The Route of St. James - Northern Route or Camino del Norte
|No. of days:
||13 days - 11 nights
|First & Last Cities:
||San Sebastian, Santiago de Compostela
||Bayonne, Bilbao, Torrelavega, Gijon, Ribadeo, Vilalba, A Torre, Miraz, Sobrado dos Monxes, ArzÃºa, O Pino
The Asturio-Galician Route was the original pilgrim route to Santiago because the first pilgrims set off from the Christian court of Oviedo, and with them King Alphonso II, the Chaste, at the beginning of the 9th century, when the entire peninsula was under Muslim domination. Later, the pilgrims started to arrive from all over the Cantabrian coast and even from the sea, docking at Basque, Cantabrian, Asturian and Galician harbors. Later, when the French Camino was established, intersections were created between the two. The most important was Leon-Oviedo, where it was possible to see the collection of relics of the Asturian capital. Historically, many famous pilgrims chose this Camino, including St. Francis of Assisi, which left us descriptions of their journey.
Day 1: USA, Madrid
Depart the USA on an overnight flight to Madrid. Dinner and breakfast served on board.
Day 2: Madrid, San Sebastian, Bayonne
Arrival in Madrid and connecting flight to San Sebastian. Here you’ll be met and assisted on your transfer to Bayonne, France Start of the Northern Way or Camino del North on your quest for Saint James (Santiago). Dinner and overnight at the hotel. [D]
Day 3: Bayonne
After breakfast at the hotel start the visit of the old city at the Gothic Cathedral of St. Marie de Bayonne built in the 13th century on the site of the previous Romanesque church and completed in the 17th. The cathedral is on a little known route of the Camino de Santiago (la Voie de la Côte), which joins the Camino del Norte (Northern Way) in Irún, Spain.
Then, continue for a visit of the Chateau Vieux, or Old Castle, built in the late 11th century by the Viscounts of Labourd on the location of the Roman castrum Lapurdum dated the 1st century. Originally it consisted of a single hexagonal tower to which two buildings were added in the 12th century. Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. [B/D]
Day 4: Bayonne, San Sebastian, Bilbao
Board your bus after breakfast for a drive to San Sebastian, our first stop after the border. Visit the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Chorus, in the old town of San Sebastian, a Catholic church built in the 18th century in the Baroque style. After we visit the seat of the Diocese, the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, built in the 19th century in the Neo-Gothic style. Lunch at one of the many restaurants by the harbor and continuation to Bilbao for a visit of the Guggenheim Museum, famous for its futuristic design created by the American architect Frank Gehry. Check-in at the hotel, dinner and overnight. [B/L/D]
Day 5: Bilbao, Torrelavega, Gijon
Continue along the coast following on the steps of the old pilgrims seeking the tomb of St. James on your way to Viernoles, 2 miles south of Torrelavega, to visit its extensive patrimony from the 17th through the 19th centuries: Casa de Velarde, Casa Gótica, Casa de Rodríguez, Casa de Sánchez de Bustamante or "Casa de los Leones", Casa de Antonio Ruiz Castañeda y Ceballos and the Parochial Church of San Román. After lunch continue to Gijon, a city on the Route of St. James and the northern tip of the Roman Silver Route. Visit the Roman Baths, the best preserved in northern Spain and the impressive Revillagigedo Palace, declared a National Historic Landmark along with the San Juan Bautista Collegiate Church, examples of Baroque style architecture in the province of Asturias. Dinner and overnight in Gijon. [B/D]
Day 6: Gijon, Ribadeo, Vilalba.
Free morning to rest and enjoy the natural beaches of Gijon or do some shopping in the modern part. In the afternoon continue to Ribadeo, a declared stop on the route to Santiago, before continuing to Vilalba. The last 67-mile section of the Camino del Norte starts in the market town, in the heart of the Terra Chã or ‘flat lands. Famous for its dairy production, make sure you taste Galicia’s specialty cheeses here and treat yourself to delicious home cooking before starting your journey. Check out the 15th century Parador, Torre dos Andrade. Arrival and reception. Transfer to the accommodation booked on the route. Dinner and overnight. [B/D]
Day 7: Vilalaba, Miraz (18 miles) – Start of 62-mile walking Pilgrimage
Start at Baamonde, a town that has kept a Romanesque church from the 13th century. Just beyond, the Camino enters a landscape along the river Parga with its Gothic bridge and the chapel of St. Albert. Passing through several small towns, like the charming Neixón with a small Romanesque church, arrive to Miraz. Last stop: Church of Santiago de Miraz. [B/D]
Day 8: Miraz, Sobrado dos Monxes (12.5 miles)
The Camino covers some rather dry territory across the hills of the Sierra de Cova da Serpe and the Mountes do Corno do Boi. Enter the province of Coruña and cross a number of small farms to come to Laguna de Sobrado dos Monxes, created artificially by the monks as a reservoir for the monastery: now declared an ornithological reserve and protected area. The monastery was founded in 952 and is the first Cistercian monastery in Spain. Last stop: Monastery of Sobrado dos Monxes. [B/D]
Day 9: Sobrado dos Monxes, Arzúa (12 miles)
Cross the Tambre River to reach Gándara (Boimorto). Continue southwards to Sendelle which is known for its Romanesque church. Crossing the beautiful countryside arrive in Arzúa, famous for its cheese and its long tradition of devotion to Santiago. Last stop: Church of Santiago at Arzúa. [B/D]
Day 10: Arzúa, O Pino (13 miles)
Cross farms and cultivated fields to Arca, the capital of the municipality of O Pino. Last stop: Albergue de peregrinos de O Pino. [B/D]
Day 11: O Pino, Santiago Cathedral (12 miles)
A pleasant rural path to Lavacolla, where pilgrims washed themselves and their cloaks in the river as a means of physical purification, of the spiritual journey they would be completing in Compostela. Nearby is Monte do Gozo, hill from which pilgrims would see the Cathedral of Santiago for the first time. Last Stop: The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. [B/D]
Day 12: Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela has drawn for thousands of years pilgrims to the tomb of Saint James from all over Europe because of its miraculous origins and subsequent renown. Great Saints like St. Francis and St. Bridget of Sweden have also made pilgrimages to Santiago. At the Cathedral are housed the relics of St. James and a gigantic thurible or censer, known in Spanish as botafumerio, which will incense the entire church and congregation. After the Holy Mass for the pilgrims, embrace the bust of St. James, which has been hugged for centuries by pilgrims. All of these pious practices assist in creating an unforgettable spiritual experience. [B/D]
At the end of pilgrimage after covering 100 km (62 miles), pilgrims can obtain a ‘certificate’ from the office of Pilgrims verifying the completion of the pilgrimage up to the tomb of the apostle. Make sure you keep stamps along your route in order to obtain your certificate.
Day 13: Santiago the Compostela, USA
After breakfast you may have some free time before your transfer to the airport for your connecting flight back home. [B]
[B] = Breakfast | [B/L/D] = Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner | [D] = Dinner | [B/D] = Breakfast and Dinner
- Airfare between the USA and Spain
- Arrival transfer from San Sebastian to Bayonne
- Departure transfer in Santiago de Compostela
- 11 nights’ accommodation:
- Bayonne – 2 nights
- Bilbao – 1 night
- Gijon – 1 night
- Vilalaba – 1 night
- Miraz – 1 night
- Sobrado dos Monxes – 1 night
- Arzua – 1 night
- O Pino – 1 night
- Santiago de Compostela – 2 nights
- Breakfast daily
- Dinner daily
- 1 lunch
- Visits as described in the itinerary
- Reception, explanation of the program and distribution of credentials
- A/C transportation up to the walking pilgrimage start point
- Private transportation daily from the arrival point of the Route to the accommodations in a rural house or hotel and vice versa
- Guided tour of the city of Santiago
- English speaking guide during the tour
- Technical assistance during the program
- Document pouch and technical assistance
Not included in tour
- Airport and security taxes and related fees
- Travel Insurance
- Extras and anything not mentioned as “included”
Hotels in your Tour
||Ibis Bayonne Center
||NH Bilbau Deusto
||Hotel Quinta Duro
|Sobrado de los Monxes
|Santiago de Compostela
MEAL PLAN: Normally we include daily breakfast and dinner for all groups. However, the meal plan may vary depending on the organizer's request
The price for the group will be quoted based on the number of passengers, season, hotel type and meal plan.
Group organizers always travel for free if the group has 15 or more paying passengers.
Inclusion of tour conductors must be considered at time of request.
- If you wish to use this program for your group please either call us (1-855-55-TOURS or use the web Group Quote Request.
- In either case our specialists will work with you to refine all the details and they will get you a quote with 2 business days. Quotes may be obtained for the air and land portions of just for the land journey.
- Booking both air and land with us will represent savings for you because of our special Leisure Fares, buying power and longtime relationship with the airlines.
- We will also may have the choice between regular fares and special leisure fares not available to the public.
Tour Code: SJ02EAS20VT
- Lunches and dinners can be arranged for groups at top restaurants or any restaurant requested by you.
- We can revise the itinerary to spend more time and provide more depth in those areas that you are interested on.
- Any other changes to the itinerary will be accommodated depending on the facilities available in the area.