Playa de la Arena to Castro Urdiales on El Camino del Norte

Camino del Norte Day 9 and we are walking from Playa de la Arena to Castro Urdiales. It’s supposed to be a fabulous seaside town resort along the northern coast of Spain. Can’t wait to get there.

Camino Del Norte Day 9 Overview

  • Distance – 20km
  • From – Playa del la Arena
  • To – Castro Urdiales
  • Terrain – Relatively easy
  • Steps – 24,000 

Last night in Playa de la Arena was a quiet one as El Camino Del Norte is taking its toll. We are all very tired after a hard start to the walk from Irun to Santiago de Compostela.

Top Tip The first few days walking the northern coast route of the Camino del Norte is very hard, so keep your daily distances to a manageable level.


We decided to have an early start and set off at 7am after having tortilla for breakfast with the obligatory cafe con leche we are on the road. Can you ever get enough cafe con leche ?

Today’s trip is a short 20km walk along the cliffs of the northern coast mixed with some road walking ending in the religious town of Castro Urdiales. 

Its a relatively easy stage to walk but the views are amazing.

We’re really looking forward to seeing the old cathedral on the cliffs and lots of amazing Spanish tapas as well. 

We’re in Cantabria now so think the bar snacks are called tapas and not pinxtos and they are famous for their tapas in Castro Urdiales. Looking forward to tasing them.

We left the beach of Playa de la Arena behind us and had a long walk on the boardwalk passing some beautiful little bays on the way. 

Its definitely one of the prettiest places on el Camino Del Norte.

The bridge to pobena near Playa de la Arena
The bridge to pobena near Playa de la Arena
Small bay at Pobena near Playa de la arena
Small bay at Pobena near Playa de la arena
Camino del Norte: Irún to Santiago along Spain's Northern Coast (Village to Village Map Guide)

Camino del Norte: Irún to Santiago along Spain's Northern Coast 

  • Author - Matthew Harms, Anna Dintaman & David Landis
  • Village to Village Map Guidebook
  • 96 pages
  • 3.5 ounces
  • 143 detailed stage, city and town maps and elevation profiles including town amenities

We arrived in the next small town and found ourselves with a steep climb through the forest up to the cliffs above the bay of Playa de la Arena. 

The north coast camino trail really does traverse up and down throughout day.

walk up to the cliffs from Pobena

We worked our way up to the top of the cliffs and the views back to Playa de la Arena was fantastic.

From this point there is a lot of cliff walking and lots of amazing picture opportunities. If you like walking by the sea then this northern coast camino is an excellent choice.

The coastal village of Playa de la arena

We worked our way down the coast walking on the cliffs and passed through a really strange tunnel getting from one cove to another.

tunnel on the camino del norte

| Tip

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We did have a little walk inland from the coast and the views didn’t disappoint. We passed through a couple of small villages before we headed in Castro Urdiales and the long walk around the beach.

scenic view walking from playa de la arena to castro urdiales on the Camino del Norte

Castro Urdiales

Castro Urdiales is a picturesque harbour town located on the northern coast of Spain in Cantabria. It has a population of around 32,000 inhabitants and is known for its charming old town, stunning beaches and historic landmarks.

The town has a rich history, dating back to the Roman era when it was known as Flaviobriga. 

It became an important trading port for the Basque region and was ruled by various powers including the Visigoths, Moors and the Kingdom of Castile.

We arrived in the centre of the town and found a small hotel to stay in called Pension La Mar

Castro Urdiales Harbour

One of the most significant landmarks in Castro Urdiales is the Gothic-style Church of Santa María, which dates back to the 13th century. 

It features stunning stained glass windows, intricate carvings and a unique octagonal tower. Other notable landmarks include the Castle of Castro Urdiales, a medieval fortress built in the 13th century to defend against pirate attacks.

The Town Hall, a neoclassical building that was also once a hospital.

Santa Maria church in castro urdiales

The town also has a lively port area with a variety of bars, restaurant and shops making it a popular destination on the Camino Del Norte for tourists and Pilgrims.

bars and cafes in castro urdiales
great tapas in castro urdiales

The town was pretty quiet so we settled ownn with some amazing tapas and had a game of cards outside each little bar we came across. 

The Tapas was really nice and the selection was so diverse. We ended up eating this and having no dinner. It was so filling.

At about 9pm the whole town seemed to absolutely come to life with families walking around, couple meandering from bar to bar. The atmosphere was electric.

Castro Urdiales turned out to be one of the best nights we had on El Camino Del Norte. It was a real blast and we talked to some really friendly locals.

Pilgrims enjoying a beer in Castro urdiales on the Camino del Norte

Accommodation in castro Urdiales

Castro Urdiales is a popular stop on the Camino del Norte pilgrimage route, and as such, there are several options for pilgrim accommodation in the town. 

Here are some accommodation options available in Castro Urdiales:

Hotel Sercotel Las Rocas: This is a 4-star hotel located on the seafront, offering comfortable rooms with sea views. The hotel features a restaurant, bar, outdoor pool, terrace and is a popular choice for pilgrims and tourists alike.

Albergue de Peregrinos de Castro Urdiales: This is a pilgrim hostel located near the town center, offering basic dormitory-style accommodation with shared bathrooms and kitchen facilities. The hostel is run by volunteers and is a popular choice for budget-conscious pilgrims.

Hotel La Ronda: This is a charming guesthouse located in the heart of the old town, offering comfortable rooms with en-suite bathrooms. The guesthouse features a shared lounge area, and is within walking distance of many of the town’s main attractions.

Albergue Camino Norte: This is a modern and well-equipped pilgrim hostel located near the town center, offering dormitory-style accommodation with shared bathrooms and kitchen facilities. The hostel features a communal dining area, terrace, and laundry facilities, and is a popular choice for pilgrims on the Camino del Norte.

Hotel Vista Alegre: Small hotel 10 mins from the beach with multiple six=zed rooms for singles, double and triple parties.

Castro Sun and Beach: One bedroom apartment in the centre of Castro Urdiales with wifi and a sun terrace. perfect for couples or 2 pilgrims on the camino.

Overall, there are plenty of accommodation options in Castro Urdiales ranging from budget-friendly hostels to more luxurious hotels and apartments. It’s important to do your research and book in advance, particularly during peak season.

The town also get very busy at weekends as  a lot of people from Bilbao use Castro Urdiales as a weekend resort to get away from the city.


The walk from Playa de la Arena to Castro Urdiales was mostly walking by the sea and was a lovely days walk on the Camino Del Norte.

It was topped off by a wonderful stay in a local seaside town full of friendly people. I recommend staying here if you are walking the Northern Way, its worth it !

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Mark Stevens
Mark Stevens

I am a long distance walking nerd and fell in love with the Camino de Santiago in 2016 when I walked the French Way for the first time. I've been blogging since then and my aim is to help all Pilgrims with hiking and walking advice.

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