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All the alternative routes on the Norte - prepare or wing it?

Mountainman

El Croco loco
Past OR future Camino
Past: Camino Frances
(StJ-Santiago) 2007, 2009
(StJ-Fisterra) 2011, 2012
Future:
Camino del Salvador 8/2014
Camino Primitivo 8/2014?
Camino del Norte 9/2014,
and hopefully many more yet unplanned
Hi guys & girls,

I will be doing the Camino del Norte in September. I read quite a bit about all the alternative routes on the Norte.

Do I need to prepare for this? I am inclined to just wing it and see, and use my hospitaleros as information sources (though I will be sleeping outside at times as well, so not always hospitaleros available for info). Or should I do some planning/preparation regarding which (alternative) routes to take?

I will have both the Eroski guide and the book by Paco Nadal with me on my iPhone, (took pictures of the book as the book itself was too heavy).

All tips and advice is appreciated!
 
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jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo-2021
There is no great need to plan for this Camino unless there is something you want to see or avoid. I believe in going with the flow. I believe that puts me in the wing it camp.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

shefollowsshells

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Several alone and with children
I would prepare enough to atleast make sure my guidebook is highlighted with these routes. Guidebooks might say, " the longer more scenic view"....and at times that translates to AMAZING views.
I started a thread here in the past weeks where I had my guidebook in hands and shared info on days that I took alternative routes.
When you are tired and a book says something like, " longer, prettier route" you might decide to go a shorter route BUT if you have written notes and anticipate these routes it might be easier to welcome them when exhausted.
I was suprised at how many pilgrims made decisions not to take more scenic routes due to being tired....
Pay attention to stage prior to Pendueles....stage after Pendueles ( I don't have my guidebook on me so not certain if my spelling is correct. Stage heading to Tapia, stage heading out of Tapia. Stage heading into Isla (sp??), " The Camino Real".
Expect these routes and you will be ready for them....embrace them they are wonderful!!!!
 
Past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I've done the del Norte twice and would second cornishtim and shefollowshells. A further advantage is that it's really difficult to get lost if you walk by the sea--- any turn to the right will require swimming!
 
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Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Mountains to the left, sea to the right and yes the E9, especially now when some of the original track walking has been diverted onto the road near La Franca and Pendueles.
 

Charliemag

Member
Past OR future Camino
I am hoping to cycle the route from arún to Santiago with a friend some time this summer. Can anyone advise me as to where we could hire two bicycles for the journey? Thank you.
I am a little confused. Are there many arrows pointing different ways? Or is there some explanations when routes veer off in different directions. I'm going to walk the Norte next week and am definitely winging it. I'd prefer to stay to tracks rather than roads if that's possible? I'm starting in San Sebastián.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Not necessarily as some arrows are clearly marked 'desvio' (ie diversion) otherwise there is usually one set of arrows. Where there are real choices then some sort of guide is helpful. If you have time (depending on where you live) then order the Cicerone guide from Amazon. I think you will not have time to order and receive the CSJ guides if you walk next week.
The other alternative is to look at one of the on-line guides and print out the directions and map outlines. Having an outline but not fixed plans mean you can still 'wing it'.
Most guides also give the places where there are albergues/alternative accomodation.
Buen Camino
 

Charliemag

Member
Past OR future Camino
I am hoping to cycle the route from arún to Santiago with a friend some time this summer. Can anyone advise me as to where we could hire two bicycles for the journey? Thank you.
Thanks very much Tia. Exactly what I wanted to know
 
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jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo-2021
I am a little confused. Are there many arrows pointing different ways? Or is there some explanations when routes veer off in different directions. I'm going to walk the Norte next week and am definitely winging it. I'd prefer to stay to tracks rather than roads if that's possible? I'm starting in San Sebastián.

The Gronze online guide is excellent and shows most of the alternate routes. Downside, for me, is it is in Spanish. Also a pretty thorough list of accommodations along the route.

If you like ocean views, this is a great Camino.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

lettinggo

Active Member
Hola

Try to visit the tourist informations along the way, as they have free A4 maps of the forthcoming stage with markings of the camino as well as the GR.
About signs; yellow arrows points towards Santiago.
Sea shells; all regions except Galicia: the long center line of the shell points towards Santiago; in Galicia the marking is 180 degree. (don't worry, you will get a hang of it :) )
Nature paths along the coast is part of the Gran Recorrido (GR) and normally it is marked with a white and red stripes on trees or poles.
Other local tracks may be colored black or blue stripes.
Also... you may find blue arrows which is the markings the opposite way from Santiago for those who are walking back home :).
And once you are on your way to Finistere from Santiago you probably will find that you somehow know the way regardless of the sparse amount of arrows.

Oh yes...
'Everything flows'
Heraclitus 500 BC
flow with it

Buen Camino,
Lettinggo
 
Last edited:

shefollowsshells

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Several alone and with children
I am a little confused. Are there many arrows pointing different ways? Or is there some explanations when routes veer off in different directions. I'm going to walk the Norte next week and am definitely winging it. I'd prefer to stay to tracks rather than roads if that's possible? I'm starting in San Sebastián.
It can be confusing, and when tired it can be easy to justify certain decisions that I personally witnessed many regret later.
Before Pendueles is one of the most stunning parts of the Camino....There were nine of us in Pendueles that night and only two of us walked this stunning route, the other seven didn't even get a decent alternative they followed a road. To walk the route we did along the Ocean I think you only had one opportunity to get in there....one had to cross the road and go thru a welcome opening in a fence covered in brambles.
We wanted a nice picnic spot and saw a car parked at this opening ...I referenced it in some posts.
 
Last edited:

Steeltown Pilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Tunnel Le Puy Via De Plata Ingles Primitivo Norte Frances Portuguese Fisterra Muxia hospitalero
Hi guys & girls,

I will be doing the Camino del Norte in September. I read quite a bit about all the alternative routes on the Norte.

Do I need to prepare for this? I am inclined to just wing it and see, and use my hospitaleros as information sources (though I will be sleeping outside at times as well, so not always hospitaleros available for info). Or should I do some planning/preparation regarding which (alternative) routes to take?

I will have both the Eroski guide and the book by Paco Nadal with me on my iPhone, (took pictures of the book as the book itself was too heavy).

All tips and advice is appreciated!
I"winged it" for 6 weeks in the spring, every day. Best camino(s) ever! Do it!
 

Mountainman

El Croco loco
Past OR future Camino
Past: Camino Frances
(StJ-Santiago) 2007, 2009
(StJ-Fisterra) 2011, 2012
Future:
Camino del Salvador 8/2014
Camino Primitivo 8/2014?
Camino del Norte 9/2014,
and hopefully many more yet unplanned
Thanks everyone! So I am just going to wing it!

Though I will make sure I have the Gronze with me as well to fall back on (I found an app for my iPhone that stores offline webpages, called Offline Reader).
And I will make a list of peoples favorite albergues, and will see on the road if they fit on my path!
 
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MKalcolm M

Solvitur ambulando - It is solved by walking
Past OR future Camino
north route spring 2013
I winged it and really enjoyed the freedom and spontaneity that this allowed.
 

Trude

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
The Camino Norte is twice as hard as the French Camino and unless you read the maps carefully you will be doing extra km. I would just take it day by day. The distances are longer and lots of mountains to climb. Taking the alternative routes is something you can decide on the day on your ability and wether or not you have injuries.
I am almost finished the Norte and I found that one quarter of the people who started either gave up by Bilbao,
Caught a bus to the French Camino or injured their knees and went home. There was a lot of knee injuries including
my friend who walked through it with the help of Iboprufin. Good luck you will see some magnificent scenery. Must stop towns Bilbao, Comillas, Luarca and of course Ribadesella where the HOSTAL is ocean front and your room will have million dollar views for 12.50 euros
 

ksam

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese '08, Frances '11, del Norte '14, Invierno '16, Ingles '17, Primitivo October 2018
Thanks everyone! So I am just going to wing it!

Though I will make sure I have the Gronze with me as well to fall back on (I found an app for my iPhone that stores offline webpages, called Offline Reader).
And I will make a list of peoples favorite albergues, and will see on the road if they fit on my path!

Definitely looking at adding that app to my phone for September!

Thanks!
 
Past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I'm not sure if it's twice as hard, but it is more difficult than the Francese. An Australian pilgrim said it should be called the Stairmaster Camino. The Irun-Bilbao stretch is likely the most difficult on the del Norte (YMMV) but just pace yourself, enjoy the country around you and the companionship of the other pilgrims and the friendliness of the local people. I got lost on a few occasions but those routes were usually more scenic.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo-2021
The first week on this Camino is day in and day out a bit tougher than the Frances. The further into the route the easier it becomes with the last third being the easiest. Some of that is due to your body having adjusted.

I recommend you start out slowly. You do not have to walk the etapa's as defined in a guidebook. Look through Gronze site the night before or morning. Know what your options are and let your body, weather and the Camino dictate your daily distance. If you have a time constraint there will be many opportunities later on for longer days.

This is a great Camino.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
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shefollowsshells

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Several alone and with children
I personally feel one can "wing" it AND take alternative E-9, scenic routes. Making the decision to mark the E-9 routes and take the coast won't mean you are not winging it or letting your body decide. In my case I really wanted to stick with the Ocean as much as possible...there were days where I did have a destination goal in mind and just could not make the distance. I felt I had no choice most days but to wing it as I didn't know what I could pull off and more so than not my E-9 beautiful routes were actually found by "winging it"...not certain what I did going into Tapia I think I walked a good hour plus longer than I needed to...so thankful I did, that walk was amazing!
 
Last edited:

angulero

Active Member
Una de las alternativas que ya recomendé alguna vez es esta. Etapa Avilés-Soto de Luiña. Duermes a mitad de camino, en el albergue juvenil de San Esteban de Pravia. Al día siguiente caminas paralelo al río hasta su desembocadura y ahí coges unas escaleras que suben por el acantilado (son más de 300 escalones). Ahí empieza una senda de unos 4,5 kilómetros que acaba en la Playa de Aguilar.

One of the alternatives already recommended this ever is. Step Aviles-Soto of Luiña. Sleep halfway in the youth hostel in San Esteban de Pravia. The next day you walk parallel to the river to its mouth and then you take the stairs going up the cliff (are over 300 steps). Here begins a path of about 4.5 kilometers in just Playa de Aguilar.

http://www.jfcamina.es/caminoscosteros/AS-Z13-01-Muros/AS-Z13-01-Muros.htm

http://meteoasturias.elcomercio.es/foro/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1832

Desde la Playade Aguilar, por una carretera local de 1,5 kilómetros, llegas a El Pito, donde enlazas con el camino de nuevo. Esta es la carretera. Además, si tenéis intención de bajar a Cudillero, en vez de ir directo por la carretera, preguntad por donde se va al cementerio de LaAtalaya, y bajaréis a Cudillero viéndolo desde arriba.

From Playa de Aguilar, a local road 1.5 miles, you arrive at El Pito, where you link with the road again. This is the road. Also, if you have intention to go down to Cudillero, instead of going straight down the road, where you shout out goes to the cemetery LaAtalaya, and will lower Cudillero watching from above.

http://escueladeairelibre.blogspot.com.es/2014/03/ruta-playa-de-aguilar-cudillero.html

Y estos son los acantilados por donde va la senda vistos desde el mar.

And these are the cliffs where the path goes viewed from the sea.

http://meteoasturias.elcomercio.es/foro/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=7330
 

Mountainman

El Croco loco
Past OR future Camino
Past: Camino Frances
(StJ-Santiago) 2007, 2009
(StJ-Fisterra) 2011, 2012
Future:
Camino del Salvador 8/2014
Camino Primitivo 8/2014?
Camino del Norte 9/2014,
and hopefully many more yet unplanned
I personally feel one can "wing" it AND take alternative E-9, scenic routes. Making the decision to mark the E-9 routes and take the coast won't mean you are not winging it or letting your body decide. In my case I really wanted to stick with the Ocean as much as possible...there were days where I did have a destination goal in mind and just could not make the distance. I felt I had no choice most days but to wing it as I didn't know what I could pull off and more so than not my E-9 beautiful routes were actually found by "winging it"...not certain what I did going into Tapia I think I walked a good hour plus longer than I needed to...so thankful I did, that walk was amazing!

I will wing it, but at the same time intend to do as many alluring alternatives as possible. So I hope to stick to the coast a lot! I have no specific end date, and am carrying a sleeping bag, so I will wing it and sleep where and when I need to! ;-)
 

angulero

Active Member
En este enlace tenéis muchas rutas costeras de Asturias, de este a oeste. Ahora, alguien con tiempo y ganas de hacerlo que superponga los mapas que aparecen en las rutas con los del camino para ver cuales son viables. Hay rutas que se apartan bastante del camino o rodean mucho y no merece la pena.

In this link you have many coastal routes Asturias, from east to west. Now, anyone with the time and inclination to do that overlaps the maps appearing in the road routes to see which are viable. There are routes that deviate quite the road or around a lot and not worth it.

http://www.jfcamina.es/caminoscosteros/index.htm
 
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CalBeachGirl

New Member
Past OR future Camino
June/ July 2014
I just completed the Camino del Norte and often traveled along the GR route - Grand Recruiddo - marked by a red & white horizontal stripe and sometimes by "GR." It is a "local" route for tourists who are not necessarily doing the camino bit simu want to hike along/ near the coastline. It often made for a beautiful view and non-road trails, which my feet completely appreciated. At times along the "flecha amarilla" or yellow arrow peregrino route the arrows will be crossed out or a note on the pavement will indicate that this is an "old" route. Pay attention because one day we decided to try on, despite the "peligroso" warning. It made for the highest ascent of the camino along with adding km to the day and we missed our stop for the day completely. Looking back the challenge of it was certainly meant to be, but at that moment in time the additional km meant a 34km day for which I was not mentally prepared.

I never forgot "The Camino provides" - and it did.
 

AML

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept 2013
Norte/Primitivo May/June 2014
Vasco del Interior/ Burgos - Leon/Del Salvador/Primitivo May/June 2015
Ourense - Santiago Sept 2015
Camino Ingles Sept 2015
Porto-SDC Sept/Oct 2016
I never forgot "The Camino provides" - and it did.
I love this quote and its true.....the Camino provides what we need!!:)
 

Mountainman

El Croco loco
Past OR future Camino
Past: Camino Frances
(StJ-Santiago) 2007, 2009
(StJ-Fisterra) 2011, 2012
Future:
Camino del Salvador 8/2014
Camino Primitivo 8/2014?
Camino del Norte 9/2014,
and hopefully many more yet unplanned
I will be doing the same thing. When will you be there?
I will most likely be doing it in September, starting late august or early September. But not 100% sure yet...
 

Mountainman

El Croco loco
Past OR future Camino
Past: Camino Frances
(StJ-Santiago) 2007, 2009
(StJ-Fisterra) 2011, 2012
Future:
Camino del Salvador 8/2014
Camino Primitivo 8/2014?
Camino del Norte 9/2014,
and hopefully many more yet unplanned
I just completed the Camino del Norte and often traveled along the GR route - Grand Recruiddo - marked by a red & white horizontal stripe and sometimes by "GR." It is a "local" route for tourists who are not necessarily doing the camino bit simu want to hike along/ near the coastline. It often made for a beautiful view and non-road trails, which my feet completely appreciated. At times along the "flecha amarilla" or yellow arrow peregrino route the arrows will be crossed out or a note on the pavement will indicate that this is an "old" route. Pay attention because one day we decided to try on, despite the "peligroso" warning. It made for the highest ascent of the camino along with adding km to the day and we missed our stop for the day completely. Looking back the challenge of it was certainly meant to be, but at that moment in time the additional km meant a 34km day for which I was not mentally prepared.

I never forgot "The Camino provides" - and it did.
Thanks, that is great to know!
 

CanPete

Northern Route Pelgrim
Past OR future Camino
Past : Northern route, Primitivo
Future : Via de la Plata, Sanabres, Portuguese routes
Wing it and adjust 'on the fly' . . . over-prepared folks tend to be more rigid and enjoy less in my moderate opinion . . .

Buen Camino
 
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