El Northern Way along with the Primitive Way, are considered the first pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, used by the first European pilgrims, mainly from Northern Europe and by their monarchs, because at the time of the discovery of the remains of the Apostle Santiago, the Iberian Peninsula was It was largely invaded by the Muslims, except in its northern part, so these were the most traveled routes for security reasons.
The Camino del Norte constitutes the second great long-distance Jacobean itinerary that, starting at the Santiago Bridge (border of Spain with France), successively crosses the Communities of the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia, in a route of 810 km , approximately.
As a result of the Muslim retreat, to the South, other routes were incorporated, less demanding and with better weather conditions for pilgrims, such as the French Way.
Why is it called the Northern Way?
Its name is due to the fact that it begins in the city of Irún and runs along the entire Cantabrian coast.
Currently, it represents one of the most popular alternatives. Although it is also busy, it is ideal for those who seek to get away from the large influx of pilgrims who bet on the French way. Another particularity is that it allows you to enjoy dreamlike landscapes while traveling along the coast.
Is there more than one Northern Path?
There is not a single Northern Way, as other “Roads” start or link from this route, such as El Salvador, Camino Primitivo, Camino de Balmaseda (between Bilbao and Burgos), Camino del Interior (Irún - Vitoria - La Rioja), Camino del Besaya (between Santander and Carrión de los Condes), Camino Lebaniego, Camino Vadiniense and Camino de Covadonga.
Where does the Camino del Norte run?
The Camino del Norte constitutes the second great long-distance Jacobean itinerary which, starting at the Bridge of Santiago (border between Spain and France), successively runs through the Communities of the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia, in a route of approximately 810 km.
The Camino del Norte travels between the sea and the mountains through forests, meadows and stretches of cliffs, of great monumental beauty, in which the Jacobean tradition has left its mark throughout history. It has a rugged terrain, although not too demanding, except at the beginning of the route in the Basque Country.
El itinerario It takes place in a very pleasant environment, predominantly rural, dotted with numerous wooded areas and watercourses, ending the stages in beautiful cities full of history, such as San Sebastian, Bilbao, Santander, Gijon and Ribadeo, among others, as well as having the possibility of visiting some beaches of the Cantabrian coast and being able to take some boat trips, between some coastal towns.
The green of its valleys and the numerous rivers that dot it, as well as its accentuated cultural, marine, gastronomic and livestock traditions, are another of the main arguments to travel this route of the Camino de Santiago.
In the town of Arzúa, the Camino del Norte joins the route of the Camino de Santiago from Sarria to Santiago belonging to the French Way, converging to Santiago de Compostela in a single Way.
Stages of the Camino del Norte and Kilometers
The Camino del Norte is the longest route of the Camino de Santiago that there is since it is a path of 820 kilometers divided into 37 stages, depending on the mileage they can be less, and depending on the physical condition of the pilgrim
The Cantabrian Sea and the nature of northern Spain are the protagonists of the Camino del Norte, which reaches Santiago de Compostela through the regions of the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia.
- Stage Irún to San Sebastián: It has 27,5 km in total.
- Stage San Sebastián to Zarauz: The route for this second stage is 20,5 km.
- Zarautz to Deba Stage: It is 22 km long.
- Stage Deba to Markina: It has a total of 24,5 km.
- Stage Markina to Gernika: It is 25 km long.
- Gernika to Lezama stage: For this sixth stage there are 21 km of route.
- Lezama to Bilbao stage: Barely 11 km.
- From Bilbao to Portugalete: It is 19,7 km away.
- From Portugalete to Castro Urdiales: This stage has a peculiarity, because depending on the routechosen can vary between 27,5 km or 33,8 km of distance.
- From Castro Urdiales to Laredo: You also have two options, 26,5 km or 33 km, depending on the route taken. choose.
- From Laredo to Güemes: Composed of 29 km.
- From Güemes to Santander: 15,5 km in total.
- Stage Santander to Mogro: 24,5 km
- Stage Mogro to Santillana del Mar: Composed of 19 km.
- Stage Santillana del Mar to Comillas: Corresponds to 21,7 km.
- Comillas to Unquera stage: 28 km in total.
- Stage Unquera to Llanes: 24,1 Km
- Stage Llanes to Ribadesella: It is 31,5 km.
- Stage Ribadesella to Colunga: 21 km.
- Stage Colunga to Villaviciosa: 28 Km
- Stage Vilaviciosa to Gijón: 28 km for this stage.
- From Gijón to Avilés: 25 km of route.
- From Avilés to El Pitu: 26,9 km correspond.
- From El Pitu to Soto de Luiña: It is 10,5 km.
- From Soto de Luiña to Cadavedo: 22 km of route.
- From Cadavedo to Luarca: It has 16 km in total.
- From Luarca to La Caridad: It extends for 29,5 km.
- From La Caridad to Ribadeo: It is 22 km long.
- Stage Ribadeo to Lourenzá: 30 km for this day.
- Stage Lourenzá to Abadin: It has 25 km.
- Stage Abadin to Vilalba: 20 km.
- Stage Vilalba to Baamonde: It has 18 km.
- Stage Baamonde to Sobrado dos Monxes: It is 40,3 km.
- Stage Sobrado dos Monxes to Arzúa: It is 19 km.
- Stage Arzúa to Pedrouzo: 19,2 km on the way.
- Stage Pedrouzo – Santiago de Compostela: 19,9 km
Where does Camino del Norte start?
In Spain the beginning is located in the border town of Irún. Starting point of the first section from Irún to Bilbao.
Where do the Northern Way and the French Way meet?
In the town of Arzúa, the Camino del Norte joins the route of the The Unity Way French, converging to Santiago de Compostela in a single Way.
Why should you do the Camino del Norte?
Make the Camino de Santiago organizedRegardless of the chosen route, it will always be an experience that will remain in your memory for a lifetime. However, being so popular and with so many options, of course there are some routes that are charming, such as the Camino del Norte.
Among its attractions we can mention:
It is a coastal route like no other. Although the mountain is present in some stages, the sea is the protagonist.
It is ideal if you are looking for days with less influx of pilgrims, as is the case with the French Way. This does not mean that you do not share and cross paths with many other pilgrims.
Ideal for those who want to test their physical condition, as it is quite demanding.
Along the way you can enjoy beautiful towns and small villages that seem to be taken from fairy tales.
Curiosities of the Northern Way
There may be many routes, but few have as much history as the northern Camino de Santiago:
It is one of the longest, with a route of more than 800 km. For this reason, it is also one of the most demanding on a physical level.
This route is considered the most historic. According to experts, it was the first used by pilgrims.
Its origin could be given as an alternative to avoid the territories dominated by Muslims at the time when the tomb of the Apostle Santiago was discovered.
The best food on the Camino del Norte
Being such a long route that touches so many regions, its gastronomic variety is extensive. Among the most popular dishes are:
Both in Bilbao and San Sebastian they are protagonists and with infinite options to enjoy them. The most traditional are those based on bread accompanied with tortilla.
Here it is also necessary to highlight the croquettes and the patatas bravas.
Famous in Cantabria. In addition to being delicious, it is an important source of calories that help travelers recover energy. It has black pudding, chorizo, beans, collard greens and ribs.
From Asturias. It consists of two breaded veal fillets stuffed with ham and cheese. They are served accompanied by fries.
Cod al pil pil
Here the fish is prepared in a garlic and chilli sauce with olive oil.
The scorpion fish cake
Also from Asturias, it is prepared with scorpion fish, leek, carrot and tomato. It stands out for its soft and fluffy consistency.
It doesn't take much of an introduction. There are all kinds of them, with corn dough, puff pastry or bread type with so much variety of fillings that everyone finds an ideal.
What are the most famous towns on the Camino del Norte?
Being such an extensive route, the places to visit are many. So many that in reality what is shown is only the most representative.
We have distributed these points of interest by the different autonomous communities through which it passes.
These are the main points of interest on the Camino del Norte as it passes through the Basque Country.
Miramar Palace of San Sebastian
Under the administration of the city council, this palace was ordered to be built by the Royal House at the end of the SXNUMXth century. It was declared as an asset of cultural interest and heritage. Basilica of Begoña in Bilbao
House of the patron saint of Bilbao, the Virgin Mother of God of Begoña. The construction of this enclosure dates back to the XNUMXth century, although it has undergone many reforms over the years.
Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao
This is a mandatory stop. The beauty of this construction is something worth enjoying. In addition, it has 20 galleries and permanent exhibitions.
We continue on our way and discover new points of interest on the Camino de la costa as it passes through Cantabria.
old town of Santillana del Mar and its collegiate church.
This town is one of the most beautiful in the entire region and possibly in the entire Spanish geography. Its historic center deserves a mention, since it dates back to the Middle Ages, so touring it is an experience that no one can stop living.
Santoña horse lighthouse
One of the best panoramic views of the Cantabrian Sea is here. With over 700 steps, the views are the perfect reward.
Whether you do the Camino de Santiago or if you are visiting, the Principality of Asturias offers endless indelible prints.
Oviedo Cathedral in Asturias
Gothic in style, it is one of the most important architectural ensembles in Spain. With more than 1200 years old, has witnessed a long history. Old wall and tower in Llanes
Built between the 300th and XNUMXth centuries, only about XNUMX meters remain of this glorious wall, divided between north and south, which is precisely where the tower is located.
Historic Center of Aviles
This is one of the most important in the region, declared a Historic-Artistic Site. Thanks to the port It was a protagonist during medieval times.
We could not stop talking about the last points of interest that you will find on the Camino del Norte as it passes through Galicia.
Cave of King Cintolo of Ribadeo
Considered the largest cave in all of Galicia, it has three floors and is more than six kilometers long.
Founded in the year 952, it underwent an important rehabilitation in the middle of the XNUMXth century. It is considered a National Historic Artistic Monument.
Cathedral of Mondoñedo in Lugo
It is one of the most beautiful in all of Galicia. In addition, in 1902 it was declared a national historical relic.