Camino de Santiago

Camino del Norte

☰ Camino Tours

From San Sebastián to Santiago de Compostela
36 days/35 nights.

What is it about the Camino de Santiago that makes it one of the things you have to do at least once in your life?

There are many roads to Santiago and Galicia. But the best way to come is on the Camino de Santiago. There are as many definitions as there are pilgrims to solve the riddle of the meaning of the Camino de Santiago. Simply put, it is the route taken by pilgrims to visit the tomb of the Apostle St. James in Santiago de Compostela. From the 9th century onwards, it became one of the most important Christian pilgrimage routes in Europe, the backbone of the kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. It is not a single road or a path that the Apostle St. James walked, rather a set of paths that, like veins in the body, converge on Santiago de Compostela. The pilgrim’s path is rooted in history. The Camino is different to any other pilgrimage.

Live it without haste, enjoying every place, every person and every moment.

Live it as the route that can change your life, and it will.

THE DIFFERENT CAMINOS TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

THE FRENCH CAMINO

The French Camino is the best known Jacobean route internationally and the one with the greatest historic tradition. Described as early as 1135 in the Codex Calixtinus, a fundamental book on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Book V of this codex is an authentic medieval guide to the pilgrimage to Santiago. It specifies the sections of the French Way from Gaul and provides detailed information on the sanctuaries along the route, the hospitality, the people, the food, the fountains, local customs and so on.

This guide is attributed to the French cleric Aymeric Picaud. When this book was written, the French Camino and the pilgrimages reached their peak and their greatest affluence. Santiago became the destination of pilgrims from all over the Christian world. The French Camino was precisely laid out in France along the four main routes already described in the Codex Calixtinus. Three of these routes (Paris-Tours, Vézelay-Limoges and Le Puy-Conques) enter Spain via Roncesvalles in Navarre, while the fourth (Arles-Toulouse) enters via the Somport pass and continues to Jaca in Aragon. The Roncesvalles route, which crosses the city of Pamplona, joins the Aragonese route at Puente la Reina (Navarre).
From Puente la Reina, the French Route follows a single itinerary that crosses towns and cities in northern Spain as important as Estella, Logroño, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Burgos, Castrojeriz, Frómista, Carrión de los Condes, Sahagún, León, Astorga, Ponferrada and Villafranca del Bierzo. The French Way enters Galicia through the Bierzo region.

THE PORTUGUESE CAMINO

In order to understand the true international dimension of the pilgrimage phenomenon, the Portuguese Camino is a key part of the Jacobean cult. This route became important, above all, from the 12th century onwards, after the independence of Portugal. Its layout inherits ancient roads and paths, such as Via XIX, built in the 1st century AD, which linked Braga to Astorga via Ponte de Lima, Tui, Pontevedra, Santiago and Lugo, and which was one of the most important Roman roads. From the 12th century, the flow of pilgrims towards the north of the Peninsula consolidated connections. The example of monarchs, nobles and senior clerics contributed to the establishment of a great devotion to St. James. For example, the famous pilgrimage of Isabel of Portugal, the “Holy Queen”, in the 14th century, who offered her crown before the altar of St. James and was buried in Coimbra with a pilgrim’s staff. Another example is the Portuguese King Manuel I, who made a pilgrimage from Lisbon to Santiago in 1502, and ordered a lamp to light the church of Santiago day and night as a memorial.

THE PORTUGUESE COSTAL CAMINO

The Portuguese Camino de la Costa enters Galicia through the fishing village of A Guarda, after crossing the Miño River at its mouth. This coastal route runs westwards and follows the river Miño until it reaches its wide estuary. The Santa Trega mountain dominates the landscape, a great viewpoint overlooking the Atlantic and Portugal, famous for its incredible, partially excavated castro, a large settlement that reached its peak during Romanisation. At the foot of the hill, the port of A Guarda. The route follows the steep and rugged coastline in a northerly direction. It passes through Oia, a town famous for its Cistercian monastery. The path turns around Cape Silleiro to enter a more sheltered area, the Vigo estuary. First we reach Baiona, a town with charming streets and squares, a 13th century church and the spectacular fortress of Monterreal, now a Parador (state-run hotel). It was the first town to witness the success of Columbus’ first voyage to America. After passing the medieval bridge at A Ramallosa, the route heads towards Panxón (Nigrán), a town known for the Votive Sea Temple, original and eclectic architecture built by Antonio Palacios between 1932-37, the remains of a 7th century Visigoth church and the sandy America beach. A little further north, the route leads to the beautiful Samil Cove and, a little later, to the city of Vigo, where the church dedicated to the apostle St. James is also to be found in the city centre. After Vigo, the route joins the Portuguese Camino in Redondela.

THE PRIMITIVE CAMINO

The Primitive Camino was a very popular itinerary for the Asturian-Galician people during the 9th and 10th centuries, and also attracted pilgrims from other parts of northern Spain and Europe. The Primitive Camino is the first and oldest pilgrimage route. It links Oviedo with Santiago de Compostela and runs for the most part along Roman roads. The first pilgrim king was the Asturian-Galician monarch Alfonso II, the Chaste, who wanted to travel to Santiago to confirm that the remains that had just appeared in Compostela were really those of the apostle. The king’s devotion to the Jacobean cause had grown in the Monastery of Samos, Lugo and he was a follower of the Beatus of Liébana. Alfonso II ordered the construction of the first church in the emerging city. Alfonso II’s successor, Alfonso III the Great, followed him on two occasions and was the architect of the consecration of the second basilica in Santiago in 899.
Later, when León became the new capital of the kingdom (11th-12th centuries), the monarchs promoted the French Route as a privileged route. Even so, the primitive route continued to be an alternative for pilgrims devoted to the great collection of relics in the cathedral of San Salvador de Oviedo and Lugo, which enjoys the papal privilege of exhibiting the Blessed Sacrament day and night. In addition, its importance is attested today by the remains of many pilgrim hospitals: in 2015 it was recognised by Unesco as a World Heritage Site.

THE NORTHERN CAMINO

This route was followed by devotees from all over the north of the Peninsula, and even by land or sea, coming from other territories such as England, Flanders, Germany or Scandinavia. After the Primitive Way, this route, which follows the Asturian coast and enters Galicia via the Ribadeo estuary, became important in the late Middle Ages. At that time, maritime pilgrimages were at their peak and the Jubilee of the Holy Cross began to be celebrated in Oviedo. The Camino del Norte maintained its vitality until the 18th century, and not only attracted pilgrims from Asturias. Many of the pilgrims came attracted by the relics of the sanctuary of San Salvador de Oviedo and, logically, by the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. It has been a route of illustrious pilgrims. It has been linked to Saint Francis of Assisi, who, according to tradition, made a pilgrimage to San Salvador de Oviedo and Santiago in 1214. At the end of the 15th century, the Armenian bishop Martyr of Azerbajan made the same pilgrimage, both for the outward and return journey. In the 16th century, Jacob Sobieski, father of King John III of Poland. And from the end of the 18th century we have the written testimony of the Frenchman Jean Pierre Racq. After Castropol, the last town in Asturias, the Camino enters Galicia, crossing the Cantabrian Sea through the beautiful Ribadeo estuary. Some pilgrims chose to go around it, avoiding the river Eo, to cross it later over the bridge of Santiago de Abres. Today, the Ponte dos Santos has brought the two Autonomous Communities closer together. The starting point in Galicia is Ribadeo, Lugo. From here it is 189 km to the cathedral of Santiago. The route is signposted with a ceramic plaque depicting a scallop. The walker is grateful for this information, which complements the basic indication of the yellow arrow. In 2015, the Camino del Norte was recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. In addition, we will follow landscapes that are Biosphere Reserves, such as the surroundings of the river Eo or the well-known Terras do Miño, among others.

THE ENGLISH PILGRIM'S ROUTE

In the Middle Ages, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela attracted people and societies from all over Europe, even from “distant Europe”. From the so-called Scandinavian countries, such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland or Iceland and, above all, the English, Scots, Irish and Flemish, all of whom contributed to establishing what we know today as the English Way. They arrived in Galicia by sea from their respective ports, arriving in Ferrol or A Coruña and also in Viveiro or Ribadeo, on the coast of Lugo. The strategic location of the ports of these two important Galician cities clearly boosted the route. The English Way has two alternatives in Galicia: the route from A Coruña is shorter, 73 km, than the one from Ferrol, 112.5 km. Both, full of attractions and history, meet halfway, in the town of Bruma, where they continue together the last 40 km to Compostela. The history of these pilgrimages dates back to the 12th century. In 1147 a crusading squadron of English, Germans and Flemish visited the tomb of St James. They were bound for the Holy Land and part of that expedition also went to the conquest of Lisbon, where they helped the first king of Portugal to take the city that would become the capital of the kingdom. There are several important traces of historical pilgrimages along the English Way. From the Icelandic monk Nicholas Bergsson we have the written description of his journey on foot from Iceland to Rome via Santiago. Two centuries later, during the so-called “Hundred Years’ War” between France and England, the British would use the boat to go to Santiago. English pottery and numismatic pieces from the 14th and 15th centuries found in the excavations of the cathedral bear witness to the presence of these pilgrims. Offerings to the apostle have also left evidence of this route. The many attractions of Ferrol or A Coruña are the gateway to the route; and Pontedeume or Betanzos are two essential places to understanding the “English” history of the Camino.

CAMINO ON THE VÍA DE LA PLATA

The Vía de la Plata (Silver Road) links the southern spirit of the lands of Andalusia and Extremadura with Finisterre in Galicia. It extends the Roman road known as the Silver Road, which linked Emerita Augusta (Mérida) with Asturica Augusta (Astorga). It enters Galicia through A Mezquita and is the longest Pilgrim’s Route to Santiago de Compostela. The term ‘Silver Road’ has nothing to do with the mining or trade of the precious metal, but comes from the Arabic Bal’latta, which is the word used by the Muslims to designate the wide cobbled public road with a solid layout along which they made their way to the Christian north. However, this road was used for the trade in American silver arriving at Seville docks. It was along this route that Almanzor advanced with his infantry against Santiago in August 997. And it seems that the bells of the Cathedral that he had taken with him on that occasion, returned to Compostela after the conquest of Cordoba in 1236. In the second half of the 13th century, after the conquest of Seville and Cordoba from the Arabs, this route began to be used by pilgrims from Andalusia and Extremadura. Some followed to Astorga, linking here with the French Way; others took the diversions of Puebla de Sanabria-A Gudiña and from here either through Laza or through Verín to Ourense and Santiago. And a third possibility took pilgrims through the north-east of Portugal to Verín. Among the most famous pilgrims who followed the Silver Route are Don Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, the Great Captain, who went to Santiago in fulfilment of a promise, and Saint Toribio de Mongrovejo, a graduate in canons from the University of Santiago in 1568, future archbishop of Lima and canonised in 1726. The Silver Road runs through Galicia with an exceptional natural and ethnographic heritage: the enormous wealth of the province of Ourense, the region of Deza and the course of the river Ulla are full of attractions for the follower. Finally, from Portugal, there were several inland roads towards Santiago that penetrated the province of Ourense, such as the one from Chaves to Verín through Feces de Abaixo.

WINTER CAMINO

The Winter Camino is the natural entrance to Galicia from the plateau, an access already used by the Romans. It is thought to be an alternative in winter time to the hard climb up the snowy peaks of O Cebreiro. It runs for just over 200 km through the four Galician provinces and historic regions, full of personality and attractions such as Valdeorras, Ribeira Sacra and Deza. It starts in Ponferrada, the prelude to the Galician lands, in the Leonese region of Bierzo. Here, the pilgrim turns left instead of continuing straight on along the French Camino. The Winter Camino practically follows the natural course of the mighty river Sil through the region of Valdeorras in the province of Orense. It then runs through the south of the province of Lugo, continuing through the region of Deza (Pontevedra), until it reaches Compostela. In total, just under 250 kilometres. Historians place the origin of this route in Roman times: a secondary road is documented which left from the gold mines of Las Médulas towards Via XVIII, which passed through the region of Valdeorras, and along which the gold deposits were evacuated.

The Roman tunnel of Montefurado is also proof of this today. The route was followed by different peoples throughout history. At the beginning of the 19th century, it also served as an entrance for Napoleon’s invading troops. In 1883, the first railway line that would connect Galicia with the rest of the Peninsula was built along this route. The Winter Way is attractive for many reasons: it starts at Las Médulas, a World Heritage Site. It crosses regions such as Valdeorras or part of the Ribeira Sacra, territories of excellent wines, often cultivated in unlikely landscapes, and areas where Romanesque architecture has multiplied in churches and monasteries. In 2003, the Ribeira Sacra was included by the Council of Europe in its Routes of Interest. Visit the rich monumental heritage of Monforte de Lemos, or the wineries and traditional architecture of Chantada. Climb to the top of O Faro, from where you can see landscapes of the four Galician provinces. In Lalín it joins the Vía de la Plata to continue together to Compostela. In total, nine stages where the tranquillity that presides over this alternative route, little travelled, is one of its main attractions.

THE CAMINO TO FISTERRA AND MUXÍA

This Jacobean route starts in the city of Santiago and ends at Cape Fisterra and the Sanctuary of the Virxe da Barca in Muxía. Up to the end of the Middle Ages, the Costa da Morte (Coast of Death) was the last known stretch of land, It was the place through which pre-Roman peoples believed that souls ascended to heaven. A mythical and symbolic space that would leave the Roman conquerors speechless when they saw the sun disappear behind the immense ocean. Since then, the tip of Fisterra Cape has fascinated every visitor in the same way. The Camino to Fisterra and Muxía is the most faithful depiction of that historic pilgrim’s cry, Ultreia! (“Let’s go beyond!”), while another pilgrim replies “Et suseia!” (“And we are going higher!”). It is indeed beyond the finish line in Compostela having prostrated themselves before the remains of St. James the Apostle that many pilgrims decide to explore the end of the world. They put the sacrifices of the hard days they have spent behind them to continue walking for at least four or five more days to cover the eighty-nine kilometres left to Fisterra and eighty-seven to Muxía. 

The history of this route has been a mixture of paganism and the later Christianization process. From the 12th century onwards, the Codex Calixtinus links this Camino with the Jacobean tradition. In addition, two of the most popular religious figures in Galicia have their headquarters in Fisterra and Muxía: the Santo Cristo de Fisterra, of which the licentiate Molina (16th century) states that “the greatest pilgrims who come to worship the Apostle go there”, and the sanctuary of the Virxe da Barca de Muxía. The double toponym of the Way Fisterra and Muxía indicates that there are two final destinations of this so-called end after the goal. In Olveiroa, the Camino forks: we can either go first to Fisterra through Corcubión or to Muxía.
Whatever our decision, it is then compulsory to walk from one village to the other in an impressive journey of light and nature at its best. We will have left behind our first exit from Santiago between hundred-year-old carballeiras (quercetums or oak groves) and the riverbed of the poetic river Sarela. Then, we will pass through the medieval village of Negreira or the livestock farming region of Xallas.

FATHER SARMIENTO'S CAMINO

Follow the footsteps of the Dominican monk through O Salnés (Pontevedra). Father Sarmiento was the creator of this variant of the Portuguese Camino through the region of O Salnés. The Dominican monk came back from Madrid to make a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in 1745 and documented his 190-kilometre itinerary in his work Viaje a Galicia (Journey to Galicia). The beautiful route, named after him, follows the coast between the estuaries of Pontevedra and Arousa; it begins at the bridge of O Burgo and continues through Poio, Sanxenxo, O Grove, Meaño, Cambados, A Illa de Arousa, Vilanova de Arousa, Vilagarcía de Arousa, Catoira, Valga and Pontecesures. From there it joins the Portuguese Way until it reaches the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

CAMIÑO DOS FAROS (CAMINO OF THE LIGHTHOUSES)

O Camiño dos Faros is a 200-kilometre hiking route that links Malpica with Finisterre along the edge of the sea. A path that has the sea as the main protagonist and that goes through all the lighthouses and main points of this Costa da Morte. A Camiño dos Faros that goes through many different landscapes, always facing the sea and west. Lighthouses, beaches, dunes, rivers, cliffs, forests, estuaries with a large number of birds, granite seas, forts, dolmens, fishing villages, viewpoints overlooking the sea that breaks in every possible way, sunsets and lots of magic. A route like few others, which will take the walker to a world of unique sensations that can only be enjoyed in this Costa da Morte. On this route there are constant ups and downs. Unspoilt beaches and a wild coastline. We will pass through the area where the best barnacles in the world are born. We will pass through places such as O Roncudo, where the barnacle pickers literally risk their lives to harvest this treasure of Galician gastronomy. We will pass by places of great historical importance, such as the English Cemetery, in Camariñas or places of significant religious tradition, such as the Sanctuary of Virxe da Barca and its enigmatic “pedra de abalar” (stone of abalar).

PILGRIM INFORMATION

THE PILGRIM'S CREDENTIAL

The credential is the pilgrim’s passport, which must be stamped at each stage.

The pilgrim’s credential is a kind of passport that must be stamped at each stage of the route. It has its origin in the document that, during the Middle Ages, was given to pilgrims as a safe-conduct. It must be stamped at least twice a day over the last 100 km (for pilgrims on foot) or over the last 200 km (for pilgrims cycling), or during 100 nautical miles sailed and walking the last kilometres of the Camino from O Monte do Gozo. The only official and valid credential is the one issued by the Pilgrim’s Office. It allows us to request the Compostela at the end of our pilgrimage.

The Compostela

And the Compostela is the document that certifies the end of our pilgrimage. To get the Compostela it is not necessary to have done the Camino continuously in time, but geographically, i.e., we can plan our route for example on weekends, but we must always pick it up in the place where we had left off, because skipping a section of the Camino would invalidate the certification. Pilgrims that decide to follow the route to Fisterra or Muxía can continue to seal their credential (if they have space) or get another one: at the Pilgrim Information Office, or at the town halls of Fisterra or Muxía, as both issue a document that accredits the pilgrimage.

ON THESE CAMINOS YOU WILL ALWAYS FIND

Accommodation: Accommodation will always be in hotels, hostels, rural houses or guesthouses, guaranteeing a room with private bathroom. If the accommodation is on the outskirts of the town, we include a private transfer free of charge.

Meals: We offer reinforced breakfasts, and optionally we can reserve dinner for you.

Backpack transport: We move your backpack from accommodation to accommodation. So that you can walk freely and do not have to carry it on your back.

Maps of the trails: We will give you the maps of the route you are going to take when you arrive at your first accommodation.

24h Emergency Phone: You will never walk alone, you will have a 24h phone number, where we will help you.

Pilgrim’s scallop: We give you the typical pilgrim’s scallop that will accompany you along the way.

Pilgrim’s credential: Your pilgrim’s passport to stamp at each stage, will be waiting for you at the first accommodation.

Assistance insurance: We include assistance insurance on all trips, see page 54 of the catalogue.

Visit to Santiago: We invite you to visit Santiago de Compostela with an expert guide of the city.

Transfer: We offer you the option of a private transfer that will take you to and from wherever you want.

Support car: If you need a support car to follow you on the Camino, you can optionally hire one. It will help you with any need that may arise on the Camino.

CONDITIONS

– Retail price per person per package. VAT included.
– The cancellation or modification of a reservation will incur an administration fee of €20 per person, non-refundable.
– At the time of booking confirmation, the customer must pay a deposit of €100 per booking. The remaining amount must be paid no later than 30 days before departure.
– Tourist tax: In some communities there is a tax on stays in tourist establishments. The corresponding tax must be paid by the client on the day of arrival at the hotel (not included in the prices).

 

GET READY FOR THE CAMINO
01 | BASIC REQUIREMENTS TO DO THE CAMINO
TRAINING
To do the Camino de Santiago you should prepare yourself previously with gym exercises that help to tone up and give elasticity to the muscles, especially in the legs, back and neck.
02 | TRAINING REQUIREMENTS
RECOMMENDED ROUTINES AND EXERCISES BEFORE WALKING THE ROUTE
Start with short walks on flat terrain and progressively increase the number of kilometres and vary the type of terrain to adapt your body to what you are going to find along the way.
03 | THE CAMINO ON FOOT
THE EFFORT YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE TO DO THE CAMINO ON FOOT
The start of the walk should always be gentle and rhythmic, and only once the body warms up can we gradually increase the intensity. Once you have reached a level of effort that matches your ability, your walking should be regular and continuous.

04 | RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HEALTH AND FITNESS MAINTENANCE
HOW TO PREPARE KNEES, TENDONS, AND FEET
To minimize the risk of injuring the Achilles tendon, in the preparation or previous training for the Camino, do not forget to do exercises that favor the stretching of this tendon, always increasing the intensity progressively.
05 | THE CAMINO BY BICYCLE
HOW MUCH EFFORT WILL IT TAKE TO DO THE CAMINO BY BICYCLE?
For people who are not used to cycling and depending on the distance planned for each stage, it will be necessary to train beforehand for about two months.
06 | RECOMMENDATIONS
THE WEIGHT OF THE BACKPACK
A properly loaded backpack for this type of activity should not exceed 10 kg in weight. When the backpack is purchased, it should also have protection systems on the straps to prevent chafing.

07 | THINGS YOU CAN’T LEAVE AT HOME
THINGS YOU WILL NEED AND MAY NOT FIND ON THE CAMINO
A sleeping bag, shoes for rest, a water bottle, high SPF cream, a small first aid kit, cell phone with charger and documentation are some of the basic elements.
We should not carry a large amount of clothes layers, the important thing is that they are insulating fabrics of external thermal changes.
08 | RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MAINTAINING HEALTH AND FITNESS
FOOTWEAR AND THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCKS
Footwear should be comfortable and already adapted to our feet, i.e. already worn. New, stiff footwear would end up hurting us as soon as we start walking. It is preferable to use trekking or mountain boots, but depending on the weather conditions, other types of footwear specific for walking can be used.
09 | RECOMMENDATIONS
HOW TO RECOVER PHYSICALLY BETWEEN STAGES
During the punctual stops along the hike you should take the opportunity to drink and eat something in small quantities, but enough to replenish your strength.
10 | MENTAL EFFORT
MENTAL STRENGTH TRAINING
Stops to appreciate the scenery, the monuments or the cultural surroundings help to clear your mind and facilitate relaxation in order to pick up the pace again on the next leg.

ADVICE FOR THE CAMINO

PLAN THE TRIP
It is useful to get information about the route to be followed and draw up a prior calendar, to know in advance the towns to be visited, their traditions, the regions and the landscape; it is rewarding and will make the trip more beneficial. It is highly recommendable to contact an Association of Friends of the Camino de Santiago, in Spain there are more than 50 distributed in almost all the provinces, whose members selflessly provide information and advice. In order to do the Camino de Santiago you do not need to be an athlete, but it is recommendable to have a certain amount of preparation. That is why we advise you to train before the Camino so you get used to walking, at a slow pace, but for many hours because in practice you will be walking all day long.

CHECK LIST

Take the essentials in addition to the clothes you wear. This could be your summer luggage:
– A one-litre water bottle or a camelback of the same capacity.
– A pair of trekking poles, if you are used to carrying them, or the classic walking stick.
– Two or three changes of clothes.
– Two pairs of short hiking socks made of polyester.
– A pair of polyester T-shirts, one short-sleeved and one long-sleeved (never cotton, as they are not breathable and take a long time to dry).
– Hiking shorts.
– A sweatshirt and a light waterproof jacket.
– A poncho with a backpack cover that is breathable. The disadvantage is that they usually weigh about 400 grams.
– A visor or hat.
– A microfibre towel. These are made of polyester and polyamide and dry quickly. They can be found in sports shops.
– Flip-flops.
– A small first aid kit with aspirin or ibuprofen, high SPF sun cream, plasters, iodine and sterile needles for pricking blisters. Anti-chafing creams for the feet and body are highly recommended. If you do the Camino in company, the most sensible thing to do is to take a joint first-aid kit and share the weight.
– Sunglasses.
– A head torch.
– Identity card, health card, credit card.
– A pocket knife.
– A mobile phone, a camera and its chargers.

 

For the colder months:
– Winter socks, T-shirts and trousers.
– Hat, a hat and gloves.
– Replace the light jacket with a waterproof windbreaker. This is the most expensive part of the kit but it is worth investing the money in quality clothing.
– Fleece tights or leggings to wear under your trousers.
– In winter you should adopt the layering system: a highly breathable thermal vest as a first layer, a long-sleeved technical T-shirt as a second layer, and a windbreaker as a last layer. Backpack on your back, poles in hand and off you go.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR FEET

The pilgrim’s foot walks on all possible surfaces: asphalt, concrete, gravel, earthy, clay or limestone soils, etc. This gives rise to serious doubts about the choice of footwear that is best suited to each and every surface. You need footwear that is neither too light nor too heavy, flexible and that provides good stability. These characteristics are found in trekking shoes and trail running shoes used by mountain runners. Both are lighter than hiking boots and provide greater flexibility and cushioning. The sole is tougher and better able to withstand impact and the weight of the backpack than a conventional running shoe. The waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex fabric will prevent the foot from getting wet and wick sweat away. Hiking boots protect your ankles and possible impacts from stones better, but they are heavier, overheat the foot more and are very uncomfortable on asphalt. Experience suggests trying trekking or trail running shoes first.

BACKPACK

It is worth spending money on a good backpack. It is the pilgrim’s shell. It should hold between 40 and 50 litres. Once full it should not exceed 10% of the weight of the walker carrying it. Any weight that exceeds this figure will take its toll in the form of overloading or muscle contractions. It should have strong stitching, padded shoulder straps, lumbar reinforcement and adjustable waist and chest straps. It must have a system that allows it to be adjusted according to the height of each user. It is essential to adjust the straps so that the weight rests on the back and does not pull on the shoulders. A waterproof cover is essential to cover it on rainy days. Many come with a waterproof cover, but some of them don’t do their job well and get soaked quickly, so it is sometimes a good idea to buy a separate, more resistant one.

ON THE CAMINO

Plan the stages according to your physical abilities, dosing the effort and taking breaks. Remember the importance of stopping every hour, hour and a half to rest and air your feet, it will do you good. Simply take off your trainers and socks and apply Vaseline to the areas of possible chafing to ensure you don’t get blisters.
To avoid sunburn or dehydration due to excessive sweating, it is advisable to avoid walking or cycling during the hours of maximum sunlight intensity, and to use sunscreen and moisturising creams, as well as sunglasses with protection against ultraviolet radiation. Wear helmets and waistcoats for pilgrims travelling by bicycle. Drink bottled water or drinking water from a public water supply; do not drink water from streams, rivers, springs or sources of unknown purity.

Itinerary

We are in the Basque Country, with its outstanding gastronomy, the city overlooks the bay of La Concha. It’s not a bad idea to take a good pintxo route to build up your strength before setting off on the Camino. The city’s monuments include San Telmo Museum, the Victoria Eugenia Theatre and the María Cristina Hotel, both in Neoplateresque style, and the Good Shepherd Cathedral. Arrival in San Sebastian at the client’s expense. Accommodation in San Sebastian.

Goodbye, San Sebastian! The route begins with the ascent of Monte Igueldo, which is located at the end of La Concha Bay. It is a significantly steep climb, so it must be tackled in good spirits, spirits that will undoubtedly be bolstered by the magnificent views of the city behind us. This is a stage in which good views will predominate, both from Igueldo and on the descent towards Zarautz.
We will walk through the fishing village of Orio, with an interesting historic quarter in which the church of San Nicolás de Bari is of particular interest. Accommodation in San Nicolás de Bari.

Today’s stage is similar to that of yesterday. Once again you are faced with ascents and descents, but also with the marvellous views of the coast, dominating the Bay of Biscay. There will be three climbs to consider, one right at the start and the others towards the end, although you will finish the stage with the descent from Itziar to Deba, be careful not to slip on your descent during the rainy season. Accommodation in Zarautz.

The route gets tougher as you leave the coastal landscape and enter inland mountain areas. You will walk through beautiful valley areas typical of the Basque Country. This area has no major towns, only a few farmhouses, so it is a good idea to be well provisioned. Accommodation in Markina.

This is your second inland and mountain stage, where you will once again face significant climbs and descents. The most difficult part of the stage is at the beginning, on the climb from Bolibar to Ziortza. Here we can take a short break to recover and visit the Zenarruza Monastery and its cloister. Once you reach your destination, you should visit the Casa de Juntas and the Guernika Tree. Accommodation in Guernika.

You walk out the door to face a very significant ascent, a gradient of about 300 metres. You are in the heart of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, so the landscapes around you are worth enjoying at your leisure, despite the fact that you are still in difficult terrain. On today’s stage you will pass through the town of Larrabezu, where Eneko Atxa runs his two Michelin-starred restaurants, Azurmendi (***) and Eneko (*). Accommodation in Lezama.

We will find ourselves with a single ascent to Mount Avril, with a 300-metre climb, but quite progressive. The descent will leave you in the historic centre of Bilbao, passing by the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Begoña. In Bilbao you will find the only cathedral on the Iberian Peninsula, besides that of Santiago de Compostela, consecrated to St. James the Apostle. Don’t miss a visit to the taverns in the old part of the city for a pintxo tour and, of course, the Guggenheim Museum. Accommodation in Bilbao.

We will find ourselves with a single ascent to Mount Avril, with a 300-metre climb, but quite progressive. The descent will leave you in the historic centre of Bilbao, passing by the Basilica of Nuestra Señora de Begoña. In Bilbao you will find the only cathedral on the Iberian Peninsula, besides that of Santiago de Compostela, consecrated to St. James the Apostle. Don’t miss a visit to the taverns in the old part of the city for a pintxo tour and, of course, the Guggenheim Museum. Accommodation in Bilbao.

Today’s stage covers a good part of the city of Bilbao; it is an urban section of the Camino, which is quite surprising for some pilgrims. You can do two sections, the official one, which is longer, or follow the Nervión River along its course, which saves you several kilometres. You arrive in Portugalete via the impressive Vizcaya Bridge over the river. Accommodation in Portugalete.

Today’s stage will take you into Cantabria and you will return to the stretches of the Camino along the Cantabrian coast. When you leave the town of Ontón you will find two alternatives, the official one or the one that follows the national road. You will finish in the beautiful fishing village of Castro Urdiales. Accommodation in Castro Urdiales.

Once again you can take the short route by following the national road, although on today’s journey it is worth taking the official path because of the beautiful scenery between the Cantabrian coast and inland valleys with green forests. On the official route there is a second alternative that saves about three kilometres, avoiding La Magdalena. All options are well signposted. The end of our stage, Laredo, is a tourist town with magnificent beaches. Accommodation in Laredo.

Today’s stage gives you a choice. From March to November, you can cross between Laredo (from El Puntal) and Santoña by boat. From December to February, you have to follow the official route along the estuary and the marshes, the Colindres variant, which is obviously longer. The most difficult part of the journey is Brusco hill, almost 100 metres high. Walk this path with caution when it’s wet, given its narrowness how slippery it gets in the rain. After the magnificent Noja beach, you head back towards inland scenery until you reach Güemes. Accommodation in Güemes.

Once we reach Galizano, you can either follow the official route or, walk along the coast, a longer option with wonderful views. On the inland route, you pass the sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de Latas (16th century). Both routes lead to the town of Somo. The stage ends with another boat trip from Somo to Santander. Once in the Cantabrian capital, we can visit the Sardinero beach, the cathedral of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción or the Palacio de la Magdalena. Accommodation in Santander.

You have a long day ahead after yesterday’s light and short stage. Although the route begins in an urban section of no special interest and which can be a little tiresome, it will end in one of the most monumental towns on the Cantabrian coast, Santillana de Mar. Nearby are also the Altamira Caves and museum. Accommodation in Santillana del Mar.

Originally the route that awaits you today passed far from the sea. Fortunately, part of the route has been reformed and now takes you to Luaña Beach. For those who prefer, you can choose the original route, which is still signposted. In general it is a stage with moderate slopes. We pass through villages such as Cóbredes, where we can see its Cistercian monastery. The day ends once we reach Comillas. Comillas is a charming town and it is well worth strolling through the streets. The Capricho de Gaudí (Gaudí’s Whim) and the Palacio de Sobrellano are two places of interest. Accommodation in Comillas.

Today is the opposite of yesterday. You are mainly passing through a rural environment. You start the day by following the Oyambre Natural Park, near the coast, towards San Vicente de la Barquera. Once you cross the Ría de San Vicente you arrive at the fishing village. Visit the old town of San Vicente to see its church, castle and the remains of its ancient walls. Moving on towards Unquera, you slowly leave Cantabria. Cross the bridge over the river Deba to finish the stage in Colombres, Asturias. Accommodation in Colombres.

On the whole, a pleasant day with beautiful scenery awaits you. Walk until you reach Pendueles, where you can choose between following the official route or taking the coastal path. This path is marked with red and white waymarks. The most difficult climb of the day is once you pass Andrín. Llanes is only a few kilometres away. There are many interesting monuments in Llanes, but the “Cubos de la Memoria” (Memory Cubes) are an obligatory stop. Accommodation in Llanes.

With recharged batteries, it’s time for a long stage. It will reward you with beautiful scenery. The first half of the way takes you to the coast where first you can visit the Monastery of Celorio before you pass beautiful beaches such as Torimbia and Barro. Cross the river Bedón and continue on the second leg, which goes inland. The scenery is predominantly rural. The stage ends in Ribadesella, a fishing village at the mouth of the river Sella. Accommodation in Ribadesella.

Cross the River Sella towards Santa Marina Beach. Today’s route passes many beaches. Start going uphill towards Vega de Ribadesella. Crossing the River Vega to come to La Vega Beach. Passing Berbes, we follow the path to Arenal de Morís Beach and La Espasa Beach. A few kilometres away is our destination for today, Colunga. Accommodation in Colunga.

This is one of the shortest stages of the entire route, with so many kilometres on your feet already, today is practically a rest. Leave the coast for an inland route, combining the mountainous landscape of the north with tarmac tracks. The most important climb of the stage is the one that takes you from Pernús to Priesca. Even so, it is not a major climb. The day ends in Villaviciosa, a town famous for its cider. Accommodation in Villaviciosa.

Today we face one of the toughest stages. This is because there are two considerable climbs. The first, the Alto de la Cruz, is a few kilometres from the start of the stage in Niévares, where you have to climb more than 300 metres. The second, the Collado del Infanzón, after the descent to Peón, where you climb again, this time only 200 metres, a more pleasant and easier climb. Continue to Deva and walk the last few kilometres to reach Gijón. It is worthwhile to wander around the old town and the Plaza Mayor, the Casa Museo de Jovellanos, adn, among other sights, the church of San Pedro. Accommodation in Gijón.

You leave Gijón to enter a rural and green landscape. The layout of this stage is fairly straightforward, without much to worry about. You pass through small towns such as Pavierna and Santa Eulalia, where you will find the church of Santa Eulalia. The rest of the route follows the course of the Avilés estuary. Avilés is the end of today’s stage. It is an industrial city with an interesting old quarter. Places of interest include the Plaza de España, with the Town Hall and the palace of the Marquis of Ferrera, the church of San Nicolás de Bari and the palace of García Pumarino, among others. Accommodation in Aviles.

It is a fairly long stage but of low difficulty. There are quite a lot of slopes, but they are moderate. For the first few kilometres you get close to the coast at Salinas, but the whole route is mostly inland and on tarmac tracks. Several rivers cross your path. In order to reach Muros de Nalón you have to cross the river Nalón. Once you cross the river you continue until you reach the coast again in Cudillero. Cudillero is a picturesque and charming fishing village. Accommodation in Cudillero.

The first part goes inland but once we reach Soto de Luiña the terrain changes completely. The second part of the day runs close to the coast, with beautiful green scenery, no steep gradients, well signposted, and numerous villages with access to stunning beaches. The slopes are frequent but moderate. It is a day of great scenic beauty ending in Ballota. Accommodation in Ballota.

The route today takes you close to the coast, with views of the beaches and imposing cliffs up to Cadavevo. From here you follow more inland landscapes, passing through small villages such as San Cristóbal and Querúas. The only notable climb of the stage is the short but steep ascent at the Hotel Canero, once you have passed the small village of Chano de Canero. Once you get over this climb the rest is a piece of cake. You are just a few kilometres from the end of the stage, Luarca, a small but beautiful seaside town with an outstanding fishing quarter. Accommodation in Luarca.

The first kilometres from Luarca are uphill but moderate, you cross the river Barayo and descend to Villapedre. The stage runs away from the coast, passing through numerous towns and villages and mostly close to a national road, although the rivers will continue to be your travelling companions. Your destination today is Navia. Accommodation in Navia.

Today’s stage begins with the choice of going via Tol or Tapias de Casariego. Tapias de Casariego takes you along the coast and Tol takes you inland. Tapias de Casariego is the recommended option as there are more villages and therefore more services. Tapias de Casariego is also a fishing village with a beautiful harbour. On either route you have to cross the Eo Estuary to reach Ribadeo and spend your first night in Galicia. We are getting closer and closer to Santiago de Compostela. Accommodation in Ribadeo.

Today is your first day in Galicia and it takes you away from the coastal landscapes to start with an intense and mountainous route. The first few kilometres are flat or moderately hilly. However, when you reach A Ponte de Arante you start a steep climb where you go from 100 metres to almost 360 metres. Once you conquer the climb you are only a few kilometres away from Villamartin Grande. Accommodation in Villamartin Grande.

The day begins with a downhill stretch to Gondán. After the previous day a pleasant stage is appreciated. You climb a little to the church of San Xusto and follow the road crossing the Batán river to Vilanova de Lourenzá. Again you have a climb that takes you to Arroxo. The rest of the route has very moderate slopes. Finally you reach Mondoñedo. The Cathedral and the old town of Mondoñedo were declared a Historic-Artistic Sites. Accommodation in Mondoñedo.

Translated with DeepL.com (free version)

Today’s stage takes you through the inland plateau of Lugo, known as Terra Cha. Today you climb from 100 meters to over 500 meters altitude. It is moderate, so it won’t take too much effort. On the way you pass through small villages such as O Vilar or Lousada until you reach Abadín. Lodging in Abadín.

Pleasant stage through flat land, green meadows and forests that runs parallel to a national road. The Anllo River and the Arnela River cross your path, as well as towns such as As Paredes, Martiñan or O Campo do Cristo. Night in Villalba, capital of Terra Chá. The Tower of the Counts of Andrade deserves a special mention. Accommodation in Villalba.

Today’s stage is relatively straightforward, with hardly any slopes and in a pleasant rural setting. The road takes you along dirt tracks. The end of the stage is in O Seixón. Accommodation in Seixon.

Today, gradients are the order of the day. Although they are moderate, they are continuous, and the surroundings are rural. This stage reaches 700 metres, the highest altitude of the entire Camino. Then you walk to O Mesón and descend to Sobrado dos Monxes. In Sobrado dos Monxes you should not miss the jewel in the crown, the Cistercian monastery of Santa María de Sobrado. Accommodation in Sobrado dos Monxes.

Today is the last stage of the Camino del Norte. You leave the dirt tracks to set foot on tarmac roads again. The rural landscape that has guided you also changes to give way to more urban areas. Your journey ends in Arzúa, where you should taste the famous cheeses. Accommodation in Arzua.

Today you join the French Camino. A short and relaxing stretch to absorb everything you have experienced on the Camino before you arrive in Santiago. There are still almost 40 kilometres between Arzúa and Santiago Cathedral. The wisest and most logical thing to do is spread this leg over two days, spending the night in either Santa Irene or O Pedrouzo. Arzúa town gives way to O Pino, a comfortable route, with gentler slopes and paths that are always close to the N-547. Accommodation in O Pedrouzo /Amenal. 

Nerves on edge. Strange sensations.  You are almost there. The walk is more serene, perhaps because the end is near. The last villages appear on leaf-strewn paths, among the last patches of closely growing and symmetrical pine and eucalyptus forests, in some areas there are even some oak trees. Today’s leg will take you to Lavacolla. When you reach the summit, you pass the airport and begin the gentle descent towards the village. There is a stream running through Lavacolla, where the pilgrims of old used to wash and purify themselves before entering Santiago de Compostela. Lavacolla, now in the municipal district of Santiago, is very close to Monte do Gozo (the Mount of Joy), a small elevation from which pilgrims get their first glimpse of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. In the Jacobean Year ’93 El Monte do Gozo was converted into an area for pilgrims. There is a large monument on the summit, a fountain and San Marcos Chapel. From here, the route is practically all urban, reaching the Cathedral through San Lázaro Quarter, Rúa de San Pedro, Porta do Camiño, Rúa das Casas Reais and Praza de Cervantes, to go straight down to the cathedral and enter through the Holy Door if it is a Holy Year, or through the Azabachería door if it is not.

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Stage 2: Bilbao to Santander

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Stage 3: Santander to Gijón

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Stage 4: Gijón to Ribadeo

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Stage 5: Ribadeo to Santiago

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General Information

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pilgrims
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arrived in
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Included

Not Included

Optional Services
( depending on provider)

  • Discount for third person in extra bed sharing room with 2 adults 10%.
  • Half board supplement (no discount for 3rd person) per person/night €18.00
  • Picnic lunch supplement: sandwich, drink and dessert person/day €9.40
  • Santiago-Sarria airport transfer supplement: (max. 4)* €162.50
  • Santiago city to Santiago airport transfer supplement: (1 to 3 people) €41.25
  • Santiago city to Santiago airport transfer supplement: (4 to 7 people) €63.75
  • Private transfers and/or support car during the route: please ask.
  • Cancellation insurance: please ask.
  • Extra excursions available out of Santiago de Compostela.
  • * FLIGHT DELAYS OR WAITING FOR LUGGAGE CLAIM: €25.00/HOUR
  • ** The prices published on this page come from one provider and are only meant to give you a rough idea of the potential cost.

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The Whole French Camino
from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela
(44 Days/43 Nights)
If you are feeling brave. If the time is right for you to do the Camino, I can help you prepare each leg of your trip. Help you create your itinerary and help you take a break here and there to make sure you can rest and recover for the next stage.
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French Camino
From Sarria to Santiago de Compostela
(7 Days/6 Nights)
This Camino starts in Sarria. One of the most popular starting points as it is slightly more than the 100 Km that are necessary to obtain the "Compostela".
More Information & Bookings
French Camino
From Sarria to Santiago de Compostela
(8 Days/7 Nights)
Before you get lost in information, remember the camino is yours to do and design. If you need some help creating a bespoke tour, just let me know
More Information & Bookings
Portuguese Camino
From Tui to Santiago de Compostela
(8 Days/7 Nights)
There are two choices for you to make. Will you consider the Portuguese Costal Route?
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Portuguese Camino
From Baiona to Santiago de Compostela
(8 Days/7 Nights)
There are two choices for you to make. Will you consider the Portuguese Costal Route?
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Camino Vía de la Plata
Ourense to Santiago
(8 Days/7 Nights)
The last kilometres of the Via de la Plata, from Ourense to Santiago, will allow you to discover monasteries and lush valleys such as the River Ulla valley. All this while enjoying the scenery, at a leisurely pace and without the weight of your rucksack. The Vía de la Plata owes its name to an ancient Roman road that linked the city of Mérida “Emerita Augusta” with Astorga “Asturica Augusta”. Today it is a wonderful tourist route that bisects Spain from south to north.
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Primitive Camino from Lugo
(8 Days/7 Nights)
The Camino de Santiago, which originates in Oviedo and joins the French Way in Melide, is known as the Primitive Way. The name “primitive” is due to the fact that this is the first route of which there are historical references; King Alphonse II of Asturias and his retinue left Oviedo in the 9th century to visit the tomb of the Apostle St. James, discovered a few years earlier.
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Primitive Camino from Oviedo
(16 Days/15 Nights)
The more popular French Camino does not pass through Asturias. Due to the number of holy relics in Oviedo Cathedral, this saying became popular back in the 12th century, "He that goes to Santiago and not to the Saviour, goes to see the servant and not the Lord." “Quien va a Santiago y no al Salvador, visita al lacayo, pero no a su Señor”
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Padre Sarmiento’s Camino
(11 Days/10 Nights)
AMONG VINEYARDS, VALLEYS AND RIVERS
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English Camino
(8 Days/7 Nights)
It was the preferred route for pilgrims from Scandinavia, the Netherlands, northern France and, above all, England and Ireland. As early as the 11th century, there is documentary evidence of landings on the Galician coast and the arrival of pilgrims in shallow-draft vessels. Some of these expeditions included crusaders, who stopped in Santiago to visit the apostle’s tomb before reaching Jerusalem. Many chose the English route, where they found shelter in monasteries and hospitals. The pilgrimage to the apostle’s tomb started from the ports of A Coruña or Ferrol. In the 15th century, this was the golden age of this beautiful route, rich in historical and artistic heritage.
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Other Caminos
(different lengths)
There are many alternative routes for walking pilgrims. I will be adding some of them at a later date once I have checked the services available. Coming up are three well serviced cycling options. One on each of the main routes.
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French Camino by Bicycle
(8 Days/7 Nights)
The starting point for this cycling adventure is in the beautiful city of León.
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Primitive Camino by Bicycle
(8 Days/7 Nights)
This time you can start by visiting the Saviour first before you set out to greet his servant. The Asturians will reward you with thier food and hospitality. If you have time on your hands, talk to me about visiting the Principality. They don't call it "Natural Paradise" for nothing. And they know all about food!
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Portuguese Camino by Bicycle
(7 Days/6 Nights)
This time you can go wine tasting in Porto, and take a day or two to enjoy the beauty and, dare I say, the food, in Portugal before setting out on your Bike to take in the sights.
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Advice for the Camino
Advice is free for you to take. Hopefully you will be able to walk away with some helpful tips to make your Camino the best one yet.
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