PREVIOUS PRIVATE GROUP WALKING TOURS
Below is a collection of tours that we have created for previous clients, many of whom return to us every summer for something new.
THE NORTHERN ROUTE – TWO DIFFERENT VERSION OF THE CAMINO DEL NORTE
There was a period of time in Spain when the traditional road to Santiago de Compostela, the Camino Francés, was a dangerous place to be. The Moorish occupation of the South meant that Christian pilgrims had to find an alternative road further north, beyond the Cantabrian Mountains and out of dangers reach.
So was born the Camino del Norte. These days it is a popular road to travel for pilgrims looking for something a little bit different. It is known in Spanish as the camino of mar y montes (sea and mountains) because the path alternates between all of Spain’s northern cities and the mountains which separate them.
Because of it’s length we have sometimes divided it into two parts and spread the journey over two summer holidays. You can do either or both in one summer if you wish, but we describe them here separately.
Irún to Ribadesella: 21 days
Total Distance: 433 kilometres / 269 miles
We follow the most spectacular coastline Spain has to offer. With the Cantabrian Sea to our right and mountain ranges to our left we walk through picturesque fishing villages and fascinating cities. On this section of the Camino del Norte we pass through the Basque Country (famous for its tapas or pinxos and of course the Guggenheim museum). Then on to Cantabria where we find perfectly preserved villages and awe-inspiring cave systems. We end our journey in Asturias, renowned for its magnificent landscapes and its food, including artisan cheeses, cider and chorizo.
- The beautiful city of San Sebastián (known as Donostia in the Basque language Euskera), famed for its great food and beaches.
- Our Camino passes through Gernika, the town whose bombing during the Spanish Civil War inspired Picasso´s response, Guernica.
- Visit to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao which was designed by Frank Gehry and is cited by many as being the impetus for the regeneration of this historic port city.
- Spectacular views of the Cantabrian Mountains and the Bay of Biscay.
- Visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Altamira, famous for its Upper Palaeolithic cave paintings.
- Beautiful examples of Casas Indianas, the magnificent villas built by the many Asturians who emigrated to South America in the 19th Century and returned to their homeland wealthier.
- The lively fishing villages of Llanes and Ribadesella, where we can try the local catch and drink traditional cider made with local apples.
Ribadesella to Santiago de Compostela: 21 days
Total Distance: 423 kilometres / 262.6 miles
The final leg of the Coastal Road and all the way to Santiago de Compostela! We begin our journey in the beautiful Principality of Asturias, which as a Kingdom in the 8th Century was fundamental in the development of the pilgrimage when, legend has it, Alfonso II became the first pilgrim to the tomb of St. James. We follow the Cantabrian Sea all the way to the border with Galicia, where we turn inland and through fascinating villages until we join other pilgrims on the French Route for the last two days of walking into Santiago de Compostela!
- The beaches of Asturias – picturesque coves, mountain backdrops and if we are lucky, spectacular blowholes!
- Wandering around the harbour of Gijón, filled with sidrerias, where we can attempt to enscanciar – the traditional way to pour Asturian cider – and try some locally caught fish and an array of local cheeses and chorizos.
- We will see some excellent examples of arquitectura indiana, the 19th Century villas built by wealthy Asturianos returning from South America.
- Visit the beautiful Monastery of Santa María in Sobrado, originally founded in the 10th Century and one of the many important monuments on the Northern pilgrimage route.
- Arriving into Santiago de Compostela with pilgrims from all around the world and a chance to celebrate with a visit to the Cathedral of Santiago.