The Northern Way officially begins in the Basque Country, specifically in the city of Irun. From this point the route runs along the Cantabrian coast until it reaches Ribadeo, from where it enters the interior of the province of Lugo until it joins the French Way in Arzúa.
If you want to do the complete route of the Northern route, you will need at least 36 days of pilgrimage to complete the journey.
The city of Bilbao is one of the favourite places for pilgrims to start the Northern Way. And it is not surprising, since this city offers endless possibilities to pilgrims; from visiting one of the most important museums in Spain to a fun “bar” route tasting its exquisite pintxos accompanied by a bottle of txakoli. This northern itinerary from Bilbao has 650 kilometres that can be completed in 29 stages and approximately one month.
The capital of Cantabria is a good alternative for those pilgrims who do not have enough time to do the whole route. Although it is true that specifically the Cantabrian section has very touristy and urbanized areas that detract a little charm to the idea of pilgrimage through natural landscapes. However, it can be a very good option in summer, especially if you are looking to combine the route with leisure and beach activities.
From Santander there is a total of 530 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela, which can be done in 24 stages and 26 days.
The Asturian town of Ribadesella is a truly idyllic place to start your Camino del Norte. In addition, we encourage you to have an extra day and complement the route doing the exciting descent of the river Sella in kayak. From here, you will travel through almost the entire Principality of Asturias, passing through important fishing villages that will make you fall in love with their gastronomy, culture, history and tradition.
If you decide to start the northern route from Ribadesella, a total of 385 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela await you, which divided into 19 stages can be done in approximately 21 days.
In recent years Ribadeo has become one of the most popular places to start the Camino del Norte. This is due to the popularity of the Galician sections of the different Jacobean routes; besides having landscapes of undeniable beauty, it is perfect for those pilgrims who do not have enough time to do the whole route.
From Ribadeo to Santiago de Compostela there is a total distance of 190 kilometres that can be divided into 9 stages / 10 days.
The village of Vilalba in Lugo hosts the famous last 120 kilometres of the Northern Way to Santiago de Compostela. A simple route, ideal for those who are looking for a first contact with the Camino but do not have enough days to do it all.
From Vilalba, you will travel through the region of A Terra Chá, a fully rural environment specialised in cattle and dairy farming, until you join the French Way in Arzúa; from here you will notice a significant increase in the number of pilgrims until you reach Santiago de Compostela.
You will be able to do this section in a total of 6 stages for which you will need 8 days.