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Advice on Walking a Fast Norte Solo in October

Aventurera

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
October 2022
Hi All,

Great to meet you. As luck would have it, I've got a free month in October 2022 and have decided last-minute to fulfill my Camino dream (see you very soon!). I've been reading through the Forum here but had a few outstanding questions:

1. Irun to Santiago (25 - 26 days) — I'm an experienced hiker and have done difficult multi-day hikes with weight in a number of parts of the world (Himalayas, Patagonia, Appalachian Trail, Greenland etc.). I'm hoping to complete the Camino del Norte in 25 - 26 days if possible. Is it doable while also being fun?
2. Socializing on the Norte in October — I'm coming solo and really enjoy connecting with others. I'm not sure if the Norte is the right choice given the month, as I'd prefer to chat with others, especially in the evenings. I've chosen the Norte mainly for the beautiful scenery and because it is more challenging, but would trade for the Frances if I'm going to be mostly alone.
3. Albergue closures in October — It looks like many albergues are closed in October. Is this a significant issue? I'm open to staying in other hostels/hotels as needed, but wouldn't want to do this if it means missing out substantially on connecting with others and being part of the Camino spirit.
4. Thermarest — I can see that bringing a sleeping bag is a good choice, but I'm not sure about a thermarest. I was thinking this might be helpful in more basic places or where there's hygiene issues (and a layer between your sleeping bag and the bed is a good thing!). Any advice would be great.
5. Last minute planning — I am beginning my planning now and will be on the camino within 2 weeks. Are there any major time-depended logistics I should be aware of that must be handled in advance (e.g certain cities where hostels must be booked in advance).

Thank you so much for any advice and support you could provide on the above questions — I really appreciate it.
 
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25-26 says is fast for the Norte, but I'm sure that there are those who have completed it in that amount of time

That said, when it comes to your point #2 it's unlikely that there will be many other pilgrims walking the same daily distances, so you are likely going to be socializing with different people every night. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not conducive to developing the deep connections that some make on the Camino.

For #3 check Gronze for open and close dates of albergues.

#4 Yes to the sleeping bag, but you don't need a sleeping mat in the albergues. Most are reasonably clean and supply a disposable bottom sheet and pillowcase.
 
#1 I did Norte from Biarritz in 24 days so it is doable and I liked it. This is my stages https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...s-on-camino-norte-from-bayonne-24-days.42597/

I would’t say that it is more challenging than Francés and there is quite a lot road walking in some parts. But it is a really nice and beautiful path. I did miss some of the Camino soul, lot of closed churches and a feeling of competition “as we do it because it is harder”. But that might just be the crowd I ended up with some days. I did it in the summer so I can’t answer the other questions except for the one about a sleeping pad, extra weight that is not needed.
 
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1 You can do it, but you need to walk 35km+ every day. The Camino is not very hard if you are phisically fit, especially compared to other long trials and hikes you mentioned, but long stages+ rainy weather and possibly loneliness/lack of communion will test your endurance and mental toughness.

2 You will find some pilgrims, but you probably will struggle to find anyone that walks as much as you for more than 1-2 stages. It really depends on what you are looking for from this Camino.

4 Not needed imo if you plan to sleep in albergues / hostels. I would bring a sleeping bag+liner.
 
1 You can do it, but you need to walk 35km+ every day. The Camino is not very hard if you are phisically fit, especially compared to other long trials and hikes you mentioned, but long stages+ rainy weather and possibly loneliness/lack of communion will test your endurance and mental toughness.

2 You will find some pilgrims, but you probably will struggle to find anyone that walks as much as you for more than 1-2 stages. It really depends on what you are looking for from this Camino.

4 Not needed imo if you plan to sleep in albergues / hostels. I would bring a sleeping bag+liner.
Thank you so much Jamat for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate your advice.
 
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I did it in 22 days. Didn't meet anyone though. I mean just one night meeting friends and then poof they're gone. Now, I can always say I did it, but, as far as caminos rank, not the highest.
Thanks so much Damien for sharing your experience. I'm not particularly keen to do it if I won't meet anyone. I think it's much about the journey as the destination right? :)
 
Thanks so much Damien for sharing your experience. I'm not particularly keen to do it if I won't meet anyone. I think it's much about the journey as the destination right? :)
You can always start closer to Santiago and walk more "normal" stages to increase your chances of meeting people. Then if you have extra time you can continue on to Finisterre and/or Muxía.
 
#1 I did Norte from Biarritz in 24 days so it is doable and I liked it. This is my stages https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...s-on-camino-norte-from-bayonne-24-days.42597/

I would’t say that it is more challenging than Francés and there is quite a lot road walking in some parts. But it is a really nice and beautiful path. I did miss some of the Camino soul, lot of closed churches and a feeling of competition “as we do it because it is harder”. But that might just be the crowd I ended up with some days. I did it in the summer so I can’t answer the other questions except for the one about a sleeping pad, extra weight that is not needed.
Thanks so much Beatrice for sharing your itinerary with me — that's super helpful to get a sense of what it would be like at that number of days. I'm trying to balance an enjoyable challenge with the days I have and also really connecting with the Camino spirit. Given the answers I'm seeing here, I'm starting to lean towards walking a shorter distance at the 'normal' pace to development more connection along the journey.
 
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You can always start closer to Santiago and walk more "normal" stages to increase your chances of meeting people. Then if you have extra time you can continue on to Finisterre and/or Muxía.
Yes, you totally read my mind! I think that's what I'm leaning towards after seeing the helpful advice here. I'm always up for a physical challenge, but the connection is just as important to me, so I'd rather enjoy building relationships and make the walk a bit easier. Do you have a sense of how busy the Norte is in October?
 
25-26 says is fast for the Norte, but I'm sure that there are those who have completed it in that amount of time

That said, when it comes to your point #2 it's unlikely that there will be many other pilgrims walking the same daily distances, so you are likely going to be socializing with different people every night. Not necessarily a bad thing, but not conducive to developing the deep connections that some make on the Camino.

For #3 check Gronze for open and close dates of albergues.

#4 Yes to the sleeping bag, but you don't need a sleeping mat in the albergues. Most are reasonably clean and supply a disposable bottom sheet and pillowcase.
Thank you so much for your replies here. I'm curious if you've walked the Norte in October and what the vibe is like? Would it be better to walk the Frances to maximize social connection (even though I haven't pre-booked hostels)?
 
Thank you so much for your replies here. I'm curious if you've walked the Norte in October and what the vibe is like? Would it be better to walk the Frances to maximize social connection (even though I haven't pre-booked hostels)?
I've only walked the Norte in summer months.
I think that you'll find more community on the Francés in October, and I wouldn't worry about finding lodging in October.
I would probably start in Pamplona or farther along the Camino with your time frame. Not that you couldn't walk from SJPDP if you wanted in 26 days, but to maximize the opportunities to connect with other pilgrims.
 
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I've only walked the Norte in summer months.
I think that you'll find more community on the Francés in October, and I wouldn't worry about finding lodging in October.
I would probably start in Pamplona or farther along the Camino with your time frame. Not that you couldn't walk from SJPDP if you wanted in 26 days, but to maximize the opportunities to connect with other pilgrims.
This is really helpful advice. I'm leaning towards walking a shorter Camino and taking the Frances based on what you're sharing. Thanks so much for your help!
 
This is really helpful advice. I'm leaning towards walking a shorter Camino and taking the Frances based on what you're sharing. Thanks so much for your help!
Sounds like a wonderful trip and you are focused on the journey and the people you meet! Buen Camino!
 
I walked the Norte from Irun in October, 2019. Plenty of social time in the albergues every evening but also some "alone" time along the trail. I chose the Norte because of the scenery and to avoid the crowds on the CF.

I took a very small sleeping bag but never used it; only a liner.

Finally, I took 40 days to walk it. I enjoyed having the time to enjoy the sights and restaurants in the afternoons after completing the stages.
 
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Hi All,

Great to meet you. As luck would have it, I've got a free month in October 2022 and have decided last-minute to fulfill my Camino dream (see you very soon!). I've been reading through the Forum here but had a few outstanding questions:

1. Irun to Santiago (25 - 26 days) — I'm an experienced hiker and have done difficult multi-day hikes with weight in a number of parts of the world (Himalayas, Patagonia, Appalachian Trail, Greenland etc.). I'm hoping to complete the Camino del Norte in 25 - 26 days if possible. Is it doable while also being fun?
2. Socializing on the Norte in October — I'm coming solo and really enjoy connecting with others. I'm not sure if the Norte is the right choice given the month, as I'd prefer to chat with others, especially in the evenings. I've chosen the Norte mainly for the beautiful scenery and because it is more challenging, but would trade for the Frances if I'm going to be mostly alone.
3. Albergue closures in October — It looks like many albergues are closed in October. Is this a significant issue? I'm open to staying in other hostels/hotels as needed, but wouldn't want to do this if it means missing out substantially on connecting with others and being part of the Camino spirit.
4. Thermarest — I can see that bringing a sleeping bag is a good choice, but I'm not sure about a thermarest. I was thinking this might be helpful in more basic places or where there's hygiene issues (and a layer between your sleeping bag and the bed is a good thing!). Any advice would be great.
5. Last minute planning — I am beginning my planning now and will be on the camino within 2 weeks. Are there any major time-depended logistics I should be aware of that must be handled in advance (e.g certain cities where hostels must be booked in advance).

Thank you so much for any advice and support you could provide on the above questions — I really appreciate it.
2 You will find some pilgrims, but you probably will struggle to find anyone that walks as much as you for more than 1-2 stages. It really depends on what you are looking for from this Camino.
I would imagine based on what you have written that you will easily be able to handle the physical aspects of this camino.
In terms of the social aspect I have to agree completely with Jamat regarding meeting other pilgrims. I walked in October and November and there were pilgrims in every albergue I slept in every night until the camino split and the vast majority of pilgrims walked on the Primitivo. The rest of the way in late October and November I was either alone in an albergue or with just 2 or 3 pilgrims until I got to Sobrada. I was 64 when I walked. I was walking an average of about 25k a day and I saw many of the same pilgrims most nights early on. I did not meet anyone who was walking the distances that you are planning on walking. Jamat is completely correct, in my opinion that you will meet more than a few people doing your planned distances. So most people you meet will be for the evening in that albergue. In the Frances I have meet more people doing long distances a day but not very many. On the Frances you may have a much better chance to meet long distance pilgrims.
In terms of open albergues as you get deeper into the October more albergues will be closing but with a little planning you should have no problems. Check Gronze.com and download the Buen Camino and Wise Pilgrim apps for more albergue choices. None are 100 complete in terms of albergues and none are completely accurate on open/close dates at it really is the whim of the owners. Call ahead to be sure.
Buen Camino
 
I'm on the Norte now and walked the Frances last year in September/ October. The Norte is beautiful, and as others have said the Frances has more community and open churches and services. Of you are wanting to enjoy the community aspect of the Camino I'd choose the Frances.
 
I just want to add some clarification to an earlier post. The Norte is my favorite. It is for devotees, bad asses, free thinkers and coastal lovers. But in October/Nov? I'm doing the Frances again same time of year because I have heard it gets wet up there. I have zero experience on the Norte after September or before April.
 
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I just want to add some clarification to an earlier post. The Norte is my favorite. It is for devotees, bad asses, free thinkers and coastal lovers. But in October/Nov? I'm doing the Frances again same time of year because I have heard it gets wet up there. I have zero experience on the Norte after September or before April.
I finished up the Norte on October 25 of 2019. In 40 days of walking, I had very little rain (none lasted more than a couple of hours), UNTIL I got to Galicia. The last 3 or 4 days were pretty wet, all day. But never very heavy. I actually enjoyed it.
 
I walked the Norte from Irun in October, 2019. Plenty of social time in the albergues every evening but also some "alone" time along the trail. I chose the Norte because of the scenery and to avoid the crowds on the CF.

I took a very small sleeping bag but never used it; only a liner.

Finally, I took 40 days to walk it. I enjoyed having the time to enjoy the sights and restaurants in the afternoons after completing the stages.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience, that's really helpful.
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
Hi All,

Great to meet you. As luck would have it, I've got a free month in October 2022 and have decided last-minute to fulfill my Camino dream (see you very soon!). I've been reading through the Forum here but had a few outstanding questions:

1. Irun to Santiago (25 - 26 days) — I'm an experienced hiker and have done difficult multi-day hikes with weight in a number of parts of the world (Himalayas, Patagonia, Appalachian Trail, Greenland etc.). I'm hoping to complete the Camino del Norte in 25 - 26 days if possible. Is it doable while also being fun?
2. Socializing on the Norte in October — I'm coming solo and really enjoy connecting with others. I'm not sure if the Norte is the right choice given the month, as I'd prefer to chat with others, especially in the evenings. I've chosen the Norte mainly for the beautiful scenery and because it is more challenging, but would trade for the Frances if I'm going to be mostly alone.
3. Albergue closures in October — It looks like many albergues are closed in October. Is this a significant issue? I'm open to staying in other hostels/hotels as needed, but wouldn't want to do this if it means missing out substantially on connecting with others and being part of the Camino spirit.
4. Thermarest — I can see that bringing a sleeping bag is a good choice, but I'm not sure about a thermarest. I was thinking this might be helpful in more basic places or where there's hygiene issues (and a layer between your sleeping bag and the bed is a good thing!). Any advice would be great.
5. Last minute planning — I am beginning my planning now and will be on the camino within 2 weeks. Are there any major time-depended logistics I should be aware of that must be handled in advance (e.g certain cities where hostels must be booked in advance).

Thank you so much for any advice and support you could provide on the above questions — I really appreciate it.
Although I can’t speak about del Norte , I’ve walked from Los arcos to Finistera in 21 days . On average it was 35 kms per day . Even if you choose Frances you would not stay in one bubble or group simply because you will be doing longer stages every day . So you have to decide what you want from this journey. If it was my first Camino I will start from SJPDP or Pamplona and enjoy it :)
 

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