The Camino del Norté or the Northern Route or it is also called the Ruta de la Costa, begins in a city on the boarder between Spain And France called Irún, and travels along the beautiful Atlantic coast of Spain before turning inland toward Santiago de Compostela.
You will travel through many cities such as the beautiful seaside town of San Sebastián/Donastia, Bilbao, Gernika (which is the subject of a famous painting by Spanish painter Pablo Picasso), Castro Urdiales, Santander, Ribadesella, Gijón, Avilés, Ribadeo, Mondoñedo, and Sobrado dos Monxes befor joining the Camino Frances at Aruza. You will walk through Basque country, Cantabria, Asturias until finally reaching the region of Galicia and Santiago de Compostela. Total distance depending on your chosen route is about 825km
This route is one of the first routes to be walked in the 9th century. The Muslims still occupied much of the Iberian Peninsula but due to the high mountains of the Picos de Europa and Cordillera Cantabrica they were not in this area. While on many days you will be near the sea this route is very hilly and has many steep climbs especially in the early stages of the Camino.
Be ready for some absolutely beautiful scenery walking along the coast as well as in the mountains. The route is well marked with among other things yellow arrows. There is at least one albergue or casa rural in each town or city, however, be prepared to walk further between towns on some stages. This camino is far less traveled and you will fine much less pilgrims along the way.
As far as time of year to walk this Camino, Spring to Fall would be great. Since you are walking very near the sea the weather can vary, while it is unlikely that you will experience extremely high temperatures during the summer months, you are more likely to see rain and certainly fog in the morning even in the summer months. As always be prepared for all types of weather.
Links for more research on the Norther Route
The Confraternity of Saint James on the Northern Route
Here is a guide book PDF that is helpful
Eroski Consumer is a site that offers tons of information on all Camnino’s this page offers a full PDF of the Norté caution it is all in Spanish.
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