Follow the Cantabrian coast from the Cantabrian inland to Santiago among beaches, cliffs, green hills and charming fishing villages.
Following the Jacobean route through the Coastal Way, our pilgrimage to the tomb of the Apostle begins in Cantabrian territory. Limpias is famous due to the Christ of Agony, popular for his manifestations of life by means of tears, sweat and blood, who you will find in the Church of San Pedro. There are many interesting fishing towns nearby, such as Laredo, where La Salvé, one of the most extensive and beautiful beaches in the region, Castro Urdiales and Santoña can be found. This area is ideal for rowing and canoeing. A visit to the Cabárceno Nature Park, a 750-hectare park with more than a hundred animal species from the 5 continents in semi-freedom, or the Ansón Valley is also interesting. Santander, with its fried squid and its Botín Centre, and Bilbao, with its famous pintxos and its Guggenheim Museum, are also other attractive places to visit. You must try the artisan anchovies in olive oil, the tinned food that would also be the perfect souvenir.
Santillana del Mar, a medieval town with cobbled streets, is a true gift for the traveller by itself. The streets, palaces and mansions, the Romanesque Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana or Museums such as the Regina Coelli of Religious Art, await you to be discovered as a great treat for your eyes. You cannot leave the area without visiting the Neocave of Altamira and its Museum to learn about our past and marvel at the “Sistine Chapel of Rock Art”. Other recommended visits are Comillas, Santander or the Cabárceno Natural Park. Please visit the El Soplao Cave on your way to Asturias, with unique karst formations, or coastal towns such as San Vicente de la Barquera.
Gijón: historical, commercial and industrial, where the sea, the rolling mountains and the big city come together to create one of the most attractive cities in the north of Spain. Its mild climate invites you to enjoy it all year round. The San Lorenzo beach, the seafront promenade, the marina, the Semana Negra literary week, the social life and the party atmosphere make you want to get to know the city. You have to walk by the fishing neighbourhood of Cimadevilla and go up to the hill of Santa Catalina, where you will see the sculpture of Chillida "Praise of the Horizon", and from where the Cantabrian coast offers a beautiful panoramic view. Among its many attractions, Gijón has a museum network and diverse cultural offerings: International Film Festival, Salón del Libro Iberoamericano book festival, the Railway Museum, the International Bagpipe Museum and others display the city's incredible history, including the Jovellanos birthplace museum, the Nicanor Piñole museum, the Revillagigedo palace, La Laboral, City of Culture... And if you have not yet succumbed to its charms, it is time to taste a hearty fabada or other Asturian dishes such as cachopo or its unbeatable rice pudding. On the way to Galicia, Avilés is well worth a stop to visit the Niemeyer Museum and typical fishing villages such as Candás, Luanco and Cudillero. Pay attention to the majestic Indian mansions placed throughout the territory!
Following the coast along the Jacobean Route of the Northern Way we arrive in Ribadeo, a Lugo fishing town bordering Galicia and Asturias. At the end of the route, it provides us with the necessary rest to discover places of great beauty and several beaches, including As Catedrais beach, one of the most spectacular in the world due to its set of cliffs over 32 meters high that, sculpted by the wind and the sea, form arches and vaults, and it was declared a Natural Monument. It must also be noted the Ribadeo estuary, included in the Eo River Biosphere Reserve, Oscos and Tierras de Burón, a natural cove of great ecological and environmental importance, and it is also great for all kinds of nautical and sports activities. We also suggest visiting the Fuerte de San Damián fort, the Puente Do Santos bridge and the nearby town of Castropol. You can treat yourself by tasting great creations and products of the north with typical dishes from the traditional Galician cuisine, such as seafood, empanada, lacón, broth rice with lobster from the Cantabrian Sea, hake from Puerto Celeiro or delicious suckling beef tenderloin with Cebreiro cheese sauce.
Days 5 and 6
Thursday and Friday.
Without leaving the coast, we reach Ferrol, one of the most unknown corners of Galicia. In the centre of this marine, naval and military town, in its symbolic La Magdalena neighbourhood, the nerve centre of Ferrol, where we will find the town hall and other relevant modernist buildings, the Parador awaits you, a stately mansion with a sea breeze. The hotel is a typical Galician house with white glazed galleries, surrounded by a beautiful sea environment. A good plan is to take a walk around the old fishing district, next to the marina, and eat some tapas or take a boat tour along the estuary. A tour of the streets of the Canido neighbourhood is recommended. It has become an international centre for street art thanks to the initiative to paint court ladies on the facades of the buildings due to a festival that has been held since 2008 on the first weekend of September. In the municipality of Mugardos, you can visit another beautiful military fortress on the Ferrol estuary, the Castillo de San Felipe, which is about a twenty-minute drive. Take the opportunity to taste its famous and special octopus. The region is also rich in natural elements, with several beaches open to the Atlantic Ocean, spectacular headlands and natural viewpoints, and natural parks such as the Fragas do Eume. Other nearby towns that are worth a visit are Cedeira, Ortigueira and Cariño to the north, and Pontedeume and Betanzos to the south. the city of A Coruña is also a must-see.
We finish our pilgrimage in Santiago, where the Apostle’s tomb is located. Santiago is a world heritage site and offers visitors countless places to visit. The Plaza del Obradoiro square with its beautify Catedral, the Plaza de la Universidad Square -this 18th-century building has a cloister and a library that look like a Harry Potter setting an can also be visited-, its streets where you can people watch the daily lives of locals, palaces and churches and cultural sites such as the Cathedral Museum, the Museum of Galician People and the CGAC Galician Centre for Contemporary Art. It is a town that seduces both on bright sunny days and on nostalgic and magical rainy days. The Parador, one of the most luxurious and beautiful ones, known as Hostal dos Reis Católicos, with a great mixture of history, art and tradition, is located in Plaza do Obradoiro. Staying here is to rest in a unique and exclusive place. Built as a Royal Hospital in 1499 to house walkers on their pilgrimage to Santiago, it is considered the oldest hotel in the world. If you have some time, you cannot miss the Galician estuaries: the Rías Baixas, from Muros to Vigo and Baiona, with its natural park of the Atlantic Islands; the Rías Altas, from A Coruña to Barqueiro; A Costa da Morte, from Carnota to Malpica; and the Mariña Lucense. And you cannot leave Santiago without having a good seafood feast and, whether you have a sweet tooth or not, the Santiago cake is one of the essentials that you must taste.