Northern Camino

Mountains, coves and forests | View photos »

Eat seafood fresh from the harbourside and walk alongside forest streams as you follow arguably the most beautiful branch of the Camino to Santiago which runs between the rocky coast and the forested mountains of Asturias and Galicia.

Customisable trip from 11-15 days » i

Prices from £1,230 - £1,570 per person

Map of the area

"Varied, challenging and relaxing"

"Varied, challenging and relaxing"

You've managed to create a holiday that is varied, challenging and relaxing. Tremendous. Clare T

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Sample itinerary

Arrive in northern Spain

Fly to Bibao today and make your way to your first class hotel, located by the banks of the Nervion and near the Guggenheim. Tonight you should head out to enjoy some of the famously good Basque food, perhaps by sampling a few pintxos (Basque equivalent of tapas).

Explore lively Bilbao

Today is yours to explore Bilbao, the main city on the northern coast. You'll want to visit the splendid Guggenheim to take in their wonderful modern art collections, and should also make time to wander the streets of the Casco Viejo, or Old Town.

Drive to the Picos de Europa

Collect your car this morning and drive around three hours to your charming hotel near the coast of the Picos de Europa National Park. Settle in this afternoon. Throughout this holiday you stay in very comfortable small, family run hotels and inns.

Walking in the Picos with your guide

Your Pura Aventura guide comes to meet you this morning and take you out into the mountains. You can choose what to do today but there is a beautiful walk into the central Picos which we recommend as it delivers views of the mountains and the coast as you walk along a Roman road.

Walk through the Cares Gorge

For each of the areas you are visiting, Pura Aventura has a series of detailed walking notes and hiking maps. Today you might like to walk the famous walk in the Picos: the Cares Gorge. This spectacular path runs along the wall of the gorge, cut into the rock, narrowing to two metres or so at times.

Ride bikes along the coast

Meet up with your Pura guide again today to go for a bike along the stunning cliffs to the north of the Picos. Peddle along the undulating hills and explore quiet coves, all while admiring the view of the high mountains, even from right down on the beach.

Travel along the Asturian coast

Move hotels today as you set off along the beautiful Asturian coast to the west. Take time to explore lovely villages en route. You will see the character of the landscape and the villages change as you approach the province of Galicia.

Walk in remote hills

Spend today inland exploring some of the most traditional rural regions of Spain. Today’s walk follows a circular route on ancient paths between small abandoned hamlets and some villages where you find a rural way of life which has almost died out in Europe.

Walk along the Galician coast

Visit one of the stunning beaches near your hotel, these are some of the most famously beautiful beaches in the country, including Playa de los Catedrales or Cathedral Ceach - so called because of the towering rock formations along its length.

Travel into the heart of Galicia

Change hotels today as you drive south towards central Galicia, land of forests and mist. Along the way, return to the Grandas hills where you were walking previously. There is a nice short walk through forests, alongside a river to a pretty waterfall. After lunch make your way to your next hotel, an old watermill in ancient woodland.

Explore the forested biosphere reserve

Your hotel is within its own biosphere reserve, there are trails through the woods either within the reserve or you can follow a path all the way to the Roman walls of Lugo. This trip can be done by bike or on foot. You can also rent kayaks to paddle along the river.

Walk along the Camino de Santiago

En route to Santiago today you might like to walk a stretch of the nearby Camino de Santiago as it crosses the 100km mark - the shortest distance you can walk it and still be considered a pilgrim. The Camino is therefore busy with pilgrims but it is also a beautiful walk. Arriving in Santiago later, you'll see plenty of pilgrims finishing their 1,000km pilgrimage to the cathedral.

Drive out to the coast

Travel from the forests of inland Galicia to the dramatic coast to the west of Santiago. It is here that the Camino de Santiago officially ends - at Finisterre - though most people walk only as far as the cathedral in Santiago, the ancient origins of the pilgrimage were to the coast and the 'end of the earth'.

Take time to enjoy Santiago

Santiago is a very special city. Resolutely and obviously Spanish, it has also lived with visitors for millennia so has a relaxed cosmopolitan feel which is much harder to find in Spain. Of course, the city is also full of pilgrims who are just delighted to have arrived so it is hard not to be infected by positivity. This is a very easy place to spend a happy day wandering, visiting markets, museums and eating...

Travel home

Return to the airport today for your flight home. Please note: flights not included in this holiday.

About this trip

Summary

Eat seafood fresh from the harbourside and walk alongside forest streams as you follow arguably the most beautiful branch of the Camino to Santiago which runs between the rocky coast and the forested mountains of Asturias and Galicia.

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How adventurous?

Activity
1 2 3 4 5
Comfort
1 2 3 4 5
Culture
1 2 3 4 5

Physical adventure

As a tailor made trip, the level of exertion on this trip is determined by you. The sample itinerary described above assumes a wide variety of walks, from three hour walks to full day hikes. The way it works on the ground is that we provide you with maps and walking routes for a variety of walks in each place, you also have a day of private guiding in the Picos de Europa to get you settled in and help you get your bearings. Beyond this, you have complete control over how much or how little you do on any given day of the trip. Having said this, the places featured on this holiday are essentially mountainous areas so the walking is moderate to challenging depending on the routes chosen.

Days of walking in the Picos de Europa, Oscos and along stretches of the main Camino de Santiago are balanced with days of cultural exploration along the coastal villages of Asturias and Galicia as well as the cities of Bilbao and Santiago de Compostela. Overall therefore, this is a holiday which balances activity and culture.

The accommodation on this journey is very comfortable. Being tailor made we can adjust it to your needs but the 'standard' trip includes a variety of our favourite small hotels, lodges and inns. Comfort, character, service and location are the critical elements when we choose these places. In the Picos de Europa, stay in a small village just to the north of the mountains which also offers easy access to the coast. From here it's further along the coast towards the Galician border and another beautiful small hotel which gives you access to the walks up in the Oscos mountains - one of the least known and most traditional parts of rural Spain. There are also beautiful beaches close by if the weather is kind enough to allow swimming in the sea, or take
a walk along the coast. Your next hotel is a very traditional converted watermill in a beautiful woodland reserve near the pilgrims route known as the Camino Primitivo - here you can enjoy lovely walks but also kayaking on the river and even cycling along the riverbank into the town of Lugo with its famous Roman fortified walls.
Finishing your trip in Santiago de Compostela gives you access to the Costa da Muerte and Finisterrre. It also allows you to leave the car behind and enjoy time strolling on foot to soak
The weather in this part of Spain is notoriously fickle i.e. wet. There's a reason the landscapes are so green. If you travel in May and June you are likely to enjoy pleasant daytime temperatures of around 15°- 20°, you will almost certainly see some rain and cloudy days but it is a beautiful time of year in the forests and mountains along the route. September is usually the warmest and driest month we offer for this trip. October is going to be similar in temperature to June, perhaps a little drier, as you get into later October the autumnal colours will be beautiful along much of the route.

You explore the dramatic Costa da Muerte (coast of death) around Finisterre from a base in the lovely village of Muxia. This sits on what is actually the final leg of the Camino de Santiago - the pilgrimage doesn't end in Santiago. You can walk from your village south to the most westerly point in Europe - Finisterre.

Finishing your trip in Santiago de Compostela gives you access to the Costa da Muerte and Finisterrre. It also allows you to leave the car behind and enjoy time strolling on foot to soak up the atmosphere in this, the most glorious of small Spanish cities.

The weather in this part of Spain is notoriously fickle i.e. wet. There's a reason the landscapes are so green. If you travel in May and June you are likely to enjoy pleasant daytime temperatures of around 15°- 20°, you will almost certainly see some rain and cloudy days but it is a beautiful time of year in the forests and mountains along the route. September is usually the warmest and driest month we offer for this trip. October is going to be similar in temperature to June, perhaps a little drier, as you get into later October the autumnal colours will be beautiful along much of the route.

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Cultural adventure

As a tailor made trip, you can choose how much or how little cultural content you want to include. However, the history and culture of the Camino de Santiago, in all its different branches, is incredibly rich. In addition to this, you will see the resolutely traditional rural lifestyles of the Picos de Europa and Oscos mountains and the fishing communities along the Asturian and Galician coasts.

In the mountains of Asturias and Galicia you will find shepherds and families working smallholdings almost entirely without mechanisation. There are villages here which have been connected to the road network and electricity network within the past 10 years so there are parts of the journey where you will feel absolutely as if you are stepping into a different era.

The fishing communities of Galicia, in particular, are the most famous in Spain. It is these which underpin the Spanish love affair with fish and seafood. The nature of these communities can be summed up simply by recalling the Prestige oil tanker disaster. When the oil slick started to threaten the waters which sustain their livelihoods, the communities went out, en masse, in whatever vessels they could and using whatever tools came to hand - often frying pans and pots - they scooped up the oil until the worst was over. These are not industrial fishing businesses, they are communities.

Finally, there is the Camino de Santiago itself. Though there is the main pilgrims highway, the 'Camino Frances', in fact the Camino is a network of many different routes all converging on Santiago de Compostela. Along the strands of this pilgrimage, culture and learning has flowed, in both directions, for well over a thousand years. There is no more important cultural route in Europe. Whatever you think of the concept of religious pilgrimage, the atmosphere created when nearly 200,000 people a year tread these paths is electric. There are few more moving moments to be had than sitting in the Plaza de Obradeiro in Santiago as you watch the emotions as pilgrims, some of whom have walked 1,000km, arrive at the great portal of the cathedral.

At the start of your trip we include time with one of our guides to help settle you in and lead you on a walk into the Picos mountains. This is also a means of your learning about your surroundings before heading off to explore more independently.

We provide you with all the maps, walking notes and local information you will need to make the most out of your trip.

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Best time to go i

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Practicalities

There is a detailed itinerary for this trip in the form above. Please get in touch and we can email that to you.

As a tailor made trip, in order to send the most appropriate proposal to you, we really need to discuss your plans with you first so please call.

This is a self-drive holiday whereby the package consists of premium small hotel accommodation, breakfasts, private guiding days as per the detailed itinerary and local information, maps and walking notes.

Normally guests will start their trip in Bilbao, Santander or Asturias (airport codes, respectively, BIO, SDR and OVD) and end it in Santiago (airport code: SCQ), though La Coruna (airport code: LCG) is also an option. Each of these have good air connections. It is also possible to start and end in Madrid with internal flights or train journeys to and from the north coast.

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Prices from

£1,230 - £1,570 pp

Customisable trip length

11-15 days

Next steps...

Contact us today to start planning your own personal adventure

01273 676712

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The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.

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