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Camino del Norte: Irun – Oviedo

On top of Jaizkibel, 550 meters


Before I start the Camino del Norte pilgrimage route, I am in Lourdes, a city full of pilgrims. I also love churches, so a city I’ve always wanted to visit!

In Lourdes there are 3 churches built one above the other. I visit the Rosary Basilica and the enormous Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Then I go to la Grotta and fill my water bottle with water from the sacred cave. In the piscines du sanctuaire Notre Dame I get a bath from the nuns and drink the blessed water. I burn a large candle and it feels like a blessed start to my journey.

Camino del Norte

Map Camino del Norte (red line)

Irun – Bilbao

My camino starts in Hendaye in the south of France. Via the bridge I walk to the town of Irun in Spain nice! On the first day I already spend the night 10 km from the camino route. It is not easy to find a place to sleep. That turns out to be a problem for the rest of my trip… The next day I take the train back to the route and start again in the center of Irun.


The first part of the camino to Bilbao is very beautiful! There are few buildings in the Basque Country and I walk a lot in nature. It is a hilly area with a nice ocean view (Bay of Biscay), especially on top of the Jaizkibel hill at 550 meters. Every now and then I walk through the forest, how I can enjoy this!

In trendy San Sebastian I walk along the boulevard and enjoy delicious wine with fresh fish pintxos (tapas). The pelgrimage already tastes good! Through the vineyards I walk to Zumaia where I camp and have a beautiful view of the impressive cliffs of Zumaia.

After walking all day in the rain, I arrive in Bilbao. What a relaxed city! I spend the night in a cozy hostel and all wet stuff can dry again. The next day I go to explore the city, old streets, churches, bridges beautiful! It’s Sunday morning and super quiet, a wonderful start to the day.

Guggenheim spider

Today the well-known Guggenheim Museum is also on the schedule. There is a lot to see in the museum; many paintings old and new and also mega modern art. There is also art outside, where I enjoy taking a photo of a spider for the first time in my life.

Bilbao – Santander

I walk in my hiking clothes and notice that I don’t feel it is the nicest outfit to visit the museum, a bit a-relaxed. So I continue my route to Portugalete. It is a special walk because suddenly I am overtaken by the cycling round of Getxo and I travel for the first time with a floating ferry. But it can get even crazier, because after that I’m on a conveyor belt for the first time outside in the steep streets of Portugalete. Really handy after a day of hiking!

I walk towards Santander and enjoy the beautiful view of the sea and the valley. The route also runs over a lot of asphalt, I have omitted these photos, you can probably imagine something 🙂

With the third ferry on the route I cross over to Santander. That’s going well, I love ferries!
I visit the old Santander Cathedral, get a stamp for my pilgrim passport and enjoy the special welcome for pilgrims.

Santander – Unquera

The north coast of Spain is popular with surfers. Last night I was at a surfer’s campsite and I didn’t sleep well. Unpleasant start, my bag feels heavy, my back hurts and my washed clothes are still wet, I’m done camping for a while. I just put on my wet clothes and go for a walk. Around 10 am I eat a fresh breakfast with hot coffee and I recover completely. The accommodations are scarce because of Corona and I realize that the tent is my freedom, even though this freedom weighs quite a lot at the moment.

On my way to Unquera

Via Santillana de Mar, a super old and touristy village, I walk to Comillas. The walk is gorgeous along the sea and I enjoy all the holidaymakers. I walk from one surf spot to another.

The next day I sleep near Unquera in Colombres in a special albergue, it looks like a blue/purple version of Pippi Longstocking’s house!

Tomorrow I will turn to Pico’s of Europe and walk Camino Lebaniego for a few days. Do you want to read my blog about this beautiful walk? This one will follow asap!

Unquera – Oviedo

From Unquera I continue my journey. I have decided to send my tent and some extra stuff home and my bag is 3 kg lighter. Wow that’s a big difference! Walking is going really great now, I feel fit and all aches and pains are gone.

There are roughly three roads from here that lead to Santiago de Compostela. I meet all kinds of nice people on the road and everyone is enthusiastic about Camino Primitivo. After some googling I’m excited too! This old, perhaps the oldest, camino in Spain starts in Oviedo and ends in Santiago de Compostela, another 115 km to Oviedo!


For the first time I drink the local sidra. You have to pour this kind of cider a great height and then you get nice bubbles. You also have to drink quickly because otherwise it won’t taste so special. It’s delicious and I even get a machine that pours it at height. Awesome I will definitely drink this again.

The camino walk is gorgeous, I feel happy and I’m looking forward to my fourth camino adventure. In 2017 I walked camino Frances, last week camino Lebaniego and now camino del Norte.

The last day I leave early, it will be a long walking day. Along the way I have plenty of time to reflect. I close this part, reflect on the past weeks, fantasize about new journeys and after 530 kilometers I celebrate my arrival in Oviedo. Bye bye Camino del Norte, bye bye beautiful Bay of Biscay!

Ocean view, Bay of Biscay

Overnight places

Irun – San Sebastián – Zarautz – Deba – Markina Xemein – Eskerika – Bilbao – Portugalete – Santullan – Santona – Somo – Boo de Pielagos – Comillas – Colombres – Vidiago – Pineres de Pria – La Isla – Villaviciosa – Oviedo.

Would you like to read the continuation of my walking trip? This blog will follow asap!

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