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The Camino de Santiago or pilgrims way, the coastal route

It was about nine o’clock in the morning and as I changed into my walking gear I was passed by a number of well built walkers, all in their late fifties or early sixties. They were ladened with 60 to 70 litre rucksacks and wearing the shell which symbolises the Camino de Santiago or Pilgrims Way. They were following the Camino de Santiago “coastal route” which coincides with a section of this walk. It is a beautiful walk going through green fields grazed by cows and passing close to cliff tops battered by the Cantabrian Sea.

Grassy fields and cliff tops near Arenal de Moris

A couple of Kilometres after the starting point at Arena de Moris you arrive at Playa La Espasa a lovely large sandy beach excellent for swimming and surfing with a bar restaurant conveniently situated on the sea front. Its one our favourite bars and makes it rather tempting to walk no further and just stay here enjoying a beer and a tapa just looking at the sea! (Unfortunately this bar is only open in high season at weekends during the rest of the year.) Today I didn’t even stop for a quick refreshment but carried on soon arriving at the next beach La Isla (after having walked 200m along the main road.) This is where the pilgrims leave our route to visit the small Pre- Romanesque church of Gobiendes whilst we carry along the cliff tops enjoying the sea air and following a small PR

Stunning coastal scenery near La Espasa

After more fields, cows, cliffs and of course stunning views of the coast, you come to a junction. Here’s where you have to decide whether to finish the walk at the village of Huerres where there is a small bar or lengthen the walk another 5 kms doing a circular loop visiting Playa la Griega and the dinosaur footprints which this coast is famous for.

Dinosaur footprints at Playa la Griega

I opted for the lengthening the walk which first goes up through a Eucalyptus forest and winds around a little before dropping back down to the sea and to a specially built viewing point which over looks the dinosaur’s footprints. I had actually forgotten how good the footprints were, you actually don’t require too much imagination to figure them out. After contemplating these Jurassic remnants I walked along to the next sandy beach Playa La Griega and remembered how 12 years ago I almost lost my daughter Samnatha at this beach to the undercurrents! Depending on the tide the sea can suddenly get deep so just be aware.

Looking at the footprints

Deciding not to take a swim there’s a little bit of walking on minor roads as the loop takes you past a rather nice, manor house and church; a pleasant contrast to all the coastal scenery. Then you soon come to Huerres and a chance for another stop at the bar before joining the route to retrace your footsteps back to Arenal de Moris.

Technical information

Contour Profile Arenal de Moris La Griega Huerres

Map Arenal de Moris, La Espasa, Hueres, La Griega

Download GPS trail from wikiloc

Self guided walking notes and GPS trail available for guests from the hotel

Type of walk There and back
Starting Point Arenal de Moris
Finishing Point Arenal de Moris
Access 15 km from hotel, 20 minutes by car
Public transport options Very difficult

Arenal Moris La Espasa

Grading Easy
Total Length 4,6 Kms
Total Ascent 120 m
Altitude 0 – 45 – 0
Total Walking time 2 hours

Arenal Moris La isla Huerres

Grading Moderate
Total Length 16,8 Kms
Total Ascent 240 m
Altitude 0 – 50 – 0
Total Walking time 4 ½ – 5 hours

Arenal Moris La Isla Playa la Griega Huerres

Grading Moderate
Total Length 21,8 kms
Total Ascent 550 m
Altitude 0 – 105 – 0
Total Walking time 5 ½ – 6 ½ hours
Terrain Mostly paths along cliff tops
Navigation Easy
Refreshments Various bars en route
Map Mapa Topográfico nacional de España: Colunga

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