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My Holiday

Camino del Norte - FULL WALK (Hondarribia-Santiago)

(Stage 1-35): 39 days, 818 km's pilgrimage (507 miles). Experience the whole Northern Camino Route

Spain is More offers you the chance to walk this picturesque and alternative route along the northern coast of Spain to Santiago de Compostela. This famous and beautiful coastline offers everything from some of Spain's most beautiful beaches, brilliant restaurant, idyllic fishing villages and exciting cities. All this combined with the raw nature of the harsh rocky coast; this route will satisfy your every desire for nature, physical activity and and a chance to indulge yourself at the same time.

The Camino del Norte is as old as the Camino Francés, and in the Middle Ages it was the preferred way for Europe's kings and nobles to travel to Santiago. It was more secure than the French Camino, as pilgrims were far from the war against the Moors that took place further south.

This route runs along the Cantabrian coast and you will experience one of Spain's most beautiful coastlines upclose. The terrain is hilly and sometimes quite demanding, but you can usually find easier and good alternatives on the most difficult stretches.
The route follows a string of wonderful coastal towns and cities, among which the highlights are San Sebastian with its seafront and delicious pinchos (Basque tapas) and Bilboa with its world-famous Guggenheim Museum.

In addition to the stunning coastline and idyllic fishing villages, you can add unique local cuisine to your list that will satisfy the most demanding palate.

The route is also an ideal bicycle route, which Spain is More also organizes.

You are accommodated in cosy hotels along the way, always counting on every suite having its own shower and toilet, and being conveniently located near the Camino. Every day your breakfast is included and your own personal guidebook will guide you comfortably and safely to the next destination.

If you appreciate great hiking, sea and nature and want to get up close and personal with the countless villages along the route and their wonderful restaurants, you cannot miss this trip.

✔ Daily Departures from mid-March to end-October.

✔ Hotel-to-Hotel Baggage Service is optional.

✔ Your personal Pilgrim's Passport.

✔ Specially Selected Hotels - always with private bathroom - selected for best location, service and authentic charm.

✔ Spain is More Camino Guidebook (which you will receive some weeks before departure) contains practical pilgrim information, suggestions for packing list, recommended restaurants, maps of all cities along The Camino- and hotel location, Pilgrim's Passport/Credential, advice and guidance, service phone numbers and much more, all to make your trip on The Camino an experience of a lifetime!

✔ Day trip to Finisterre.

✔ Dividing stages: Sometimes!

Camino del Norte
  • Price
    From 2.295 EUR/pers.
  • Km
    818
  • Days
    39 days / 38 nights
  • Difficulty
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    ? NOTE: nowhere, in any Camino, will steep cliffs be found next to path!

    1: Very easy. Flat and without significant gradients. Good and normally wide paths.

    2: Easy. Slightly hilly. Good and normally wide paths.

    3: Medium. Hilly, possibly with longer distances between service facilities/cities. Good, sometimes narrow paths.

    4: Medium/Hard. Longer, steeper climbs, perhaps with few servicefacilities/cities. Good, sometimes narrow paths.

    5: Hard. Long gradient(s), possibly few facilities. Very hilly. Good, sometimes narrow paths.
Description

On the Camino del Norte between Hondarribia and Bilbao you will experience one of Spain's most beautiful coastlines up close. The terrain is hilly and sometimes quite demanding, but you can usually find easier and good alternatives on the more difficult stretches.

The route follows a string of wonderful coastal towns and cities, among which the highlights are San Sebastian with its seafront and delicious pinchos (Basque tapas) and Bilboa with its world-famous Guggenheim Museum.

In addition to the stunning coastline and idyllic fishing villages, you can add unique local cuisine to your list that will satisfy the most demanding palate.

More information on Hondarribia - Bilbao

After Bilbao the terrain is getting slightly easier - but without becoming easily. The Camino often follows the coastline and it is possible to walk long stretches along some of Spain's most beautiful beaches, with the feets in the water. Between the beaches and cliffs you'll find idyllic fishing and seaside villages which in summer are extremely popular vacation destinations.

The stages can rarely be shortened significantly, making the level hard to adjust the individual.

Service functions are generally good. In the evenings there are always restaurants on or near the hotel. The route passes every day through the cities, which has supermarkets, banks, laundry services, shops and other possibility for provisioning. 
 

More information on Bilbao - Santander

This stretch that runs between Santander to Gijón is a clear example of the best of Northern Spain:  lovely beaches, quaint fishing towns, impressive natural landscapes and culture.

The cuisine is some of the best and judging from a scenery point of view, it would be difficult to find anything more beautiful. 

The terrain along the Camino del Norte is quite varied without being difficult to hike. The majority of the days it's possible to divide the stages, if one chooses. In summary, this route has everything one could desire in a vacation in the North of Spain.

In the "stages" section you will find more detailed information as well as maps of the stages profiles and photos.

Service functions are very good throughout the length of the route.

Possibility of dividing stages: Yes.  See description of the stages.

More information on Santander - Gijon

In the first stages of this route from Gijon/Aviles there are some ups and downs. A couple of them include a stretch of 2-3 km. After passing this stage the challenge is the valleys with their rivers and lakes. On this stretch the wind plays an important role since it will be rather easy if you have it at your back, but much more difficult if you are facing the wind for this part of the route.

The stages are divided by difficulty; the hardest is the shortest stage and the easiest is the longest. In the section "stages you will find more detailed information about each stage, such profile maps of the stages and photos.

Service functions are good throughout the length of the route. In the towns or cities where you'll be lodging there are always restuarants and other services, such as banks, supermarkets...etc.

Possibility of dividing stages: Yes.  See description of the stages.

More information on Gijón - Ribadeo

In Ribadeo you will leave the coast behind and you won't see the sea again after this point. The terrain on this stretch is easy; it's not flat, but the ascents are normally short. The stages are complicated to divide, making the route more difficult that it really is.

In the section "stages you will find more detailed information about each stage, such profile maps of the stages and photos.

Service functions are limited throughout the length of the route, something you will have to take into account before leaving each day. 

In the towns or cities where you'll be lodging there are always restaurants and other services, such as banks, supermarkets...etc.

Possibility of dividing stages: Yes, some.  See description of the stages.

More information on Ribadeo - Santiago de Compostela

Detailed itinerary
Detailed itinerary (view all days )
Day 1.- Arrival to Hondarribia

Arrival in Hondarribia which is a beautiful village in the Basque Country with two historic districts that make up the old and monumental part of the town center.
'Cisco Viejo' or Old Part corresponding to the walled old town. It is a area with many buildings of artistic and historical interest. The harbour is a charming fishermen neighbourhood, located outside the walls.  

Hondarribia is the perfect place to enjoy the local cuisine, either through pintos or in a restaurant (or both).

Day 2.- Hondarribia - San Sebastián27 Km

You start off with a tremendously beautiful walk with a splendid view of the bay. In many regards this stage is one of the most beautiful on the route.

However, you will have to work for the beautiful view and the stage is quite hilly. But you will be perfectly rewarded with delicious pintxos in San Sebastián 's beautiful old town.

Distance: 27 Km

Day 3.- San Sebastián - Zarautz20 Km

Waking up in San Sebastian is always a pleasure. Enjoy views of San Sebastian from Mount Igeldo and its lighthouse. You will walk through woods and the vineyards of Txacoli (white wine) and pass the picturesque fishing villages.

This day ends in Zarautz, a town between sea and mountains, which is also one of the most popular seaside resorts in the Basque Country.

Distance: 20 Km

Day 4.- Zarautz - Deba22 Km

This stage follows the coastline, forcing the pilgrims to overcome countless hills between the pretty coastal towns. You will pass, among other things, a beautiful monument from the 16th Century, as well as a wonderful geological phenomenon produced by the erosive action of the sea against the stratified rocks.

Distance: 22 Km

Day 5.- Deba - Markina - Xemein24 Km

The stage becomes quite hilly as the route goes inland and leaves the ocean for the next 3 days.

Pilgrims are faced with tough climbs, but everything has an end and the last path of the route is more favourable.

Distance: 24 Km

Day 6.- Markina - Xemein - Guernika Lumo25 Km

This day is an idyllic stage where Cistercian monks still welcome the pilgrims.

The Camino winds through dark and winding paths while small churches, towers and other medieval monuments are crossed.

The stage ends in the town of Guernica, which was immortalized by Picasso.

Distance: 25 Km

Day 7.- Guernica - Lezama22 Km

The Camino follows much of the day an asphalt road through the vast forests.

This part of the route is in sharp contrast to the modern metropolitan cities like Bilbao and San Sebastian.

Distance: 22 Km

Day 8.- Lezama - Bilbao12 Km

Monte Avril is the last "hurdle" of pelgrims that you must overcome to get to Bilbao. Bilbao, known for its cuisine, culture and music, which is felt throughout the city and especially in the old quarter.

We recommend to spend an extra day in Bilbao. The Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, the Euskalduna Conference and Music Centre, Norman Foster's Underground... are all examples of the dynamism that exists in Bilbao.

However, today's stage is short and you can easily get a impression of Bilbao in the time available.

Distance: 12 Km

Day 9.- Bilbao - Portugalete19 Km

A large part of the route goes through Bilbao's suburbs and along the major port.

You will be walking at a comfortable distance from traffic and noise, in a beautiful landscaped path, where you have a lovely view over the bay, the harbour and the city.

You will see the perforated landscape reminding everyone of the numerous mines, which until a few decades ago, was the main regional income.

Distance: 19 Km

Day 10.- Portugalete - Castro Urdiales28 Km

This historic trail overlooks the idyllic villages and nice beaches before the descent to the beautiful city of Castro Urdiales.

Castro Urdiales is an old fishing village that has glorious buildings and plenty of atmosphere.

Distance: 28 Km

Day 11.- Castro Urdiales - Laredo25 Km

At the beginning of this stage you pass the ruins of a medieval castle. A parallel path leads through a eucalyptus forest instead of walking close to the highway. In Laredo, the beautiful buildings from 16th – 19th century can be admired.

You have two choices of routes. The official is 37 kilometres, but can easily be reduced to approx. 25 km’s. Advantages and disadvantages as well as practical advice is described in our guidebook.

Distance: 25 Km

Day 12.- Laredo - Güemes28 Km

The stage begins with a short cruise across the bay, before the route passes some of the most beautiful beaches in the north of Spain. There are countless places where the rugged cliffs and intermediate beaches can be admired.

Distance: 28 Km

Day 13.- Güemes - Santander14 Km

A short and comfortable walk that ends up in the town of Somo, just across the bay of Santander.

The city is reached by boat from here. Many summer hiking guests prefer to stay a few days in one of the cosy summer towns close to Santander, with stunning beaches, which is highly recommended during summer months.

Distance: 14 Km

Day 14.- Santander - Mogro18 Km

This is a very tedious stage and with the only company of the asphalt. The nearest ford over the river Pas, a sixteenth century bridge in the town of Puente Arce, forces the pilgrims to make a considerable detour.

To shorten the route 8 kilometers, it is recommended to take the train at Boo’s railway station and get off at Mogro. If you prefer more time in Santander, its also possible to skip this stage by taking a train or a bus from Santander to Mogro.

Distance: 18 Km

Day 15.- Mogro - Santillana del Mar19 Km

As opossed to yesterday stage, this stage is very beautiful with loads of interesting highligts. Santillana del Mar was founded in the 9th century by monks who brought the relics of St. Juliana and built a chapel and a small monastery in this place. The monastery was gaining notoriety through various donations.

Furthermore, its possible to visit the Altamira Caves, just outside Santillana del Mar. One of the worlds most important architectual findings, with its 17.000 old cave paintings.

The current Church of Santa Juliana is Romanesque from the 12th Century. The town of Santillana del Mar is a monument in itself and walking around the maze of streets dotted with manor houses and palaces well worth another visit.

Distance: 19 Km

Day 16.- Santillana del Mar - Comillas22 Km

Comillas, and its beaches, in the 19th Century become, along with Santander, one of the most prestigious places to spend the summer and practice the famous sunbathing.

The major attractions in Comillas are: Universidad Pontificia, El Capricho de Gaudí and the port of Comillas.

Distance: 22 Km

Day 17.- Comillas - Serdio20 Km

Three are the rias that the pilgrim will cross today and it will spend the night next to another before leaving Cantabria. 

Before reaching San Vicente a detour can bring your throug the wonderful natural reserve, Oyambre. San Vicente de la Barquera, is a lovely little fishing town village.

Unquera is a town strategically located in a privileged location, with the beach and the mountains just a few kilometers far. At the mouth of the River Deva in the Cantabrian sea and the mountains of Picos de Europa, are only 30 kilometers apart.

From its source in Picos de Europa, river Deva runs 62 kilometers winding through the Liébana and the Hermida gorge. It flows into the Tinamayor estuary in Unquera, creating a natural border between the regions of Cantabria and Asturias.

Distance: 20 Km

Day 18.- Serdio - Llanes29 Km

We start crossing the bridge over the river of Tina Mayor, thus we enter Asturias. This friendly way, by which we advance our way to Llanes, reward us in some places with good views of the sea.

Later, a sign will indicate that we are dealing with the ”Bufones of Arenillas”. These cracks or open fires on the coast, and connected with marine abysses, where the salt water penetrates with pressure, forming water spray jets that can reach over 20 meters high.

We will be able to admire it if the conditions are propotious.

 

The stage is long and sloped, and it is recommended to split the stage in two with an extra night. Another possibility is to split this and tomorrow's long stage in a total of 3 stages.

Distance: 29 Km

Day 19.- Llanes - Ribadesella31 Km

Extensive and entertaining stage thanks to the many parishes of the councils of Llanes and Ribadesella accompanying the walk of the pilgrim. It's a hilly stage, which most people choose to split up in two - or split as well with yesterday's stage into three shorter stages!

In this area in the 19th Century it began an urban exploitation with modernist mansions and villas that were occupied by members of the aristocracy and gentry of Asturias and Madrid.

It now has a boardwalk and during the summer it has a rather high occupancy and it is perfect to practice water sports.

Distance: 31 Km

Day 20.- Ribadesella - Colunga23 Km

Today the route continues across the council of Ribadesella and visits Caravia and Colunga.

In the first kilometers, to La Isla, we do not find any natural barrier that separate us from the sea. In the Council of Caravia we have to ascend to a track that soon falls between eucalyptus and ferns to Arenal de Moris.

It begins a few kilometers of great beauty as we walk up the side of the mountain by the sea.

Distance: 23 Km

Day 21.- Colunga - Villaviciosa18 Km

A relatively hard stage, in a hilly terrain through larges forests. The stage is in turn relatively short. Villaviciosa is known for its sidra-production, and a few manufacturers can be visited. If you can't get enough of the beach, you can spend the afternoon at the beautiful Rodiles-beach, where you will also find a few good restaurant.

Not far from Villaviciosa is a small idyllic fishing village with really good restaurants. However, it is necessary to take a taxi or bus to get there.

Distance: 18 Km

Day 22.- Villaviciosa - Gijón29 Km

The toughest stage on the Camino del Norte, with two very long climbs. The stage can be splitted with an extra nights approx. 10 km. before Gijón. Alternatively, our guidebook provides a few tips how to skip the most difficult part of the stage.

Gijón is a city that has plenty to offer and the city is one of the most beautiful and vibrant along the Northern Coast. Lots of great restaurants, shopping and exciting tours make the city an interesting tourist town. 
If weather permits, the beach and along the beautiful promenade are always exciting places to be.

The old town is beautiful and well maintained, and in the evenings you will find everyone pouring sidra from green bottles. A glorious city and an ideal place to begin your pilgrimage. Adding an extra night in town is certainly recommended if your time permits.

Distance: 29 Km

Day 23.- Gijón - Avilés23 Km

The first miles of this stage goes through the suburbs of Gijón before reaching the soft, green hills that will characterize much of this trip. The route you will experience today does not follow the coast, but cuts a pretty much straight line from Gijón to Avilés, where you will spend the night.

Avilés is primarily known for its cultural center, which was designed by the famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. The city also has a nice old town.

Distance: 23 Km

Day 24.- Avilés - Muros de Nalón23 Km

During this stage and the many days following, you will nearly always be able to enjoy the sea on your right. The rocky coastline is sometimes hard to reach, but wide, long white sandy beaches often open up.

Today, the stage ends in one of the most charming fishing villages on the Spanish Northern Coast.

Distance: 23 Km

Day 25.- Muros de Nalón - Soto de Luiña16 Km

A mixed stage, as you follow a bit of the Camino and later some miles along the road. Nevertheless, a stage through forests and often with a beautiful view of the sea.

Distance: 16 Km

Day 26.- Soto de Luiña - Villademoros25 Km

Over 50 meter vertical rock walls separate you and the sea on this stage, often with small, almost pristine beaches in between.

Distance: 25 Km

Day 27.- Villademoros - Luarca16 Km

The stage is relatively flat and quite easy (if it is not windy) and ends in one of the northern coast’s most-beloved villages, Luarca, which is often among the villages highlighted when magazines and newspapers vote on "Spain's most beautiful village".

Distance: 16 Km

Day 28.- Luarca - Cartavio26 Km

In many ways similar to yesterday's stage. It is relatively flat with beautiful views, beaches, pine forests and open countryside.

Distance: 26 Km

Day 29.- Cartavio - Ribadeo26 Km

You will be leaving Asturias and saying hello to Galicia.
Here, you are very close to one of the world's most beautiful beaches, Playa de las Catedrales (see picture), and the afternoon will include a visit to the beach.

The tour includes transportation to and from the beach from the hotel in Ribadeo and some time to see the beach. Playa de las Catedrales is approximately 10 kilometers from Ribadeo.

Distance: 26 Km

Day 30.- Ribadeo - Vilanova26 Km

You move away from the many small villages along the coast and into the highlands. The terrain thus becomes hillier and the contour line increases to about 300 meters (1,000 feet). Setting out, you get a last glimpse of the coast before finally saying goodbye to the sea.

At the same time, you are moving into a very unknown and rural Spain, where you will see old farming methods and small towns where you would be the only tourist were it not for the Camino.

It's an interesting and different part of the Camino starting with this stage.

Distance: 26 Km

Day 31.- Vilanova - Abadin22 Km

This stage goes through the city of Mondoñedo, which houses one of the northern route's most beautiful cathedrals and thus one of the main monuments along this route. The city and the area are also home to a few interesting monasteries.

Galicia is in many ways very different from Asturias, but one of the most visual differences is the many "horreos" that you can find anywhere. These ancient "refrigerators" will constantly remind you that you are in Galicia.

Distance: 22 Km

Day 32.- Abadin - Vilalba21 Km

An easy stage without significant obstacles, a day for enjoyment and mental relaxation. You will probably stay the night in Vilalba’s beautiful parador hotel.

Vilalba is a large town with several good restaurants and is the last larger town before you move into a relatively deserted area.

Distance: 21 Km

Day 33.- Vilalba - Seixon29 Km

After about 10 kilometers, you will leave the highway that you have been crossing many times over the last couple of days. You will walk into a very rural area with lots of open fields, forests, etc.

Distance: 29 Km

Day 34.- Seixon - Sobrado29 Km

A stage which in many ways is similar to yesterday's stage, where forests, ponds and fields surround you.

The cultural highlight of the day is the monastery in Sobrado.

Distance: 29 Km

Day 35.- Sobrado - Arzua21 Km

This is the last stage before the northern route integrates with the French route in Arzúa.

From here, you are only two stages from your goal in Santiago, and you will meet many pilgrims who want to learn more about Camino del Norte.

Distance: 21 Km

Day 36.- Arzúa - O Pedrouzo21 Km

An exhilarating atmosphere unfolds as your journey's end draws closer.

Pilgrims now see and feel their goal, and begin to revel in happiness and relief with the many companions they met along the way.

Distance: 21 Km

Day 37.- O Pedrouzo - Santiago19 Km

Congratulations, you achieved an admirable goal, so it's time for a number of traditional pilgrimage rituals. First, be sure to get proof of this feat: the last stamp in your pilgrim passport.

Along with the rituals, enjoy the End Station of the Pilgrim route, Santiago de Compostela, which offers a veritable cornucopia of attractions and one of the world’s most important cultural centers.

This university town exudes charm and has a myriad of cozy streets offering ample opportunity to sample the many local delicacies. The cathedral is surrounded by a historic center which is on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list, and old town is incomparable. Its monuments stand as true works of art in different architectural styles.

Distance: 19 Km

Day 38.- Santiago de Compostela and Finisterre

True pilgrims continues further and finish their journeys in Finisterre. The tour goes by bus with an English-speaking guide from Santiago to Finisterre in the morning and returns mid-efternoon to Santiago. Just off the stunning, rugged coastline and the fabled “Costa de la Muerte” (Death Coast), a reef filled with shipwrecks and tales of legends captures a raw, natural beauty. On the coast’s westernmost point is Finisterre – meaning the world’s end. Romans named this coast because it was literally the end of the known world. For many pilgrims this is the symbolic endpoint of the pilgrimage. 

The evening is spent in Santiago de Compostela.

Day 39.- Departure

Departure from Santiago

 
What is included in this trip?

From 2.295 EUR/pers. Per person in a double room.

Single room supplement:690 EUR

It includes
  1. 38 nights in a double room - always with private bath/toilet.
  2. 38 x breakfast.
  3. 1 x dinner.
  4. The price includes 1 Spain-is-More-Travel Guidebook per every 4 travellers. More copies can be purchased when booking for 20€ per copy, or 30 euros per copy if the request is less than 6 weeks prior to departure.
  5. Pilgrim Passport / Credencial.
  6. Guided Tour to Finisterre.
  7. 24/7 emergency telephone number.
  8. Taxes.
Not included
  1. Some short local bus or taxi journeys, e.g. from airport to bus or train station in the same city.
  2. Summer: 15 July to 31 August is high season. Unlike the French route the hotels are filled with summerguests why the price increases considerably. During this time you should expect extra costs of around 300 € / person.
Optional
  1. Personalise your Camino: Extended stays, divide stages, transportation to startingpoint from anywhere in the world and back. Please ask us, we will be happy to assist you.
  2. Baggage Transport on the pilgrim route can be purchased. If you buy a luggage service your bag / suitcase will be transported from hotel to hotel on the scheduled days of hiking. Price: 260€/luggage. Máx: 20 kgs.
  3. The price include 1 Spain-is-More-Travel Guidebook per every 4 travellers. More copies can be purchased when booking (20€/copy).
  4. Cancellation insurence: 6% of total price (can be added when ordering).

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