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Accomodations on the Camino del Norte

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New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012, Portugues 2014, Finesterra 2014
Hello fellow pilgrims! I am planning to walk the Northern route next year. After seeing some of the difficulties encountered with accommodation in some other posts, I wanted to ask if anyone has had experience in beginning in Irun in late April or so. ( I am not opposed to staying in private accommodation if alberges are full.)
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
I walked the CdN in 2016, starting from Irun on the 5th of May. No problems finding a place to sleep, except for 1 night: the first stage out of Bilbao.

Apparantly there were the pilgrims who started in Irun, accompanied by pilgrims who flew in on Bilbao airport, starting their Camino from there. I got into the albergue in Portugalete, bus shortly after that it was completely full. Pilgrims had to rely on staying in -more expensive- private lodgings. And the hospitalero of the albergue granted pilgrims to sleep on the church porch (in the open air, but at least with a roof over their heads), providing them with extra blankets.

Other than this: no problems whatsoever. Always stayed in municipal albergues (or ones run by foundations) when there was one, or private albergues. Never had to stay in a pension, casa rural or hotel.

Luckily I was able to walk this Camino the way I like it: starting to walk in the morning without having decided where I to stop that afternoon.
 

andycohn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2012,13,15); Finisterre / Muxia (15); Portugeuse (17); Primitivo (17); Norte (18); Ingles (18)
We walked the Norte in 2018, starting from Irun on May 2. We stayed mostly in private accommodations, and the only time we had a problem was in Bilbao because we hit it on the weekend of a major international rugby tournament.. Otherwise, we were often the only people wherever we stayed. If you do encounter problems, you can always book ahead a day in advance. Private accomodations only fiill up in high summer —July and August — when the tourists descend on the beach towns. So — not to worry.
 

agu

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
What was last year or before, does not matter anymore. So many Municipal albergs are closed this year. And there were so many pilgrims walking this August. Many of them from Spain. If you do not want just rush to the next alberg to stay, better to carry the tent.
 

andycohn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2012,13,15); Finisterre / Muxia (15); Portugeuse (17); Primitivo (17); Norte (18); Ingles (18)
What was last year or before, does not matter anymore. So many Municipal albergs are closed this year. And there were so many pilgrims walking this August. Many of them from Spain. If you do not want just rush to the next alberg to stay, better to carry the tent.
Agu: The OP was asking about very end of April, and said s/he was open to staying in private accommodations. So your post describing conditions in August and shuttered municipal albergues is not very helpful, and would raise needless fears. By contrast, I would think that other posts describing conditions at the time of year the OP is planning to walk and / or discussing the availability of private accommodations would be precisely the kind of information the OP would like.

I know we all want to get our 2 cents in (me included, of course), but I think it’s most helpful to the OP when we don’t just relay personal experiences that might have only limited bearing on the information the OP is seeking.
 
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Redvespablur

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo April/May 2016
Voie Littorale May 2020
2016 from Irun started 28 April or so. Used Booking.com and booked day or two ahead for private accommodation with no problem.
 

anne a

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2018
Camino Finisterre 2018
Camino del Norte 2019
I walked from Irun to Santiago starting on May 15 this year. I never personally had any issues with accommodation but heard stories of others having to walk further or even backwards to find a bed.

My strategy was to either book a bed a day ahead (especially on weekend nights which can get busy in coastal towns and in the last 100km before Santiago) or to arrive by 2PM. I used a variety of accommodation options but mostly municipal and private albergues. In larger cities, I often used an Airbnb together with a few other pilgrims I met on the road.

I expect you should also be fine starting in late April. Consider booking a day in advance as conditions warrant.
 

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