Day 13, Camino del Norte – Santillana del Mar to San Vicente de la Barquera 34.5 km


Total distance 361.5 km
Daily average 27.8
Today’s accumulated uphill elevation 400 m
Today’s accumulated downhill elevation 455 m

A very pleasant meal was taken last evening with two French, two Germans, one Italian and me. And true to his word, Jordi (Spanish dog man) removed his mattress from the bunk above mine and took it outside to sleep with his dog. I could still hear him snoring, even through the closed dorm window.

I awoke to a beautiful clear morning and decided to wear my home-made hiking skirt for the first time. It was very comfortable and it was nice to feel the benefit of a light breeze where the sun doesn’t shine. I was a bit concerned that if the breeze picked up, so might my skirt, which wouldn’t have been very pleasant for anyone, but the weight of my phone in the pocket seemed to anchor it adequately. I have to admit that skirt and hiking boots isn’t my best look, but we don’t worry about that sort of thing on Camino.


It was another day of slogging along the road. With the exception of maybe two or three km’s on alternative hard surface, ie large stones which are even worse than Tarmac, it was road walking all the way, albeit for the first two thirds through beautiful countryside and exceptionally pretty little villages. This area really is very attractive with stone built houses with wooden hanging balconies, all pristinely maintained.



At the town of Cóbreces options presented themselves. One, as I entered the town to take the back roads passing by delightful cottages rather than walking through the town centre. This was a good option, although probably a little longer. The next came at the exit of the town, where I chose the ‘alternative’ option. It was very pleasant, again on back roads and through a wooded area. I later discovered that the ‘official’ option would have taken me closer to the coastline, which I would have preferred.

The grass is always greener...

The grass is always greener…

Once the two routes joined back together it was more slog along the road, on and on and …… But there was finally the benefit of walking within view of the coastline.

It's not always better to be 'off road'

It’s not always better to be ‘off road’


We finally reached San Vicente after what seemed a very long day. The albergue here is just about OK, certainly not great. 10 euros incl breakfast, rather tired dormitory with slightly grubby beds and very basic showers, but plenty of them. It is in a very nice setting high above the seaside town close to the castle.

I teamed up with Gunter for a menu del dia at restaurant Devino, very nice food for 9 euros (including a one euro pilgrim discount).

I am still the only Brit around, not even any other English first language pilgrims. No Aussies, Americans, Canadians, or New Zealanders. Almost entirely French and Germans.

There are a lot of pilgrims at the albergue tonight, many I haven’t come across thus far. I would hope to put some distance between myself and the crowd by walking longer distances than some might prefer. I definitely don’t like being in such a crowd – although it is really just at the stopping point I come across them, during the walk I hardly see anyone. Vamos a ver.

A lovely hot day today, with a nice breeze to cool us down in the afternoon.

There seem to be plenty of drinking fountains along the route, which is really good.

My feet are doing better. Just one painkiller today. Left foot fine. Right foot – little toe blister almost better, and ball of foot not as painful.

Hopefully (I am ever hopeful), the walking will be easier tomorrow.

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue
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15 Responses to Day 13, Camino del Norte – Santillana del Mar to San Vicente de la Barquera 34.5 km

  1. dsh1963 says:

    I am really loving reading your entries. I hope to return to Spain in late August, to walk and to be a hospitalera. I am not sure which route to take this time, I don’t think averaging close to 30 km per day is in my plan, although last year’s Primitivo came close. Still time to think about it.


  2. mary lynch says:

    I’m not surprised you have sore feet Maggie. That looks like a very rough surface you have to walk along. I’m glad the foot pain is diminishing though. I hope David collects twice as much money for Cudeca. This year’s effort seems twice as difficult. Love and Buen Camino xx


  3. lynharrison4wind says:

    Long walk! The coastline is just how I imagined. Magic moments. What are the mountains? They seem to be lining your horizon every day. I’m surprised they are so high as to have a lot of snow on them and pleased for you it seems to be warm enough below them. Glad to hear the feet are womanning up for the job.


  4. keith889 says:

    To much information about your skirt and where the wind don’t shine 🙂


  5. Jenny Heesh says:

    So good to hear that all is going well in the main and that your feet were better today. Gorgeous photos as always. I love the Twiggy mini-skirt silhouette Maggie! Go girl !!!
    Camino hugs to you – Jenny xxx


  6. kitkatknit says:

    I had to chuckle at “I have to admit that skirt and hiking boots isn’t my best look, but we don’t worry about that sort of thing on Camino.” Not my best look either any more. That was my daily wear back in the early ’70s though. Summer and winter (winter with tights and rag wool socks to round out the look)


  7. I hear the thwack of your boots on the road. Superb photos. Keep well. Hope your feet stay your friends. Would have loved a picture of you in your skirt and boots. 🙂


  8. Do you remember the name of the alberuge in San Vicente de la Barquera? I want to stay a night there on my Camino next week, and as I have been to Comillas may try to do this same etapa, Santillana to SVDLBaquera 🙂


    • magwood says:

      It was Albergue Galeon. Not the best, but certainly not the worst. I can recommend supper at restaurant Devino. Very nice food. Here is a link to the albergue…
      Buen Camino mi amigo!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gracias! Any other advice before I take off tomorrow to Santander? My first day will be Tuesday and a short day to ease me into it. I’m super nervous…even if I’ve done Irún-Santander!


      • magwood says:

        If you take a really short first day and stop at Santa Cruz de Bezana, around 10 Kms, head for the donativo albergue. I stayed in a private albergue and regretted it when I heard how nice the donativo was. Then you would have around 27 kms into Santillana deal Mar, which is a beautiful town to hang out in. You will need to decide at Boo whether to take the Feve across the river or walk on the rails across the bridge (which I did, but can’t recommend – it was quite scary).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I was looking at Boo de Piélagos to stay the first day, but I’m hearing good things about Santa Cruz de Bezana. I’m going to walk on the rails! I’ve been to Santillana del Mar and have a private albergue booked.


  9. Rereading it once again, I took the alternativa out of Cóbreces too…and the less said about the albergue in San Vicente the better. Such a horrid place for such a delightful town!


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