CAMINO DE LA COSTA / DEL NORTE

Bay of Biscay near Portugalete, Basque Country, Spain
Bay of Biscay near Portugalete, Basque Country, Spain

The Camino de la Costa runs along the Northern coast of Spain at the Bay of Biscay, also called the Cantabrian Sea. It starts in the city of Irún in the east of the Basque country and goes all the way to Ribadeo in Galicia. From there, the last section — officially called Camino del Norte — turns South-westwards heading inland towards Santiago de Compostela. Both of those camino terms are often used for the entire route though. Finally, several kilometers before Santiago the trail meets the Camino Francés.

Some pilgrims also decide to leave the Camino de la Costa shortly after Villaviciosa (Asturias) to follow the more challenging mountain trail of the Camino Primitivo.

The Camino de la Costa mainly follows along secondary paved roads, which can be helpful in case of bad weather; at the same time, however, the asphalt may present a higher load on the feet. On the other hand, the Camino de la Costa is less frequented than the Camino Francés and is therefore not only a nice alternative, but also captivating because of its delightful coastal landscapes that alternate with land sections. In the meantime, not only the forests of Galicia have been reforested with eucalyptus trees, but also a large part of the Northern coast of Spain. Besides several charming sandy beaches, the coastal sections often remind of Ireland's rugged coastline and the view towards the inland of beautiful alpine foothills. In Asturias, pilgrims are even accompanied by the stunning mountains of the Picos de Europa in the immediate south.

 

Distances

Camino de la Costa:  Irún — Ribadeo, 660 kilometers

Camino del Norte:  Ribadeo — Santiago de Compostela, 200 kilometers

Both caminos in total:  Irún — Santiago de Compostela, 860 kilometers

Photographs taken in 2013. © Donald Walter.

Don't miss Evaldas Karalius' beautiful impressions of the Camino de la Costa / del Norte on youtube:

Footage taken in 2017. © Evaldas Karalius.