the Full Camino del Norte TOUR
Hondarribia (Irún) ⇒ Santiago de Compostela
The Camino del Norte is the oldest European pilgrim’s route to Santiago de Compostela. It is especially known for its scenic beauty, while the coastal climate and steep ascents have given it a challenging reputation. But every strenuous day is rewarded with stunning views of the coastal beauty and hikes in pristine nature.
The Camino del Norte (Northern Way) is also known as the Camino de la Costa (Coastal Way), as it follows the Atlantic coast for several hundred kilometers. It crosses the Basque Country (País Vasco), Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia. Most pilgrims begin their journey in the city of Hondarribia/ Irún, close to the French border, from where it’s an 756 km (470 mi.) hike until Santiago. The Camino del Norte has been included to the UNESCO list of world heritage sites in 2015.
Being so close to the coast means, that one has to expect some rain when walking the Camino del Norte. But many appreciate the wind and lower temperatures during the hot summer months, when walking on different routes becomes quite challenging, and a swim in the Atlantic is the perfect refreshment. In the last decade, only approx. 6% of all pilgrims chose the Camino del Norte, which means that it is still somewhat of an insider tip. While the infrastructure here is not as developed as on the Camino Francés, there are sufficient shops, eateries and lodging options along the way.
There are plenty of alternative routes along the Camino del Norte and many have become more popular than the original route. It pays off to come prepared with a guidebook and think about which routes one prefers, before arrival. It is also possible to leave the Camino del Norte towards Oviedo and follow the Camino Primitivo to Santiago de Compostela.
Tour Type: Self-Guided
Availability: April through October
The Blackout Dates on the Camino del Norte affect the entire stretch between Irún and Ribadeo.
Duration: 41 Days Total / 38 Days Walking
Total Distance: 755.3 km. (469.3 mi.)
Average distance: 19.9 km. (12.4 mi.) / Day
Prices (per person):
Starting at € 2,430
Starting at € 3,550
41 nights in single / double room
English-speaking emergency assistance
Your full digital Travel Info Package
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.
Luggage transfer on walking days
Breakfasts (subject to availability)
Lodging for additional night(s) stays
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:
We do not book flights, nor organize any rail or commercial busline travel. However, if you need assistance in deciding how to get to and back from your Camino Tour, we will be happy to give you 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 accompnying 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.)
Day 1: Arrival in Hondarribia (Irún)
At last, your travels bring you to Hondarribia, 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 2: Irún – San Sebastián • 22 km. (13.7 mi.)
Climbing up the hills of Jaizkibel, you will be rewarded with spectacular views over the blue Atlantic. You will spend the night in the lively city of San Sebastián. Stroll through the beautiful old town and try the delicious Pintxos (Tapas)!
Distance: 22 km. (13.7 mi.) | Difficulty: Challenging
Day 3: San Sebastián – Orio • 18.5 km. (11.5 mi.)
Once again, you will ascend the mountains that separate San Sebastián from the fishing village Orio. Let our gaze wander along the infinite coastline while you walk towards Orio. This village lies snugly on the hills above the river Rio Oria.
Distance: 18.5 km. (11.5 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate
Day 4: Orio – Zumaia • 18.5 km. (11.5 mi.)
Passing the surfer’s hotspot at Zarautz, you will follow the coastal Camino until Getaria. Take the time to visit the parish church of the city, built in the unique Basque-Gothic style in the 14th century. This day leads you to Zumaia, beautifully situated in the green and hilly landscape. Of special interest here are the city’s fortified church of San Pedro, hosting a tall defensive tower, and the pilgrimage chapel of Ermita de Santiago. Once a hospice for pilgrims, today the Ermita de Santiago hosts paintings of such famous Spanish painters as El Greco and Goya.
Distance: 18.5 km. (11.5 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate
Day 5: Zumaia – Deba/ Pikua • 12.9/ 14.4 km. (8/ 9 mi.)
From Zumaia you will follow the the Camino along the coast allowing stunning views, and later through forests and fields until you reach the town Deba.
Distance: 12.9/ 14.4 km. (8/ 9 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate
Day 6: Deba/ Pikua – Markina-Xemein • 23.9/ 22.4 km. (14.9/ 13.9 mi.)
Today you will cross a sparsely populated region with landscapes of green hills and healthy forests. Little but the sound and the waves will distract you on your way towards the small town of Markina-Xemein.
Distance: 23.9/ 22.4 km. (14.9/ 13.9 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate
Day 7: Markina-Xemein – Gernika • 25 km. (15.5 mi.)
After walking through the region’s seasonal forests, you will reach the holy city of the Basques: Guernica. Being destroyed during the Spanish civil war, and famously depicted by Pablo Picasso, has brought the city an ambivalent prominence. We will drive through the less appealing metropolitan area of Bilbao and then continue walking to Santullán/ Miono.
Distance: 25 km. (15.5 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate
Day 8: Gernika – Bilbao • 17/ 18.3 km. (10.6/ 11.4 mi.)
You will walk to Goikolexea or Larrabetzu (17 km or 18.3 km respectively). From here, we recommend you to take a bus to shorten today’s long journey and to avoid the unattractive metropolitan area of Bilbao (otherwise you have to walk 30.3 km (18.8 mi.) in total) ̶ the rest of the day may be better spent exploring this fascinating city and enjoying its famous cuisine.
Distance: 17/ 18.3 km. (10.6/ 11.4 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate
Day 9: Bilbao – Castro Urdiales • 27.2 km. (16.9 mi.)
Distance: 27.2 km. (16.9 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Possibility to shorten the stage for another 1.6 km (1 mi) if you take the “Casper-Route”
Day 10: Castro Urdiales – Rioseco de Guriezo • 18 km. (11.2 mi.)
Through small villages and forests, you will walk to Castro-Urdiales. Take a stroll through its pretty old town and visit the Gothic Iglesia de Santa Maria. Leaving this picturesque fishing-village, you will follow the coastline to Rioseco de Guriezo.
Distance: 18 km. (11.2 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Day 11: Rioseco de Guriezo – Liendo (Hazas)/ Laredo • 11.5/ 18.6 km. (7.1/ 11.6 mi.)
Turning away from the freeway, the Camino will lead you through the lush hinterland. Climbing a small mountain, you will get to the valley of Liendo. Beyond Liendo, the Camino climbs up a hill in a steep ascent. At the top, you will be rewarded with views of the sea and mountains. Later, you will return to the coast, where the Camino follows the long beach of Laredo.
Distance: 11.5/ 18.6 km. (7.1/ 11.6 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 12: Liendo (Hazas)/ Laredo – Noja • 22.5/ 15.4 km. (14/ 9.6 mi.)
Leaving Laredo, you will reach a small ferry that will bring you to Santoña. Follow the coast until you reach Noja.
Distance: 22.5/ 15.4 km. (14/ 9.6 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Possibility at Santoña to choose the variant directly along the coast, then 3 km longer.
Day 13: Noja – Güemes/ Galizano • 15/ 19.5 km. (9.3/ 12.1 mi.)
Beyond Noja, the Camino enters the hilly interior region of northern Spain. Walking through this peaceful green landscape will bring you to today’s destination in Galizano. We recommend taking a small detour to the church Santa Maria de Bareyo, which hosts curious statues with headwear, which resemble those depicted in ancient Egypt. .
Distance: 15/ 19.5 km. (9.3/ 12.1 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 14: Güemes/ Galizano – Santander • 15.1/ 10.6 km. (9.4/ 6.6 mi.)
Today, once again, you will rarely have to leave the northern coast while walking towards the ferry in Somo. Transfer to Santander and use the free time after to explore the city and to see its Gothic cathedral Santa María de la Asunción and to visit the impressive harbor that lies in northern Spain’s biggest bay.
Distance: 15.1/ 10.6 km. (9.4/ 6.6 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 15: 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 16: 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 17: 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 18: 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 19: 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 20: 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 21: 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 22: 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 23: 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 24: Gijón – Avilés - Muros de Nalón • 23 km. (14.3 mi.)
In the morning you take the bus to Avilés (about 40 to 55 minutes drive) to “jump” out of the city´s suburbs and back into the countryside. Beyond Avilés, you will soon reach Piedras Blancas (White Rocks). The way leads through the provincial landscape that is so typical for this region: gentle hills, forests and small villages.
Distance: 23 km. (14.3 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 25: Muros de Nalón – Soto de Luiña • 15.1 km. (9.4 mi.)
Today, you will have to climb a bit, going up and down on pretty forest trails ,across fields and a short distance next to the highway to get to Soto de Luiña. There is also a second variant via Cudillero, which brings you to the coast again. At La Magdalena the two paths meet again (this one is 1.9 km. (1.2 mi) longer).
Distance: 15.1 km. (9.4 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate
Day 26: Soto de Luiña – Cadavedo • 23.9 km. (14.9 mi.)
There is no avoiding the asphalt today, as you will follow the old national freeway, although it is barely being used anymore and the diverse coastal scenery makes up for the road.
Distance: 23.9 km. (14.9 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate
Day 27: Cadavedo – Luarca • 15 km. (9.3 mi.)
Again, you will follow the old highway along the coast. Finally you will get to the quaint fishing village Luarca that lies snugly in a pretty bay, surrounded by steep cliffs.
Distance: 15 km. (9.3 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 28: Luarca – Navia • 25.2 km. (15.7 mi.)
After Luarca, the terrain will become plainer and walking will be easier. Passing through a gently rolling coastal foreland, you will make a pilgrimage through alternating secluded and roadside sections, as well as various small towns and scattered settlements. After passing through Hervedosas, the route first climbs a short distance and offers a beautiful panoramic view of the plain and the sea. Shortly before Navia it goes downhill again for a bit.
Distance: 25.2 km. (15.7 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 29: Navia – Tapia de Casariego • 20.7 km. (12.9 mi.)
Continuing along the foreshore, today you will reach Tapia de Casariego, one of the summer resorts of western Asturias, from where the corn is said to have found its way to Europe. In the evening you can once more enjoy the flair of a tpyic coastal town with beautiful beaches and a small old town.
Distance: 20.7 km. (12.9 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 30: Tapia de Casariego – Ribadeo • 13.2 km. (8.2 mi.)
The Camino takes you, one last time, right to the sea and even to the beach, before turning inland from Ribadeo and all the way to Santiago.
Distance: 13.2 km. (8.2 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 31: Ribadeo – Villamartín Grande • 19.2 km. (12 mi.)
This moderately difficult, but truly picturesque stretch of the Camino, you will start enjoying the lush, Glaician hilly countryside. As this stage is rather short, take your time to rest in the villages along the way and to soak up the beauty and the peace and quiet of the landscape.
Distance: 19.2 km. (12 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate
Day 32: Villamartín Grande – Mondoñedo • 18.4 km. (11.4 mi.)
Today’s journey is also a short one, and terrain is pleasantly easy to walk. Spend the afternoon and evening exploring and enjoying the beautiful town Mondoñedo with its medieval old town and cathedral.
Distance: 18.4 km. (11.4 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 33: Mondoñedo –As Paredes (Castromaior) • 23.6 km. (14.7 mi.)
As you leave Mondañedo, the Camino splits into two options: we recommend the left one, passing through towns of O Villar and Lousada. Today’s ascent on this stretch will result to be more gradual. The other option, to the right, takes you through secluded hinterland terrains and it does not cross any towns. Both ways meet again at Gontán, just before reaching today’s destination of As Paredes.
Distance: 23.6 km. (14.7 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 34: As Paredes (Castromaior) – Vilalba • 15 km. (9.3 mi.)
Today’s journey is pleasant both for walking as well as for sight-seeing, with a continuous and harmonious interchange of fields and forest patches, and with occasional villages providing lovely options to stop and rest.
Distance: 15 km. (9.3 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 35: Vilalba – A Pobra de Parga • 25.5 km. (15.9 mi.)
You will leave Vilalba, the last major town for the next few days, and make a pilgrimage on a fairly flat and scenic route via the Das Cruces variant to A Pobra de Parga.
Distance: 25.5 km. (15.9 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 36: A Pobra de Parga – Sobrado dos Monxes • 23 km. (14.3 mi.)
On small roads, the path sometimes passes through an extraordinarily beautiful and contemplative area until Sobrado dos Monxes, with the imposing Monasterio de Santa María de Sobrado.
Distance: 23 km. (14.3 mi.) | Difficulty: Moderate
Day 38: Sobrado dos Monxes – Arzúa • 22.3 km. (13.9 mi.)
Today, you will be able to enjoy the quietness of the Camino del Norte for one last time. The way takes you through the lonely parts of a landscape with small hills until it eventually brings you to today’s destination, Arzúa ̶ the busy, bustling town that also demarcates the point of where the Camino del Norte flows into the Camino Francés. You will immediately sense that, as you will see large numbers of pilgrims everywhere, which will be an unusual site to your eyes.
Distance: 22.3 km. (13.9 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 39: Arzúa – Rua de Arca (O Pedrouzo) • 18.6 km. (11.6 mi.)
Beyond Arzúa, the Camino plunges backs into the pleasant, peaceful Galician scenery. It is an easy walking day, and you will spend most of the rest of in on forest paths with occasional villages and patches of lush green grasslands in-between. The fragrance of eucalyptus will have become as familiar to your senses as the sight of these pretty trees’ tall and straight trunks. After the serenity of the forest, the atmosphere in the bustling little town of O Pedrouzo may seem a bit too busy, but it’s also worth enjoying it, as all the pilgrims are tingling with restlessness before the last Camino stage tomorrow.
Distance: 18.6 km. (11.6 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 40: Rua de Arca (O Pedrouzo) – Santiago de Compostela • 21.2 km. (13.2 mi.)
The Camino has yet just the perfect amount of beautiful scenery, peacefulness and calmness in store for you as you plunge into a beautiful eucalyptus forest right outside O Pedrouzo. As you pass a couple of villages, eucalyptus gives way to conifers, and you will find yourself walking alongside the Airport of Santiago – the feeling of reaching the journey’s end and the impending departure for home is often sensed quite strongly here. Walk up to the top of the Monte do Gozo – the Mount of Joy – and you will behold Santiago de Compostela for the first time! Let the Camino guide you, one last time, into the heart of this magical City. Congratulations, dear Pilgrim: You. Have. Arrived. Celebrate, and enjoy!
Distance: 21.2 km. (13.2 mi.) | Difficulty: Easy
Day 41: Free Day in Santiago de Compostela
We strongly feel that, after this amazing journey, it is instrumental to spend (at least!) one full, extra day and another night in Santiago, which is why it is added in our program “by default” (though you can opt out of it). This is both the time and the place to unwind, to reflect upon and enjoy your journey’s end and, most importantly, to take it easy on yourself with your post-Camino re-entry into the big, wide World. Aside from that, UNESCO-listed city of Santiago is full of incredible places to explore, and you can collect your very well-earned Compostela (Certificate of Completion) as well as attend the Pilgrims’ Mass at the Cathedral.
Day 42: Departure from Santiago de Compostela
Farewell, Santiago; farewell, Camino – and sage travels on your journey back home or to your next adventure! And here is another option well-worth considering: to continue the Camino on to Finisterre (the “End of the World”) and / or to Muxía – two stunning, mystical places on the majestic Atlantic coast.
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tour combination options
our full camino del Norte tour is easily combinable with:
Santiago de Compostela ⇒ Finisterre
Starting at € 280
Distance: 90.5 km. (56.2 mi.)
Duration: 6 Days Total / 4 Days Walking
Camino Finisterre – Muxía
Santiago de Compostela ⇒ Finisterre ⇒ Muxía