Camino Del Norte: Via the Spanish Coast to Santiago

By Tjitske van der Ham

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Santiago de Compostela is a familiar name to pilgrims; for more than 1,000 years, many feet have walked to this Spanish destination. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people visit the cathedral in this city, having completed a journey of many kilometres on a Camino. The Camino del Norte is one of the routes leading to Santiago and starts on the Spanish coast near the Bay of Biscay. The Camino del Norte starts in Irún, located on the border of Spain and France, and has a total length of 822 kilometres. Along the way, you can enjoy expansive ocean views, beautiful beaches, pass by cosy towns and have no lack of culinary delights. We focus in this blog post mainly on the last 100 kilometres of the route, the distance required for a certificate (compostela). Curious? tells you all about the Camino del Norte!

The Camino del Norte is one of the routes to Santiago de Compostela and is a well-loved, but more unknown, variant after the Camino Francés and the Camino Portugués. The overall route takes you from Irún to Santiago, passing through several autonomous regions such as the Basque Country and Galicia along the way, each with their own charm. You don't have to worry about an empty stomach on the Camino del Norte either. Unknown does not make unloved in this case, vamos!

Camino del Norte, Camino de Santagio, St James’ Route, Pilgrim’s Route?

There are several Caminos (roads), which in this case do not lead to Rome, but to Santiago de Compostela. Names you may come across besides Camino del Norte are Camino, Camino de Santiago, St James' Way or Pilgrims' Way. All names refer to the long-distance walk to Santiago de Compostela, starting points of the route are located in many places in Europe. The Camino del Norte is part of the overall route and itself consists of several variants, which we will explain in more detail later.

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Where Can I Find the Camino del Norte?

The Camino del Norte is located in northern Spain and runs via Irún near the Spanish-French border to western Santiago de Compostela. There are also a number of other Camino routes leading to Santiago de Compostela from alternative directions. The Camino Francés, for instance, is also located in north-west Spain. This route runs from the border area between France and Spain in the Pyrenees towards Santiago and is located further south than the Camino del Norte.

The Camino Portugués, as its name suggests, runs from Portugal northwards to Santiago, passing the Portuguese-Spanish border on the way.

Camino del Norte: Start and End Point

The full route of the Camino del Norte is 822 kilometres long and runs from Irún on the Spanish-French border, to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The route consists of 32 stages, plus some additional ones that connect the Camino del Norte with the Camino Primitivo where applicable. In this blog, we further explain the stages from Baamonde, totalling well over the required distance of 100 kilometres to get to your compostela. Further on in this blog we explain more about the compostela.

What Will I Encounter During the Camino del Norte?

The Camino del Norte may be less well known, but it too has been walked by pilgrims for over 1,000 years. The stages pass through four autonomous regions of Spain, each with its own culture: the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia. Some of these regions have local languages spoken alongside Spanish, a great time to test your language skills.

The Camino del Norte takes you partly along the sea, naturally many sailors used to come from this area. For instance, Juan Sebastián Elcano, the first explorer to sail around the world in the 16th century, came from the Basque country. He is commemorated in his birthplace Getaria with a statue.

In addition, during the Camino del Norte you will come across beautiful churches, which are worth visiting. The region also has many historical sites, such as Roman remains and prehistoric paintings in the cave of Altamira. While walking in Galicia, you will come across hórreos, storage sheds for maize or grain, typical of the region.

The scenery is also varied, with the Camino del Norte leading over cliffs and through eucalyptus forests, alternating with hillside paths and rivers. The area is relatively green, as there is more rainfall due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and mountainous areas such as the Picos de Europa.

Is the Camino del Norte Something for Me?

The Camino del Norte is not technically difficult and is easy to walk. You do not have to be an athlete to have an enjoyable trek, but it is important that you prepare yourself well for the fact that you will be walking a good number of hours every day. In the weeks before the trek, try to walk a few hours a day and try to wear the same shoes as during the trek so that you don't get blisters or hurt your feet. Another good idea is to walk with a backpack on your shoulders so that your back can get used to the weight.

What Is the Best Season for the Camino del Norte?

The location of the Camino del Norte in Spain means that the route is easily passable all year round, though you have to take into account the different seasons which all have their advantages and disadvantages. recommends walking the Camino del Norte in the summer months (June-August). The temperature is pleasant and there is relatively little rain. Hotels and other accommodations are ready to receive pilgrims and there is always a table in a restaurant. Keep in mind, though, that there are pleasant crowds along the way.

Outside the summer months, the weather can be unpredictable and rainy. In addition, not all accommodations and restaurants are open.

What Are a Credencial and Compostela and How Do They Work?

While walking the Camino del Norte, it is useful to have a so-called Pilgrim's Passport (credencial). This document gives you access to many accommodation addresses for pilgrims, you also need a credencial to claim your certificate (compostela), for which you must have travelled at least 100 kilometres.

The Pilgrim Passport gives the traveller pilgrim status. It contains the walker's personal details, space for stamps and useful information about the route, including maps. You can get the pilgrim passport from one of the many Pilgrim Societies, hotels, churches or in one of the Brotherhoods of the Apostle James.

The passport is full of empty boxes, into which various stamps must be placed to prove that you have travelled through the various places on the route. These stamps can be obtained at hostels, pilgrim associations, parishes and also at the post office in each town. To prove that you have covered the required 100 kilometres for a certificate, you need to collect at least two stamps per day in the passport.

In Santiago, on presentation of your Pilgrim Passport, you can collect your certificate. Your name will be translated into Latin for this purpose, making it a special souvenir.

Where Do I Stay During the Camino del Norte?

In the towns you pass along the Camino del Norte, there are plenty of places to stay. There is something for every budget and desire, from dormitory rooms to four-star hotels. We gladly explain the most common places to stay below.


These 'hostels' cater to pilgrims and offer simple accommodation, at a low price. You usually spend the night in dormitories, smaller or private albergues sometimes offer private rooms. Bathrooms almost always have to be shared with other guests, nor is self-catering in an albergue always possible.

Fondas and pensions

Accommodation in a fonda or pensión is often simple; you do not always have a private room with its own bathroom. Facilities are limited and the price to stay overnight is attractive.

Hotels and hostals

Along the Camino del Norte, you will also find hotels and hostals You will mostly have a private room with private bathroom here. Some accommodation also has its own restaurant to grab a bite to eat in the evening.

Camino del Norte: Route and Stages


Arrival in Baamonde

You arrive in Baamonde the day before you start on the Camino del Norte. This contributes to a relaxed start of the trip.

KM 101 (Baamonde)


Baamonde - Miraz

Duration: 06:10 h
Distance: 28.6 km
Ascent: 420 m
Descent: 240 m
The first hiking day takes you through nature, passing several churches and chapels. Along the way, you can enjoy Galicia's peaceful landscape, on paved and unpaved paths that are slightly undulating. The stage ends in the surroundings of Miraz, where you can toast to a beautiful day.

Hotel Biterra


Miraz - Sobrado dos Monxes

Duration: 04:50 h
Distance: 22.1 km
Ascent: 320 m
Descent: 380 m
Today you walk uphill on narrow paths and roads, eventually reaching the highest point of the entire Camino del Norte, located at 710 metres. Along the way, you will encounter the typical horreos, fun to see up close. You end today in Sobrado dos Monxes, where you can visit the beautiful monastery. It includes a church, several chapels and magnificent cloisters. Well worth a visit!

Hotel San Marcus


Sobrado dos Monxes - Arzúa

Duration: 04:45 h
Distance: 22.2 km
Ascent: 210 m
Descent: 340 m
Today's stage is gradually downhill, passing churches and water points along the way. In the meadows you will see cows and enjoy beautiful views. Today the stage ends in Arzúa, through which the Camino Francés also passes. You will meet more pilgrims on their way to Santiago here.

Hotel Arzúa (Arzúa)


Arzúa - O Pedrouzo

Duration: 04:30 h
Distance: 20 km
Ascent: 280 m
Descent: 390 m
Today is a relaxing hiking day, nice after the effort of the previous day. The walk takes you through eucalyptus forests, charming villages and along small rivers. We highly recommend visiting the chapel of Santa Irene, a popular attraction among pilgrims. According to legend, James' body was meant to be buried in the tomb of this church instead of Santiago, until it was discovered that dragons lived on nearby Pico Sacro. Who knows what else you might encounter along the way...

Pensión Residencial Platas (O Pedrouzo)


O Pedrouzo - Santiago de Compostela

Duration: 04:30 h
Distance: 20 km
Ascent: 300 m
Descent: 310 m
The last walking day of the Camino del Norte has arrived. From the top of 'Monte do Gozo', you have a view of Santiago de Compostela and its magnificent cathedral. A special moment. When you arrive in Santiago, don't forget to go to the Pilgrims' Office for your final stamp and official compostela. A special journey is complete, now you can explore Santiago and perhaps attend the pilgrim mass at the cathedral.

PR Campanas de San Juan (Santiago de Compostela)


Departure from Santiago

Your Camino del Norte has come to an end, today you will leave Santiago to travel home or to another destination.
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Food and Drink During the Camino del Norte

While walking a Camino, there is plenty of room to enjoy good food. Bocadillos, tortillas, pinxtos, seafood and paella, take your time for a good meal!

Depending on where you stay, breakfast is (limited) included. No need to start the day on an empty stomach. All towns have bars and cafés where you can have breakfast, often with café con leche and sweets such as croissants.

In the evening, you can eat in one of the restaurants after your hiking day; a daily snack or menu with local specialities can always be found. Depending on your overnight accommodation, there may be a communal kitchen where you can prepare your own dinner.

Also, the Camino del Norte is a less busy route than, say, the Camino Francés. There are plenty of overnight addresses, but amenities along the way such as cafés are less present along the paths. Keep in mind to take enough food and drinks with you during the day, that way you will always be provided for during your walk.

Camino del Norte: Arriving and Departing

The Camino del Norte has several places to start, all of which can be reached by plane, bus or train. Irún is the starting place of the entire Camino del Norte, starts its package in Baamonde.

Starting in Irún

Biarritz airport is the closest, from the airport you can continue to Irún by bus or train. San Sebastián airport is also an option to fly into, you can easily travel on to the start from here. In addition, Irún has a good bus and train station, with many (inter)national connections that make arriving easy.

Starting in Baamonde

Baamonde can be reached by train and bus, with Santiago airport being the closest. From the airport, you can travel on to Baamonde with a direct bus connection. Trains make limited stops in Baamonde, if you have the time you can arrive by train via a change in A Coruña or Monforte de Lemos.

Departure from Santiago

From Santiago, you can go in different directions. By plane, train or bus, you can travel home or to another destination. The airport is easily accessible from Santiago city centre and flies to many European destinations.

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Do I Have to Carry My Own Luggage on the Camino del Norte?

You can carry your own luggage during the day, but you don't have to. There are several companies that will take your luggage to your next overnight address every day at a small cost. Your bag should weigh a maximum of 15 or 20 kilos and you drop it off at the lobby each morning. While you are enjoying your hiking day, your luggage will be transported to the next location and will be ready when you arrive in the afternoon. Convenient, right?

How Do I Find My Way on the Camino del Norte?

The Camino del Norte is well marked, with yellow arrows and shell symbols to guide pilgrims during the stages.


  • Safety on the Camino de Santiago

  • Important Phone Numbers

  • Reporting of Incidents

  • Bad weather

  • Training and Preparation

  • Gear

Packing List for the Camino de Santiago

No matter where you go hiking or for how long, bringing the right equipment is of utmost importance. For your hike, the first thing you need is a good backpack. The size of it will depend on the number of days you will be trekking, the season and the clothes you take with you. If you have luggage transport, the comfort level of your daypack is most important. We have compiled a packing list with a few essential items of clothing you should bring and some extras you might find useful:
  • Essentials

  • Extras

Where Can I Book the Camino de Santiago?

At you can book the self-guided Camino de Santiago and many other treks. We take care of all the details for you, including arranging accommodations and providing you with relevant information well in advance of your trek. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is the Camino de Santiago not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our following blog posts:

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