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Northern Way

Northern Way | Full Walk

Organized pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
| Autoguided Tour

Tour Description

Walk the full Northern Way, from the Basque Country to Santiago

The Northern Way (or Northern Camino) is a memorable walk, that will allow all pilgrims to discover the diversity of Spain. From breathtaking landscapes through mountains, to coastal routes… you will be able to enjoy some of the most genuine regions of Spain, such as the Basque Country, Cantabria or Asturias. From some of the most popular cities of Europe (such as San Sebastian or Bilbao) to the rural tracks in Asturias, for example.

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Experience details

Included Services

Accommodation in a private room with private bathroom
Luggage transfer between stages
Half board: breakfast and dinner
Travel insurance
Route notes
Pilgrim's credential
24/7 phone support

Check in

Arrival in Irún, starting point of the Northern Way.

Irún – San Sebastián (26 km)

The first stretch of the Norther Way is considered the most spectacular one, offering stunning views of the sea. You will see Neolithic and medieval remains, castles… and the the view of the Bay of Biscay.

San Sebastián – Zarautz (18 km)

We will face ascents when leaving San Sebastian, some of the major challenges of the walk. Time to walk through green hills.

Zarautz - Deba (24 km)

The walk combines sea views, beaches, and quiet rural areas. It is the last stretch along the coast for a couple of days.

Deba – Markina Xemein (23 km)

Time to say goodbye to the coastal views for a couple of days, as this is an inland section. It features several churches: Church of the Assumption, Church of Santa María or the Sanctuary of San Miguel de Arretxinaga.

Markina – Gernika (25 km)

The route passes through the village of Bolivar and the Monastery of Zenarruza. Gernika is one of the most popular towns of the Northern Way.

Gernika - Lezama (21 km)

Some pilgrims walk all the way from Gernika to Bilbao in one day, but we recommend to stop in Lezama, since the walk can bee too strenuous.

Lezama – Bilbao (11 km)

After a long ascent that offers incredible views of Bilbao, the arrival in this amazing city will be downhill. What to do in Bilbao? Visit the Guggenheim Museum, the Gothic Basilica of Begoña and the historic center. We recommend to spend an extra day to discover the city.

Bilbao – Portugalete (10 km)

Leaving Bilbao is not the most beautiful part of this Camino, because of the industrial landscape. Some pilgrims avoid this section by taking public transport to the next place, but we always recommend to walk it, since it is also part of the experience.

Portugalete - Castro Urdiales (29 km)

The walk passes through the coastal hillside. There are alternative routes on the way, that can make the walk longer or shorter depending on which one you choose.

Castro Urdiales - Laredo (30 km)

This is quite a long walking day, but it offers a wide variety of landscapes. Green valleys, sea views, hilltops… are some examples of the views.

Laredo – Guemes (29 km)

The Beach of Berria, is one of the most beautiful stretches of the Northern Way. You will need to take the ferry from Laredo to Santoña (a town with monastic origins).

Guemes - Santander (17 km)

Leaving Santander can be quite boring, since the path is all paved, straight and no particular highlights. It is possible to walk all the way from Santander to Santillana del Mar, but since the walk can be too long and challenging, we recommend to stay in Arce.

Santander – Arce (27 km)

Leaving Santander can be quite boring, since the path is all paved, straight and no particular highlights. It is possible to walk all the way from Santander to Santillana del Mar, but since the walk can be too long and challenging, we recommend to stay in Arce.

Arce - Santillana del Mar (23 km)

Santillana del Mar is a lovely town, with a really well preserved historical center. The popular caves of Altamira are 2 km far from the town center.

Santillana del Mar - Comillas (23 km)

The path will be mostly paved from Santilla del Mar to Comillas. One of the highlights of the day: San Martín de Cigüenza, a picturesque village, with the church and the river.

Comillas – Colombres (28 km)

Last walking day in Cantabria region, right before reaching Asturias. The path goes through small villages, the biggest town of the day is San Vicente de la Barquera.

Colombres – Llanes (23 km)

The first part of the day will be trough paved roads, until reaching Pendueles. From this point up to Llanes, we will enjoy footpaths and coastal views.

Llanes - Ribadesella (30 km)

We will see different monasteries on the way from Llanes to Ribadesella. Ribadesella is a really nice coastal town, where you will be able to enjoy its beaches and the prehistoric cave paintings.

Ribadesella - Colunga (21 km)

The Camino will combine inland and coast. We recommend you to walk around the market town of Colunga.

Colunga – Villaviciosa (17 km)

Colunga – Villaviciosa (17 km)

Villaviciosa - Gijón (30 km)

Gijón is the first big city after a couple of through small villages and rural areas. Once in Gijn, the caminos split: you can continue through the Northern Way, or take the Primitive Way (or Original Way) up to Santiago de Compostela.

Gijón – Avilés (24 km)

Gijón and Avilés are amazing towns, but unfortunately the walk connecting them is not the most enjoyable of the Camino del Norte. The views from Monte Areo and its recreational area, can be considered the highlight of the walk.

Avilés – El Pito (28 km)

Leaving Avilés will mean walking through suburbs, before reaching rural areas. We recommend the Reinassance gardes of El Pito.

El Pito - Ballota (25 km)

The path follows the national road for a while, but is quiet with little traffic.

Ballota - Luarca (22 km)

Pilgrims will not enjoy the coastal views from Ballota to Luarca. But the landscape of the countryside in Asturias is very pleasant.

Luarca – Navia (22 km)

The walk is mainly through the countryside of Asturias, and offers really nice and quiet views.

Navia - Ribadeo (31 km)

Navia – Ribadeo (31 km)

Ribadeo – Vilanova de Lourenzá (27 km)

Time to say goodbye to the coast for the rest of the walk. From this point, you may see the signs both in Galego (the language spoken in Galicia region) and Spanish. This a rural walking day. We recommend to visit the Monastery once in Vilanova de Lourenzá.

Vilanova de Lourenzá - Abadín (25 km)

The walk through the mountains will offer fantastic views. Mondoñedo is one of the highlight of the day, it used to be one of the seven capitals of the Kingdom of Galicia.

Abadín - Vilaba (20 km)

The path will pass through forests, rural areas and farming hamlets. You can continue up to Baamonde, but we recommend to stop in Vilalba, the only large city for a couple of days.

Vilalba - Baamonde (20 km)

The walk from Vilalba to Baamonde will be quiet and pleasant, same as the following days. We recommend to bring food with you, just in case, since facilities along the way can be quite limited.

Baamonde - Miraz (15 km)

Same as the previous day, the path passes through small rural areas. It is a very relaxing walk, but limited in terms of facilities and accommodation.

Miraz - Sobrado dos Monxes (22 km)

Today we will reach the highest poing of the whole route, that is Marcela. Highlight of the day: the impressive monastery in Sobrado dos Monxes.

Sobrado dos Monxes - Arzúa (21 km)

We recommend you to enjoy the last walking day of peace and solitude, since the walk from Arzúa will join with the French Way. The route will become more sociable until you reach Santiago de Compostela.

Arzúa - O Pedrouzo (19 km)

Some pilgrims walk from Arzúa to Santiago in one day, but we recommend to stop in O Pedrouzo and enjoy the last day of the walk peacefully.

O Pedrouzo - Santiago de Compostela (20 km)

Last day of the walk, before reaching Santiago de Compostela. For so many pilgrims this can be described as a moment of euphoria, after so many weeks of challenges.

Standard category

1* and 2* hotels

These hotels offer private rooms with private bathrooms as well as other additional services that may vary depending on the type of category: restaurant service, television, room service, dry cleaning, ironing service, etc. It is common to stay in this type of hotels in the cities along the Camino.

Hostels and pensions

These accommodations have the necessary services to cover the basic needs of cleanliness and rest at a more moderate price than the hotels . Officially, hostels and guesthouses are 1-star accommodations. However, this rating should not be taken into account when evaluating the level of comfort and quality of their services.

Superior category

3*, 4* and 5* Hotels

Typical in the large cities along the El Camino. They can be family hotels or international hotel chains. They are perhaps the most expensive alternative, although you can find different price levels according to the category and services they offer.

Hoteles Boutique

These are small accommodations characterized by having few rooms and providing personalized attention. They are hotel concepts with a modern style and their own character. They can be between 1* and 5*.

National Paradores of Spain

This is a public hotel chain that manages a network of almost 100 charming hotels distributed throughout the Iberian Peninsula. The establishments are located in buildings of cultural interest and great historical value, and stand out for their scenic, artistic or natural interest (including ancient palaces, monasteries, fortresses, convents, fortresses…).

Rural tourism lodgings

Rural houses, pazos, inns, rectories, castles, monasteries, farmhouses… These are historic buildings of great architectural and patrimonial value. So much so, that this characteristic sometimes gives them the status of “luxury accommodation” despite of the fact that they are often rustic constructions in which natural stone and wood predominate.

Trip cancellation insurance
Upgrade to superior room
Extra night at the beginning of the tour
Extra night at the end of the tour
Private transfer airport-starting location
Private transfer Santiago-Airport
Other private transfers
Organized visits and excursions
Pilgrim massage

Route map

Frequent questions

From San Sebastian Airport

  • Car or cab: It is 3km with an estimated duration of 5 minutes.
  • Bus: Take a bus (LINE E28), 15′ ride to the center of Irun. For schedules and more information visit:

From Bilbao Airport

  • Car or cab: 116km with an estimated duration of 1h.
  • Bus/train: Take a bus (LÍNEA A3247) to the Bilbao Intermodal stop, a 40′ trip, or take a 15′ cab ride. There take a bus (ALSA) to Irun, journey time 1h and 50 minutes. To consult timetables and more information visit: and

From Madrid Airport

  • Car or cab: 450km with an estimated duration of 4 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Plane: Take a plane to San Sebastian airport (1 hour trip). There take a bus (LINE E28), 15′ to the center of Irun. For schedules and more information visit:  
  • Bus: From T4 take the bus to Irun (ALSA), journey time 5h and 25 minutes. For schedules and more information visit:
  • Train: From T4 take the suburban train (LÍNEA C10) direction Chamartín – Clara Campoamor (17′ trip). Once there, transfer to the train (RENFE) towards Irun, journey time is 4 hours and 50 minutes. To consult timetables and more information visit:

FromBarcelona Airport

  • Car or cab: 575km with an estimated duration of 5 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Plane: Take a plane to San Sebastian airport (1 hour trip). There take a bus (LINE E28), 15′ to the center of Irun. For schedules and more information visit: 
  • Bus: From TB take the bus (LÍNEA A2) to the stop Pl Espanya – Fgc, 20 minutes ride. There, go to Barcelona Sants to transfer to the bus (MONBUS) to Irun, journey time 7h and 20 minutes. For schedules and more information visit: and
  • Train: Take the train (LÍNEA R2N) towards Barcelona Sants (20′ trip). Once there, transfer to the train (RENFE) towards Irun, journey time is 5 hours and 45 minutes. To consult timetables and more information visit:

Our costumers reviews


STAGES: 36 Stages
DURATION: 37 Nights
PRICE: desde 3520€

Why book with Galiwonders?

Taylor-made Camino

We will design an itinerary tailored to your needs, preferences and budget and book all services for you. You enjoy the road.

We are on the Camino

Galicia is our home. We have traveled all the routes of the Camino and we have direct contact with the service providers on the Camino.

We are also travellers

We speak several languages, have lived abroad and have years of experience organizing trips for people from all over the world.

An unforguettable experience

Hundreds of pilgrims repeat year after year the experience of traveling with us. We want you to be one of them. And that is why we will strive to make your trip unique and unforgettable.

If you have any questions or want to plan your Camino de Santiago trip, our team will assist you in a personalized way!

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