This is the most common route for hikers to take. It crosses through Northern Spain starting at Ronchesvalles (or even in France if you should choose at St. Jean Pied de Port). This path has the most number of towns with accommodations to stay at. The entire path is lined with yellow arrow markers and the distances between each major town is a reasonable amount to cover for one day, which is why this is the most popular of the hikes.
Assuming you start at St. Jean Pied de Port, the path is approximately 780km and takes you to Ronchesvalles, Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, Sarria, finishing at Santiago de Compostela. If you walk at a rate of 25km per day, the path should take 32 days plus 4 days of rest and bad weather for a total of 36 days.
Once you pass the Pyranees Mountains, the rest of the path should be relatively flat with a few hills and short mountain ranges along the way. Most people tend to skip the stretch between Burgos and Leon due to the region being extremely desolate where at times you walk long stretches along the highway past factories. Many people just take a bus to Leon and continue from there. Once you get to Sarria, you can expect more people along the path. Other than being on the most popular camino path, Sarria is the closest you can start to ensure that your camino passport gets all the required stamps before reaching Santiago de Compostela.
The weather along the route varies quite a lot, yet is still passable most of the year. There is a tendency for heavy rains around Galicia throughout the year at unexpected times. As well, it snows during the winter in the Pyranees and at the mountain ranges around Burgos and Leon during the winter. The summer months make the flat region between Burgos and Leon very difficult to pass through, as there is limited amount of shading in that region. The recommended time to do this hike would be in the spring and in autumn. Summer and winter hikes are doable, but can be unpleasant.
El Camino del Norte
Camino del Norte is in this section because its hike is in the same region of Northern Spain as the Camino Frances – the two paths are almost parallel. Walking this stretch is perhaps the most scenic and pleasant for hikers since a large portion is along the coast. The path length is approximately 468km from Santiago de Compostela and starts at Urquera. It takes hikers along the coast and converges with the Camino Frances at Arzua, just days before the end. Being near the coast, it is also a much cooler hike, which helps during the summer months as the heat can make the hike very challenging by midday.