Northern Way

Camino de Santiago from Ribadeo

Tour Description

The Camino de Santiago from Ribadeo is a captivating section of the Camino del Norte, offering pilgrims a unique blend of coastal beauty and historic charm. You will start in the picturesque town of Ribadeo, known for its stunning viewsof the cantabrian Sea and the iconic Playa de las Catedrales. As you leave behind the dramatic coastlinem you’ll venture into the heart of Lugo province, passing through historic towns like Lourenzá and Mondoñedo, the ancient capital of the Kingdowm of Galicia. As you progress, the landscape shifts to the gentle rolling plains of A terra Chá, where you’ll traverse a series of tiny, picturesque villages set in a predominantly rural landscape known for its dairy and cattle farming.

This route will take you through lush landscapes, quaint fishing villages, and ancient paths steeped in history. You’ll experience the serene beauty of Galicia’s rugged coastline, the warmth of its local communities, and the rich cultural heritage that defines the Camino de Santiago.

Experience details

Included Services

Lodging in private room with private bathroom
Luggage transfer between stages
Half board: breakfast and dinner
Travel insurance
Walking notes
Pilgrim passport
24/7 telephone assistance

The Camino del Norte from Ribadeo follows the stunning norhern route of the Camino de Santiago, renowned for its breathtaking coastal views and diverse landscapes. This journey spans approximately 189 kilometers and typically takes about 10 days to complete, covering a variety of terrains from coastal paths to lush inland trails.

If the stages feel too long or if you prefer a more relaxed pace, don’t worry. Our itineraries are full customizable, allowing you to split stages, add extra nights, or even shorten daily distances to suit your needs. Whether you want to take your time to soak in the scenery or require more rest days, we can tailor the journey to ensure your experience is as enjoyable and comfortable as possible.

Stage 1: Ribadeo - Vilanova de Lourenzá

This is a very rural stage where life is structured around the main road. You can find vestiges of numerous civil and religious buildings such as the parish church of San Vicente de Covelas, one of the oldest buildings in Ribadeo. After 6 hours of route, and once arriving at Vilanova de Lourenzá -also known as Lorenzana- we recommend a visit to the Monastery of San Salvador.

Stage 2: Vilanova de Lourenzá - Abadín

Leaving Vilanova de Lourenzá, the path runs along a stretch of the national road. The level rises progressively, so it will offer fantastic views from the mountains of one of the most unspoiled regions of the Galician community. Shortly before the halfway point of our journey, we will find ourselves crossing Mondoñedo, one of the most emblematic points. You will have walked about 5 and a half hours to your rest in Abadín.

Stage 3: Abadín - Vilalba

The Northern Way becomes a range of greenish tones as we pass through Abadín and will take us through forests, rural areas, and villages with farms. Halfway through the stage we will cross the village of Martiñán, known for the landscapes left by the Batán river. Although it is possible to continue to Baamonde, our recommendation is to spend the night in Vilalba (the last town in several days), and recharge your strength and supplies after having walked for 5 hours in your day.

Stage 4: Vilalba - Baamonde

The stage from Vilalba to Baamonde will be quiet and pleasant, as in previous days. Much more nature, less monuments. So we like to recognize this day as a day to reflect on your Way. It is also important to remember that if you want to receive the Compostela on your arrival in Santiago, Vilalba marks the last 100 kilometers you need to walk to claim your certificate. For this day, we recommend bringing plenty of provisions, as it can be difficult to find food stores along the way. This day the walking section is a little shorter than usual, with a total of 4 and a half hours.

Stage 5: Baamonde - Miraz

Baamonde is a restorative stop. A charming village, stopped in time, where the main protagonist is the Parga River, which will accompany us in parallel on the Way. We will follow the national road for a few kilometers until we cross the Parga River. As in the previous stage, the road will take us through rural areas. Likewise, it is a quiet day, lasting only 4 hours, but with few convenience stores along the route.

Stage 6: Miraz - Sobrado dos Monxes

Today we will reach the highest point of the entire Northern Way, 710 meters of altitude, almost without noticing it. The stage will be very quiet and lonely, walking mostly on dirt tracks, crossing streams and small villages, until we reach Sobrado dos Monxes.

Stage 7: Sobrado dos Monxes - Arzúa

It is time to enjoy the last stage of solitude and peace, since from Arzúa the route joins the French Way. Although this stage does not present many variables or points of interest, it is worth mentioning the various streams and brooks that brighten up the Way with their soothing sound. We arrive at Arzúa after approximately 5 hours of the Way, to recharge our batteries. From then on, the way will become much more social, until we reach Santiago de Compostela.

Stage 8: Arzúa - O Pedrouzo

Leaving behind Arzúa, the journey continues towards Pedrouzo. Santiago de Compostela is closer, there are almost 40 km left to complete the pilgrimage. In this stage you will walk 4 and a half hours crossing long wooded tracks between forests and green meadows. This will be the last stage before entering the area of Santiago de Compostela. Some pilgrims make the stage from Arzúa to Santiago in one day. Our recommendation is to stop in O Pedrouzo, to be able to enjoy the last stage in peace and quiet.

Stage 9: O Pedrouzo - Santiago de Compostela

O Pedrouzo is the last village before entering O Monte do Gozo, from where you will have a nice panoramic view of the city of Compostela. As in the last stage, you may need about 4 hours and a half to complete it, as the distance is similar. Last day of walking, before reaching Santiago de Compostela. For many pilgrims, this stage can be described as a moment of euphoria, after so many days of challenges.

Difficulty

The route of the Camino del Norte from Ribadeo has a distance of approximately 189 km with a moderate level of difficulty, where  you can find a variety of flat paths and rugged sections.

Route

The Camino del Norte from Ribadeo presets a diverse range of terrains. The initial coastal sections are relatively flat, with well mainteined paths that offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. However, as you move inland the terrain becomes more varied. You’ll encouter forest trails, country roads, and rugged, eneven paths. These inland segments can be quite challenging due to the mixed surfaces and occasional muddy tracks, especially after rain.

Unevenness

One of the challenges of the Camino del Norte from Ribadeo is its uneveness. The route is known for its frequent elevation changes, with numerous ascents and descents throughout the journey. While the coastal parts are relatively level, the transition to the interior brings steeper hills and valleys. Some sections require climbing and descendin several hundred meters within a single day. This unevenness can be physically demanding, especially for those who are not accustomed to hiking on varied terrain. Proper preparation and physical conditioning are essential to handle these fluctuations in elevation.

Signposting

The signposting along the Camino del Norte from Ribadeo is reliable and you can follow the route without any problem by following the signs that indicate the route: stone cairns, the iconic scallop shell tile on the facades of buildings or urban constructions, yellow arrows or bronze scallops embedded in the floors of the streets.

Important note:

You may come across signage in the shape of the iconic scallop but it may not be accompanied by a yellow arrow pointing the way foward. If this is the case, you should follow the open part of the shell, i.e. the semi-circular part with the largest diameter, as if it were an imaginary arrow.

Standard Category Accommodations on Northern Way

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.

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

Touristic information

History of the Northern Way from Ribadeo

The Northern Way, or Camino del norte is one of the oldest and most historic routes of the Camino de Santiago. Originating in the medieval period, it was a favored path for pilgrims coming from Northern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula. The route became particulary significant during the 9th and 10th centuries when the Christian kingdoms of northern Spain sought safer alternatives to the Camino Francés, which was often threatened by Moorish control in the south.

Starting from Ribadeo, a quaint fishing village in the province of Lugo, the Northern Way carries with it centuries of history. Ribadeo itself has been a vital port town since Roman times, serving as a gateway for pilgrims entering Galicia. The town’s strategic location along the Cantabrian coast made it a key entry point for those traveling to Santiago de Compostela.

Towns to visit on the Camino del norte from Ribadeo

Ribadeo

Ribadeo is the starting point of the Camino del Norte in Galicia, and it’s a picturesque fishing village with deep historical roots. Pilgrims often begin their journey here, drawn by the town’s charming streets, historic buildings, and the famous Playa de las Catedrales, known for its natural rock formations. Ribadeo’s port has been a crucial entry point for centuries, welcoming pilgrims from the north. The town itself offers a tranquil start to the Camino, with its mix of maritime and medieval influences setting the tone for the journey ahead.

Lourenzá

The route continues to Vilanova de Lourenzá, a town known for its monastic heritage. The Monastery of San Salvador, founded in the 10th century, is a highlight for pilgrims. Lourenzá’s rich agricultural surroundings also offer a peaceful landscape as pilgrims traverse the rolling hills and verdant fields.

Mondoñedo

Mondoñedo

One of the most historically significant stops on the Camino del Norte, Mondoñedo was one the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia. The town is renowned for its stunning Cathedral of Mondoñedo, a Gothic masterpiece dating back to the 13th century. Pilgrims often find solace in its impressive architecture and tranquil atmosphere. Mondoñedo’s streets are steeped in history, with medieval buildings and plazas that invite reflection on the long tradition of pilgrimage.

Vilalba

Vilalba is another key town on the Camino del Norte, famous for its medieval tower, the Torre dos Andrade, which dates back to the 14th century. This town serves as a reminder of Galicia’s feudal past and its strategic importance. Vilalba also offers modern amenities and comfortable accommodations, making it a practical stop for pilgrims needing a break from the road. The town’s vibrant community and historical sites make it a memorable waypoint.

Sobrado dos Monxes

Sobrado dos Monxes is home to the impressive Monastery of Santa María de Sobrado, a Cistercian abbey founded in the 10th century, This spiritual center has long been a significant stop for pilgrims, offering a place of meditation and reflection. The monastery’s beautiful architecture and serene gardens provide a peaceful respite, encouraging pilgrims to pause and appreciate the journey.

Places of Interest on the Camino de Santiago from Ribadeo

Playa de las Catedrales

Playa de las Catedrales

Starting your Camino from Ribadeo, one of the must-see places is the Playa de las catedrales. Known for its stunning rock formations that resemble arches and buttresses of a cathedral, this beach is best visited during low tide when the natural architecture is fully revealed. It’s a beautiful and inspiring place to begin your pilgrimage, offering breathtaking views and a connection to the natural wonders of Galicia.

The Cave of Rey Cintolo

Near the town of Mondoñedo, the Cave of Rey Cintolo is a fascinating and legendary site. It is the largest cave in Galicia, stretching over 6,500 meters, and is steeped in myth and history. According to legend, the cave is named after a local king and is said to be enchanted. Exploring this cave offers a unique experience, connecting pilgrims with the ancient and mystical aspects of the region.

Most important monuments on the Northern Way from Ribadeo

Cathedral of MondoñedoCathedral de Mondoñedo

One of the highlights of the Camino del norte is the Cathedral of Mondoñedo. This Gothic cathedral, dating back to the 13th century, stands as a testament to the town’s historical significance. Inside, pilgrims can admire the beautiful altarpiece, intricate carvings, and the sense of serenity that fills the sacred space. Mondoñedo itself is rich in medieval charms, making it a memorable stop.

Torre dos Andrade in Vilalba

In Vilalba, the Torre dos Andrade is a notable landmark. This 14th-century medieval tower offers a glimpse into the feudal history of Galicia. The tower has been well-preserved and provides an interesting contrast to the more rural and pastoral landscapes you’ll encounter. Vilalba also offers a blend of modern amenities and historical sites, making it a comfortable and enriching stop.

Monastery of Sobrado dos Monxes

Monastery of Sobrado dos Monxes

Further along the Camino, the Monastery of Sobrado dos Monxes is an essential place of interest. This Cistercian abbey, founded in the 10th century, is renowned for its beautiful Baroque architecture and tranquil gardens. Pilgrims often find solace and inspiration here, taking time to meditate and absorb the serene atmosphere of this historic site.

What to do on the Camino del Norte from Ribadeo

Enjoy the local cuisine in Arzúa

As you approach Santiago, the town of Arzúa is famous for its local cheese, Arzúa – Ulloa. Take the opportunity to sample this delicious cheese along with other regional specialties in local restaurants and markets. The town offers a welcoming atmosphere where you can relax and enjoy the culinary delights of Galicia, providing much-needed nourishment for the final stages of your journey.

Explore the culture of the Camino

Along the Camino, you can visit a wide range of cultural and historical heritage such as churches, cathedrals and monasteries. You can learn about the history, architecture and culture of each region.

Frequent questions

From Madrid Airport

  • By car or taxi: it is approximately 596 km to the center of Ribadeo with an estimated duration of 5 hours and 39 minutes.
  • Bus: from the terminal 4 of the airport, take a bus (ALSA) that will take you to Gijón’s bus station (6h and 16 minutes). Once there, you can take a bus (ALSA) to Ribadeo’s bus station with an approximate duration of 2h and 30 minutes. You can check timetables and more information in www.alsa.es

From Santiago de Compostela Airport

  • By car or taxi: it is approximately 162 km to the center of Ribadeo with an estimated duration of 1h and 49 minutes.
  • Bus: from the airport, take a bus XG802011 that will take you to the bus station of Lugo (1h 15 minutes). Once there, you can take a bus (ALSA) to Ribadeo’s bus station with an approximately duration of 1h and 25 minutes. You can check timetables and more information in bus.gal and www.alsa.es

Our costumers reviews

TOUR SUMMARY

DISTANCE: 189 Km
STAGES: 9 Stages
DURATION: 10 Nights
DIFICULTy: 2/5
START: Ribadeo
PRICE: desde 850€

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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