Information about stage 10: Stage from Pobena to Castro Urdiales
It take 6 to 8 hours if you walk it in one day
Km 0. Pobeña (Seasonal hostel. Rural apartments. Bar)
We return to the stairs that we left yesterday at the entrance to Pobeña. Nearly one hundred steps or more go up to the route of the old mining railway , today the Itsaslur promenade and the Camino de Santiago, which carried the iron to the loading area located in La Arena and which later left for Europe, mainly Great Britain. Foggy days can still recreate the atmosphere of such activity and bring the echoes of exertion and the screeching of wagons closer again. The wooden fence protects us from the cliff and, above us, scattered ferns, gorse and eucalyptus trees cover La Barra. An early fork sends bicigrinos to the left (because of a later flight of stairs) and walkers to the right. Arriving at a diner, the coastline spreads out and we can already glimpse the town of Castro Urdiales. Then we will pass by various information panels on the extraction of algae and the geology of the place .
We pass a car park and come to a track that we follow on the right towards El Hoyo . Surrounded by black elderberry, the neighborhood is on the left of the Camino (Km 3.3) .
About 650 meters later we enter Cantabria , which will welcome us during the next week. In this province, official signage is scarcer and we must pay special attention to the arrows, which in some points are also conspicuous by their absence. We soon cross the propped up Piquillo tunnel and continue to the tremendous viaduct of the A-8. After him we take the path that descends to our right. As soon as we cross the Sabiote river , we turn left to enter Ontón , a town in the municipality of Castro Urdiales.
km 6.1. Ontón (pilgrim hostel)
We visit the main nucleus, (up on the road is the “your way” pilgrims’ hostel) and finally we go up some stairs to the N-634 , at kilometer 138. At this point you have to choose between continuing along the shoulder of the N-634 to Saltacaballo and Mioño , where it is possible to take a path that will bring us closer to Castro Urdiales, or take the official Camino de Santiago that goes along the CA-523 towards Baltezana and Otañes . The option for the N-634 is much shorter, 10 kilometers to the Castro Urdiales hostel compared to the 17.2 kilometers of the official route, which we describe in the guide.
We go up the CA-523 , which crosses the Sabiote river , and a few meters away we leave the asphalt on the right to get closer to the first houses in Baltezana . The itinerary passes next to the El Manzanal urbanization and resumes the road after an orange house.
km 7.5. Baltezana (Bars)
We have a couple of bars, the second one, behind the canopy, closes on Mondays. Before leaving the town, we leave the road to the right again and go down to the river, where a track leads us back to the CA-523 , which we follow to the right, ascending. After the first curve, we enter a path between eucalyptus trees that starts on the left shoulder. Save a stretch of road at the cost of punishing us with a considerable ramp . Bicigrinos are advised to continue on the road! . Fatigued, we return to the road until we reach the port of La Helguera .
Km 10. Alto de La Helguera
From the top we go down the road, which continues slightly to the right, towards the valley of Otañes or the Mioño river . Territory of the pre-Roman Autrigones and which, like a large part of all this Cantabrian coast, passed from hand to hand through the kingdoms of Asturias, Navarra and Castilla. We leave the asphalt two kilometers later to take the Castro-Traslaviña Greenway (Km 11.8) . To our left, on the banks of the Mioño river , Otañes spreads out in multiple neighborhoods. Integrated in the municipality of Castro Urdiales, apart from its precious tower from the mid-15th century, it is worth noting that a Roman milestone from the 1st century was found in this area of the road that linked Castro Urdiales ( Flaviobriga) with the Palencia Herrera de Pisuerga ( Pisoraca ). After a rest area, we pass by the Otañes station and further on through the Corrales neighborhood .
km 13.8. Los Corrales neighborhood
The panoramic view to our left stops at La Cruz peak and the Santullán limestone rock , bare and eaten away by the quarry. The Vía Verde continues until the entrance to Santullán , where we turn left to go up to the CA-250 and the church of San Julián . At the bottom of the road there are a couple of bars and a bakery.
km 15.4. Santullan (Bars, bakery, pilgrim hostel)
We cross the road and continue close to the temple along a parallel street. This briefly exits the CA-522 to link up with a paved track that runs a short distance from the A-8. We must pay attention because at one of the forks we turn left until we cross the Suma river . The itinerary then goes up to Sámano , where Luciano Huidobro’s The Jacobean Pilgrimages mention that there was already an important hospital for pilgrims in 1714 . apse we continue to the right paying attention to an official signal.
km 17.5. Samano (Bar)
Later we enter the neighborhood of Llantada and after crossing the watercourse again we turn 90 degrees to the left crossing the rest of the urbanization, which have been changing the physiognomy of all these towns. We come to a larger road, the CA-520, and we follow it to the right until the entrance to Castro Urdiales . After passing under the A-8 there are several roundabouts and we take Calle Paraíso up to a gas station, after which we turn left towards the Urban Center and the Beach . Signage is scarce here! . You have to cross the Brazomar river and continue straight along the Ocharan Mazas promenade, in no case follow the riverbed.
The promenade ends at another parallel to the beach, where we will follow the orange markings. Without loss we advance straight to the sports and fishing port , next to the maritime postcard formed by the formidable church of Santa María de la Asunción , with the air of a cathedral and the most important Gothic exponent of Cantabria; the medieval castle where the lighthouse and the hermitage of Santa Ana are housed , founded on the rock and linked to the castle by the Old Bridge , Gothic with a single arch.
Km 22. Castro Urdiales – Center (All services)
The hostel is about twenty minutes. From the port you have to turn left to take Santander street and continue straight on Silvestre Ochoa, which will take you to the bullring. On Subida a Campijo street, next to the arena, is the pilgrims’ hostel (Km 23.5) .
km 23.5. Castro Urdiales – Hostel
Puerto de la Helguera:
In the official variant, 240 meters of unevenness are saved between Ontón and the Alto de la Helguera. The ascent is done to a large extent by road and only one section per road deserves special attention due to the steep unevenness.
Path between Mioño and Castro Urdiales:
In recent years, those who shorten the stage along the N-634 take a marked path from Mioño to the entrance of Castro Urdiales.
Practically all the pilgrims take an alternative in Onton that takes them to Mioño and from there to Castro Urdiales. This alternative saves about 7 kilometers on the road, although care must be taken from Onton to Mioño as it runs along the shoulder of a national highway.
From Onton we would take the N-634 on the right and we will continue along its shoulder with caution until Mioño, more or less halfway through this route we have a bar-restaurant. Once in Mioño, just before the church, we leave the national road to take a street to the left, it is marked with yellow arrows, at the end of this street we will turn right and after the restaurant “el túnel” we will continue straight to enter a tunnel that will take us to the entrance of Castro Urdiales.
The Castro Urdiales pilgrim hostel is temporarily closed and is also far from the center. It is recommended to call in advance to find out if it is open now or if it has availability, or to reserve private accommodation in the town.
What to see, what to do
is an old fishing village that has splendid buildings and beautiful walks.
Church of Santa Maria
It is the Gothic monument whose construction dates from the 13th century. It is a building with a basilica plan that is accessed by a staircase flanked by two towers. It consists of three naves, of which the central one is twice as high as the lateral ones. The apse is surrounded by an ambulatory with three radial chapels with a polygonal plan, separated by straight sections. In one of these sections, a chapel with a square plan was opened in 1612.
The lighthouse castle
Located next to the Church of Santa María, it is one of the few castles that have been preserved in Cantabria. This fortress constituted the main defensive place of the town. Its structure is pentagonal in shape with strong angular cubes. It is made of masonry and its construction is believed to be similar to that of the Church.
Medieval Bridge and hermitage of Santa Ana
Along with the church and the castle, they form the monumental ensemble of Castro Urdiales. Both are remains of a larger group that had to be modified due to the construction of the breakwater. On the bridge, on the external face of the north parapet, there is a sandstone ashlar on which the letters …MC… and the numbers …617… can be read, which may correspond to some date of reconstruction. The hermitage is rectangular in plan and open to the outside through a lintelled portico supported by square-section pillars. The roof rests on a wooden frame.
16th century building in which subsequent modifications have been made in the 17th, 19th and 20th centuries. It is made of masonry and the continuous balcony and the 19th century clock tower stand out.