Take in the amazing Spanish coastline with the Camino del Norte
The Camino de Santiago pilgrimage is one of the most spectacular pilgrimages in Europe. Consisting of a network of routes all leading to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, there are many amazing journeys you can take, and the Camino del Norte is particularly special.
On your journey of spiritual growth and contemplation you can experience all that the northern Spanish coastline has to offer, travelling through several historically and culturally important cities. It truly is the journey of a lifetime and will leave you with the most amazing memories to carry with you into the future.
Split into 5 sections, you will see amazing scenery, quaint villages, impressive cities and the opportunity to really step into another culture and the feel the essences of the Camino, all with the help of Santiagoways, who will be by your side through all the planning of your route, where to stay and where to eat and what sights cannot be missed.
Unbelievable gastronomy in San Sebastian
The first section begins in San Sebastian, a truly cosmopolitan city renowned throughout the world for it amazing gastronomy, compounded by the fact it is home to many Michelin starred restaurants. It will take you through as far as Bilbao, passing through well-known villages such as Gernika, which was famously subject to intense bombing during the civil war in Spain.
As you progress through the Basque country be sure to try the local traditional cuisine such as ‘pintxos’, small slices of bread with a wide range of tasty toppings and the local ‘txakoli’ wine. The journey will take you along the green coastline and view of spectacular hills.
Bilbao itself is a wonderful city, and well known for impressive art collections, such as those exhibitions at the Bilbao Guggenheim, an absolute must see when you are in town.
Wildlife and coastal scenery from Bilbao to Santander
The second stage of the journey will take you from Bilbao to Santander. You’ll head through historic centres, cross many impressive rivers and travel down the rocky coastline passing villages and beaches. You will even have the opportunity to crossing from Colindres to Santoña by boat, and see some wildlife in the sanctuary in the marshlands.
On reaching Santander -the capital of Cantabria- you can even take the opportunity to relax for a few days before continuing the journey. The city is very elegant with beaches, parks and great food. The break will be welcome for the next more challenging section.
Time to head into the mountains
The landscape for the next leg will be in stark contrast to the coastal scenes previously seen, and the next stage can certainly be physically challenging but will leave you with a growing sense of achievement.It is also one of the most beautiful sections. Leaving Santander you will head into the interior of Cantabria, through the villages of Santa Cruz de Bezana, Mompía and Boo de Piélagos and Arce.
You will get the chance to see some lovely meadows and tranquil villages. Santillana del Mar is worth a stop, famous for its Altamira Caves. The journey will take you along the rugged coast and into Oyambre National Park, an area of importance for its wildlife and marine ecosystems. The stage finishes in the beautiful seaside town of Ribadesella
Follow in medieval footsteps through Asturias
The fourth section takes you from Ribadesella to Vilalba. Ribadesella is a beautiful coastal town at the foot of the Picos de Europa on the Cantabrian Sea.
This stage will take pilgrims through rural Asturias, and through the medieval city of Oviedo, the regional capital. Try the local delicacies and wash it down with a glass of cider special to this region.
Oviedo is where the original way of the Camino de Santiago started, now known as the Camino Primitivo that was hugely popular up until the tenth century. The stage will end in the historic commercial city of Vilalba, a region famous for its milk and high-quality cheese production.
A journey ends, but the memories last a lifetime
The final section of the Camino del Norte, leads travellers through rural Galicia through to Santiago de Compostela. When you reach Arzúa, the Northern Way joins with the Camino Frances, and you will likely meet other pilgrims journeying to the Cathedral.
You will even have the opportunity during this stage to visit the Monastery of Sobrado dos Monxes. As you drag your weary feet into the city you will finally understand the great thing you have achieved. The city itself is very good to visit if you then stay a few days afterwards.