The road along the coast
El Northern Way has its beginning in the city of Irun. Located in the the Basque Country almost on the border with France.
To start this path we will enjoy a wonderful day. We will follow the Basque coast from Irún and pass through the coastal city of Fuenterrabia (Hondarribia for locals). The beauty of the landscapes of Mount Jaizkibel will make the ups and downs less harsh. Finally we can rest in the magical city of San Sebastián (Donostia), where we can enjoy its pintxos and places as well known as La Concha beach.
In today's stage we will continue to enjoy the views of the Basque coast. We will start climbing Mount Igeldo and continue until the descent takes us to the beautiful town of Orio. Famous among other things to give name to "Hake Orio style". Finally we will finish in Zarautz, famous among surfers and as a summer resort.
Today we have two options, follow the Camino de la Costa (Unofficial) that will take us to the beautiful town of Getaria. Or follow the official path that will take us up the mountain to the coastal town of Zumaia. Finally we will continue inside until we reach Deba.
Today we leave the coastal views to enter the Basque mountains. We will enjoy the greenery of the area, its hamlets, forests and the mythology of which these lands are plagued. It is one of the toughest stages of the Northern Way and some of the descents should take them easy.
Today we will arrive at the famous village of Gernika. Famous for the events of the April 26 of 1037. We can visit the famous Gernika Tree, an oak that symbolizes the traditional freedoms of Biscay and the Basque people.
Today we will have a quiet day separated from the Basque coast. Pilgrims with more physical strength can extend their journey to Bilbao. Today's path will follow a mountain path with frequent slopes.
Today we can enjoy a "rest" day. Today's day will be only 11 km. In order to enjoy everything that the city of Bilbao offers us. Do not forget to visit the Basilica of Begoña, the Guggenheim and take a walk and enjoy the gastronomy through the Old Town of the city.
Today we will have two versions. The official Way that after crossing Bilbao will take us to the cities of Barakaldo and Sestao. Or we can choose the Camino de la Ria by which we will save a few km and the odd slope.
Today a sandy path (Bidegorri for locals) will take us to the Arena beach, where we will meet the sea again. From here we will continue a walk along the cliffs until we reach Ontón. Where we must decide if we follow the official road that runs through Ontañes (7 km more) or follow the national road. Today we will rest in the Cantabrian community in the city of Castro Urdiales.
We will continue for a few kilometers along the coast until past Islares where we will enter mountain areas. Today we will have several unofficial trails that we can take. Upon reaching El Pontarrón de Guriezo we can go to Rioseco or La Magdalena on the official Camino or take the national road that will save us a few km. Later in Hazas we can follow the coastal path that will take us to Laredo.
In today's day we must remember that in winter the boat transport service from Laredo to Santoña does not work so the only possible route will be the one that takes us through Colindres. As today's climax we can rest in one of the most famous hostels on the Northern Way in Güemes.
Today we will enjoy a short stage, without slopes and with a little boat ride to finish the day before arriving in Santander. We recommend taking the detour along the coast in Galizano. We can enjoy beautiful coastal landscapes and avoid the monotony of the interior road that goes hand in hand with the road.
And after a relaxed stage the Camino del Norte gives us a more demanding stage due to the high mileage. We can divide it into several stages if we want since different hostels have been opened around it for years.
Quiet stage that runs away from the sea in most of the way. For pilgrims in good shape they can expand it with 11 km more to reach San Vicente de la Barquera. For the rest today we will rest in the beautiful Villa de Comillas, famous for its university from which important ecclesiastical figures emerged.
In today's stage we will leave behind the community of Cantabria to enter Asturias. Community widely known for its culture, its cider drink and Fernando Alonso.
Today we will recommend following the coastal route to avoid the long stretches of road and enjoy the landscapes that the Cantabrian Sea offers us. We will finish our day in the Villa de Llanes.
In today's stage we will not very closely follow the Asturian coast until we reach the city of Ribadesella. Famous for the famous descent, by canoe or boats, that occurs in the waters of the Sella River. Despite being a long stage, the sights and villages through which we will pass make it a pleasant day.
Quiet stage that goes hand in hand with the Cantabrian coast. We will enjoy several beaches and a very interesting mountain landscape. If the stage seems very long we will have options for the Way to shorten it stopping in Prieska.
Today we can also shorten our stage by spending the night in Villaviciosa. Today's stage runs away from the coast through mountainous terrain. We must also make an important decision, follow the path north to Gijón or take the route to Vega de Sariego that will take us along the Primitive Way.
Today we will move to the city of Aviles. We will walk through the city of Gijón to continue with a quiet day that will take us to the industrial suburbs of Aviles.
Today we will have a stage of marked mountainous character. Although asphalt tracks are the unevenness and the numerous presence of ascents and descents will make this a hard day.
Short stage to rest the legs and recharge the batteries for future days. At the end of Soto de Luiña, if we see ourselves with strength, we will be able to walk to San Pedro beach just a few kilometers away from the town.
Today we can decide between the route of the coast. The vast majority of pilgrims choose the coastal path for its views and services. But the road through the mountain will also give us beautiful landscapes. The latter despite having been rehabilitated in 2016, is in some places in improved conditions due to uncontrolled weed growth.
Today the Way gives us another stage of rest. After a quiet stage with only one climb to consider strong. We will finish in the municipality of Luarca. We must remember that the municipal pilgrim hostel is not located in Luarca but in Almuña about 2 km east.
At this stage we will find a more typical day of the French Way as it passes through the plateau. Today we will mostly walk along the road or along roads adjacent to it. On numerous occasions we will cross the national road so we ask you to be as careful as possible.
As is common today, the Northern Way offers us two options. Follow the road along the coast through Tapia de Casariego until you reach Ribadeo or follow the road that goes through Tol that is away from the coast and we could say it is something more monotonous.
Today we finally arrive in Galicia. We definitely moved away from the coast to gradually approach our goal Santiago de Compostela. Although there are intermediate shelters we recommend arriving in Lourenzá to enjoy all that this city has to offer.
In today's stage, the Camino will take us through a few villages, making this a quiet stage to enjoy nature. We will have a quiet but long climb. We will pass through one of the ancient capitals of the Kingdom of Galicia: Mondoñedo.
At this stage we will have many establishments available for pilgrims because our stage goes hand in hand with the national road. Today's route will run along asphalt roads and dirt tracks.
Stage very similar to yesterday. Due to the shortness of this stage many pilgrims will choose to continue to Miraz in order to make the day more moderate tomorrow.
Stage designed for authentic pilgrims. Thanks to the opening of new shelters we can shorten today's long day and spend the night in the villages that arise at the foot of the Camino. For the hardest we expect a day of more than 41 km. That will end in the magical Monastery of Sobrado dos Monxes.
Last stage of the Northern Way. Since tomorrow we will join the agglomerations of the French Way. So enjoy.
Points of interest
Guggenheim of Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a contemporary art museum designed by Canadian architect Frank O. Gehry and located in the town of Bilbao. It is one of the museums belonging to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. The 18 of October of 1997 was inaugurated by King Juan Carlos I of Spain.
Main Church of San Pedro de Gijón
Two Monxes left over
The monastery of Santa María de Sobrado is a Spanish monastery of medieval foundation that is located in Sobrado (La Coruña), Galicia. It is also known as the monastery of Sobrado de los Monjes (in Galician, Mosteiro de Santa María de Sobrado dos Monxes).
In 2015, in the approval by Unesco of the extension of the Way of Saint James in Spain to "Ways of Saint James of Compostela: French Way and Ways of the North of Spain", it was included as one of the individual goods of the coastal way.