Experts say that there are as many Ways of St. James as pilgrims who get to Santiago. That must be true, but it is also true that the standard routes are very specific, and there is a considerable cultural and commercial construction around them, since they receive a mass influx.
In the case of the Way entering Galicia through Ribadeo, from the last Asturian town called Castropol, where we can get by a very practical water-taxi (see the Resources section), the Jacobean route goes quickly towards Santiago de Compostela diagonally, and gets away from the coast just when pilgrims have visited As Catedrais beach, a few kilometres after Ribadeo and westwards. Since then, the Northern Route runs completely inland and through mountains, and only the pilgrims who decide to extend their pilgrimage from Compostela to Fisterra of Muxía will see the beach again.
The route I propose traverses Rías Altas through the northern coast, and uses many ways that have not been exploited touristically by the Way of St. James, although they are ways used by Galicia inhabitants very often.
Curiously enough, the day I entered Galicia coming from Asturias and started to read the newspaper La Voz de Galicia, I found out that, in 2013, the marine route of the Way of St. James had received institutional support, an action encouraged by a local entity called “Asociación ‘Abrindo Camiño’ de amigos do Camiño Norte de Santiago”. These people made a route along the coast of Rías Altas from Ribadeo to Foz, and there they were welcomed by the authorities in a symbolic act at the nautical club, which officially starts a new route connecting the Northern Route and the English Route. It is a maritime alternative to the Northern Route, up to the basilica of San Martiño de Mondonedo (Foz), and goes on up to Ferrol, via Teixido.
So, if you follow the GPS tracks for Rías Altas, you will complete the Camiño do Mar. The tracks I provide here include the coastal route along the Camiño do Mar, from Ribadeo to Ferrol via Foz and Teixido, where you will find magical landscapes which are currently unknown to traditional pilgrims.
Information about the most important towns: Ribadeo, Barreiros, Foz, and Mondoñedo.