Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours

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Camino del Norte Stage 3 Self Guided Hiking Vacation


  • The seafood and cider of Gijon
  • The contrast of quiet fishing villages and modern cities
  • The Tito Bustilla caves in Ribadesella
  • Meeting fellow pilgrims and sharing your stories
  • Enjoying the peace and tranquillity of this quiet route

Walk the third stage of the Camino del Norte from Santander to Gijon.

Walking along wild Cantabrian coastline from Santander takes you through some lovely little fishing villages. The coastline is stunning with quiet beaches and bursting with bird and sea life. You will spend the night in the charming Asturian town of Ribadesella, where you can visit the prehistoric Tito Bustillo caves before you come to the end of the section in the wonderful Gijón, where you can visit a Llanes and taste some of the region's famous cider.

DAY 1: Arrival in Santander

Capital of the region of Cantabria, the historic port town is a beautiful place well worth exploring.

Overnight: Santander

DAY 2: Taxi to Ermita and walk to Santillana

From Santander, a short taxi transfer misses out the paved roads which take you out of there to Ermita. From here walk to Santillana which is a beautifully preserved medieval village. Visit the 12th century Collegiate Church or explore the the Altamira Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring Paleolithic cave art.

Walk: 19km

Overnight: Santillana

DAY 3: Walk to Mar-Comillas

Walking mostly on pavement today takes you past expansive grassy fields and numerous church towers. Pass the town of San Martin de Ciguenza, and the colourful town of Cobreces  before arriving at Mar-Comillas.

Walk: 23 km

Overnight: Mar-Comillas

DAY 4: Walk to San Vicente de la Barquera

Quiet trails via grassy fields and church towers will bring you to the colourful town of Cobreces, before continuing to San Vicentre de la Barquera,

Walk: 12 km

Overnight: San Vicente de la Barquera

DAY 5: Walk to Bustio

You leave Cantabria today and enter the wild region of Asturias with its dramatic coastline. The beaches become more rugged and the views even more spectacular.

Walk: 17 km

Overnight:  Bustio

DAY 6: Walk to Llanes

Accompanied by view of the Picos de Europa to your left and the sea to your right,  make your way to Llanes, a bustling town on the Asturian coast.

Walk: 25 km

Overnight: Llanes

DAY 7: Walk to Ribadesella

Pass a couple of wonderful monasteries today with unique locations close to the sea before arriving the village of Ribadesella. Here you can explore the Tito Bustillo Caves with their prehistoric paintings.

Walk: 32 km

Overnight: Ribadesella

DAY 8: Walk to Colunga

Continue via beautiful sandy beaches and coastline to the market town of Colunga.

Walk: 21 km

Overnight: Colunga

DAY 9: Walk to Villaviciosa

Leaving Colunga, head through more small villages and past numerous churches to Sebrayo, where the Camino Primitivo pilgrims head inland.  From here continue to Villaviciosa

Walk: 18 km

Overnight: Villaviciosa

DAY 10: Walk to Gijón

After a steep ascent up the Alta de la Cruz, return to the coast at Gijón, a bustling city with attractive and well-preserved Roman baths.

Walk: 30 km

Overnight: Gijón

DAY 11: Onward Travel

Check out after breakfast and make your way home.


The accommodation in 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.


A local continental breakfast is included each morning, which can sometimes just be coffee, bread and orange juice. PLEASE NOTE: On this section, breakfast is not available at the accommodation in Bustio. It is recommended that you bring something to eat in the morning. 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!


This trip is available to start on any day from the beginning of March to the end of October. Option & extension prices will be displayed as part of the booking process.

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.

Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

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

Grade & Terrain

This walk is graded moderate to strenuous and includes daily walks of between 12-32km per day.

You can expect to walk for between three and eight hours each day and much of it is rather arduous walking with some steep inclines/declines.

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

Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

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

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.

Fewer Nights

It is possible to walk the Camino del Norte in less time but we would not recommend this.

Baggage Transfers

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.

Clothing & Equipment

Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, lightweight clothes, waterproofs and a day pack.

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.

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.

General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat and sun screen. 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.

Getting to/from Northern Spain

Flying to Bilbao or Santander is the best for this.
Direct flights are available from London Heathrow, Stansted, Bristol and

Should you need to travel between the two cities, this is easily done by taking an ALSA bus, which takes around an hour and a half.

If you are traveling  from outwith Europe Madrid is a good hub to fly in and out of. Santander can be reached by ALSA bus in 5.5 hours and Gijon by train RENFE in 5.5 hours.


  • Accommodation in small rural hotels and hostels with en-suite W/C.
  • 9 Breakfasts
  • Baggage Transfers
  • A detailed information pack for the group leader including route notes, maps, and local information
  • Camino del Norte guide books.
  • Emergency telephone support from our local and UK offices in the event of a problem.


  • Return travel to Spain.
  • Lunches, dinners (optional), snacks or drinks. Breakfast in Bustio
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Personal Equipment.
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.


  • Additional nights accommodation along the way.
  • Single supplements.

Committing to the Camino del Norte is a big commitment and you will undoubtedly have a huge number of questions and queries.

I hope the answers below will go some way to answering your queries, alternatively I would strongly suggest you visit the Camino Forum or Camino de Santiago website which have a wealth of information on the Camino.

How fit do I need to be?

The average daily distance of our Camino tours are between 20 and 25 kilometres and you can expect to walk for between five and eight hours each day and much of it is rather arduous walking. You should do as much walking as possible prior to your walk as this will simply add to your enjoyment. That said if you are not at peak fitness you will find you will soon walk yourself fit.

What type of trails does the Camino follow?

A mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths. 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.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as far in advance as possible as the Camino is extremely popular. Numbers can rise by up to 100, 000 people. We will always try and accommodate late bookings but realistically you need to book at least 6 weeks prior to departure.

Can I walk with my bags?

Yes, some people prefer to walk carrying their own bags as a true pilgrim would have. You can select the option for removing the baggage transfers in Step 2 of the Booking Engine.

When is the best time of year?

I would recommend April/May when the spring flowers are at their best and September/October when the colours are just lovely. June, July and August can be very hot if you are not used to walking in the heat while the temperatures can fall sharply in the winter with some accommodation closing down for the end of season.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

Public transport and taxis are available, if you are need of support our local partner in Spain will be more than happy to help.

Can I change my itinerary once I start walking?

Unfortunately we are unable to change your accommodation bookings and itinerary once you start walking as alternative accommodation is generally not available at such short notice.

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