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Camino del Norte

42 Days & 41 Nights 4.6 Read 39 reviews
  • A dramatic, more challenging pilgrim route to Santiago
  • San Sebastian, a gastronomic experience fit for any foodies
  • The art and architecture of the Guggenheim in Bilbao
  • The contrast of quiet fishing villages and modern cities
  • Gaining your Compostela in Santiago
A dramatic and sometimes challenging route to Santiago, this Camino more accurately reflects the true pilgrim experience. Taking you from San Sebastian along the north coast of Spain to Santiago de Compostela, the route alternates between dramatic coast, rugged Galician mountains and some of the best cities in Spain. We offer the Camino del Norte in five sections of roughly a week each. Walk just one section, perhaps the last one to Santiago to gain your Compostela, or combine two or more sections for a longer pilgrimage.
The Camino del Norte offers a more authentic pilgrim experience than the Camino Frances. Though the walking is considerably tougher the rewards are arguably much greater.

Tour Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent tour.

Activity:

Pilgrim Trail | You will follow a historic pilgrimage trail, in the footsteps of generations of travelers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

Spiritual Journeys, Personal Growth

Activity Level & Terrain

This walk is graded moderate to strenuous and includes daily walks of between 12 – 33 km per day.

You can expect to walk for between five and eight hours each day and some of it is fairly strenuous walking with some steeper ascents/descents.

The Camino Del Norte follows a mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths.

Navigation

The route is marked with yellow painted arrows but please take care at intersections. There are sections on the route where you will divert to follow the red and white stripes of the GR routes. There will always be other walkers around in case you are looking for help. You will be supplied with turn by turn route notes and detailed maps so you will have no problem following the route each day.

In addition to the printed route notes, you will receive in your travel pack, you will also have access to our Macs Adventure App, allowing you to follow the route on richly detailed mapping on your smartphone.

Accommodations

The accommodation in San Sebastian, Bilbao and all larger towns, will be in 3 star hotels, the rest will be a mixture of rural hotels and hostels all with private rooms and en-suite. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. We do recommend that you book this trip early as the area is always popular and the hotels and inns do fill up early, especially in high season. 

Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

The Camino is available to solo walkers at a single supplement.

Meals

A local continental breakfast is included each morning (apart from Bustio), which can sometimes just be coffee, bread and orange juice. Lunch and dinner are not included as standard so you are free to choose from the available options.  Every place you stop will have evening meals available, you can get a pilgrims menu for about 10 euros which includes 3 courses, wine and water!

Additional Nights

There is so much to see and do along the route that many of our clients choose to add extra nights along the walk either as a rest day or simply to do some extra sightseeing. If you are walking the route solo try not to add too many extra nights along the way as you will lose touch with those you have met.

Included
  • Accommodation in small rural hotels and hostels with en-suite W/C.
  • Baggage Transfers.
  • A detailed information pack for the group leader including route notes, maps, and local information.
  • Camino del Norte guidebook.
  • Access to the Macs Adventure smartphone app.
  • Emergency telephone support from our local and UK offices in the event of a problem.
Excluded
  • Return travel to Spain.
  • Lunches, dinners (optional), snacks or drinks. Breakfast at Bustio.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Personal Equipment.
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.
Extras
  • Additional nights accommodation along the way.

When To Go

This trip is available to start on any day from the beginning of March to the end of October.

Time of Year

The weather in Northern Spain is very varied. In general you can expect pleasant temperatures for walking of between 19 degrees and up to about 26 degrees in the summer months. As you will be walking near the coast for much of this walk, you can expect some rainy days, particularly in spring and autumn.

Getting to the Start

Flying to Bilbao is the best way to get to San Sebastián. Direct flights are available from London Heathrow, Stansted, Bristol and Manchester. From Bilbao, you can easily take the bus along to San Sebastian with ALSA

Getting from the End

By Air: If flying to the UK, low-cost airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair offer direct flights to London Stansted and London Gatwick. For travelling to the rest of Europe or the US, you can fly from Santiago via Madrid with Iberia, via Frankfurt with Lufthansa or via Paris or Barcelona with Vueling. Other options are available and you can check Santiago Airport's website for more information.

By Rail: It is also possible to take the train from Santiago to Madrid (approx 7hrs). Train timetables and fares can be viewed at RENFE.

Luggage Transfer

Baggage transfers are included (max 20kg per person). Your main bag will be transferred each day between your overnight accommodation so that you only need to walk with a day pack. There is a supplement applicable for solo walkers on baggage transfers due to the fact that the transfer costs are usually shared.

General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes.

Compostela/Pilgrims Passport

The pilgrim’s passport is issued by the church of St James, you can obtain one at the start of your walk in the pilgrim’s office or the local church in town. You need to get the passport stamped in churches, restaurants and hotels along the way. At the end of the walk, in Santiago, you can obtain your Compostela Certificate (only if you have walked the last 100km). For the other sections of the trail, the passport is used as a souvenir with all the colourful stamps you will receive.

Equipment

Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking/cycling gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable Travel Insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in San Sebastián Day 2: Walk to Getaria 16.5 miles / 27 km Day 3: Walk to Deba 11 miles / 18 km Day 4 Walk to Markina 15 miles / 24.5 km Day 5 Walk to Gernika 15.5 miles / 25 km Day 6: Walk to Lezama 12.5 miles / 20 km Day 7: Walk to Bilbao 7 miles / 11 km Day 8: Rest day in Bilbao Day 9: Walk to Portugalete 12.5 miles / 20 km Day 10: Walk to Castro Urdiales 16.5 miles / 26.4 km Day 11: Walk to Liendo 15 miles / 24 km Day 12: Walk to Noja 13.5 miles / 21.5 km Day 13 Walk to Galizano 13.5 miles / 22 km Day 14: Walk to Santander 9.5 miles / 15 km Day 15: Rest Day in Santander Day 16: Taxi to Ermita Virgen del Monte and walk to Santillana 13 miles / 21 km Day 17: Walk to Mar-Comillas 13.5 miles / 22 km Day 18: Walk to San Vicente de la Barquera 7 miles / 11.5 km Day 19: Walk to Bustio 9.5 miles / 15.5 km Day 20: Walk to Llanes 15 miles / 24.5 km Day 21: Walk to Ribadesella 19.5 miles / 31.5 km Day 22: Walk to Colunga 12.5 miles / 20 km Day 23: Walk to Villaviciosa 11 miles / 18 km Day 24: Walk to Gijón 17 miles / 27.5 km Day 25 Rest Day in Gijon Day 26: Walk to Avilés 16 miles / 25.5 km Day 27: Walk to Cudillero 17.5 miles / 28 km Day 28: Walk to Ballota 15 miles / 24 km Day 29: Walk to Luarca 14 miles / 22.5 km Day 30 Walk to Navia 13 miles / 20.5 km Day 31: Taxi Transfer to La Caridad and walk to Ribadeo 13.5 miles / 21.5 km Day 32: Rest Day in Ribadeo Day 33: Walk to Villamartin Grande. Taxi Transfer to Ribadeo 10 miles / 16.5 km Day 34: Taxi Transfer Ribadeo‐Villamartín Grande and walk to Mondoñedo 12.5 miles / 20 km Day 35: Walk to Abadín. Taxi Transfer to Mondoñedo 10 miles / 16.5 km Day 36: Taxi Transfer Mondoñedo‐Abadín and walk to Vilalba 13 miles / 21 km Day 37: Walk to Sta Leocadia. Taxi Transfer to Reguela 16.5 miles / 26.5 km Day 38: Taxi Transfer to Sta Leocadia and walk to Sobrado dos Monxes. Transfer to Boimil. 20 miles / 32 km Day 39: Transfer to Sobrado dos Monxes/Walk to Arzúa 14 miles / 22.5 km Day 40: Walk to Rúa 12 miles / 19 km Day 41: Walk to Santiago de Compostela 13 miles / 21 km Day 42: Onward Travel from Santiago de Compostela

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