Camino del Norte walking stages – complete itinerary

Scenery on the Camino del Norte
The sea and the mountains - the typical view on the Camino del Norte.

Camino del Norte is an 865km walk through the Northern Spain; the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia. The scenery on the Camino is amazing; sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, beautiful sea, historical cities and towns, pasture fields and forest. The Northern Way was our third Camino de Santiago that we walked in one year after the Camino Portuguese and the Camino Primitivo – in our opinion it was tougher than the other two Caminos. In this post you’ll find a complete walking itinerary from Irún to Santiago de Compostela.

This is a suggested itinerary that can be used for your Camino planning. If you think that some stages are too long, you rather take your time and walk it slower you can easily adjust this itinerary for you. If you need some tips for planning the Camino del Norte read THIS POST.

You can find a PDF files with walking stages and distances at the end of the post. 

If you’re wondering what to pack for the Camino del Norte check our detailed Camino packing guide where you can find the complete list of items for different seasons for both men and women.

Camino del Norte – day by day itinerary

Day 0. Getting to Irún (the Basque Country)

By bus/train. There are buses and trains to Irún from several Spanish cities otherwise you can take a bus or train to San Sebastian and take a local bus from there.  We took a bus from Barcelona, the journey was 8 hours, price 34 Euro. 

By air. There is no airport in Irún, the nearest airports are in San Sebastián, Pamplona or Biarritz (France). There are international flights to these airports. From there you can take a bus or train to Irún.

The municipal albergue in Irún opens at 4pm if you arrive earlier you’ll have to wait. The albergue is very nice with good facilities and very welcome and helpful hosts. Note! At the end of the post you can find a downloadable PDF file that contains a list of all public albergues on the Camino del Norte. 

Day 1. Irún – San Sebastián, 27km/17 miles

Irún – Pasaia- San Sebastián

The start of the Camino is quite challenging; two long ascends and descends on the way to San Sebastián. The scenery on the first day is amazing – one of the most beautiful walking days on the route. Most of the time the Camino goes through the mountains and forest, no road walking. There will be only one town Pasaia on the way, in the middle between Irún and San Sebastián. There will be a couple of water fountains on the way to refill water. In Pasaia you cross the river on a small boat, it takes 1 minute, costs 0,8 Euro pp.

Note! The municipal albergue (donation) is at the entrance to San Sebastián, at about 25km. It is opened only in July and August, out of these months you have to stay at the albergue juvenile or one of the hostels. We stayed at albergue Juvenil Ondaretta, it’s located on the other side of the city (right at the end), at 27km, it’s quite expensive 17-20 Euro pp. If you’re planning to do some sightseeing or go out rather to stay in a different place, closer to the city center. If you have some extra days we’d suggest to stay longer (2 days) in San Sebastián, it’s a very beautiful place.

Accommodation in San Sebastián

Budget | Koisi Hostel | A Room In The City | Koba Hostel | Albergue Juvenil Ondaretta |

Middle price | Off Beat Guesthouse | Enjoy Comfort | Pensión Añoga | San Sebastian Holiday Guest House |

Points of interest

  • Beautiful scenery; green hills, cliffs, beaches, forest, towns
  • Pasaia – a cozy small town, a nice place to stop for lunch or coffee (though bars on the way were quite pricey)
  • San Sebastian – probably the beautiful city on the Camino del Norte; sandy beaches, Old town, nice vibe, many pincho (pintxo) bars and cafes.  

Challenges

  • Steep uphill that starts 3km after Irún, 250m altitude gain with a subsequent descend to Pasaia
  • Steep ascend from Pasaia, 200m altitude gain with subsequent descend to San Sebastian.

Albergue de Ondarreta – capacity 40 people, opened all year, price 17-19 Euro.

Facilities

  • Hot water – yes
  • Kitchen – yes, stove, microwave, plates, utensils etc.
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Washing machine – yes, 3 Euro
  • Drying machine – no, washing lines
  • Blankets – yes
  • Heating – yes
Beautiful view of San Sebastian on the way down to the city
View over San Sebastian from the Camino route.

Day 2. San Sebastián – Getaria, 26km/16 miles

San Sebastián – Orio – Zarautz – Getaria

First part of the walk between San Sebastian and Orio is through the forest and fields, there are two places to refill water. If you walk in summer make sure to start early most of the way you’re exposed to the sun. As an option you can stay in Zarautz there is a municipal albergue but it’s opened only in July and August. Hostels in Zarautz were quite expensive (it’s a fancy surf town) for this reason we decided to keep walking to Getaria. The walk from Zarautz to Getaria is very nice and easy along the sea with some great views over both towns.

Points of interest

  • Beautiful sea scenery on the way from San Sebastian
  • Sea front in Zarautz
  • Old Town and the beach of Getaria

Challenges

  • Steep uphill right after San Sebastian,
  • Many up and downs all the way till Zarautz

Getaria is a nice little town at the sea with small but beautiful historical center, cathedral, many restaurants and bars where you can stop for a drink with pincho.

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – no
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – no
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

Kanpaia albergue, Getaria. It is quite basic for the price, reminds more an albergue for donation rather than a hostel. Capacity 30 people. Opened 1st March to 31st October. Price 15 Euro.

Facilities

  • Hot water – yes
  • Kitchen – yes, only microwave, kettle, utensils
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Washing machine – yes, 3 Euro
  • Drying machine – no, washing lines
  • Blankets – no
  • Heating – no
  • Extra – breakfast, 3 Euro pp.

There is another albergue in Guetaria – Agote Aundi that is opened all year. Price 15 Euro, including breakfast. 

Getaria, beach. Walking the Northern Way of St.James
Beautiful beach town of Getaria.

Day 3. Getaria – Deba, 19km/12 miles

Getaria – Zumaia – Itziar – Deba

First 5km after Guetaria there is no places to stop for food – make sure to have enough water and eat breakfast in Guetaria or take some snack with. After 5km you arrive in Zumaia – another town by the sea. After that at 9km there will be a restaurant. First half of the way ascends and descends, walking through the fields and open areas, second half a little bit of walking along the road (not very busy though) and through the forest.

Points of interest

  • Beautiful mountain and sea scenery on the way
  • Old Town of Zumaia
  • Sanctuary de Santa María de Itziar

Challenges

  • Up and down hills, the whole day you basically ascend or descend, very little walking on the flat.

Deba is a biggish town at the river with many restaurants and bars, nice square and a couple of churches.

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – yes. Opened all year. Price 5 Euro.
  • Private albergue – no
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

Day 4. Deba – Markina-Xemein, 25km/15,5 miles

Deba – Ermita de Calvario de Maia – Olatz – Markina

In Deba you walk 1km extra in order to get to the other side of the river because the Old bridge is currently closed for reconstruction. There is a bus that takes people to the other side, you can ask at the albergue how it works, we decided to walk. There are no towns or villages between Deba and Markina except three restaurants on the way, the first two were closed (it was Sunday morning), the third – Taberna Zelaieta in Olatz, at 8km, was opened. It’s situated just before a long and steep uphill we’d recommend to stop here for coffee and rest. Their coffee is good and they have great pinchos.

The municipal albergue in Markina is supposed to be for donation but a person who runs it insists in everybody “paying” 10 Euro which is annoying; the place is quite basic and doesn’t have many facilities, though you get breakfast; toasts, jam, coffee etc.

Another option is to keep walking from Markina, 7km more to the monastery – Monasterio de Zenarruza and stay there. It’s a donation place where you can sleep and get a meal. The monastery is located 20 min. walk from the nearest town Bolibar in a very beautiful spot. Some people walked next day only 7km from Markina to the monastery and stayed there.

Points of interest

  • Beautiful mountain scenery all the way from Deba to Markina
  • Torre Barroeta
  • Ermita de San Joaquín y Santa Ana
  • Ermita (small church) San Miguel de Arretxinaga

Challenges

  • Steep ascend from Deba to Ermita del Calvario, 200m altitude gain
  • Steep ascend from Olatz (Taberna Zelaieta, 250m altitude gain
  • Long and steep descend just before Markita with some very muddy parts, 350m down.

Markina is a typical small town in Spain where everything (shops and supermarkets) is closed on Sundays.

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – yes. Opened 7th April – 15th October. Compulsory donation 10 Euro.
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes
Camino del Norte, forest path through the Basque Country
Stingy Nomads on the Camino del Norte – walking through the Basque Country.

Day 5. Markina-Xemein – Guernica, 25km/15,5 miles

Markina – Iruzubieta – Bolibar – Monastery de Zenarruza – Munitibar – Berriondo – Guernica

Another day of climbing up and going down with a bit of walking on the road with little traffic. A nice walking day with beautiful scenery. There were a couple of restaurants to stop for coffee or lunch on the way and quite a few water fountains.

Albergue for donation in Guernica is opened only in August, there are many hostels, hotels and guest houses in the town. 

Points of interest

  • Monastery of Zenarruza
  • Ermita de San Pedro and San Cristóbal
  • Torre (tower) de Montalban, Berriondo
  • Church de la Ascención, Ajangiz (Guernica)

Challenges

  • Ascends and descends all day
  • Steep ascend from Markina to the monastery of Zenarruza, 250m altitude gain
  • Muddy path on the way to Berriondo

Guernica (Gernika) is a big town with a nice historical center through not very big. It became worldwide famous after a 3-hour bombing by the Nazi aviation on a quite Sunday of 1937. The town from Picasso’s painting Guernica that you can find in the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, its copy is hanging at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York. 

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – yes (opened only in August)
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

We stayed at albergue Lumo Aterpetxea (private), capacity 50 people, opened all year. Price 18 Euro pp.

Facilities

  • Hot water – yes
  • Kitchen – yes, cooking stove, microwave, pots, utensils, cutlery etc.
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Washing machine – yes, 3 Euro
  • Drying machine – yes, 4 Euro
  • Blankets – yes
  • Heating – yes
  • Extra – breakfast included, lockers
Small town on the Camino del Norte
Countless charming towns on the Camino del Norte

Day 6. Guernica – Bilbao, 33km/20,5 miles

Guernica – Larrabetzu – Lezama – Zamudio – Bilbao

This stage is quite long and challenging if you fill strong walk it in one go but we’d suggest to split it into two stages especially if you walk in summer. The second half of the route from Larrabetzu you walk along the road, exposed to the sun. You can walk 21km to Lezama (albergue for donation) and the next day 13km to Bilbao, this way you’ll have more time to do sightseeing in the city. Don’t forget to take food or snacks with or eat good breakfast in Guernica, the nearest place to stop for food is at 17km.

Points of interest

  • Ermita de San Esteban de Gerekiz
  • Beautiful forest walk from Guernica to Goiko Elexalde
  • Monte Aro and beautiful views from the top
  • Historical center of Bilbao

Challenges

  • No places to stop for food during first 17km
  • Steep uphill from Guernika, 220m altitude gain
  • Some very muddy parts at about 13km mark
  • Walking along the road from Goiko Elexalde till Zamudio, for about 10km, with no shadow
  • Very steep ascend to Monte Aro with subsequent steep descend to Bilbao, 320m up and down.

Bilbao is a big city with a nice historical part, many hotels, hostels, restaurants, supermarkets, ATMs etc. Municipal albergue (opened 1st April – 14th October, donation) in Bilbao is located 4km outside the center, on the way out from the city. We wanted to do some sightseeing and decided to stay at albergue Claret Enea, you’ll find it if you follow yellow shells and arrows past the historical center after crossing the bridge. The albergue is opened from 1st May to 31st October, capacity 20 people, price 11 Euro pp.

Facilities

  • Hot water – yes
  • Kitchen – yes, cooking stove, microwave, pots, utensils, cutlery etc.
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Washing machine – yes, 2 Euro
  • Drying machine – yes, 2 Euro
  • Blankets – yes
  • Heating – yes
  • Extra – breakfast included, lockers
Guggenheim museum, Bilbao, Camino del Norte
Guggenheim museum, Bilbao – walking out of the city following the river route

Day 7. Bilbao – Pobeña, 26km/16 miles 

Bilbao – Getxo (river)/Cruces – Retuerto – Sestao (mountains) – Portugalete – La Arena – Pobeña

There are two ways of walking out of Bilbao; we followed the river all the way to Getxo where we crossed to Portugalete using the Vizcaya bridge (a transporter bridge) – quite unique experience. You can walk the Original way  over the hills but it’s longer and it doesn’t go through the modern part of Bilbao e.g. Guggenheim museum etc., plus it has some steep up and down hills. Note! If you stay at the municipal albergue of Bilbao you’ll have to follow the longer (original) way because the albergue is 4km outside the city on the route. The walk along the river route to Portugalete is 14km, the historical (mountain) route is 20km. Both routes are marked, both join in Portugalete. We were told that most pilgrims walk out of Bilbao following the river. We chose that way mainly because we didn’t have time to see the modern part of the city the day before. The beginning of the walk was nice; along the river, past the modern part of the city. The second half was through industrial suburbs of Bilbao. To get to the opposite side you’ll have to cross the bridge. The crossing takes 2 minutes, costs 0,40 Euro pp.

Some people skip this part and take a bus from Bilbao to Portugalete because they don’t want to walk through the industrial areas of the city. Not that we’re against it if you don’t have much time or not feeling well to cut this part is an option but it’s a part of the Camino experience and in the end the walk wasn’t that bad.

2km after Portugalete there is another split. We followed the official (historical) route that goes on the cycling/walking route almost all the way to La Playa. The alternative route is more urbanized and passes through some populated areas and roads.

Points of interest

  • Modern area of Bilbao; Guggenheim museum, Paseo de la Memoria, Parque da Ribera etc.
  • The Bizcaya bridge – a bridge between Getxa and Portugalete, if you follow the river route you’ll have to use the bridge to cross it.
  • La Arena – a nice beach town with good waves for surfing

Challenges

  • All day walking on the asphalt it made our feet quite tired
  • For about 8km after the modern part of Bilbao to Getxo you walk through the industrial area, it didn’t feel dangerous just nothing to see, quite boring scenery.
  • Very gradual ascend from Portugalete to Gallarta, 100m altitude gain
  • Descend to La Arena, 100m down

Pobeña is not a town, there are a couple of houses and two bars, no shops if you want to buy something do it in La Arena – a town 1km before.

  • ATM – yes, in La Arena
  • Municipal albergue – yes (opened 24th March – 15th October)
  • Private albergue – no
  • Hotel – yes, in La Arena
  • Shop – yes, in La Arena
  • Supermarket – no
  • Pharmacy – no
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

Day 8. Pobeña – Castro Urdiales (Cantabria),  23km/14 miles

Pobeña – Ontón – Baltezana – Santullán – Castro Urdiales

We were told at the albergue not to follow the official route from Pobeña (up the stairs) because it’s dangerous (rocks falling or something like that) and go instead along the road. Luckily we decided to walk the route anyway and didn’t notice any danger. The trail goes along the coast if you start early morning you can enjoy a beautiful sunrise – the best scenery of the day. After walking for about 4km you’ll leave the Basque Country and enter Cantabria where everything is a little bit cheaper.

At Ontón the route splits; one goes along the coast (the alternative route) and another goes inland (the original way). Both routes are marked. The Coastal route is about 5km shorter than the official route. You do see more coast but it involves quite a bit of walking on the road. If you’re planning to stay in Castro Urdiales rather take the longer route otherwise you’ll arrive in the city too early and will have to wait for a couple of hours for albergues to open. 

If you’re planning to keep walking we’d suggest to buy food in Castro Urdiales there will be no other shops on the way. Note! Albergue in Islares is currently closed, the next albergue is at El Pontarrón. We read bad review about the albergue in El Pontarrón but it wasn’t that bad, it’s quite basic but good enough for a donation albergue. You must ask at El Pontarron Bar, people from there will stamp your credential and explain how to get to the albergue.

Points of interest

  • Paseo Itsaslur – the first part of the route from Pobeña along the coast with beautiful sunrise
  • El Pico La Cruz (mountain peak) can be seen from Sámano
  • The historical part and beaches in Castro Urdiales

Challenges

  • If you take the coastal route (shorter one) you walk along the road with steep uphill through not a busy one
  • If you take the original route – a steep ascend from Ontón to La Helguera, 240m up
  • Gradual downhill to Castro Urdiales, 230m down

Castro Urdiales is a lovely town with nice promenade, beautiful castle, several churches, many bars and restaurants.

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – yes (opened all year)
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes
Castro Urdiales - a beautiful sea town on the Northern Way
Historical center of Castro Urdiales, the Basque Country

Day 9. Castro Urdiales – Laredo, 30km/18,6 miles

Castro Urdiales – Islares – El Pontarrón – El Puente – Liendo – Laredo

First half of the day you walk through the countryside mostly flat with insignificant ups and downs till El Pontarrón. At El Pontarrón you again have two options to take a shortcut and go on the road till Liendo or to follow the official route over the mountains. People say the official way is much longer, about 6km than the shortcut, we walked it and it was only 3km longer though the ascend is quite steep and long. The scenery was beautiful and peaceful. We’re not big fans of road walking every time we have a chance we skip it.

Points of interest

  • Spectacular sea scenery at Cerdigo, halfway between Castro Urdiales and Islares
  • Beautiful mountain scenery on the official route between El Pontarrón and Liendo
  • Stunning sea views on the way between Liendo and Laredo
  • Beach and the Old Town of Laredo with many restaurants and bars

Challenges

  • Walking on the road for about 4km from Islares to El Pontarrón
  • Very steep uphill walk from El Pontarrón to Liendo with a subsequent descend to Liendo, 200m up and down (if you walk the official route)
  • Walking on the road for about 7km from El Pontarrón to Liendo (if you take the shortcut)
  • Quite steep uphill walk from Liendo to Laredo

Laredo is a nice town with a long beach (nice for swimming in summer), a couple of beautiful churches, many bars and restaurants.

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – no
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

We stayed at Albergue Casa de La Trinidad, opened all year, capacity 23 people, price 10 Euro.

Facilities

  • Hot water – yes
  • Kitchen – yes, cooking stove, microwave, pots, utensils, cutlery etc.
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Washing machine – no
  • Drying machine – no
  • Blankets – yes
  • Heating – yes
  • Extra – breakfast says to be included but in fact often they don’t serve it. We were 20 people waiting for somebody to come in the morning but nobody showed up.

Day 10. Laredo – Güemes, 30km/18,6 miles

Coastal route; Laredo – Santoña – Noja – Güemes

Inland route; Laredo – Colindres – Gama – San Miguel de Meruelo – Güemes

From Laredo you can choose to follow the coastal route through Santoña or to go inland through Colindres. We’re big sea lovers and it was a very nice sunny day we chose the coastal way and were quite happy about it. On the way you get to see a couple of beautiful beaches. In Laredo you can walk on the beach for 2km to the ferry enjoying the sunrise on the way. In order to get from Laredo to Santoña you have to take a small ferry; first ferry leaves at 9am after that it goes to and back all the time. The crossing takes about 2min., price 2 Euro pp. 

Points of interest

  • Beach walk in Laredo to the ferry
  • Nice coastal scenery on the way; playa de Berria, playa de Trengandin, cliffs, hills etc.
  • Historical center of Noja; Plaza de la Villa, church of San Pedro.
  • Albergue La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto, Güemes

Challenges

  • Long day with quite a bit of road walking, few places to stop in between. If you walk in summer make sure to refill your water at every drinking fountains (there are a couple on the way)
  • Very steep uphill after Santoña, 83m up
  • Many up and down hills all the way

emes is a tiny village with a couple of bars and hotels. Albergue La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto in Güemes is outside the village, about 10min. walk. It’s a great place, one of the legends of the Camino del Norte. The albergue is for donation as well as dinner and breakfast. A very interesting place with very friendly and welcome people, nice garden, good facilities, interesting story – a must stay on this Camino.

  • ATM – no
  • Municipal albergue – no
  • Private albergue – yes, donation (opened all year) 
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – no
  • Supermarket – no
  • Pharmacy – no
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

Day 11. Güemes – Santa Cruz de Bezana, 25km/15,5 miles 

Galizano – Somo – Santander – Santa Cruz de Bezana

From Güemes you have two options; 15km and 13km routes. The longest route is the most beautiful, it goes along the coast past some hidden beaches, dramatic cliffs and unreal scenery – we’d definitely recommend to choose it. The last bit from Laredo to Somo you walk on the beach if it’s a nice day you can stop here for a swim or just to enjoy the scenery. Even in summer there are not many people on this beach. We were very unlucky that day it was very wind and rainy we couldn’t really enjoy the walk or see much. We wouldn’t recommend to walk this route on a day like this, the path gets muddy it can be dangerous to walk along the cliffs.

The 13km options is an inland route, it doesn’t follow the coast, the second half is on the road. Both routes are marked, both go to the ferry in Somo that you take to get to Santander. The ferry starts running at 9.55am and goes every 30 minutes. Price 3 Euro pp. It’s possible to walk to Santander as well but it’s about 20km more. Nowadays very few people walk it it’s not a very beautiful route along the road, the ferry is an official part of the Camino. 

If you have time as an option you can stay in Santander – it’s a nice city with some beautiful beaches and several things to see. For more details on Santander check out our Complete guide to the Camino del Norte.

If you decide to continue make sure not to miss the arrows the marking from the ferry terminal is a bit confusing. You can get a map with a route and explanations at the information office, 30m from the ferry.  

Points of interest

  • Stunning sea scenery on the way from Güemes to Somo
  • Playa de Loredo – a beautiful beach where you can stop for a swim
  • The city center of Santander

Challenges

  • Walking out of Santander; the marking is not very good, follow yellow arrows or red crosses (mark Camino Lebaniego).
  • The last part from Santander to Bezana is not very picturesque past some residential and industrial areas of the city.

Santa Cruz de Bezana

  • ATM – no
  • Municipal albergue – no
  • Private albergue – yes, donation (opened all year) 
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – no
  • Restaurant, bar – yes
Santander seafront, Cantabria, Camino de Santiago
The seafront and the ferry station in Santander

Day 12. Santa Cruz de Bezana – Santillana del Mar, 28km/17 miles

Arce/Oruña – Mar – Requejada (Polanco) – Barreda – Santialland del Mar

The first half of the day wasn’t that great; a lot of walking along the road, past some industrial areas,  with few places to stop on the way – not too impressive. The second half, at about 2km from Polanco, the nice countryside scenery starts; small towns, villages, chapels on the way.

Points of interest

  • Nice countryside scenery between Polanco and Santillana del Mar
  • Santillana del Mar – a charming town with many interesting sights in and around. 

Challenges

  • Walking along the road and through industrial areas till Polanco.

Santillana del Mar is one of the most beautiful towns on the Northern Way, we’d highly recommend to stay here; spend some time wandering around the town, have a couple of drinks with delicious seafood pinchos, visit the Collegiata church.

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – yes (opened all year)
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes
Colegiata, Santillana del Mar, Cantabria
The Colegiata – Saint Juliana’s collegiate church, Santillana del Mar

Day 13. Santillana del Mar – Comillas, 22km/13,6 miles

El Arroyo – Oreña – Caborredondo – Cóbreces – La Iglesia – Comillas 

An easy and pleasant walking day through the forest, fields, small towns and villages.

Points of interest

  • Church of San Martín de Cigüenza, Caborredondo
  • Convento de las Carmelitas Descalzas, Pando
  • Beautiful sea scenery at at the entrance to Comillas
  • Comillas – a beautiful town with some incredible sights, beaches, nice square, many bars and bakeries. 

Challenges

  • A little bit of up and down hill walking but nothing steep or long

Comillas

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – yes (opened 1st April – 31st October)
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes
Comillas, town on the Camino de Santiago
Comillas – another cozy town on the Camino.

Day 14. Comillas – Colombres (Asturias), 29km/18 miles

San Vicente de la Barquera – Serdío – Unquera – Colombres

Quite a long walking day with several hills to conquer and few places to stop for food in between. At the end of the day, at Unquera, you’ll  leave the province of Cantabria and enter Asturias. Asturias is a bit cheaper in sense of private accommodation. At the entrance to San Vicente de la Barquera you can go down to the beach and walk on the sand all the way across the town to the bridge Puente de la Masa. The beach way is a little bit shorter, you skip several up and down hills and it’s nice to take off your boots and walk barefoot on the sand. We’d recommend to stop for lunch or coffee here, it’s a nice town and the next place with a bar/restaurants is quite far away. After San Vicente the Camino goes away from the sea, inland over the hills and through the forest.

Points of interest

  • Stunning sea scenery; cliffs, green hills and beaches on the way between Comillas and San Vicente de la Barquera, one of the most beautiful walking days.
  • San Vicente de la Barquera – a beautiful town with nice beaches, churches, el Puente de la Masa.
  • The Picos de Europa – mountain range, view from the distance.

Challenges

  • Several up and down hills
  • Quite a lot of road walking though not on busy roads
  • A steep and long ascend last 2km to Colombres

Colombres

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – no
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

Albergue El Cantu in Colombres opens only at 5pm, we didn’t feel like waiting on the street. We asked around and locals told us about a guest house Hotel Villanueva 1km from the town (on the Camino), we went there. We got a double room with private bathroom for 30 Euro. The albergue charges 12 Euro pp. The only minus of the hotel it’s located 1km outside the town no supermarkets nearby but there is a good restaurant (Casa Junco) where you can get breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Stunning sea scenery on the Camino del Norte
Beautiful scenery on the way between Comillas and San Vicente de la Barquera

Day 15. Colombres – Llanes, 23km/14,2 miles

El Peral – La Franca – Buelna – Pendueles – Cúe – Llanes

First 9km from Colombres there is only one route, that goes on and off along the road. After that at Pendueles you can choose between following the official route and continue walking along the road or taking the Sendero de la Costa. The official route is a bit shorter and involves quite a lot of walking along the road with some forest scenery. The coastal way is longer but it follows the path and sticks to the coast which offer you great scenery. To get to the coastal route at Pendueles first follow the route to camping La Paz (Playa de Bretones), from there  follow GR-E9 trail (green making) that will take you all the way to Llanes. Before taking the coastal way stop for lunch in Pendueles there will be no other place to stop for food till Llanes.

Points of interest

  • Beautiful sea scenery on the way between Pendueles and Llanes (coastal route)
  • Bufones (jesters) de Arenillas – sea water geysers, if the conditions are right you might be lucky to see them in action

  • Mirador de la Boriza with stunning views over the coast and Ballota beach (coastal route)
  • Llanes – a nice town with many restaurants, bakeries, colorful harbour, narrow streets etc.

Challenges

  • Some road walking in the beginning till Pendueles. If you take the official route you’ll continue walking along the road for a while.
  • Steep up and down hills on the coastal route from Pendueles to Llanes

Llanes

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – no
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

We stayed at albergue La Casona del Peregrino, in the city center. Opened from 15th March to 31st October, capacity 44 people, price 15 Euro pp.

Facilities

  • Hot water – yes
  • Kitchen – no
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Washing machine – yes, included in the accommodation price
  • Drying machine – no
  • Blankets – yes
  • Heating – no
  • Extra – breakfast included

Day 16. Llanes – San Esteban de Leces, 34km/21 miles

Poo – Celorio – Barro – Naves – Piñera de Pría – Cuerres – Ribadesella – San Esteban de Leces

A nice walking day mostly on the path with a little bit of road, past lovely villages, through the forest etc. The route is marked quite well, there are several bars and restaurants on the way. On the last 7km to Ribadesella there is nothing, only fields. Ribadesella is quite an expensive touristy place, the only albergue/surfing hostel is 21 Euro pp. The location of the hostel is great, right at the beach but it’s too expensive. We decided to walk on 3km more to San Esteban de Leces, the nearest municipal albergue (opened all year). Note! There is nothing in Leces make sure to buy food in one of the supermarkets in Ribadesella.

Points of interest

  • Church of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores on the beach, near Niembro
  • San Antolín beach, past Niembro
  • A couple of cute villages on the way
  • Ribadesella – cozy surf town with a couple of restaurants in the Old Town (before the bridge), picturesque harbour, beautiful beach Playa de Santa Marina.

Challenges

  • Long walking day, 34km
  • Quite steep ascend from Ribadesella to San Esteban de Leces (albergue), 110m up

San Esteban de Leces is not a town, just an albergue and a church there is nothing around; no bars, no shops you must bring food with. Ribadesella has all the infrastructure.

Day 17. San Esteban de Leces – Villaviciosa, 33km/20 miles

Vega de Ribadesella – La Espasa – La Isla – Colunga – Sebrayo – Muslera – La Payariega – Villaviciosa

Quite a tough day due to several up and down hills with beautiful scenery. First opened restaurant we found was after 15km in Colunga, it was Saturday all places before were closed. It’s the only town on the way to Villaviciosa with ATMs and supermarkets. If you’re planning to stop at the municipal albergue in Sebrayo buy food in Colunga, Sebrayo is only a couple of houses and nothing else. Note! Distance between Colunga to Sebrayo is about 10km with a steep and long ascend. We didn’t feel like carrying backpacks full of food and  decided rather to walk extra km all the way to Villaviciosa, after Sebrayo the walk is much easier.

Points of interest

  • Beautiful walk along the coast with some unspoiled beaches on the way from San Esteban de Leces to La Isla
  • Peaceful forest and mountain scenery between Colunga and Villaviciosa
  • Villaviciosa – a nice town famous for its ciders, many restaurants and bars

Challenges

  • Several up and down hills all the way
  • Long and steep uphill from Colunga to Pernus
  • Descend to Villaviciosa

Villaviciosa

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – no
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

We stayed at albergue El Congreso on the main square. Capacity 49 people, opened 1st March to 30th November, price from 10 Euro per bed, from 25 Euro for a double room (in season prices are higher).

Facilities

  • Hot water – yes
  • Kitchen – yes, cooking plates, microwave, utensils, cutlery etc.
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Washing machine – yes, 3 Euro
  • Drying machine – yes, 3 Euro
  • Blankets – no
  • Heating – yes

 

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Day 18. Villaviciosa – Gijón, 29km/18 miles 

Amandi – Casquita – Peón – El Pinal – Camping Deva – Gijón

A nice walking day with some steep uphills. At Casquita, 3km from Villaviciosa, there is a split; one route goes to Oviedo where it joins with the Camino Primitivo and on the Camino del Norte to Gijón. We decided to continue on the Camino del Norte because we’d already walked the Camino Primitivo. There are a couple of restaurants and bars on the way and several drinking fountains.

The municipal albergue of Gijón (albergue/campsite Deva, opened all year) is 5km before the city, we walked on to the city and stayed there in a hotel. Gijón is a big city with good infrastructure (hotels, bars, tourist info, supermarkets, ATMs etc.) but there are not many albergues. We were here in October and for different reasons none of the private albergues was opened, only the municipal one 5km outside the city. We had to stay at Hotel 44 a bit outside of the center but right on the Camino and close to the beach, it was very nice – a real treat after two weeks of staying in albergues. Hotels in the center are even more expensive.

Points of interest

  • Beautiful scenery from the top of the hill at Alto de la Cruz.
  • Gijón; historical center, beaches, promenade

Challenges

  • Very steep and long ascend from Nievares to Alto de la Cruz, about 300m up. Make sure you have enough water with. Subsequent downhill is not that steep but quite long.
  • Another ascend to Alto de Curbiello – not as steep as the first one but quite demanding, about 150m up.

Day 18. Optional route to Oviedo (the Camino Primitivo). Villaviciosa – Pola de Siero, 26km/16 miles

Amandi – Casquita – Vega de Sariego – Pola de Siero

We haven’t walked these 2 days because we completed the Camino Primitivo (the Original Way) 3 months earlier as a separate walk not as a part of any other Camino. All the information for these 2 stages we got from the people who started with us the Camino del Norte and later went to the Primitivo. Many people asked us which route to choose; continue along the coast following the Northern Way or go to Oviedo and join the Primitivo. If you want to combine the stunning coastal scenery of the Northern Way with the impressive mountain scenery of the Original Way then go to Oviedo. If you rather stick to one Camino and complete it all the way – stay on Camino del Norte. We wouldn’t recommend to continue on the Primitivo if you have any knee issues – there are many steep ascends and descends all the way. Before going to Oviedo check the forecast if it’s going to be rainy and overcast rather stay on the Camino del Norte; walking through the mountains in bad weather is not fun, plus you won’t see much.

If you decide to go to Oviedo, after about 3km from Villaviciosa at Casquita follow the marking “Oviedo”, the Camino turns left. It’s marked all the way with yellow arrows and shells like any other Camino.

Pola de Siero

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – no
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

Municipal albergue de peregrinos Casona de San Miguel, capacity – 24 people, opened all year, price 6 Euro pp.

Facilities

  • Hot water – yes
  • Kitchen – no, microwave, fridges, some utensils
  • Wi-fi – no
  • Washing machine – no, there is a laundry 100m away
  • Drying machine – no
  • Blankets – no
  • Heating – yes  

Day 19. Optional route to Oviedo. Pola de Siero to Oviedo, 17km/10,5 miles

El Berrón – Meres – Colloto – Oviedo

An easy and short walking day gives you more time to spend in Oviedo. It’s a beautiful town with many interesting sights including the cathedral de Oviedo, the start of the Camino Primitivo. You can find all the services in Oviedo; municipal albergue, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, ATMs etc. To see the itinerary from Oviedo on the Camino Primitivo go HERE.

Route split on the Camino del Norte
Many choices of the Camino del Norte; splits and alternative routes everywhere!

Day 19. Gijón – San Martin de Laspra, 31km/19 miles

Tabaza – Trasona – Avilés – Salinas – San Martín de Laspra

The indicated distance – 30km is from the city center of Gijón if you stay at Albergue Deva the walk is 5km longer.

In our opinion the worst walking day on the Camino del Norte; too many roads, too many industrial areas and cities but not many places to stop for food. Even at the end after Avilés the last bit was on the road. This is the day to skip if you’re panning to skip any. We decided not to stay in Avilés and continued walking 7km more to albergue de San Martin de Laspra (opened all year), to make up some distance for the next day. Note! The albergue is located in the residential neighborhood there are no restaurants or shops nearby (only 2km away in the town) – bring food with, there will be a couple of supermarkets in Avilés on the way (Alimerka). We recommend to find the albergue on Google maps, there are two walking routes only one goes past the albergue through Salinas, we took the wrong route and had to walk some extra km to get here.

Highlights

  • Short part of walking through the forest at Alto Monte Areo (after the first uphill), about 5km from Gijón
  • Historical center of Avilés; cobblestone pedestrian streets, squares, monuments, a couple of churches, many bars and restaurants.

Challenges

  • Walking along the road and through industrial areas most part of the day
  • Steep uphill to Alto Monte Areo at about 5km from Gijón

Day 20. San Martín de Laspra – Soto de Luiña, 32km/20 miles

Soto de Barco – Muros de Nalón – El Pito – Rellayo – Soto de Luiña

This day we enjoyed walking through the forest and fields after the previous day of walking along the road. Note! There are few places to stop for food on the way, some shops and restaurants were closed for off season, not even many place to refill water – make sure to pack snack and bring enough water with and pack some snacks. We were quite happy that we walked extra 7km the day before some of our fellow pilgrims had a very long walk this day – all the way from Avilés, 40km.

Points of interest

  • Beautiful forest scenery on the way from Laspra
  • Palacio Selgas – a beautiful palace and the garden in El Pito. Unfortunately it’s currently closed for visitors you can see some of it through the gate.
  • Beautiful views over the coast and the beach at La Playa de La Concha de Artedo

Challenges

  • Long waking day with many smallish ascends and descends
  • Not many places to stop for food on the way

Soto de Luiña is a small nice town, we stayed at the municipal albergue.

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

Don’t forget to try famous Spanish churros with chocolate for breakfast! ↓↓↓

 

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Day 21. Soto de Luiña – Cadavedo, 20km/12,4 miles

Novellana – Santa Marina – Ballota – Cadavedo

There are two route options after Soto de Luiña; the mountain route (the original way that was abandoned for many years), it’s says to be dangerous (not sure why) with many steep ascends and descends and not well marked. Note! On the mountain route there are no places to stop for food for 17km. It’s advised to follow the coastal route and we did; it was a nice sunny day to walk along the coast was a real pleasure. To be honest every time we have a choice we go for the coastal option. There is another option to follow the route that most of the time goes on the road but it’s definitely not the best way. In the beginning (before the split) there was a little bit of walking on the road, the split is at about 2km; the coastal route – go to Ballotas, mountain route – go to Palancas. The distance is supposed to be 23km but according to our GPS we walked only 20km on the coastal route. The municipal albergue in Cadavedo is a bit outside of the village there is a supermarket on the way where you can get food.

Points of interest

  • Beautiful coastal scenery on the way to and from Ballotas
  • Beach in Cadavedo – 2km away from the albergue. It’s sort of on the way to the town you can do a detour and go to the beach first and then to Cadavedo. The beach is beautiful with some stunning views from the surrounding cliffs.

Challenges

  • All the way slight up and down hills

Cadavedo

  • ATM – no
  • Municipal albergue – yes (opened all year)
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – no
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

Day 22. Cadavedo – Piñera, 31km/19,2 miles

A nice day with a little bit of walking on the road in the beginning, moderate up and down hills, past small towns and villages where you can stop for food or coffee. The albergue in Piñera is away from the restaurants and shops, you can stop for lunch at one of them 2km before or buy food at the shop, 800m before the albergue.

Points of interest

  • Torre (tower) de Villademoros (not on the Camino, have to do a detour) – a possible Roman origin tower
  • Nice forest and countryside scenery
  • Luarca – a beautiful small coastal town

Challenges

  • Several intersection with the highway
  • Up and down hills all the way
  • Steep ascend that starts from Luarca and subsequent descend to Piñera

Piñera

  • ATM – no
  • Municipal albergue – yes (opened 1st March – 31st October)
  • Private albergue – no
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes, 800m from the albergue, on the way
  • Supermarket – no
  • Pharmacy – no
  • Restaurant, bar – no, you can get dinner and breakfast at the municipal albergue (extra cost)

Three route options from Piñera

  1. Piñera – Porcia – Tapia de Casariego – Ribadeo – 38km (coastal way)
  2. Piñera – Porcia – Tol – Ribadeo – 34km (half inland/half coastal)
  3. Piñera – Porcia – Tol – Vegadeo – 41km (inland route). This route joins the other two only in Mondoñedo. It’s the original route that was used by the pilgrims before the bridge in Ribadeo was built as the river crossing by ferry was very weather dependant and unreliable. Nowadays with the bridge the coastal route got more popular.  
Beach, the Basque Country, Camino del Norte
We enjoyed walking along the beaches on the Camino del Norte

Day 23. Option 1 – coastal route. Piñera – Tapia de Casariego, 27km/16,7 miles

Navia – Jarro – La Caridad – Tapia de Casariego

Another split on the Camino – the Northern Way is full of alternative routes and optional walks. As I already mentioned we always choose the coastal option this time wasn’t an exception, we went along the coast to Tapia de Casariego. It was the last chance to walk by the sea once in Galicia the route goes inland. It’s an easy walking day past many villages with no bars or restaurants if you want to stop for breakfast, coffee or snack do it at Navia.

Highlights

  • The ex-municipal albergue in Tapia de Casariego – it is located by the sea, at the edge of the cliff with stunning scenery over the coast, there is a rocky beach downstairs.
  • Center of Tapia de Casariego; the main square, church, restaurants etc.

Challenges

  • A very easy walking day, the only problem there are no places to stop for food on the way after Navia.

Tapia de Casariego

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – no, there was one but now it’s private, 8 Euro.
  • Private albergue – yes (opened all year)
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

Day 24. Option 1 – coastal route. Tapia de Casariego – Vilela (Galicia), 20km/12,5 miles

Ribadeo – Vilela

Today you’ll leave Asturias and enter Galicia, two provinces are separated by the river Ria de Ribadeo. The border between two provinces is halfway over the bridge Ponte dos Santos. A nice and easy walking day with some stunning sea and mountain views. We were planning to walk further but it started raining and we decided to stop at Vilela. Note! Buy food in Ribadeo, there will be Eroski supermarket on the way, after that there will be no shops. The municipal albergue in Vilela is closed (don’t know for how long), we stayed at the private albergue (ask at the bar).

Highlights

  • Beautiful scenery on the way from Tapia de Casariego to Ribadeo; beaches, cliffs, fields etc.
  • Bridge between Asturias and Galicia – Ponte dos Santos.
  • Historical center of Ribadeo.

Challenges

  • An easy walking day except heavy rain and strong wind that caught us in Ribadeo.

Vilela

  • ATM – no
  • Municipal albergue – yes, temporary closed
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – no
  • Supermarket – no
  • Pharmacy – no
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

Albergue de Vilela (private), opened all year, capacity 12 people, price 10 Euro.

Facilities

  • Hot water – yes
  • Kitchen – no, microwave,some utensils
  • Wi-fi – no, only at the bar
  • Washing machine – yes, 4 Euro up to 12kg
  • Drying machine – yes, 4 Euro up to 12kg
  • Blankets – yes
  • Heating – no
Ribadeo, Galicia, the Northern Way
Dramatic coastal scenery in Ribadeo, the last chance to enjoy the sea

Day 23-24. Option 2 – half inland/half coastal route. Piñera – Tol – Vilela, 48km/30 miles 

Navia – Jarro – La Caridad – Tol – Barres – Figueras – Ribadeo – Vilela

This way is a mixture of two routes and on the second day in Ribadeo it joins the coastal route. You can stop in Tol for the night and next day continue past Ribadeo to Vilela or further or walk the whole distance in one day. Some guidebooks say it’s an official or the original route but it’s not right the original route used to be through Vegadeo because till 1987 there was no bridge to cross the river in Ribadeo.

Day 23. Piñera – Tol, 29km/18 miles

Tol

  • ATM – no
  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – no
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes, grocery shop
  • Supermarket – no
  • Pharmacy – no
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

Day 24. Tol – Vilela, 19km/12 miles

After 9km in Ribadeo the route joins the coastal way.

Day 23-25. Option 3 – inland route. Piñera – Tol – Vegadeo – Abres – Mondoñedo, 80km/52 miles

Suggested itinerary;  

  • Day 23. Piñera – Tol, 29km/19mi (municipal albergue de Tol).
  • Day 24. Tol – Abres, 20km/12,4mi (private albergue Estraperlo, donation, opened all year )
  • Day 25. Abres – Mondoñedo, 31km/19mi (municipal albergue de Mondoñeda)

Day 25. Vilela – Mondoñedo, 30km/18,6 miles

Villamartín Grande – Gondán – San Xusto – Lourenzá – Mondoñedo

The walk would be very nice if it wasn’t for the rain. The trail goes mainly through the forest and fields, past small villages with not many places to stop for food. The first place to stop for coffee is Vilanova Grande we walked in October and off season the place is closed. We could finally eat something only after 16km at San Xusto.

The municipal albergue of Mondoñedo looked ok but it was a cold and rainy day and we decided to stay in a hotel close to the cathedral. We arrived in the town on Sunday most places were closed only one or two opened restaurants and a small shop at the petrol station.

Points of interest

  • Several churches and chapels on the way, the route waves between them all the time.
  • Mondoñedo – a lovely town with beautiful cathedral, cobblestone streets, churches, restaurants etc.

Challenges

  • Quite a few ascends and descends – it felt like we walked uphill most of the day.
  • If it rains the path in some places might be muddy.

Mondoñedo

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

Day 26. Mondoñedo – Castromaior (albergue O Xistral), 23km/14 miles

Gontán – Abadín – Castromaior 

Make sure to have breakfast in Mondoñedo – next place to get food is about 17km away in Gontán, there is nothing in between. There are two routes from the cathedral of Mondoñedo the official one and the alternative (Complementario) route though the one that is marked Complementario is actually the original route. The official route goes down from the cathedral and follows the path, it’s 7km shorter but has a very steep and quite long uphill and the path gets quite muddy if it rains. The alternative route goes up from the cathedral, out of the town past the municipal albergue and then turns left and follows the road (the road with almost no cars), it’s 7km longer with a more gradient ascend. Both routes go through the mountains and offer great scenery. We took the alternative route it rained a lot the previous days we didn’t want to walk through the mud. Note! There only shops on the way are in Abadín.

If you take the shorter (official) route instead of stopping at Castromaior you can continue to Vilalba, total distance from Mondoñedo on the short route – 32km.  

Points of interest

  • Beautiful mountain scenery on the way from Mondoñedo to Gontán
  • Church of Santa María in Abadín
  • Beautiful forest scenery on the way from Abadín to the albergue

Challenges

  • A couple of steep ascends on the way from Mondoñedo to Gontán, on the official route about 450m altitude gain.
  • Muddy path if you follow the official (shorter) route.

Castromaior is not a town or village there is nothing except for the private albergue where you can get coffee, tea, dinner, breakfast, beer, wine, snacks etc. but it’s quite expensive we’d recommend to bring your own stuff (drinks, snacks etc.). Dinner – 10 Euro; breakfast – 3 Euro. Albergue O’Xistral is a great place; very cozy with good facilities, heating, fireplace etc. An old house (18th century) renovated from the inside with great facilities and awesome hosts.

Facilities

  • Hot water – yes, amazing “rain showers”
  • Kitchen – yes, cooking plates, microwave, utensils, cutlery etc.
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Washing machine – yes, 3 Euro
  • Drying machine – yes, 3 Euro
  • Blankets – yes
  • Heating – yes
  • Extra – swimming pool, nice garden, dinner and breakfast (extra cost)
Albergue O Xistral, Castromaior, the Northern Way
Albergue O Xistral, Castromaior – one of our favorite albergues on the Camino

Day 27. Castromaior – Baamonde, 32km/20 miles

Martiñan – Vilalba – San Xoán de Alba – Baamonde

Quite a long walking day with few places to stop for food on the way. We had breakfast at the albergue (3 Euro) next place to stop is Vilalba, 12km away. The walk was quite easy with no up and down hills. If you don’t feel like walking all the way you can stay in Vilalba there are two albergues; the municipal for 6 Euro and the private for 10 Euro. Apparently the private one is very nice and cozy.

Points of interest

  • Vilalba – a nice town with a couple of churches, main square, the prehistory museum etc.

Challenges

  • The road gets a bit muddy if it rains
  • Long distances between places to stop for food or coffee; 12km to the first town and almost 20km to the next one.

Baamonde

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – no
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

Day 28. Baamonde – Sobrado dos Monxes, 40km/25 miles or 32km/20 miles 

Carballedo – Seixón – A Lagoa – Miraz – As Laxas – A Roxica – A Cabana – O Mesón – Sobrado dos Monxes (the original route)

Sobrado dos Monxes is a must stay place on the Camino, the monastery is very impressive and to stay overnight there is a great experience.

Another route split – 3km after Baamonde there is a split; the original route and the new route. Note! There is a split in Baamonde as well; a marker with name “Complementario” points left but it’s not the right split. The split is 3km away from Baamonde, in the forest. There are two Camino markers with distances you won’t miss it. We chose the longer route for several reasons; first, because it’s more beautiful; forest, hills, small villages. Second, there is a place (a house) at about 12km where you can get a real wax stamp (we couldn’t it was out of season and the man was on holiday). Third, we didn’t want to cut off 8km from the last 100km to Santiago.

The longer (original) route. Total distance – 40km to Sobrado dos Monxes mostly through the forest, except for the last 10km that involve quite a bit of walking on the road. As an option you can walk 40km over two days; first day walk only 15km to Miraz and stay at albergue San Martin (donation) or 16km to As Laxes and stay at private albergue O Abrigo (10 Euro) a new albergue with a restaurant (we didn’t stay there but it looked quite nice) and the next day walk 24km to Sobrado. There is another albergue about 25km from Baamonde in A Roxica the guidebooks say there is a bar there in fact the bar was closed now there is no place nearby where you can get any food. About 1km from A Roxica in A Cabana there is a brand new municipal albergue, opened all year, 6 Euro. Note! If you’re planning to stay there bring food with. 

The shorter (new) route. Total distance – 32km to Sobrado, it involves a lot of walking on the road. It says there are no food places on this route, in fact there is a new bar right in the middle where you can get food. Not sure if they’re opened on Sundays.

Points of interest

  • Capilla de San Alberte – a 16th century chapel (after crossing the bridge, in the forest)
  • Sobrado dos Monxes Abbey – one of the most impressive comanstery complexes on the Camino

Challenges

  • Long distance especially if you walk the original route – 40km
  • On the 32km route there is only one bar in the middle, at about 16km
  • On the 32km route a lot of walking on the road
  • On the 40km route there are two bars at 13km and 15km and two more at 35km.
  • About 5km walking on the road on the 40km route at the end.

Sobrado dos Monxes

  • ATM – no
  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes
Monastery of Sobrado dos Monxes, Camino del Norte
Monastery of Sobrado dos Monxes – one of the must stops on the Camino del Norte

Day 29. Sobrado dos Monxes – Arzua, 22km/13,6 miles

Corredoiras – Boimil – A Gándara (Boimorto) – Arzúa

Today in Arzua the Northern Way joins the French Camino – be ready to see significantly more people as well as more restaurants, bars, albergues etc. all the way till Santiago de Compostela. It’s an easy walking day with many cafes and villages on the way.

Highlights

  • A little bit monotonous scenery; walking along the road, past towns and through the fields

Arzua

  • ATM – yes
  • Municipal albergue – yes (opened all year)
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Supermarket – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes
  • Restaurant, bar – yes

Day 30. Arzua – O Pedrouzo, 20km/12,4 miles

Pregontoño – Calzada – Calle – Salceda – A Brea – Santa Irene – A Rúa – O Pedrouzo

At the exit from Arzua after a downhill on the cobblestone street there will be a split, most people take the route on the left and follow the gravel path through the fields and the forest, this route is marked as “Complementary”. Both routes join again quite soon, after 2-3km you’ll see the distance markers again. We walked this part twice and every time took the complimentary option (every time missed the second route). Both routes have more or less the same distance.

All restaurants on the way are quite pricey; you pay 3-4 Euro for a simple sandwich (coffee prices are normal), we’d recommend to buy snacks in Arzua in a supermarket or to have lunch at one of the restaurants in O Pedrouzo. Note! The route doesn’t go through O Pedrouzo it turns right into the forest just before the town, if you’re planning to stay there or stop for lunch just follow the road (the route through the town is marked).

As an option you can walk 35km from Arzua all the way to Monte do Gozo – a huge albergue 5km before the cathedral and the next day walk last 5km.

O Pedrouzo

  • ATM – yes
  • Supermarkets – yes
  • Shops – yes
  • Restaurants – yes
  • Municipal albergue – yes
  • Private albergue – yes
  • Hotels – yes
  • Pharmacy – yes

Day 31. O Pedrouzo – Santiago de Compostela, 20km/12,4 miles

San Paio – Lavacolla – San Marcos – Monte do Gozo – Santiago de Compostela 

We’d recommend to start early if you want to make it in time for the Pilgrim Mass at 12pm in the cathedral. There are not many places to stop for food and those that are on the way are quite expensive and have very limited options – rather eat breakfast in O Pedrouzo or pack snacks. First half of the walk is through the forest with a little bit walking on the road, past the airport and suburban areas of Santiago.

Arriving in Santiago is the most amazing feeling on the Camino, when you enter Plaza de Obradoiro and see all the pilgrims sitting around, hugging each other, taking photos – you feel like being a part of something big and important, take your time and enjoy this moment, you’ve been waiting for it more than a month.

After finishing the Northern Way in Santiago and celebrating it with fellow pilgrims next day we started another walking adventure Camino Finisterre-Muxía. You can find a complete itinerary and all the details in this post.

Challenges

  • A couple of steep uphills on the way.

Accommodation in Santiago

Budget | Santiago KM-0 | Blanco Albergue | Albergue the Last Stamp | Pension Residencia Universitaria Rey |

Middle price | Pension Residencia Fonseca | Hotel Alda Algalia | Hotel A Tafona do Peregrino | Os Sobrinos do Pai | Hostal Suso |

Luxury | Hotel Eurostars Araguaney | Hotel Praza Quintana | Parador de Santiago Hostal Reis Catolicos |

Download  Camino del Norte itinerary PDF.

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela - the end of the Camino
The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela at the sunset.

Download Municipal and donation albergues on the Camino del Norte PDF. 

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