The Way of Saint James is one of the most famous pilgrimage routes in the world. Pilgrims from many destinations arrive in Santiago de Compostela after a spiritual and intense journey. The route taken by the great majority of pilgrims is the French Way, but many do not know that the Northern Way (Camino del Norte, also known as Camino Alto) is even more ancient than the French Way.
The Northern Route was one of the busiest in the early years of the pilgrimage to Santiago, taking advantage of the Asturian and Galician roads of the ancient Kingdom of Asturias. This route, which begins today in Hendaye and follows the Cantabrian coastline, lost its importance during the christian Reconquest, when southern territories became safer and because the current French Way was less complicated to hike.
With a distance of about 823 kilometers to Santiago de Compostela, the Northern Way has the enticement of beautiful landscapes contrasting colors, the blue of the sea and the green of the forests set an incomparable scenario for a journey that is “the journey itself”. The soft breeze coming either from the sea or the woods, the beauty of the coastal towns, and the fact that the Northern Way stops in some of the most beautiful cities in Spain like San Sebastian, Santander and Gijon are many reasons to choose this “off the beaten path”.
In Arzúa, Galicia, the two roads meet, and the French and the Northern Ways will become one way.
Wanderer there is no road, the road is made by walking.