From Irún to Santiago de Compostela
The Camino del Norte or the Northern Way is a route along the Northern coast of Spain, hence its name. It starts in the town of Irun, near the French border and follows the Atlantic coast through the Basque country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia.
Compared to the more popular Camino Frances, the Camino del Norte is more scenic and the pilgrim has a more solitary experience here. In terms of facilities, there are less albergues here, especially in the first half of the journey but things improve once one reaches Asturias and especially Galicia.
The northern coast of Spain is greener due to higher precipitations in the area so a pilgrim must be prepared for more rain on this route. But the rain will be certainly compensated by the lush green hills and mountains, especially the Picos de Europa in Asturias. Many stretches of the camino are next to the sea and you will have the occasion to dip into the sea in the summer months in some unspoilt beaches.
Waymarking is generally good, although in the Basque country it is sometimes rare. As you progress and you reach Galicia, the waymarking is outstanding.
It is best to choose the Camino del Norte during the summer months of July and August if you want to have a chance to swim in the ocean. It is otherwise very wet and cold around here.