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Pilgrims Walking the Camino

Camino del Norte:

Self-Guided Tour 3

Santander ⇒ Gijón

Passing many picturesque cities such as Santillana del Mar and Llanes, you enjoy once more scenic views along the coast, to the mountain range of Picos de Europa in the background and over the popular beaches of La Isla.

Tour Type: Self-Guided

Availability: April through October

  • April 01 – June 09: Regular Season
  • June 10 – July 14: Mid Season
  • July 15 – August 31: High Season
  • September 1 – September 15: Mid Season
  • September 16 – October 31: Regular Season

Duration: 11 Days Total / 9 Days Walking

Total Distance: 184 km. (114.3 mi.)

Difficulty: moderate

Average distance: 20.5 km. (12.7 mi.) / Day

Prices (per person):

Double Room:
Starting from € 440

Single-Occupancy Room:
Starting from € 680

What’s Included:

10 nights in single / double room

En-suite facilities

English-speaking emergency assistance
Your full digital Travel Info Package
Details ⇒

We are proud to be working together with hand-picked, high quality and mostly locally owned and operated service providers.

Your journey will be booked through, and your Travel Package will include all the information you will need to access your lodging locations and to process your check-in.

Optional Add-ons:

Luggage transfer on walking days

Breakfasts (subject to availability)

Lodging for additional night(s) stays

Airport transfers (by taxi)
Details ⇒

If you wish to walk your Camino Stages with a light backpack, carrying only the basic necessities, we will be happy to arrange for your luggage to be forwarded from one hotel to the next on your walking days.

Breakfasts are not available everywhere, and they are often served late, starting around 8 am. However, if you wish to include brekfasts, we will be happy to do so, where possible.

Spending an extra night in a given town throughout your journey is often a good idea: you give your body a rest, relax and enjoy exploring the town. In Santiago, two nights are included in most of our Tours by default as we believe it’s the least a Pilgrim would need to enjoy the City; however, you have the option to opt out of it.

We will be happy to arrange for an airport shuttle transfer for you from your airport of arrival to the starting point of your journey. The same goes for the departure, unless you end your journey in Santiago and fly out of Santiago Airport. In that case, a taxi can be easily arranged for the time of your choice directly at the Reception Desk at your Hotel.

What’s not Included:


Travel Insurance

Tour guide

Details ⇒

We do not book flights, nor organize any rail or commercial bus-line travel. However, if you need assistance in deciding how to get to and back from your Camino Tour, we will be happy to assist you with tips and ideas!

We strongly recommend to all our travelers to get a Travel Insurance; however, we do not sell any such policies. For our international clients, it is best to get a policy in their country of residence, as some countries offer insurances only to their own residents.

This is a date-flexible tour; therefore, it is self-guided – no Tour Guide will be accompanying you. If you are interested in joining a Group Tour with a Tour Guide, please check our Guided Tours page. (Note: our Guided Tours take place on set dates that are planned ahead.)


This stage of the Camino del Norte has many historic and picturesque cities. Starting in Santander, you will first get to Santillana del Mar, the “City of Three Lies” and then to La Gerruca. From here, you will have a great view of the bay of San Vicente de la Barquera, with a clear ocean in the front and the mountain range Picos de Europa in the background.

You will walk along the coast to Llanes, which was used a location for many movies due to its sandy beaches and beautiful countryside, dotted with mansions. From here, you will never stay far from the ocean and the popular beaches of La Isla invite you to take a dip before you reach your destination in Gijón.

Impressions from the Camino


Day 1: Arrival in Santander

At last, your travels bring you to Santander, the starting points of the Camino del Norte. Check in at your hotel, and enjoy the rest of the evening exploring the town, resting and getting into the mood and spirit for your upcoming Camino!

Day 1: Arrival in Santander

At last, your travels bring you to Santander, the starting point of this stage of the Camino del Norte. Check in at your hotel, and enjoy the rest of the evening exploring the town, resting and getting into the mood and spirit for your upcoming Camino!

Day 2: Santander – Viveda – Cóbreces • 18.9 km. (11.7 mi.)

In the morning you take public train (company Feve) to Viveda to skip the dull metropolitan area of Santander. Beyond Viveda, the Camino will take you into the medieval town Santillana del Mar. Its nickname is “the city of three lies”, as it is neither holy (santa), nor plain (llana), nor is it situated directly at the sea (mar). With its heyday dating back to the late middle ages and its old town having remained almost entirely intact, Santillana del Mar is a true jewel of the Camino del Norte, very much worth spending some time exploring and enjoying. Today’s final destination is Cóbreces ̶ another pleasant, quaint town with the beautiful, red-gleaming Neo-Gothic Abbey of Santa María de Viaceli.

Distance: 18.9 km. (11.7 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate

Day 3: Cóbreces – Gerra/ San Vicente de la Barquera • 18.8/ 25.4 km. (11.7/ 15.8 mi.)

Today the Camino meanders through a hilly landscape to Comillas. Many houses here were built in the “Jugendstil” and lie close to the town’s sandy beaches. Make some time to visit the villa El Capricho, built by Antoni Gaudí. Then, follow our alternative route along the coast to Gerra/ La Gerruca, from where we will have great views on the famous bay of San Vicente de la Barquera, the Atlantic, and the mountain range called Picos de Europa. You will enter the picturesque destination of today’s journey, San Vicente de la Barquera, over the “Bridge of 23 Arches” called the Puente de la Maza, which was, once, the longest bridge in Spain.

Distance: 18.8/ 25.4 km. (11.7/ 15.8 mi. | Difficulty: Moderate

Day 4: Gerra/ San Vicente de la Barquera – Unquera • 21.8/ 15.2 km. (13.5/ 9.4 mi.)

Today it goes uphill and downhill more often and through a quarry first to Pesués. There you cross the bridge that leads over the Ría de Tina Menor. At your today´s destination Unquera (just before Bustio) you leave Cantabria and enter the principality of Asturias.

Distance: 21.8/ 15.2 km. (13.5/ 9.4 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate

Day 5: Unquera - Llanes • 26.6 km. (16.5 mi.)

Colombres ̶ the first town beyond Bustio ̶ is of particular interest because of the houses of the so called “Indianos” ̶ Spaniards who had returned from the New World. A good example of these unique houses is the Quinta de Guadalupe, which houses the Archive of the Indianos. Once you pass Buelna, we strongly recommend that you take the route along the coast. You will stay close to the sea and can rest on the sandy beaches right along the way. Look out for the deep caves that the surf has carved into the limestone on this stretch of the coast. Afterwards, just beyond Andrín, you will follow the Camino up a range of hills, from where you have far views over the landscape. Finally you will arrive in the bustling town of Llanes, which is often used as a filming location thanks to its wide beaches and the green landscape dotted with mansions.

Distance: 26.6 km. (16.5 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate

Day 6: Llanes - Nueva • 19.9 km. (12.4 mi.)

From Llanes you can follow the more beautiful variant on the coast. Over fairly flat terrain, with a view of the sea and mountains, you will make a pilgrimage through some small pretty villages to Nueva, which once won a competition in 1958 and was named the most beautiful village in Asturias.

Distance: 19.9 km. (12.4 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate

Day 7: Nueva - Ribadesella • 12 km. (7.5 mi.)

The Way of St. James is now accompanied by many apple trees that give the basis for the Sidra, the famous cider of Asturias. You will meet the sea again at your stage destination Ribadesella, which spreads maritime flair with its harbor and its history as a whaling town. Use the short stage to relax on the beach of Ribadesella.

Distance: 12 km. (7.5 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy

Day 8: Ribadesella – Colunga • 21 km. (13 mi.)

On this stretch of the Camino del Norte you will pass by many small villages before reaching La Isla, a popular beach town with beautiful, sandy beaches. Your today´s destination is Colunga, a typical Asturian village.

Distance: 21 km. (13 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy

Day 9: Colunga – Villaviciosa • 17.5 km. (10.9 mi.)

The Camino de Santiago now leads into the green apple region of Asturias. Even a Bronze-sculpture Villaviciosa is dedicated to this fruit and the delicious Sidra (Cider) that is being produced from it.

Distance: 17.5 km. (10.9 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate

Day 10: Villaviciosa – Gijón • 27.5 km. (17.1 mi.)

Before entering the metropolitan area of Gijón, pilgrims are treated with great views over the hilly scenery of the Alto de la Cruz and the green heart of Asturias. On this long and challenging walking day, there is, again, the option to skip the last 6 km. (3.7 mi.) by taking transportation. Spend the evening relaxing and enjoying the beautiful, vibrant city of Gijón!

Distance: 27.5 km. (17.1 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging

Day 11: Departure from Gijón

Farewell, Gijón; farewell, Camino – and safe travels on your journey back home or to your next adventure! Farewell, Bilbao; farewell, Camino – and safe travels on your journey back home or to your next adventure! Or, here is another option well-worth considering: to continue onto our next Part 4 of the Camino del Norte Self-Guided Tour; from Gijón to Ribadeo.

¡Buen Camino!

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Accommodation Type

Breakfast (may depend on availability)

Luggage Transfer (on walking days)

Additional Night Stays (beyond what's included in the itinerary)

Tour Combination Options

Our Camino del Norte: Self-Guided Tour 3 can be easily combined with:

Camino del Norte:
Self-Guided Tour 2

Bilbao ⇒ Santander

Starting from € 480

Duration: 8 Days Total / 6 Days Walking

Distance: 109.3 km. (67.9 mi.)

Difficulty: easy/moderate

Camino del Norte:
Self-Guided Tour 4

Gijón ⇒ Ribadeo

Starting from € 640

Duration: 9 Days Total / 7 Days Walking

Distance: 136.1 km. (84.7 mi.)

Difficulty: easy/moderate