The Camino of a lifetime

Not one for the faint-hearted, this route option is our most challenging Camino and will take you from the Northern Coast right into Santiago de Compostela, across 500 miles of beautiful Spanish countryside.

You'll travel through charming Spanish villages, pass through landmark towns like Bilbao and Oviedo as well as treating walks with the wild Cantabrian coast. For a once in a lifetime challenge, this is definitely the route to take.

This Camino also has the added benefit of meeting up with one other Camino group during the expedition. You will walk for the last 6 days with the walkers from the Camino Primitivo and arrive in Santiago on the 2nd of June. The perfect way to boost morale and arrive in full glory in Santiago de Compostela

TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE OF A LIFETIME

Walk the Camino de Santiago with Destiny of a Child
and raise vital money for Dogs For Good

Each walker will need to cover their Camino costs
and fundraise a minimum of £1,500 for the charity

The Key Facts:

  • This Camino will be held between the 5 May 2018 - 2 June 2018
  • 29 days (27 walking)
  • 390 miles / 626 km
  • Coastlines, rolling hills, grassy fields and mountainous terrain
  • Groups of 6 walkers maximum (self-guided)
  • You can download the full itinerary here

 

pricing:

  • Single room occupancy on the Challenge: €3,415.50
  • Shared room occupancy on the Challenge: €2,740.50
  • The price includes airport transfers, breakfast and dinner each day, hotel rooms, and luggage transfer to your next hotel each day
  • Please note this Camino challenge is self-guided
  • A 50% non-refundable deposit will be required when you register
  • Note: does not include flights, or additional fundraising requirement

 

Due Date Payment Type
On Registration 50% of your non-refundable deposit payable via Destiny of a Child website
31st Jan 2018 Registration Closes
31st Jan 2018 Remaining 50% fee due to Destiny of a Child
30th Apr 2018 £1,500 minimum fundraising amount payable to Destiny of A Child (via JustGiving or cheque)
30th June 2018 Any further donation amounts raised

The First Leg: San Sebastian to Bilbao

Image courtesy of Follow The Camino - click to enlarge

DAY ONE: Arriving at San Sebastian

A transfer from Biarritz airport will be organized around 18:30 to San Sebastián.

You will then be booked into a hotel in the heart of the town, with the rest of your walking group - giving you a chance to unwind before the challenge, and get to know your fellow walkers.

DAY TWO: From San Sebastian to Getaria (26km, 7h30)

Leaving San Sebastian and the magnificent Bay of Biscay, the Camino follows the beautiful coastline along grassy fields on rolling hills. First, we find the Roman Church of San Martin de Tours, then we pass through ancient whaling villages. Finally, we arrive in the picturesque village of Getaria, perched on a rock above a small harbour.

DAY THREE: From Getaria to Deba (17km, 6h30)

The Camino starts on a small country road, following the coast. Arriving in Zarautz, we take a small footpath into farmland. Passing the church of Santa Maria la Real and the village of Juan Sebastian Elcano, we continue our stroll to the coast. The last stop is the pleasant coastal resort of Deba.

 DAY FOUR: From Deba to Markina (20km, 5h)

Today we abandon the sea for more mountainous landscapes and we won't see it again until Bilbao. The Camino crosses a river and starts climbing steeply into dense vegetation, until it reaches the Hermitage of El Calvario. From here, we will follow a narrow footpath (GR-121) passing through many hamlets. Finally, the Camino goes steeply downhill to Markina, a village with strong Basque traditions.

DAY FIVE: Markina to Gernika (25km, 7h15)

Leaving Markina, the Camino follows a country road and crosses the river in Bolivar (28 km). It ascends to the medieval monastery of Cenarruza. Leaving the monastery, we take a path into a dense forest, to the top of Gontzegarai, and onwards to the village of Gerikaitz. At the Hermitage of Santiago, a steep footpath leads downhill to a creek and finally to Gernika.

DAY SIX: From Gernika to Lezama (24km, 6h30)

The Camino leaves Gernika by the hermitage of Santa Luzia Zallo. Shortly after, we start a climb to reach a road (PR-173), and then a cobbled path leads to the the top of the village of Morga. Here, we leave the farmland and enter a forest, following a steep descent to the traditional villages of Goikoletxea, Larrabetzu and finally, Lezama.

DAY SEVEN: From Lezama to Bilbao (13km, 3h30)

This is a relatively short stage across farmland. First we pass Zamudio and the interesting Roman church of San Maarten. The Tower of Malpica is visible above us. Slowly climbing to reach the summit of Mount Avril, we are rewarded with spectacular views of Bilbao and the valley below. On arrival in the suburbs of Bilbao, don?t forget to visit the beautiful Basilica of Our Lady of Bego?. Finally, we come to Place de Unamuno, in the old quarter of Bilbao.

The Second Leg: Bilbao to Santander

Image courtesy of Follow The Camino - click to enlarge

DAY EIGHT: From Bilbao to Portugalete (18km, 3h)

First, a relatively short stage, going through the old industrialised Bilbao. After passing the suspension bridge, the Camino enters the industrial heart of the Basque Country; despite this, it is a place of peace and calm along the Cadagua River. Crossing the historical ?Devil?s bridge?, the Camino arrives at the hermitage of Santa Águeda. From there, we take a deep breath before the steep ascent to the town of Barakaldo. Following a footpath along the Galindo River, we arrive in Portugalete.

 DAY NINE: From Portugalete to Castro Urdiales (28km, 7h30)

What a wonderful section! The Camino now leaves the coast, ascending to Ota?es with beautiful views of the craggy coast below. From here the Camino enters a forest track that brings us to Robredal and its church of San Nicholas. Finally we arrive in the coastal town of Castro Urdiales, passing the bullring and the beach. Castro Urdiales is an interesting town with a mix of medieval and modern architecture.

 DAY TEN: From Castro Urdiales to Laredo (25km, 7h)

Today, the Camino passes a medieval castle/lighthouse and follows the coast along spectacular cliffs, overlooking the Cantabrian Sea. Reaching Guriezo, we continue on the main Camino to Rioseco, passing the Chapel of Santa Isabel, crossing the bridge over the River Aguera and on to the Church of La Magdalena. From Guriezo the Camino continues to Liendo where there are two route choices to Laredo; either crossing the valley and passing the Church of Nuestra Senora de Liendo in Hazas, or following paths up to the Chapel of St Julian, and finally to Laredo. Laredo is a popular town reputed for its beautiful beaches, medieval quarter (Puebla Vieja) and lively atmosphere.

DAY ELEVEN: From Laredo to Escalante (16km, 3h30)

The Camino continues from Laredo in the direction of Colindres (where it is possible to cross to Santona by boat). We continue by road, following Santoria?s Marshes. This marshland is of considerable importance to the migration and wintering of numerous aquatic birds. Although today's walk is flat, the scenery is exciting. Survey the coast and mountains as you continue towards Escalante.

DAY TWELVE: From Escalante to Santander (27km, 7h30)

From Escalante, the Camino continues via the beaches of Berria and Helgueras until reaching Noja. From there, the Camino heads south towards San Miguel de Meruelo, or an alternative Camino can be taken that continues north along the coast to pass through the town of Isla. Both Caminos converge in Bareyo where it is worth stopping to admire the beautiful Romanesque Church of Santa Maria. From the village of Somo, you can catch a "pedrenera", a traditional boat used to connect the two sides of the bay.

The Third Leg: Santander to Ribadesella

Image courtesy of Follow The Camino - click to enlarge

DAY THIRTEEN: From Santander to Arce (20km, 3h30)

During this stage, the Camino moves slightly inland and passes through towns such as Santa Cruz de Bezana, Mompia and Boo de Pielagos. The estuary of Boo de Pielagos leads to the village of Arce. A project, currently underway, will eventually shorten the journey by 10 kilometres with the addition of a pedestrian bridge.

DAY FOURTEEN: From Arce to Santillana del Mar (27km, 7h30)

The Camino follows the pleasant, hilly landscape of the coast. Coming to Miengo, we finally reach the Besaya region. Take your time to visit the charming little village of Suance. Passing meadows and sleepy villages, we arrive in the medieval village of Santillana del Mar.

DAY FIFTEEN: From Santillana del Mar to Comillas (23km, 6h45)

This stage introduces the pilgrim to the wild western coast of Cantabria. The Camino passes villages of outstanding beauty like Cobreces, with its Cistercian Monastery, and finally arrives in Comillas with its impressive beaches and remarkable architecture. Check out the spectacular ?Capricho de Gaudi?, the Palace of Sobrellano with its pantheon chapel, and the Pontifical University.

DAY SIXTEEN: From Comillas to Unquera (27km, 7h30)

From Comillas, the Camino continues along the coast, and comes to Oyambre Natural Park. Here you will have the chance to witness an outstanding marine ecosystem consisting of a large variety of birds, molluscs and fish. The Camino reaches the town of San Vicente de la Barquera. Finally, passing estuaries, green pastures and forests, we arrive in Unquera.

DAY SEVENTEEN: From Unquera to Llanes (25km, 7h)

The Camino de Santiago enters Asturias, crossing a bridge over the river Deva and continuing into Bustio. Before Colombres, we have to climb the "Cuesta'l Cantu". Then we go downhill along the Sierra de La Borbolla. The Way now enters Pendueles. Here, the Camino take a narrow footpath that crosses the road to Andrin and climbs up to the Jorcada pass. The Camino drops to La Portilla and continues to Llanes, where we stay for the night.

DAY EIGHTEEN: From Llanes to Ribadesella (29km, 8h)

Passing the beautiful beaches of Palombina and Barro, the Camino crosses the river Niembro. Climbing steadily uphill, we reach the Church of San Pedro de Pria, set on a hill overlooking the district?s seven towns. Then, the Camino continues downhill to the medieval stone bridge over the river Gua­damia, it crosses the railway and continues on to Sobares and Ribadesella. Ribadesella is a fascinating town and well worth a stroll around.

The Fourth Leg: Ribadesella to O Cadavo Baleira

Image courtesy of Follow The Camino - click to enlarge

DAY NINETEEN: From Ribadesella to Colunga (21km,5h)

The Camino continues uphill towards the village of Vega, at the foot of the impressive Monte Redondu. Reaching Vegas beach, we cross the Regatu del Acebu and climb to the charming village of Berbes. Then, the Camino goes downhill to the beach of El Arenal de Mons, where the mouth of the River de los Romeros can be seen. After passing a Templar site and the Benedictine Monastery of Santiago (founded in the 11th century), we arrive in Colunga.

DAY TWENTY: From Colunga to Villaviciosa (18km, 4h)

From Colunga, the Camino continues along the valley of the river Llovones, passing small villages. As we leave the valley the track leads uphill to the Cabanona pass, where we can get superb views of the coast. The Camino continues downhill to Priesca, past the Church of San Salvador, consecrated in the year 921. If the church is opened have a look at the paintings inside. Now on the left bank of the river Sebrayu, the Camino follows the Nabla river valley to reach Villaviciosa.

DAY TWENTY-ONE: From Villaviciosa to Pola de Siero (28km, 7h30)

From Villaviciosa, we follow the Camino until we reach the village of La Casquita. Here we leave the coast taking the southern way of the Camino Norte. This alternative way allows us to visit Oviedo, and also to connect with the ?Camino Primitivo?, the Original way. On the Camino, don?t miss the Church of San Juan de Amandi (13th century), and the marvelous Pre-Romanesque Church known as El Conventin (9th century). We cross the river Valdedio and continue to Camoca to the Alto La Campa, enjoying superb views over the Sariego Valley. We finally descend to Figares and continue walking towards La Carcabada until we come to Pola de Siero.

 DAY TWENTY-TWO: From Pola de Siero to O Cadavo Baleira (n/a)

A transfer by bus today from Pola de Siero to O Cadavo Baleira to meet with the other walkers, who will be starting their Camino Primitivo challenge.

The Fifth Leg: Lugo to Santiago de Compostella

Image courtesy of Follow The Camino - click to enlarge

DAY TWENTY-THREE: O Cadavo Baleira to Lugo (30km, 7h)

The Camino begins through lands famous for their slate mines as far as Paradavela. This attractive village, which retains much of its original character, is home to a number of "Pallozas" (primitive thatched dwellings) and other buildings of interest. Then, passing by the convent of San Francisco de Vilabade we arrive later in the pleasant town of Castroverde. After Castroverde, the Camino passes the abandoned village of Soutomerille, nestled in a landscape of great beauty. Finally, crossing farmland, the Way arrives in "Lucus Augusti", or Lugo, by the Gate of Saint Peter. Lugo is the oldest town in Galicia! Take some time to explore it.

Image courtesy of Follow The Camino - click to enlarge

DAY TWENTY-FOUR: From Lugo to San Romao de Retorta (18km, 5h45)

After leaving Lugo through the Porta Mina, the oldest gate in the town walls, the Camino heads towards the old Roman Bridge and the quarter of San Lazaro. A couple of kilometres later, it passes Santa de Boveda; a national monument and a museum where early medieval paintings of the Iberian Peninsula can be seen. The route today consists of a mix of farmland and forest, an easy way to break yourselves into the Camino!

DAY TWENTY-FIVE: San Romao de Retorta to Melide (23km, 6h)

On the road from the hamlet of San Romao de Retorta there is a Roman milestone, suggesting that this section of the present-day Camino was laid out following an ancient Roman road. Further on, you will pass a 13th-century Romanesque church, one of the many which are characteristic of the area surrounding Santiago. The Camino Primitivo follows ancient paths that are still in use today and connects an endless number of small rural villages such as Seixalbo, Xende, Ferreira, and Merlan.

Finally, the Camino enters the province of A Coruna through the borough of Toques to the historic pilgrimage town of Melide. In Melide, we'd recommend you tuck into the traditional regional octupus dish, "Pulpo a la Plancha".

DAY TWENTY-SIX: From Melide to Arzua (13km, 3h15)

The Camino today follows a forest track and crosses several streams, bringing you to the village of Boente and its church of Santiago.

The next stop is the medieval village of Ribadiso, and finally Arza (389m above sea level). This small town has two churches that you can visit; Santa María and La Magdalena.

DAY TWENTY-SEVEN: From Arzua to Rua (18km, 4h15)

This section of the Camino will pass through shaded woods, along streams and through sleepy villages. Take your time and visit the chapel of Santa Irena, with its unique statues of Santiago. The rest of the way to Rua/Opino is on a quiet country road. 

 

DAY TWENTY-EIGHT: From Rua to Santiago de Compostela (21km, 5h30)

Nearly there! First, the Camino passes by Amenal, and then onto Lavacolla where pilgrims traditionally washed in the river before reaching Santiago de Compostela. The tall eucalyptus trees will line your route to Monte del Gozo (368m above sea level) with its huge modern sculpture, and views of the Cathedral of Santiago. You are on the "Mount of Joy" and can now start your final descent to Santiago de Compostela - success!

DAY TWENTY-NINE: Santiago de Compostela. End of the Camino

After a well-deserved night's sleep, we'll have breakfast and the team will bid you goodbye.