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Camino del Norte Stage 5: Ribadeo to Santiago

Camino del Norte Stage 5: Ribadeo to Santiago

Overview

The last stage of the Camino del Norte takes pilgrims from Ribadeo through the market town of Vilalba and across Galicia’s farmland and lush countryside all the way to Santiago de Compostela. You will also be joining the famous Camino Frances in Arzúa, so you get the best of both worlds: a less travelled path on the Camino del Norte and the most popular and social trail on the Camino Frances.

The Camino del Norte (a.k.a. The Northern Way) offers a truly authentic pilgrim experience. Compared to the Camino Frances, the route is quieter, much more challenging, and a lot more rewarding. The Camino del Norte goes along the green northern coast of Spain from San Sebastián in the Basque Country, through Cantabria and the Asturias and reaches Ribadeo in Galicia. From Ribadeo, the Northern Camino heads inland, taking pilgrims across the forests and farmlands of rural Galicia on its way to Santiago de Compostela.

Since you will be walking over 100 km, don’t forget to stamp your pilgrim passport and claim your Compostela certificate when you reach Santiago!

Highlights

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ribadeo

Arrive on your own in Ribadeo. The town is famous for the Cathedrals Beach (a short taxi ride away), Galicia’s second most visited site after Santiago’s cathedral.

  • Accommodation in Ribadeo

Day 2: Ribadeo to Villamartin Grande | 18.6 km

Today’s walk follows rural paths, climbing slightly as the terrain becomes gradually mountainous. You will pass small villages and hamlets, but not many shops or services, so make sure you pack snacks and water. The first few kilometres of the day lead through flat terrain or with moderate slopes, but as soon as you reach A Ponte de Arante, we start a steep climb from 100 meters to almost 360 meters. As soon as we have overcome the ascent, we are only a few kilometres from today’s destination, Villamartin Grande.

  • Walking for the day: 18.6 km, 4 hours
  • Accommodation in Villamartin Grande

Day 3: Villamartin Grande to Mondoñedo | 17.9 km

Today, you will be climbing from Lourenzá towards Mondoñedo, which used to be one of the seven capitals of the Kingdom of Galicia. You will get amazing views of the surrounding countryside. Visit the Sanctuary of Remedios and the Cathedral.

  • Walking for the day: 17.9 km, 4 hours
  • Accommodation in Mondoñedo

Day 4: Mondoñedo to Abadín | 16.6 km

Heading out of Mondoñedo the Camino brings you uphill via some pretty villages like O Vilar or Lousada to Gontan and then Abadin.

  • Walking for the day: 16.6 km, 4 hours
  • Accommodation in Abadín

Day 5: Abadín to Vilalba | 20 km

Today, the Camino del Norte meanders among the forests, farmland and green pastures of the Terra Chá (flatlands), leading you to the area’s capital, the market town of Vilalba. Try the local delicacies, cheeses and other farm products.

  • Walking for the day: 20 km, 4-5 hours
  • Accommodation in Vilalba 

Day 6: Vilalba to Seixón | 30 km

From Vilalba, the Camino del Norte takes walkers through the heart of the Terra Chá region of Galicia. Forest paths, small farming villages and lush countryside make most of today’s peaceful walk.

  • Walking for the day: 30 km, 7 hours
  • Accommodation in Seixon

Day 7: Seixon to Sobrado Dos Monxes | 27.6 km

Continue on your Camino del Norte journey across rural Galicia. You will reach the highest point of the trail at Marcela, so take a few minutes to enjoy the views. Your destination is Sobrado dos Monxes, home to an impressive monastery. The original monastery dates back to the 10th century, although the current facade is baroque. You will be picked up at the monastery and stay the night in Miraz.

  • Walking for the day: 27.6 km, 7 hours
  • Accommodation in Sobrado dos Monxes or the area

Day 8: Sobrado Dos Monxes to Arzúa | 22 km

This morning you will be taken back to Sobrado dos Monxes to continue your Camino journey. Today you will walk the last stretch of the Camino del Norte before it joins the most popular Camino trail, Camino Francés, in Arzúa. Prepare yourself to meet many pilgrims in this busy market town. Arzúa is famous for its local cheese so make sure you give it a try!

  • Walking for the day: 22 km, 5 hours
  • Accommodation in Arzúa

Day 9: Arzúa to Pedrouzo | 18 km

Today’s Camino walk will take you through pretty woods, sleepy villages and across streams most of the day. Make sure you visit the chapel of Santa Irene, with its unique statue of Santiago. You will stay the night in the town of Pedrouzo.

  • Walking for the day: 18 km, 4-5 hours
  • Accommodation in Rúa-Pedrouzo (or the area)

Day 10: Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela | 21 km

Your final stage! You will walk mostly through rural settings and eucalyptus groves. Your next point of interest is Lavacolla in the outskirts of Santiago, where pilgrims used to wash in the river in preparation for their arrival in Santiago de Compostela. Rows of tall eucalyptus trees line your journey to Monte do Gozo, and it is from here that you will catch your first glimpse of the spires of the cathedral in Santiago.

After visiting Santiago Cathedral and recovering from your walk, take time to explore this gem of a city, small and vibrant. Its old town will enchant you. In Santiago the Compostela, you will find not only pilgrims but also locals and students enjoying a few bites and socialising over a glass of wine in the many bars, restaurants and cosy cafes.

  • Walking for the day: 21 km, 4-5 hours
  • Accommodation in Santiago de Compostela

Day 11: Departure

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading back to the airport. We highly recommend booking additional nights in Santiago de Compostela to explore this fantastic city.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodations on this tour include a mix of welcoming country inns and comfortable hotels (1-star, 2-star and 3-star), located close to the route of the Camino. You will always have a private room and an en-suite (attached) bathroom. The accommodation places have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. Extra nights can be booked at any of the accommodations along the way.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included (usually a simple buffet breakfast/coffee and toast/bread/croissant) on all days. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Where no dinner is included, most places serve hearty pilgrim menus – you can get a 3-course dinner including wine and water for about GBP 10-15 pp.

Difficulty & terrain

This walk is graded moderate and includes walks of up to 30 km (7 hours) a day (read more about difficulty grades). The Camino Del Norte follows a mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths. The route is marked with yellow painted arrows, but please take care at intersections. There are sections on the route where you will divert to follow the red and white stripes of the GR routes. There will always be other walkers around in case you are looking for help. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime.

When to go

This trip is available from March till mid-November, but the best months to visit are April – October.

The weather in Northern Spain is very varied. In general, you can expect pleasant temperatures for walking of between 19°C and up to about 26°C in the summer months. As you will be walking near the coast for much of this walk, you can expect some rainy days, particularly in spring and autumn.

The flexibility of self guided walking holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

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By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Santiago de Compostela (SCQ). The alternative airport is A Coruña (LCG).

By train or bus

Inclusions

Included

  • 10 nights in private en-suite rooms
  • 10 breakfasts
  • Maps
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (1 pc up to 20 kg per person)
  • Galician cheese tasting in Santiago (Monday to Saturday)
  • Guided Tour in Santiago de Compostela (old town)
  • Pilgrim pass
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches and dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes & entry fees (payable on the spot)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights

Compostela/Pilgrims Passport

You can obtain one at the start of your walk in the pilgrim’s office or the local church in town. You need to get your passport stamped in churches, restaurants or hotels along the way. At the end of the walk in Santiago de Compostela, you can obtain your Compostela Certificate.

Important: Due to the large influx of pilgrims during summer, and to avoid long waiting times, the Pilgrim Office in Santiago has installed a numbered ticket system for issuing pilgrim certificates (the Compostela). This new system allows pilgrims to collect their tickets and, using a QR Code, to check the status of the queue and estimated waiting time to obtain the Compostela. However, the number of tickets per day is limited, so on days with high numbers of pilgrims arriving, there is a possibility that not all pilgrims will be able to collect their certificate on the day of arrival and will have to return for it on the following morning.

Therefore, if obtaining a pilgrim certificate is important to you, and if you plan to undertake the Camino between April 15th and October 15th, we recommend that you arrange the return travel in such a way that you will be in Santiago de Compostela during the morning after your arrival. Better still, we encourage you to book a second night in Santiago so that you can collect the certificate without rushing and enjoy the charms of the city!

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