Information about stage 12: Stage from Laredo to Guemes
It take 11 to 12 hours if you walk it in one day
Km 0. Laredo (All services)
A few meters from the convent of San Francisco is the Health Center and the El Buen Pastor hostel. Leaving this street we turn left and arrive at the Plaza de la Constitución , where the Town Hall is. In the absence of signs, you have to continue straight ahead along the commercial López Seña street. It ends at the promenade parallel to the Salvé beach , an extensive sandy area of more than four kilometres. We have the option of crossing it through the nondescript walk or taking off our shoes and doing it through the sand, a more interesting option! You have to advance to the same end, to Puntal de Santoña . On the way, the wetlands of the Marismas de Santoña, Victoria and Joyel Natural Park will call our attention .. Between the end of December and January the highest concentration of birds occurs in this enclave. At the foot of the beach we embark, for a price close to 2 euros, to the next Santoña . Historian Juan Uría noted that the main itinerary went through Colindres and that Santoña “must have been rarely visited by pilgrims.” Remember that the boat is not operational between December 6 and March 1 (see observations section).
km 4.9. Santoña (All services)
This population, distinguished by its anchovy industry, extends at the foot of the holm oak forest of Mount Buciero . Thus we enter the historic Cantabrian region of Trasmiera , the birthplace of master stonemasons such as Juan de Herrera y Rodrigo and Juan Gil de Hontañón. The urban crossing is not signposted either but it does not present major problems. After leaving the boat, you must always go straight ahead, crossing the Plaza de la Concordia and continuing along Calle Santander. (Km 5.9) .
In a straight line we continue along Cervantes street, crossing San Antonio square – where the Bilbaína private hostel is located – and taking Manzanedo street. We continue straight after the roundabout with the sculpture of the anchovies and in the next one we continue slightly to the right along Calle de La Alameda, with a bicycle and pedestrian lane and finally with the first yellow arrows of the town. Parallel to the marshes, we pass the El Dueso Penitentiary Center and head towards Berria beach , which takes its name from the watercress, an aquatic plant that is prepared as a salad.
It is better to leave the avenue and go back along the beach to cross the stranded mass of El Brusco . A sandy trail solves the first part of the climb, which later becomes easier thanks to more compact terrain. From the top (Km 10.1) we have a spectacular view of the endless Trengandín beach . ‘Those who are going to spend the night at the Noja Aventura hostel must leave the beach before arriving in Noja, specifically at Bar El Pirata’. Another sand bath imagining figures in the rock formations brings us closer to Noja . We go up to the Plaza de la Villa, a category that it took over from Felipe IV in 1644, where the church of San Pedro stands .
km 14.2. Noja (All services)
You have to pay attention because the signs are scarce in the urban section of Noja. We must cross the square diagonally and exit through Calle de los Cuadrillos. When we reach number 6, we continue to the left and right after, onto Calle del Valle. At the next fork, be careful, pay attention to the sign on the post that tells us to the left. Noja, like the rest of the Cantabrian towns that we have visited, experiences a very considerable increase in population in the summer months and for this reason the neighborhoods and urbanizations follow one another without end. After the football field we turn 90º to the right to enter the Cabanzo neighborhood (Km 15.2) .
Here we will turn another 90º, this time to the left and later to the right. Following tracks and country roads, we pass under the CA-147 to enter the San Pantaleon neighborhood . It no longer belongs to Noja but to the town of Castillo Siete Villas , which in turn forms part of the municipality of Arnuero . Several more turns take us to the foot of the CA-141, which we cross with caution. We continue to the right and at the first fork to the left. Thus we arrive at the square where the 17th century hermitage of San Pantaleon is located.
Through the neighborhoods of San Juan (office) and La Pedrosa we approach the Castillo neighborhood and its church of San Pedro , with a daring Gothic apse. At this point the more inland variant that comes from Colindres, Adal Treto, Cicero, Gama and Escalante joins. Ángel García Guinea points out in his work Romanesque in Cantabria that “nothing remains of the Romanesque inside the church and within an aesthetic of the late 12th or early 13th centuries, are the two north and south cornices of its old nave, whose corbels can be placed in the decorative line of the Bareyo masters” (Km 18.6) .
In front of the apse we turn to the right and 80 meters later to the left (attention) . A gravel track and a stretch of rutted meadows lead to San Miguel de Meruelo , the capital of the municipality of Meruelo. At the entrance, to avoid the road, we turn right through the Monar neighborhood . From the upper part, next to some houses and a dairy, with a good view of this valley irrigated by the Campiazo river , we pass by the church of San Miguel (Km 21) . We come out onto the CA-454 , which we follow to the right. After pk 3, we turn left next to a canopy. Thus we entered the neighborhood of Solorga, from San Miguel de Meruelo. We cross the Campiazo River by a beautiful bridge hidden by the intense vegetation, where there is an old mill.
Solorga-San Miguel de Meruelo neighborhood (Hostel)
At the exit we continue to the right along the La Venera path, the ascent of which makes a dent in the already battered body. The signage is scarce at the entrance and you have to get to the hermitage of San Roque to exit at the CA-447 (Km 23.6) .
At this point the path continues to the left, going up the road, but it turns out that the jewel of Santa María de Bareyo is seven minutes further down, following the road in the opposite direction. It is Romanesque from the beginning of the 13th century, and conserves from this period, in the words of Ángel García Guinea, “apse, side chapels of the transept and tower with a cubic four-sided dome”. He also points out that “it is inside the church, and especially in the apse and presbytery, where the sculptural richness of the monument is accentuated.”
Returning to the path, which we had left at the foot of the San Roque hermitage, we ascend the CA-447 , passing Camping Los Molinos, and begin the descent along the same route. After km 3 we leave the road to the left and take El Cantón street, which crosses the Villanueva neighborhood , belonging to Güemes, which in turn is integrated into the municipality of Bareyo (Km 26) .
Then we continue along the path to La Moraza and come to the CA-455 , which we cross and continue to the right. Just a few meters to leave it on the left and reach the El Cagigal or Quejigal neighborhood . In this valley we also find the hermitage of San Julián , and just a kilometer and a half away, on a gentle hill, is the hostel of Padre Ernesto . The detour, next to the one that continues towards Galizano, is well signposted. The house was rehabilitated in the 80s and the reception of pilgrims is just one of the many carried out by the NGO Brezo. We will find respect, work, solidarity, love and welcome in abundance in this beautiful corner of Cantabria.
km 29.5. Guemes (Hostel)
The ascent breaks the beach plain that comes from Laredo. It is a short effort and not as difficult as it appears from afar. In case of bad weather, you must be extremely careful, especially on the way down, in which case it is more than advisable to skirt the hill to the left following the red lane to the town of Helgueras where we will resume the path that goes down from El Brusco.
- Be careful with the signs between Noja and San Pantaleon: The route through the town center and neighborhoods of Noja is somewhat lacking in signs and has many turns. Good concentration to avoid getting lost.
- There is a boat service to cross from Laredo to Santoña. Tickets are bought on the boat that leaves every 10/15 minutes. be careful in the winter months as there is no service, having to take a bus from Laredo to Santoña in winter season or continue walking along the signposted path that goes through Colindres, Escalante and Gama.
What to see, what to do
nestled in the municipality of Bareyo, although out of the way for walkers, an Interpretation Center for the Camino de Santiago along the Coast was inaugurated in 2014 . It is located in the old Convent of San Ildefonso , specifically in the Casa del Fundador , which was rehabilitated for this specific purpose. It consists of a permanent exhibition divided into six sections that cover different aspects of the pilgrimage along the Camino del Norte as it passes through Cantabria .