At the World Conference Centre in Bonn, Germany, the World Heritage Committee announced the inclusion of the Camino del Norte in the UNESCO World Heritage List. This announcement put Spain third behind Italy and China for the number of heritage sites in one country.
Four routes have been recognised in this new classification. They are the Camino de la Costa, the Camino Primitivo, the Lebaniego in Cantabria and the Basque-Rioja. The Camino del Norte (or Northern Way) runs from Irún to Oviedo where it joins the Camino Primitivo which continues down to Santiago de Compostela. These routes began with the first pilgrims as far back as the 9th Century. The new additions join the old city of Santiago, the Camino Frances, the Roman Wall of Lugo and the Tower of Hercules in A Coruna on the updated list.
The Camino del Norte has a blend of cities and hidden gems which are surrounded by stunning vistas. Some notable stops include San Sebastián, Bilbao, Santander, Oviedo, Lugo and Melide. Bilbao is filled with famous art galleries such as the Guggenheim and Santandár is ideal for lounging on the beach after days of walking. From the 15 September each year the two cities have a massive party in celebration of Aste Nagusia (The Big Week) which is a celebration of all things Basque and involves giant fireworks displays and street parties.
For a more gastronomical experience a visit to Melide to try the wide variety of pastries and pulpo (octopus). Melide is the point where the Camino Primitivo joins the Camino Frances for the last descent into Santiago de Compostela.
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Originally published on 27th August 2015, updated on