Camino del Norte, Islares to Santoña 22.5 km

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  • Accumulated elevation gain 342 m
  • Accumulated elevation loss 353 m

The problem with staying in a tent, I discovered, is that slightly wet washing hung inside will end up slightly wetter than it started! And one other problem with staying at Camping Arenillas is that it is very close to the motorway, with towering cliffs on the other side of the road so the traffic noise has nowhere to go other than to the camping site!

However I managed a reasonable night’s sleep and this morning dawned a bit hazy but the sun battled through the haze to force us to remove some layers of clothing before 9 o’clock.

We knew that the choice we had made for this stage involved a lot of road walking, once again on the N634. For a long period we were directed to walk on the right side of this main road, as the shoulder on the left side was very narrow or non-existent. A lot of the time there was a narrow rough path inside the crash barrier. It wasn’t actually very busy.

We stopped for a drink at a bar in Liendo at which point we had walked almost 10 km on the main road – the road was a slog but the scenery was lovely. The next 12 km were absolutely stunning. From this point we passed onto country lanes and soon enough onto dirt tracks through woodland, climbing ever upward – eventually to the most amazing look out point with eagles or vultures soaring overhead and views to a wide turquoise sea and towering green cliffs.

A couple of pretty flowers 😂

We were surprised to find this route was remarkably well signposted.

Last time I walked this stage, I followed the official camino route, which was longer, involved less road walking and some pretty scenery, but nothing that compared to today’s spectacle.

A bit of a fuzzy image, but do you know if it’s an eagle or vulture?

We also entered the town of Laredo by a different route, through the very quaint old quarter, which was really pretty, and we made our way to the ferry by way of a 4 km walk along the beach rather than the promenade as I had previously.

Just as we arrived at the point where the ferry picks up, we saw it sailing away, but the kind guys turned around to pick us up and take us over the channel to Santoña.

We are staying at the private albergue Bilbaina where I have stayed previously. It is situated in a grand building right on the main town square. It being Friday evening it is full of children playing – a sound so much sweeter than that of the motorway!

I discovered there is an Eroski supermarket here and have bought myself a bumper crop of healthy food and have just enjoyed a salad of quinoa, rocket, tomatoes, avocado and goats’ cheese. So delicious and healthy. You can see that I have slipped from my strict plant only diet for this camino. Due to covid most albergue kitchens are closed and it is difficult to self cater. So I am allowing myself some dairy and eggs to make things easier.

Paul and took a stroll right around the coastal edge of town and were surprised at how big the place is. There is a bustling marina and a substantial fishing fleet. It’s a fabulous place to stay.

I’ve been asked how I find my accommodation. Some is previous knowledge but most is gleaned from – an excellent resource for all caminos.

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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6 Responses to Camino del Norte, Islares to Santoña 22.5 km

  1. Cathy Mahoney says:

    Wow Maggie thanks for Will use it on Via Francigena next year


  2. Nina says:

    What a scenic walk today! Brings back memories of this walk in 2015 and discovering the ferry on the beach. I hope you will have a good sleep tonight!
    Much love to you and the team 🙂


  3. Janice Tyler says:

    Absolutely stunning photos today. I did wonder about the joys of being in a tent yesterday! I think that’s a Griffon vulture – they used to come over us in Competa – but I could be wrong. The diet sounds really healthy too.


  4. lynharrison4wind says:

    I was going to say I think it’s a Griffon vulture, but Janice got there before me. I’ve seen dozens in the sky above the hills behind Tarifa so know it is common to Spain, nor at least southern Spain,


  5. M3 Mary says:

    What amazing scenery Maggie. That was so kind of the ferry man to come back and collect you all. I am enjoying being an armchair participant in this wonderful Camino. Your dinner sounds yummy Best wishes and much love, buen camino xx


  6. Well done and yes, the sceneries are pretty spectacular and most of all, for now you stay dry.😊


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