The beautiful Atlantic route starts in the Basque area in Irun on the Spanish-French border, following the north coast through the coastal towns of Bilbao, Santander, Gijón and Ribadeo. These are the most popular tourist places in Spain and, like most coastal cities, characterized by fishing with picturesque harbours. But the previous fishermen’s shacks have today been changed to upscale seafood restaurants. Thousand years ago whale catching was important at several places along the Spanish north coast. About seven per cent of all pilgrims walk the Camino del Norte.
In Villaviciosa, just before Gijón, one can alternatively chose the oldest pilgrim route in Spain, the Camino Primitivo. The route is hillier than the French route but incredibly beautiful. During October 2010 I walked totally 822 kilometres from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela.