lorenzo and Poniente. The highlights; the Previous Roman Baths – Termas Romanas de Campo Valdés; the Plaza Mayor – a fantastic sq. much like the Plaza Mayor in Madrid simply smaller.

Finest albergues on the Northern Camino de Santiago

We couldn’t keep at each single albergue on the way in which however we did some analysis earlier than or requested different pilgrims our checklist is predicated solely on our private experience.

Monasterio de Zenarruza, the Basque Nation

The placement of the monastery is implausible – on the prime of the hill with the beautiful views over the realm. The amenities listed here are fairly fundamental however to remain in a monastery like previous occasions pilgrims is a useful experience. The monks obtain you very properly, it’s one of many few monasteries or church buildings on the Camino that really helps and takes care of pilgrims. Right here you get a mattress, dinner, and breakfast all for donation.

Albergue La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto (non-public), Güemes, Cantabria

This albergue is a particular experience and a must-stop on the Camino del Norte, everyone we knew stopped right here, in all probability 80% of all pilgrims that stroll this Camino come to this place. The place is an enormous home the place you’re feeling like part of an enormous household. The amenities listed here are nice; dormitories with large bunk beds, sizzling showers, wi-fi, large yard, eating space, washing machines, and so on. Every thing yow will discover in a very good non-public albergue.

This place just isn’t solely an albergue for pilgrims, however additionally they run a number of charity tasks, and pilgrims (their donations) assist them to finance these tasks. The proprietor is Padre Ernesto, a priest that traveled everywhere in the world serving to folks in want. He’s now in his 80 however nonetheless very lively, has an unimaginable reminiscence, and actively concerned in all of the tasks. This albergue is the place the place folks (pilgrims) get to know one another, sit at one desk for dinner, and make acquaintances.

View of Albergue La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto from the backyard
Albergue La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto, our favourite albergue on the Northern Method of St.James

Albergue de peregrinos de San Martín de Laspra (non-public), Asturias

One other home-like albergue the place you’re feeling snug and really welcome. It’s an enormous two-story home with an awesome host, good amenities and a pleasant vibe. We have been there low season, solely 4 folks stayed that evening but it surely have to be an awesome place to remain in season. There’s a kitchen with an enormous desk within the center – a very good place to socialize, meet new folks, cook dinner collectively. The albergue has good amenities; the kitchen with all you want for cooking, wi-fi, sizzling water, heating, washer, blankets, and so on.

Albergue O Xistral (non-public), Castromaior, Galicia

One of many prettiest albergues on the Camino with nice amenities, very cozy and heat – a type of place you need to keep longer with none reason, simply since you really feel snug. It’s an awesome place to relax and relaxation, particularly should you, like us, arrive there all moist and chilly, it was so good to take a seat by the hearth and luxuriate in being heat and dry. The albergue is an previous home (16th century) that was upgraded and renovated from the within although from the skin it nonetheless appears to be like like a conventional Galician farmhouse. My favourite a part of the albergue was the rain-shower with colourful lights, it was positively the perfect bathe on the Camino.

Albergue de peregrinos de Sobrado dos Monxes, Galicia

One other “must-stay” albergue on the Northern Method. The monastery advanced is huge and really spectacular, you simply can’t cease wanting round, discovering new particulars. In a method I favored this monastery and its cathedral greater than the cathedral of Santiago, it has this “noble patina” you possibly can actually see how a lot time handed and the way lengthy it’s been right here. Staying contained in the monastery in one of many cells with its thick partitions and unimaginable echo is one thing very particular and completely different.

Our favourite strolling levels

Irún to San Sebastián (the Basque Nation) – sea surroundings, cliffs, forest, seashores. Unimaginable views from the highest earlier than descending to Pasaia and beautiful views on the way in which from Pasaia to San Sebastián.

San Sebastián to Getaria (the Basque Nation) – seashores, inexperienced hills, the ocean. Nice views from the lookout earlier than Zarautz and exquisite Paseo Maritimo (promenade) from Zarautz to Getaria.

Laredo to Noja (Cantabria) –  a pleasant seashore stroll in Laredo to the ferry, stunning sea surroundings on the way in which from Santoña to Noja.

emes to Santander (Cantabria) – should you’re fortunate with the climate it is perhaps one of the vital stunning strolling days on this Camino. More often than not you stroll on the sting of the cliffs, by the ocean, previous some stunning hidden seashores. Strolling barefoot on the sand on Playa Somo for a few kilometers are unimaginable.

Santillana del Mar to Comillas (Cantabria) – good forest stroll with a few small cities on the way in which, stunning view of Comillas and the coast on the final 2km.

Comillas to San Vicente de la Barquera (Cantabria)  – breathtaking surroundings with cliffs, ocean, seashores, and inexperienced hills, I simply wished to reside in one of many homes on the highest of these inexperienced hills overlooking the ocean.

A spectacular scenery of the sunrise in the Northern coast of Spain
The spectacular surroundings on the way in which from Comillas to San Vicente de la Barquera, one in all our favourite strolling days on the Northern Method

Colombres to Llanes (Asturias)  – should you take the coastal route Sendero de la Costa you’ll get some unimaginable views, plus you’ll stroll previous Bufones de Arenillas (seawater geysers).

Soto de Luiña to Cadavedo (Asturias) – should you stroll alongside the coast you’ll get some spectacular views. 2km earlier than Cadavedo do a detour and go to the seashore first from there go as much as Ermita de la Regalina (small chapel), you’ll get some beautiful views from there. 

Tapia de Casariego to Ribadeo (Asturias-Galicia) – the final little bit of strolling by the ocean, after Ribadeo the route turns inland. The final 5km to Ribadeo was essentially the most picturesque with nice viewpoints. The bridge Puente dos Santos appears to be like fairly spectacular from Figueras’s facet as properly.

Mondoñedo to Gontán (Galicia) – in contrast to many of the earlier strolling levels this one has nothing to do with the ocean, it’s 100% Galician mountains and forest however it’s stunning and distant, there’s fairly an uphill stroll on the route strive nonetheless to benefit from the surroundings.

Worst strolling day

The stroll from Gijón to Avilés – principally for 25km (besides 3km someplace within the center) is alongside the busy roads or via industrial areas, should you’re considering of skipping a stage it’s the one to skip. I hate strolling subsequent to the highways all of the noise will get on my nerves should you add to those boring industrial areas with gray fences and chimneys – it’s the worst mixture.  

Northern Camino FAQ

Is there loads of street strolling on the Northern Method of St.James?

There have been some roads and sidewalks on the route like on some other Camino. If I need to examine the Northern Method with different Caminos we’ve carried out – there was much less strolling on asphalt or cobblestones than on the Portuguese Method however greater than on the Primitivo. First days the route goes more often than not on the trail or seashore, not many tar roads. More often than not you get asphalt or roads whenever you stroll in or out of the massive cities – often the least nice a part of the Camino e.g. strolling out of Bilbao, strolling from Gijón to Avilés, strolling out of Santander.

Would you suggest to stroll the Northern Method for the primary Camino de Santiago?

Sure. For many individuals, we met strolling the Camino del Norte was their first Camino ever, all of them have been effective and completed it the identical time as us. I don’t suppose you want any particular Camino experience or you must stroll the French Method first – simply comply with the guidelines that skilled pilgrims give and take excellent care of your toes – you’ll be effective. I wouldn’t suggest strolling the Through de la Plata as the primary Camino as a result of it’s longer, over 1000 km, with much less infrastructure and longer levels however del Norte is totally effective.

Was the Northern Camino your favourite route?

It’s at all times tough to match and to decide on the perfect or the favourite one. We did get pleasure from this Camino quite a bit, it’s an awesome mixture of gorgeous nature; sea and mountain surroundings and cultural experience. One other factor we favored about this Camino is that you just stroll via 4 completely different areas which supplies you an awesome alternative to match them, to see the variations between the areas and to admire how surroundings, meals and even languages change as you go.

Which Camino to decide on the French or the Northern Method?

It relies on what you need to see and experience. On the French Camino, you don’t see the ocean the route goes inland all the way in which from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Santiago de Compostela. The Northern Method follows the coast, it doesn’t imply you see the ocean day-after-day for weeks however you do stroll rather a lot subsequent to the ocean, previous unspoiled seashores, and breathtaking look-outs. Then again, the French Method has extra infrastructure, rather more public albergues than del Norte which makes the stroll cheaper. Normally, the Northern coast of Spain is extra touristy and in consequence dearer than the inland areas. After strolling each Camino routes I can verify than the Northern Camino works out dearer than the French Method however the surroundings on del Norte is extra spectacular.

The Northern Method of St.James planning assets

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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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