A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Camino Forum Donation

Advice for walking the Camino del Norte

Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#1
I walked the Camino Frances from Ronscenvalles to Muxia last September and loved it so I am going to do Camino del Norte in September. I plan to go from Irun to Santiago. I am a 66 year old woman who will be going solo. I am hoping finding Albergues won't be a problem because hotels/ Pensions are not in my budget, so any feedback on that would be helpful. I have guidebook but it is not quite as comprehensive as the Brierly book. Also does anyone have an opinion on just how much more strenuous it is compared to Camino Frances? I didn't really have any problems on my 900 KM walk last fall but you never know. Thank you so much for any feedback or advice. Cheers, Victoria
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sept/Oct 2015 Le Puy - to Conques, Tui - Santiago. May/June 2017 Conques to SJPP
#2
I walked the Camino Frances from Ronscenvalles to Muxia last September and loved it so I am going to do Camino del Norte in September. I plan to go from Irun to Santiago. I am a 66 year old woman who will be going solo. I am hoping finding Albergues won't be a problem because hotels/ Pensions are not in my budget, so any feedback on that would be helpful. I have guidebook but it is not quite as comprehensive as the Brierly book. Also does anyone have an opinion on just how much more strenuous it is compared to Camino Frances? I didn't really have any problems on my 900 KM walk last fall but you never know. Thank you so much for any feedback or advice. Cheers, Victoria
Hi Victoria
Our group of 3 Aussies starts from Irun on 27 August so we hope to see you along the way. The Norte sounds strenuous and it seems important to follow the coastal deviations not only for the scenery but also to find relief from too much road walking! There's lots of useful advice here on the Forum with thanks to Pilgrims such as Peregrina2000. Also invaluable: Wise Pilgrim's Guide, Cicerone and Gronze.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015
Norte 2016
#3
Victoria

I walked the Norte in September 2016 and found the albergues few and some distance apart. Several nights I stayed in pensions because the alburgues were full or there was no other choise. The pensions are very inexpensive but can be lonely. I noticed a lot of people staying in albergues that were not walking the Camino which added to the problem. I enjoyed my walk on the Norte, very different than the Frances, quieter, not as spiritual, but a better insight into the people. Was treated extreamly well by everyone, total strangers would walk with me a short distance and keep me company. You will probably keep meeting the same pilgrim some nights as said earlier there are not that many alburgues, they will become good friends.

Jim Michie
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
#4
I walked the Norte last May. Gronze.com is a great source of information about places to stay. My impression was very different than Jim's. It seemed that I was finding newly opened albergues that the guidebooks and online sources hadn't found yet. Granted, most of the new ones were private vs. municipal. They usually cost 12-15E per night vs. donativo or 6E at the municipals. Still cheaper than a private room. The infrastructure on the Norte is constantly improving to keep up with the increase in traffic.

The first week is fairly strenuous with a lot of up and down and rocky trails. Most days there is a way to break up the walking into shorter stretches so that you don't have to overdo it.

Like you I am a 66 year old woman who did it solo. Feel free to get in touch if you'd like more specific information.

Buen Camino
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
#5
I walked the Camino Frances from Ronscenvalles to Muxia last September and loved it so I am going to do Camino del Norte in September. I plan to go from Irun to Santiago. I am a 66 year old woman who will be going solo. I am hoping finding Albergues won't be a problem because hotels/ Pensions are not in my budget, so any feedback on that would be helpful. I have guidebook but it is not quite as comprehensive as the Brierly book. Also does anyone have an opinion on just how much more strenuous it is compared to Camino Frances? I didn't really have any problems on my 900 KM walk last fall but you never know. Thank you so much for any feedback or advice. Cheers, Victoria

Victoria:

I walked in the Spring of 2014. I enjoyed this route very much. Lots of wonderful seascapes and better food than the Frances (more seafood). The accommodations are less frequent but very adequate. I actually posted daily on my stops along the way. I would suggest you read through Norte threads, if you have not already.

This route day in and out is more difficult, imo, than the Frances. There are no 1900 meter climbs but plenty of 500 meter climbs. The first week is the most difficult.

A great resource is the www.gronze.com site. It lists accommodation, and route information along with a topography map of each etapa or section.

There are also some very nice communal albergues on this route.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Camino (2016), French Camino (2015), Northern Camino (2017)
#7
Victoria:

I walked in the Spring of 2014. I enjoyed this route very much. Lots of wonderful seascapes and better food than the Frances (more seafood). The accommodations are less frequent but very adequate. I actually posted daily on my stops along the way. I would suggest you read through Norte threads, if you have not already.

This route day in and out is more difficult, imo, than the Frances. There are no 1900 meter climbs but plenty of 500 meter climbs. The first week is the most difficult.

A great resource is the www.gronze.com site. It lists accommodation, and route information along with a topography map of each etapa or section.

There are also some very nice communal albergues on this route.

Ultreya,
Joe
Gronze's website is only in Spanish... Pilgrim.es website has all camino del norte information and in english.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
#8
Gronze's website is only in Spanish... Pilgrim.es website has all camino del norte information and in english.
The Gronze website is in Spanish but is very visual. You do not need to understand Spanish to interpret. I have used it on all my Camino's. Pilgrim.es looks more like a planning/sales website. It also does not list all available accommodations along the way.

That said, if you are looking for that type of information for your Camino, it is an optional guide. I do not speak Spanish and find Gronze, and Mundicamino are more suited to my needs.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Finisterra-Muxia 2017; SK Camino Kosiče-Levoča 2017; Norte Mar’18; Ingles Nov’18; VDLP Mar’19
#11
Victoria, I’m 60 and will start the El Norte next week from Irun to I hope Santiago. If you’d like to see my journey look for me on FB and I can add you to my family page where I log the days journey.
 

Trude

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
#12
Victoria you will love the Norte it is very beautiful. The Albergues are a little more expensive but there are a few more now than when I walked in 2015. Their have been improvements to some of the hard parts by the addition of wooden stairs and pathways. There is a very steep hill coming into Gijon but it was a very hot day when I did it. There are some beautiful towns to see it will always be my favourite Camino to walk. Buen Camino. I also am in my sixties.
 

michaelk

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino del norte 2015 and 2016
camino portugues (2017)
#13
I walked the Camino Frances from Ronscenvalles to Muxia last September and loved it so I am going to do Camino del Norte in September. I plan to go from Irun to Santiago. I am a 66 year old woman who will be going solo. I am hoping finding Albergues won't be a problem because hotels/ Pensions are not in my budget, so any feedback on that would be helpful. I have guidebook but it is not quite as comprehensive as the Brierly book. Also does anyone have an opinion on just how much more strenuous it is compared to Camino Frances? I didn't really have any problems on my 900 KM walk last fall but you never know. Thank you so much for any feedback or advice. Cheers, Victoria
Hi Victoria. The first day from Irun is very hard, steep hills without paths. Most of the rest of the camino is ok with some very nice albergues. I would recommend the albergue in Boo de Pielagos instead of the one in Guemes. I would strongly advise NOT to use Agusto and Daughter in Markina. Terrible, and a rip off. Use the municipal albergue behing the town Hall. Finally, take the metro from Bilbao to Portugalete to avoid 6 miles of delapidated area. Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#14
Hi Victoria. The first day from Irun is very hard, steep hills without paths. Most of the rest of the camino is ok with some very nice albergues. I would recommend the albergue in Boo de Pielagos instead of the one in Guemes. I would strongly advise NOT to use Agusto and Daughter in Markina. Terrible, and a rip off. Use the municipal albergue behing the town Hall. Finally, take the metro from Bilbao to Portugalete to avoid 6 miles of delapidated area. Buen Camino
Thank you so much! So helpful!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#15
Hi Victoria. The first day from Irun is very hard, steep hills without paths. Most of the rest of the camino is ok with some very nice albergues. I would recommend the albergue in Boo de Pielagos instead of the one in Guemes. I would strongly advise NOT to use Agusto and Daughter in Markina. Terrible, and a rip off. Use the municipal albergue behing the town Hall. Finally, take the metro from Bilbao to Portugalete to avoid 6 miles of delapidated area. Buen Camino
Lovely advice - will make note of that! Cheers, Victoria
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#16
Victoria you will love the Norte it is very beautiful. The Albergues are a little more expensive but there are a few more now than when I walked in 2015. Their have been improvements to some of the hard parts by the addition of wooden stairs and pathways. There is a very steep hill coming into Gijon but it was a very hot day when I did it. There are some beautiful towns to see it will always be my favourite Camino to walk. Buen Camino. I also am in my sixties.
Oh my gosh, I really need to hear that! Cheers, Victoria
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#18
Victoria you will love the Norte it is very beautiful. The Albergues are a little more expensive but there are a few more now than when I walked in 2015. Their have been improvements to some of the hard parts by the addition of wooden stairs and pathways. There is a very steep hill coming into Gijon but it was a very hot day when I did it. There are some beautiful towns to see it will always be my favourite Camino to walk. Buen Camino. I also am in my sixties.
Love to hear my contemporaries have done it! Cheers, Victoria
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#19
Victoria:

I walked in the Spring of 2014. I enjoyed this route very much. Lots of wonderful seascapes and better food than the Frances (more seafood). The accommodations are less frequent but very adequate. I actually posted daily on my stops along the way. I would suggest you read through Norte threads, if you have not already.

This route day in and out is more difficult, imo, than the Frances. There are no 1900 meter climbs but plenty of 500 meter climbs. The first week is the most difficult.

A great resource is the www.gronze.com site. It lists accommodation, and route information along with a topography map of each etapa or section.

There are also some very nice communal albergues on this route.

Ultreya,
Joe
Thank you!!! Glad it is the first week and not the last! Cheers, Victoria
Victoria, I’m 60 and will start the El Norte next week from Irun to I hope Santiago. If you’d like to see my journey look for me on FB and I can add you to my family page where I log the days journey.
Victoria, I’m 60 and will start the El Norte next week from Irun to I hope Santiago. If you’d like to see my journey look for me on FB and I can add you to my family page where I log the days journey.
Victoria, I’m 60 and will start the El Norte next week from Irun to I hope Santiago. If you’d like to see my journey look for me on FB and I can add you to my family page where I log the days journey.
Victoria, I’m 60 and will start the El Norte next week from Irun to I hope Santiago. If you’d like to see my journey look for me on FB and I can add you to my family page where I log the days journey.
I walked the Norte last May. Gronze.com is a great source of information about places to stay. My impression was very different than Jim's. It seemed that I was finding newly opened albergues that the guidebooks and online sources hadn't found yet. Granted, most of the new ones were private vs. municipal. They usually cost 12-15E per night vs. donativo or 6E at the municipals. Still cheaper than a private room. The infrastructure on the Norte is constantly improving to keep up with the increase in traffic.

The first week is fairly strenuous with a lot of up and down and rocky trails. Most days there is a way to break up the walking into shorter stretches so that you don't have to overdo it.

Like you I am a 66 year old woman who did it solo. Feel free to get in touch if you'd like more specific information.

Buen Camino
Thank you so much for your advice!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#20
I walked the Norte last May. Gronze.com is a great source of information about places to stay. My impression was very different than Jim's. It seemed that I was finding newly opened albergues that the guidebooks and online sources hadn't found yet. Granted, most of the new ones were private vs. municipal. They usually cost 12-15E per night vs. donativo or 6E at the municipals. Still cheaper than a private room. The infrastructure on the Norte is constantly improving to keep up with the increase in traffic.

The first week is fairly strenuous with a lot of up and down and rocky trails. Most days there is a way to break up the walking into shorter stretches so that you don't have to overdo it.

Like you I am a 66 year old woman who did it solo. Feel free to get in touch if you'd like more specific information.

Buen Camino
Bueno! Thanks again, Victoria
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#21
Hi Victoria
Our group of 3 Aussies starts from Irun on 27 August so we hope to see you along the way. The Norte sounds strenuous and it seems important to follow the coastal deviations not only for the scenery but also to find relief from too much road walking! There's lots of useful advice here on the Forum with thanks to Pilgrims such as Peregrina2000. Also invaluable: Wise Pilgrim's Guide, Cicerone and Gronze.
Yes I hope our paths cross! Cheers, Victoria
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#22
@Victoria Young I just finished the Norte. I did it August 27 to October 10. I can't compare to the Camino Frances, but I will say that it is beautiful, and entirely possible to have a deep spiritual experience. The people who seemed to be discontent with their experience were regularly comparing it to their expectations of the Frances - so I assume that there are significant differences. But as a newby, I was delighted.

It is strenuous, particularly the section from Irun to Bilbao. It gets easier after but there are still lots of days with some descent elevation changes.

You will likely find getting accommodation more challenging before mid-September, when school goes back in session. Before then, there are lots of short distance, multi year walkers. I did find that as a solo walker, I had an easier time, often getting the last bed of the day. Many of the albergues I ended up in had 20 or less beds.

I did stay in some pensions and hotels, and discovered some that would offer a pilrgims discount, particularly after the end of the summer season.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arriving in Spain August 29, 2017
#23
@Victoria Young I just finished the Norte. I did it August 27 to October 10. I can't compare to the Camino Frances, but I will say that it is beautiful, and entirely possible to have a deep spiritual experience. The people who seemed to be discontent with their experience were regularly comparing it to their expectations of the Frances - so I assume that there are significant differences. But as a newby, I was delighted.

It is strenuous, particularly the section from Irun to Bilbao. It gets easier after but there are still lots of days with some descent elevation changes.

You will likely find getting accommodation more challenging before mid-September, when school goes back in session. Before then, there are lots of short distance, multi year walkers. I did find that as a solo walker, I had an easier time, often getting the last bed of the day. Many of the albergues I ended up in had 20 or less beds.

I did stay in some pensions and hotels, and discovered some that would offer a pilrgims discount, particularly after the end of the summer season.
Great advice!
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
#25
Thanks so much for the practical advice! Cheers, Victoria
Victoria:

A few other thoughts. I do not know if this has been fixed yet or not. Coming out of Deba, a lot of the markings have been painted over by a local with black paint. Could be a little confusing. The walk from Bilbao to Portugalete offers 2 options. North and south of the river. I chose the North. It is industrial but it is part of the Camino. There is kind of an air taxi you take to cross the river when you arrive at Portugalete. There are also smaller water taxi options. The hill before Gijon is very steep. There are several nice Communal albergues. Guemes is one. I like this place. Others do not. It is about a click off the Camino. Santa Cruz de Bezana is another nice stop. You stay with Nieves in her home. She will also give you a map for the next day. You will cross a rail bridge of about a a 100 meters. I feel it is safe but others take the train across. I actually posted pictures several times in other posts. Pendueles has a nice Communal albergue. There is an Albergue in Cuerres. A private home run by a German couple. It is right along the Camino. Even if you do not stay there stop and have a cup of tea. Wonderful couple. I also recommend you do not stop in Sebrayo and continue on to Villaviciosa. I stopped in El Rellayo for a drink at the Hotel Marino. the views were great and I ended up staying there. They also have a great restaurant.

These are just a few more thoughts that come to mind.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#26
I walked the Norte last May. Gronze.com is a great source of information about places to stay. My impression was very different than Jim's. It seemed that I was finding newly opened albergues that the guidebooks and online sources hadn't found yet. Granted, most of the new ones were private vs. municipal. They usually cost 12-15E per night vs. donativo or 6E at the municipals. Still cheaper than a private room. The infrastructure on the Norte is constantly improving to keep up with the increase in traffic.

The first week is fairly strenuous with a lot of up and down and rocky trails. Most days there is a way to break up the walking into shorter stretches so that you don't have to overdo it.

Like you I am a 66 year old woman who did it solo. Feel free to get in touch if you'd like more specific information.

Buen Camino
Thank you for your information!
Just what I have been looking for.
Thanks.
 

Currie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances(2013) Camino Primitivo or del Norte(2016)
#28
Wise Pilgrim has just published paper editions of their guide and it is much better than what I could find(in English) when I walked del Norte in 2016.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte/Primitivo 2018
#30
@Victoria Young I just finished the Norte. I did it August 27 to October 10. I can't compare to the Camino Frances, but I will say that it is beautiful, and entirely possible to have a deep spiritual experience. The people who seemed to be discontent with their experience were regularly comparing it to their expectations of the Frances - so I assume that there are significant differences. But as a newby, I was delighted.

It is strenuous, particularly the section from Irun to Bilbao. It gets easier after but there are still lots of days with some descent elevation changes.

You will likely find getting accommodation more challenging before mid-September, when school goes back in session. Before then, there are lots of short distance, multi year walkers. I did find that as a solo walker, I had an easier time, often getting the last bed of the day. Many of the albergues I ended up in had 20 or less beds.

I did stay in some pensions and hotels, and discovered some that would offer a pilrgims discount, particularly after the end of the summer season.

Hi there. I was wondering because I am also a solo traveler, what time was the end of your day? I am a slow walker and am thinking I won't end my day until about 4. I am walking in mid-May to the end of June. Do you think I will have a problem finding a bed?
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#31
Hi there. I was wondering because I am also a solo traveler, what time was the end of your day? I am a slow walker and am thinking I won't end my day until about 4. I am walking in mid-May to the end of June. Do you think I will have a problem finding a bed?
I am walking the Norte around the same time frame. This will be my 8th+ Camino, but my first on the Norte, so I admittedly have no first hand experience.
You may want to reconsider your daily schedule. Most pilgrims start walking around 7am and only walk until 1 or 2 pm. If you are walking slow, even at a rate of 3km/hr, you will cover 20km+. Most albergues open between 1 and 2 and even though there should not be any bed race on the Norte, 4 tends to be a little late to find a bed in a smaller albergues.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#33
We walked in the mornings, found a bed, had a menu del dia then washed clothes etc. Usually that meant stopping walking about 1.30-2.00pm so a mid morning bocadillo and coffee was helpful.
It was also better when days were hot in the afternoon, we could have a rest and then wander around when it had cooled down
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#34
Hi there. I was wondering because I am also a solo traveler, what time was the end of your day? I am a slow walker and am thinking I won't end my day until about 4. I am walking in mid-May to the end of June. Do you think I will have a problem finding a bed?
Sunrise came later and later during my departure time became quite late.(typically between 8am and 8:30-any earlier and it was really dark)

There was one day I finished at 6pm, more often would stop walking around 4pm. A few days my body was screaming for rest and I stopped at noon.

I walked slowly and the section before Bilbao, I averaged 2km/hr over the course of a day. As things leveled out and my body changed I walked much further and faster.

As a solo walker , a few times I got the last bed. In one case, I got the emergency bed. Apparently I looked pretty wiped even though it was only 4:30.

I don’t want to make promises, but I don’t think you need to worry. I was delighted by how much kindness and helpfulness I encountered along the way - hospitaleros that shuttled pilgrims, fellow pilgrims that helped me book accommodation, posters advertising beds, locals that freely gave advice.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
#35
Hi there. I was wondering because I am also a solo traveler, what time was the end of your day? I am a slow walker and am thinking I won't end my day until about 4. I am walking in mid-May to the end of June. Do you think I will have a problem finding a bed?
We're slow walkers too, and we're starting the Camino del Norte on 2 September after connecting from the Via Podiensis.
I had read about the bed race, and I was concerned about not getting a bed, so I used guides (and there's plenty of them) to plan our walk. We aim for an average of 15km per day, and looking at the guides gave me an idea of when to stop. I also take into account the profil of the stage to determine how far I might walk.
I also looked for alternatives: in a recent example, we will be walking from Irun to Pasaia (Pasajes). There's nothing in between and we don't want to go all the way to San Sebastian. There's only one albergue in Pasaia, with only 14 beds, and like you, I was concerned that we might not have a bed at 4pm. So for peace of mind, I found an AirBnB place in Pasaia.
Most importantly, in my planning, I followed the advice of the Norte veterans on this forum: it's awesome!
Buen Camino!
Andrew
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#36
We're slow walkers too, and we're starting the Camino del Norte on 2 September after connecting from the Via Podiensis.
I had read about the bed race, and I was concerned about not getting a bed, so I used guides (and there's plenty of them) to plan our walk. We aim for an average of 15km per day, and looking at the guides gave me an idea of when to stop. I also take into account the profil of the stage to determine how far I might walk.
I also looked for alternatives: in a recent example, we will be walking from Irun to Pasaia (Pasajes). There's nothing in between and we don't want to go all the way to San Sebastian. There's only one albergue in Pasaia, with only 14 beds, and like you, I was concerned that we might not have a bed at 4pm. So for peace of mind, I found an AirBnB place in Pasaia.
Most importantly, in my planning, I followed the advice of the Norte veterans on this forum: it's awesome!
Buen Camino!
Andrew
I had the same concerns about Pasaia! I was lucky, I left Irun at 8am, arrived at Pasaia at 2:00pm and stayed sitting there until the hospitalera arrived at 4pm. She was very sweet and had a tough role. She sat with all the yound people waiting and suggested they might have an easier time going on to the next albergue than us slow pokes, and called ahead for them to make sure places were available. There are a couple of delightful stopping places between Pasaia and San Sebastian - just not donativos.
 

Scarlet Fez

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances Sept/Oct 2016
Camino Portuguese Oct 2017
Del Norde Start 2nd May 2018
#37
Due to a rugby trip to Dublin this weekend my Del Norte start date will be strongly influenced by the result of the match. Ironically the final is being played in Bilbao on the 12th of May, so the whole area will be busy that weekend .
I am the first to am admit I am linguistically challenged and did the Frances solo and found I could get by with the odd Spanish word and pointing and of course with the assistance of other pilgrims. Last year i did the Portuguese with a German friend who was fluent in Spanish, Italian and English and felt I may have struggled with out him. Going solo this year as well and a little concerned that my use of only English could be testing and restrict me Cerveza, Vinto tinto and baguettes!
I'll have my Spanish phrase book and endeavour to learn a few new words, but should I be concerned? I'm hardly going to starve or go hungry am I.?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#38
Due to a rugby trip to Dublin this weekend my Del Norte start date will be strongly influenced by the result of the match. Ironically the final is being played in Bilbao on the 12th of May, so the whole area will be busy that weekend .
I am the first to am admit I am linguistically challenged and did the Frances solo and found I could get by with the odd Spanish word and pointing and of course with the assistance of other pilgrims. Last year i did the Portuguese with a German friend who was fluent in Spanish, Italian and English and felt I may have struggled with out him. Going solo this year as well and a little concerned that my use of only English could be testing and restrict me Cerveza, Vinto tinto and baguettes!
I'll have my Spanish phrase book and endeavour to learn a few new words, but should I be concerned? I'm hardly going to starve or go hungry am I.?
I met lots of single language speakers along the way... we all lost weight but I am pretty sure it wasn't because we were going hungry ;)

The nice thing about Basque Country, is the tendency to discover beautiful and delicious savory bites arrayed on counter tops. Smile & point. Just be prepared to be open minded and try lots of different stuff.

One more word to add to your arsenal: Sidra. You might like it. You might hate it. But you should definitely try it.

Be aware that in Basque country, they speak Basque. I thought local cyclists were telling me to get out of the way but apparently they were yelling hello.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016
#39
I walked the Norte last May. Gronze.com is a great source of information about places to stay. My impression was very different than Jim's. It seemed that I was finding newly opened albergues that the guidebooks and online sources hadn't found yet. Granted, most of the new ones were private vs. municipal. They usually cost 12-15E per night vs. donativo or 6E at the municipals. Still cheaper than a private room. The infrastructure on the Norte is constantly improving to keep up with the increase in traffic.

The first week is fairly strenuous with a lot of up and down and rocky trails. Most days there is a way to break up the walking into shorter stretches so that you don't have to overdo it.

Like you I am a 66 year old woman who did it solo. Feel free to get in touch if you'd like more specific information.

Buen Camino
Hi! I'm new here and have a lot of questions. Sounds like you've done this and had a good experience! How long should I plan for walking the Norte route? Is mid-May and June a good time to walk?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
#40
Mid-May to June worked really well for me. The reasons that I liked that timeframe are: 1) lots of daylight hours for walking, 2) the weather at this time of year is usually good, but every year is different, 3) there are enough other people walking to make life interesting but not so many as to create a bed race, and 4) as far as room rates go, it's still considered to be off-season.

It took me 35 days to get from Irun to Santiago. However I am not a fast walker, took my time and also took side trips (Tapia de Casariego, As Catedras). I think 32 days is considered "average."

The Norte is beautiful. I highly recommend it.

Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016
#41
Mid-May to June worked really well for me. The reasons that I liked that timeframe are: 1) lots of daylight hours for walking, 2) the weather at this time of year is usually good, but every year is different, 3) there are enough other people walking to make life interesting but not so many as to create a bed race, and 4) as far as room rates go, it's still considered to be off-season.

It took me 35 days to get from Irun to Santiago. However I am not a fast walker, took my time and also took side trips (Tapia de Casariego, As Catedras). I think 32 days is considered "average."

The Norte is beautiful. I highly recommend it.

Buen Camino

Thanks so much! Very encouraging. I'm trying to avoid both rain and heat as much as possible, but I know the weather will be what it will be!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017,Camino Primitivo 2018, Camino Finisterre/Muxía 2018 Camino del Norte (2019 )
#42
We're slow walkers too, and we're starting the Camino del Norte on 2 September after connecting from the Via Podiensis.
I had read about the bed race, and I was concerned about not getting a bed, so I used guides (and there's plenty of them) to plan our walk. We aim for an average of 15km per day, and looking at the guides gave me an idea of when to stop. I also take into account the profil of the stage to determine how far I might walk.
I also looked for alternatives: in a recent example, we will be walking from Irun to Pasaia (Pasajes). There's nothing in between and we don't want to go all the way to San Sebastian. There's only one albergue in Pasaia, with only 14 beds, and like you, I was concerned that we might not have a bed at 4pm. So for peace of mind, I found an AirBnB place in Pasaia.
Most importantly, in my planning, I followed the advice of the Norte veterans on this forum: it's awesome!
Buen Camino!
Andrew
I am an older and slower walker and have also been looking for options for shorter distances. An AirBnB in Pasaia is a good idea - did it work out well ? Starting from Irun on about March 20th this year and both excited and nervous.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
#43
I am an older and slower walker and have also been looking for options for shorter distances. An AirBnB in Pasaia is a good idea - did it work out well ? Starting from Irun on about March 20th this year and both excited and nervous.
Hello @Babyboomergirl , we had found a great place very close to the little ferry, but the host cancelled a couple of months before we were due to arrive. We found another place a little bit further out, and that worked ok.
It does make for a short walk into San Sebastian, giving you extra time to explore.
Buen Camino
Andrew
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017,Camino Primitivo 2018, Camino Finisterre/Muxía 2018 Camino del Norte (2019 )
#44
Hello @Babyboomergirl , we had found a great place very close to the little ferry, but the host cancelled a couple of months before we were due to arrive. We found another place a little bit further out, and that worked ok.
It does make for a short walk into San Sebastian, giving you extra time to explore.
Buen Camino
Andrew
Thank you Andrew,
I had initially thought I’d book 3 nights in San Sebastian- the first after arriving at the airport in the evening after almost 26 hours travelling and then a rest day to recover from jet lag and explore the city and then on the third day train to Irun and walk back to San Sebastian with a lighter pack ( as suggested elsewhere on this forum ).
The alternative would be first night in Irun, walk to Pasaia for 2nd night and then 3rd night in San Sebastian which might be a gentler way to start this Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
#45
There's a guest house in Pasajes where you can make a reservation. It's 25€ for a private room/shared bath and breakfast. Casa Txurdin The phone number is +34685475733, and the owner is on WhatsApp. I made a reservation by text through WhatsApp.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017,Camino Primitivo 2018, Camino Finisterre/Muxía 2018 Camino del Norte (2019 )
#46
There's a guest house in Pasajes where you can make a reservation. It's 25€ for a private room/shared bath and breakfast. Casa Txurdin The phone number is +34685475733, and the owner is on WhatsApp. I made a reservation by text through WhatsApp.
Thank you. That sounds perfect. I’ll have a look.
 

OLDER threads on this topic


Book your lodging here

Booking.com



Advertisement

Booking.com

Most read today

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 11 1.3%
  • February

    Votes: 5 0.6%
  • March

    Votes: 35 4.3%
  • April

    Votes: 126 15.4%
  • May

    Votes: 198 24.2%
  • June

    Votes: 58 7.1%
  • July

    Votes: 17 2.1%
  • August

    Votes: 13 1.6%
  • September

    Votes: 241 29.5%
  • October

    Votes: 98 12.0%
  • November

    Votes: 11 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.6%
Top