Travel Guide

The Northern Camino de Santiago

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The Northern Manner of St.James is a spectacular mixture of gorgeous shoreline passing seashores and fishermen’s villages and inexperienced mountains, pasture fields, and plush forest. If you wish to see each; the ocean and the mountains the Northern Manner is a good path to stroll. This Camino is also referred to as one of many hardest routes of the Camino de Santiago as a consequence of its mountainous terrain with frequent climbs and drops. If you wish to escape the crowds and go extra off the overwhelmed monitor, the Northern Manner is a good various to the favored French Camino de Santiago.

Beautiful morning scenery of the Asturian coast in Northern Spain
Beautiful surroundings on the Northern Camino de Santiago in Asturias

The Northern Manner route overview

  • The Northern Camino is without doubt one of the pilgrimage routes of the Camino de Santiago.
  • Complete distance – 835 km.
  • Start line – Irún, a city within the Basque Nation on the border with France.
  • Ending level – Santiago de Compostela.
  • Lodging – public & personal albergues, hostels, and resorts.
  • Common value – 30 Euro per individual per day.
  • The route is marked with yellow arrows and shells.
  • The Camino may be walked, cycled, or performed on a horse.
  • The Northern Manner crosses 4 Spanish areas: the Basque Nation, Cantabria, Asturias, and Galicia.

For an in depth day-by-day itinerary that features strolling phases, distances, locations to remain, highlights, and challenges of the Camino take a look at our Camino del Norte strolling phases put up.

A recap of sooner or later of a pilgrim on the Northern Camino

The Northern Camino free downloadable PDFs

You possibly can obtain our free PDF information with strolling phases and locations to remain on the Northern Manner of St.James.

What’s the Northern Camino route?

The Northern Camino or the Camino del Norte is a long-distance pilgrimage route throughout Northern Spain to the tomb of Apostle St.James within the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. It’s one of many principal Camino de Santiago routes.

When you’ve got time I’d counsel resting for a few days after finishing the Northern Camino there are numerous nice things to do in Santiago de Compostela.

How lengthy does it take to stroll the Northern Camino de Santiago?

It takes between 30 and 35 days on common to finish the Northern Camino from Irun to Santiago de Compostela. The time is determined by how far you stroll every single day and what number of relaxation days (if any) you’re taking.

Is the Camio del Norte troublesome?

Sure, the Northern Camino is a difficult route. It’s thought-about one of the vital troublesome Camino de Santiago routes in Spain. To start with due to the lengthy distance, over 800 km. Second, the route has many ascents and descents and a few lengthy strolling days. For inexperienced walkers, I’d advocate coaching for the Camino de Santiago beforehand.

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

The place does the Northern Camino begin?

The Northern Camino de Santiago begins in Irun, a small city in Northern Spain on the border with France. You can begin strolling from wherever alongside the route relying on how far you wish to stroll and the way a lot time you’ve.

The most well-liked beginning factors of the Northern Camino

Identify 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

If you wish to get a Compostela certificates for finishing the Camino it’s a must to stroll at the least the final 100 km to Santiago. Apart from that there aren’t any guidelines or necessities. You can begin strolling someplace nearer to Santiago or begin in Irún and skip some elements by taking a bus.

If you happen to’d prefer to stroll your complete 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’ve an opportunity. Many Spanish individuals stroll it this manner.

get to the Camino del Norte?

The Norterhn Camino begin in Irun. You possibly can fly there or take a bus or prepare. If you happen to come from abroad the best method is to fly to Madrid first and from there get to Irun.

Flying to Irun

The closest to Irun airport is San Sebastian airport, simply 6 km exterior the city. There are direct flights solely from Spanish cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, and Malaga. If you happen to come from abroad you possibly can first fly to one in every of these cities and from there to San Sebastian. The flights are operated by Vueling (Barcelona advert Madrid) and Volotéa (Malaga, Sevilla, and Valencia). You’ll find out departure instances and costs on their web sites. There’s a shuttle bus that runs between the airport and Irun with one connection in Ondarriba.

Gettig to Irun by bus

The best method of attending to Irun by bus is from Madrid. There are a number of each day direct buses. The journey takes between 6 and seven hours. You’ll find out departure instances and costs on the ALSA web site. There are direct buses to Irun from Bilbao, Pamplona, Oviedo, Burgos, and Santander. To get to Irun from Barcelona first you get a bus to Pamplona and from there one other bus to Irun.

Attending to Irun by prepare

You will get to Irun by prepare from many Spanish cities with one connection. Discover out data on the trains to Irun on the Renfe web site.

Backpack supply service on the Northern Camino

If you happen to don’t wish 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 gentle you possibly can carry just about something you need. The Spanish put up workplace Correos gives baggage switch service on the Northern Manner of St.James.

Within the 2023 Camino season, they provide backpack supply on the Camino del Norte between the first of April and the 31st of October. There is no such thing as a backpack supply service offseason. The typical value is 8-9 euros per backpack per stage, relying on the space.

It really works very simply, you permit 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 might be there. You possibly can organize the supply upfront or make up your thoughts when you begin strolling.

If you happen to determine to make use of the service it’s essential to do not forget that it’s often inconceivable to ship backpacks to public albergues. The primary reason is that you could’t ebook a mattress in a public albergue it really works on a first-come, first-served foundation. Even when your backpack is delivered there earlier it gained’t assure you a spot within the albergue till you arrive there. Supply is often organized between personal albergues and resorts, these may be booked upfront.

When is the very best time for strolling?

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

To stroll the Northern Manner utterly low season (November – February) is kind of tough; it rains lots, it will get fairly chilly and windy, plus many albergues are closed for the low season – discovering lodging may develop into an issue. As for strolling within the peak season we aren’t massive followers of overcrowded Camino, plus warmth makes you extra drained and exhausted but when it’s the one time you’ve – it’s completely doable.

How a lot does it value to stroll the Camino del Norte?


The Basque nation is without doubt one of the most costly Spanish provinces, particularly the touristy coastal half. Normally being a pilgrim is cheaper than being an odd vacationer at the least lodging prices you much less as a result of you possibly can keep in albergues.

Inns and pensions could be a good various low season when costs are decrease. The value for a double room with a non-public lavatory is between 50 and 60 Euros. In the summertime months, such a lodging might be dearer, between 70 and 80 Euros, and have to be booked upfront, particularly in locations like San Sebastián and different seaside cities.

Cantabria, Asturias, and Galicia are kind of on the identical value degree. There are extra public albergues there, and a few of them are open all 12 months. Public albergues are round Eight Euro, personal albergues/hostels value round 15 Euros, there are some albergues for donations.

For a non-public double room (with a toilet) in these three provinces, you’ll pay a mean of 50 Euros, generally extra, generally much less, relying on the situation and services of the place. The most affordable double room we bought was in Asturias for 25 Euro with a non-public lavatory. The costliest one was in Gijón for 60 Euro but it surely was an amazing place. Within the excessive season (July-August) put together to pay extra for resorts. 

The price of lodging might be decrease should you stroll the Northern Camino low season.

A sunset view of the historical center of Comillas, Northern Way
The charming city of Comillas on the Northern Camino de Santiago


Meals within the Basque nation is scrumptious; pintxos with seafood, fish, and greens. The area is called one of many world’s finest locations for meals lovers. Firstly of the journey, you don’t really feel like spending some huge cash on meals however pintxos and seafood dishes within the Basque Nation are a must-try. The opposite three provinces have scrumptious meals as effectively with an amazing number of fish, seafood, meat, and greens.

Consuming out prices kind of the identical in all places on the Northern Camino. Menu del Día (set lunch) is between 10 and 15 Euros, relying on the restaurant, space, and meals high quality. A cup of black espresso – 2 Euros, espresso with milk – 2,50 Euros. Breakfast (toast with jam and butter and low) – 5 Euros, English breakfast – 10 Euros. Dinner at a restaurant is 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 procuring will value you between 6 and 9 Euro per individual for two meals (dinner and breakfast).

Arrange your funds

  • Lodging – Eight Euros pp. for municipal albergues; 15 Euros (generally 20 Euro) pp. for personal albergues and hostels. Inns (a double room) from 30 Euro (the most affordable) pp., in some locations 40+ Euro.
  • Consuming out – common 12 Euros for Menu del Día; 2 Euros for a cup of espresso; 5 Euros breakfast with espresso; 2 Euros for a pintxo; 20-25 Euro for a restaurant dinner, 10 Euro for a dinner on the albergue (many personal albergues serve communal dinner).
  • Purchasing – between Eight and 10 Euros pp. per day.
  • Laundry – most locations cost 3-Four Euros for laundry and the identical for drying.
  • Baggage switch – 8-9 Euros per backpack per stage.
The modern center of Santander, Spain
The view of Santander from the bridge on the Centro Botín

Our funds breakdown for the Northern Camino

For two individuals, 30 days

  • Lodging300 Euro or 10 Euro per individual per day. If you happen to 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 on 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 Manner 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 instances in personal resorts, went out for drinks, and generally ate Menu del Dia. As I already talked about we walked in the course of the offseason and a few public albergues had been closed however resorts and hostels had been cheaper.

If you happen to actually attempt to funds, keep solely in public or donation albergues, don’t eat out, and purchase meals in supermarkets – the Camino will work out about 25 Euros pp. per day. For a snug stroll (nonetheless staying in albergues, not resorts), consuming Menu del Dia, stopping for espresso, and going out generally – arrange your funds for 35 Euros per individual per day.

Extra particulars on the price of the Camino may be present in our The price of strolling the Camino de Santiago – an in depth breakdown put up.

What to pack for the Camino del Norte?

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

  • Merino Wool Socks – Merino Wool socks will not be a gimmick, our days of strolling in low cost socks are over. With merino wool socks you’ve fewer blisters and so they don’t “stink”.
  • Headlamp – you’ll want one to make use of in a dorm if you wish to learn or want to seek out one thing in your backpack when the sunshine is off.
  • Kindle E-book – Carry no matter books you need, very gentle, built-in gentle, and the battery lasts every week.
  • Neck Pouch/Passport holder – hold money and passports collectively
  • GoPro Hero11 is a good factor to have if you wish to make a video about your Camino. It’s very small and lightweight, waterproof, and simple to make use of, and the standard of the footage is wonderful.
  • Keep in mind that selecting the best strolling footwear and a snug backpack for the Camino is crucial.

We’ve an in depth Camino de Santiago packing put up the place yow will discover the entire record of things really useful to tackle the Camino for women and men for various seasons.

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

Greatest guidebooks for the Camino del Norte

We often use Camino guidebooks by John Briely. Sadly, he doesn’t have one of many Northern Camino. The choices are fairly restricted.

What’s the lodging like?

The Camino has a large community of albergues – particular hostels for pilgrims. Albergues may be public, run by an area municipality, and personal, run by an individual or an organization. Public (municipal) albergues are solely for pilgrims with a Credential strolling or biking the Camino. Public albergues are the most affordable lodging possibility on the Northern Manner. They value round Eight Euros per individual.

Non-public albergues often permit vacationers however more often than not individuals staying there are pilgrims. A mattress in a non-public albergues prices 12-15 Euros. Each private and non-private albergues have dormitory rooms with a number of beds and shared services. Non-public albergues often have higher services than public ones.

Options Public albergues Non-public albergues
May be booked no sure
Just for pilgrims sure no
Want a Credential to remain sure no
Permit baggage supply no sure
Value Eight Euros 12-15 Euros
Scorching bathe sure sure
Kitchen often often
Wi-fi generally sure
Restaurant no often
Washer often often
Evaluating private and non-private albergues
San Sebastian on a beautiful sunny day
San Sebastian might be probably the most lovely metropolis on the Northern Camino de Santiago

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

Most locations alongside the Camino have resorts or guesthouses. These are dearer however rather more comfy. If you happen to can afford it I’d advocate occasionally staying in a non-public room. It’s good to have some privateness and be capable of relaxation effectively with out being disturbed. We often keep one or two nights every week in a non-public 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 individuals carrying a tent on the route however they ended up staying in public albergues as a substitute of untamed tenting.

How busy is the Camino del Norte?

The Camino del Norte is the third hottest Camino de Santiago route.

Greatest albergues on the Northern Camino

We couldn’t keep in each single albergue on the Northern Camino however we did some analysis beforehand to ensure we stayed in a number of the highly-rated locations. The record relies on our private experience.

Monasterio de Zenarruza, the Basque Nation

The placement of the monastery is improbable – on the high of the hill with beautiful views over the world. The services listed here are fairly fundamental however to remain in a monastery like previous instances pilgrims is a useful experience. The monks obtain you very effectively, 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 (personal), Güemes, Cantabria

This albergue is a particular experience and a must-stop on the Northern Manner. Probably 80% of all pilgrims who stroll the Camino keep there. The place is an enormous home the place you are feeling like part of an enormous household. The services listed here are nice; dormitories with massive bunk beds, scorching showers, wi-fi, an enormous yard, a eating space, washing machines, and many others. All the things yow will discover in a great personal albergue.

The proprietor is Padre Ernesto, a priest that traveled everywhere in the world serving to individuals in want. He’s now in his 80 however nonetheless very lively, has an unimaginable reminiscence, and is actively concerned in all of the tasks. This albergue is the place the place individuals (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 Manner of St.James

Albergue de peregrinos de San Martín de Laspra (personal), Asturias

One other home-like albergue the place you are feeling comfy and really welcome. It’s an enormous two-story home with an amazing host, good services, and a pleasant ambiance. We had been there low season, solely 4 individuals stayed that evening but it surely have to be an amazing place to remain in season. There’s a kitchen with an enormous desk within the center – a great place to socialize, meet new individuals, and cook dinner collectively. The albergue has good services; the kitchen with all you want for cooking, wi-fi, scorching water, heating, a washer, blankets, and many others.

Albergue O Xistral (personal), Castromaior, Galicia

One of many prettiest albergues on the Camino with nice services, very cozy and heat – a spot you wish to keep longer with none reason, simply since you really feel comfy. It’s an amazing place to relax and relaxation, particularly should you, like us, arrive there all moist and chilly, it was so good to sit down by the hearth and revel in being heat and dry. The albergue is an previous home (16th century) that was upgraded and renovated from the within although from the surface it nonetheless appears to be like like a conventional Galician farmhouse. My favourite a part of the albergue was the rain bathe with colourful lights, it was positively the very best bathe on the Northern Camino.

Albergue de peregrinos de Sobrado dos Monxes, Galicia

One other “must-stay” albergue on the Northern Manner. The monastery advanced is huge and really spectacular, you simply can’t cease trying round and 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.

One of the best elements of the Camino del Norte

These are in our opinion probably the most lovely strolling phases of the Northern Camino de Santiago.

Irún to San Sebastián (the Basque Nation) – sea surroundings, cliffs, forest, seashores. Unbelievable 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 seaside stroll in Laredo to the ferry, lovely sea surroundings on the way in which from Santoña to Noja.

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

Santillana del Mar to Comillas (Cantabria) – a pleasant forest stroll with a few small cities on the way in which, a good looking 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 stay 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 every of our favourite strolling days on the Northern Manner

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 seaside 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 probably the most picturesque with nice viewpoints. The bridge Puente dos Santos appears to be like fairly spectacular from Figueras’s facet as effectively.

Mondoñedo to Gontán (Galicia) – not like a lot of the earlier strolling phases on the Norther Manner this one has nothing to do with the ocean, solely mountains, and forest. It’s lovely and distant, there may be fairly an uphill stroll on the route strive nonetheless to benefit from the surroundings.

The worst strolling day on the Northern Manner

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

Northern Camino FAQs

Is there a whole lot of highway strolling on the Northern Camino?

There have been some roads and sidewalks on the route like on some other Camino. If I have to evaluate the Northern Manner with different Caminos we’ve performed – there was much less strolling on asphalt or cobblestones than on the Portuguese Manner however greater than on the Primitivo. For the primary couple of days, the route goes more often than not on the trail or seaside, with not many roads.

More often than not you get asphalt or roads while you stroll in or out of the large 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.

Is the Northern Manner a great path to stroll as the primary Camino?

Sure. For many individuals, we met strolling the Northern Camino was their first Camino ever, all of them had been effective and completed it concurrently us. I don’t suppose you want any particular Camino experience or it’s a must to stroll the French Manner first – simply observe the ideas that skilled pilgrims give and take excellent care of your ft – you’ll be effective. I wouldn’t advocate 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 phases however del Norte is totally effective.

Is the Northern Camino probably the most lovely route?

It’s all the time troublesome to check and to decide on the very best or the favourite one. We did take pleasure in this Camino lots, it’s an amazing mixture of gorgeous nature; the ocean and mountain surroundings, and cultural experience. One other factor we favored about this Camino is that you simply stroll by means of 4 completely different areas which supplies you an amazing alternative to check them, see the variations between the areas, and admire how the surroundings, meals, and even languages change as you go.

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

It is determined by what you wish 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 Manner follows the coast, it doesn’t imply you see the ocean every single 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 Manner has extra infrastructure and lots of extra public albergues than the Northern Manner which makes the stroll cheaper. Basically, the Northern coast of Spain is extra touristy and because of this dearer than the inland areas. After strolling each routes I can say that the Northern Manner positively is dearer than the Camino Frances however the surroundings is extra spectacular on this route.

You’ll find extra solutions to your questions in our Camino de Santiago FAQ put up.

The Northern Manner 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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