A little bit of History
It is probably the first route followed by pilgrims from Europe. First because it was easier to follow the itinerary to the west bordering the Cantabrian coast. Also because the northern area was soon free of the Muslim occupation and was not a frontier of war so it was easier to make a pilgrimage through these lands.
Also known as the Camino de la Costa, it goes along the Cantabrian coast from Irún, in the Basque Country near the border with France, to Ribadeo, in Lugo, where it is already entering Galicia to reach Santiago. It passes through the autonomous communities of the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia.
On this Camino there are beautiful stages, in which we can walk near cliffs and even along the beach. In general it does not have complicated stages, although there are stretches that are very tough. The network of pilgrim hostels and services is good and allows the walker to play with distances.
There are numerous variants of routes that we must choose, for example, if you travel more coastal than inland, if you pass through Gijón or Oviedo, etc.
The orography is not easy, since much of this way runs along the coast. Although all along the road we will not find important mountains, there are continuous ups and downs, with a typical mountain profile, which makes us notice it in the legs. These accumulated changes of level are more evident in the part of the Basque Country.
The best season
The entire Cantabrian coast is very humid so the weather is an important factor when choosing this route. We can find several days of rain that makes the road hard, especially in Winter. In summer it is not as hot as in other areas of the Peninsula, but in recent years there is a large influx of pilgrims at this time of year.
Pilgrim hostels and other accomodations
There is a good offer of pilgrim hostels, public and private. The average distance between towns with pilgrim hostels is approximately 7.8 km (July-2019).
The continuation to Santiago
El Camino del Norte ends in the town of Arzúa where it meets the French Way and through which you have to continue to get to Santiago de Compostela. See the Camino Frances
The entire north coast of Spain, through which this road runs, is very rainy, although the temperatures are somewhat milder, both in summer and winter. It is essential to bring a good rain coat and waterproof clothing.