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Best part of Del Norte Scenery and walk.?

MickMac

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2013
Frances 2016
Frances 2017
Frances 2018
Frances 2018
Ponferrada-Santiago
July 2019
Would tô know members thoughts on Camino del Norte for Scenary and walk about 1 week walk if you had to choose.
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Perhaps a bit more info would help us answer:
- what month do you plan to walk?
- do you want ocean scenery, mountain scenery, or ???
- public vs private Albergues or doesn’t matter?
- how do you feel about mountains? 😎😂
 

Ali@59

Alison
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
If i had to choose my favorite part I'd start in Irun and walk to Bilbao it's basically the start of the north route and is very beautiful as you're walking by the beautiful coastline mostly it should take 6/7 days if you stick with the stages depending on how many km you can do. Then its easy to fly from Bilbao to wherever
 
Time of 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
If i had to choose my favorite part I'd start in Irun and walk to Bilbao it's basically the start of the north route and is very beautiful as you're walking by the beautiful coastline mostly it should take 6/7 days if you stick with the stages depending on how many km you can do. Then its easy to fly from Bilbao to wherever

This is easily the most extraordinary part of the del Norte, but it is the most strenuous, particularly the day into Markina/Marquina. Those with flabbier thighs might want Santandar to Gijon, or Oviedo to Ribadeo.
 
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MickMac

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2013
Frances 2016
Frances 2017
Frances 2018
Frances 2018
Ponferrada-Santiago
July 2019
Perhaps a bit more info would help us answer:
- what month do you plan to walk?
- do you want ocean scenery, mountain scenery, or ???
- public vs private Albergues or doesn’t matter?
- how do you feel about mountains? 😎😂
Thanks Vacajoe, good questions, I have walked Frances 7 times over the years, need a 7 day next May.
Coastal scenery would suit. Just did hike into O,Cebreiro for third time and Samos alternate, where (I found the exit from Samos tough as well) legs beginning to give up the ghost, I hate mountains. Hates a bad word, "detest" would be better.
No worries about accommodation.
 

donalomahony

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
"Camino from 2013 to 2019" paused for now...
If i had to choose my favorite part I'd start in Irun and walk to Bilbao it's basically the start of the north route and is very beautiful as you're walking by the beautiful coastline mostly it should take 6/7 days if you stick with the stages depending on how many km you can do. Then its easy to fly from Bilbao to wherever
👍Agree!
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Yeah, mountains galore at the start of the Norte. Portuguese has climbs, too, so don’t be fooled. I think Bayonne to Irun may meet your needs - some climbs, but nothing like Irun-Bilbao. Plus lovely coastal views and swimming at St Jean de Luz! Or make it a bit longer by going SJPdP to Bayonne to Irun
 

MickMac

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2013
Frances 2016
Frances 2017
Frances 2018
Frances 2018
Ponferrada-Santiago
July 2019
Yeah, mountains galore at the start of the Norte. Portuguese has climbs, too, so don’t be fooled. I think Bayonne to Irun may meet your needs - some climbs, but nothing like Irun-Bilbao. Plus lovely coastal views and swimming at St Jean de Luz! Or make it a bit longer by going SJPdP to Bayonne to Irun
Looking at Tui to Santiago? Any thoughts?
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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Hi Mick
A couple more ideas for the Norte:
- Bilbao to Santander, only about 4.5 days, unless you walk around the bay to Santander, which I've been told is very nice and will add another day. Has the advantage of starting and finishing at cities with good transport connections, which might be important if you only have a week. Lots of great beaches. And you can stay at the famous Guemes albergue.
- Aviles to Ribadeo. This one is a bit of a mixed bag, but the second half you can extend (and go slower than standard stages) by detouring off the standard camino route and meandering along the E9 path around the coast, especially the stages before and after Tapia. Also first/second day, possible detour off to Cudillero, famously cute fishing village on the coast. Luarca reminded me of a Cornish fishing village too.
EDIT - I don't know why I wrote Porto - duh! Now amended to Bilbao
 
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xin loi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
Good question! When I walked the Norte in 2019, I was surprised how many people were only walking to Bilbao because they had previously decided Irun to Bilbao was the best part of the Norte for scenery.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte (2020)
That eliminates quite a bit of the Norte! In particular Irun to Bilbao.
I'd have to agree having recently completed Bilbao to Llanes. It's not just the hills, it's the grade and the rough paths. It took me a long time to navigate some long stretches. On top of that, often the towns are all hills as well. The brakes on the cars must be amazing and the people must have legs like mountain goars. (I didn't check thighs.)
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Looking at Tui to Santiago? Any thoughts?
Certainly less hilly and challenging than the Norte, though the first stage of the Spiritual Variant is a nice climb - not difficult, just seemingly endless. I found the CP pleasant enough, but not nearly as beautiful as the Norte or as moving as the CF. However, it’s thoroughly enjoyable and full of nice folks and delicious food. Definitely doable for someone with creaky knees.
 
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DearKat

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Irun to Santiago planned
If i had to choose my favorite part I'd start in Irun and walk to Bilbao it's basically the start of the north route and is very beautiful as you're walking by the beautiful coastline mostly it should take 6/7 days if you stick with the stages depending on how many km you can do. Then its easy to fly from Bilbao to wherever
Oh I was going to switch to Frances after reading the dont do Norte post. That said the route was mostly roadside and Im taking a dog so I thought I couldnt. Id originally thought wed get more gust coastal from the sea. Should I reconsider? Was it roadside?
 

Ali@59

Alison
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Oh I was going to switch to Frances after reading the dont do Norte post. That said the route was mostly roadside and Im taking a dog so I thought I couldnt. Id originally thought wed get more gust coastal from the sea. Should I reconsider? Was it roadside?
There were parts of road walking on and off but the scenery made up for it, I stopped the north route at Villaviciosa because after that town I think the road walking was more frequent went on to walk the Primitivo route which was mostly softer paths in the mountains which was fantastic. You could possibly take that route if you're going all the way to Santiago.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
.
Oh I was going to switch to Frances after reading the dont do Norte post. That said the route was mostly roadside and Im taking a dog so I thought I couldnt. Id originally thought wed get more gust coastal from the sea. Should I reconsider? Was it roadside?
Kat, you've no doubt found lots of other threads about walking with dogs, to which I'd add....
On balance I'd say go for the Frances because it's just that much better set up to accommodate dogs - I remember seeing private albergues with signs outside saying 'pet-friendly!' and I don't think you'll get much of that on the Norte. We walked for a while with one guy who had quite a lot of rude responses at albergues - they treated him as a vagrant for walking with a dog. At Soto de Luina he was eventually, after much pleading, allowed to sleep outside on the veranda with his dog. But that was a few years ago and maybe attitudes have improved..
Also in hot weather, what you might gain in coastal breezes you lose from the heat in the extra pavements and tarmac, which could be very uncomfortable for paws!
 

DearKat

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Irun to Santiago planned
Kat, you've no doubt found lots of other threads about walking with dogs, to which I'd add....
On balance I'd say go for the Frances because it's just that much better set up to accommodate dogs - I remember seeing private albergues with signs outside saying 'pet-friendly!' and I don't think you'll get much of that on the Norte. We walked for a while with one guy who had quite a lot of rude responses at albergues - they treated him as a vagrant for walking with a dog. At Soto de Luina he was eventually, after much pleading, allowed to sleep outside on the veranda with his dog. But that was a few years ago and maybe attitudes have improved..
Also in hot weather, what you might gain in coastal breezes you lose from the heat in the extra pavements and tarmac, which could be very uncomfortable for paws!
Frances it is then I think... pity I dont like crowds but it sounds like the right thing to do
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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Frances it is then I think... pity I dont like crowds but it sounds like the right thing to do
I wouldn't change your itinerary based just on my opinion! Maybe ask the question directly on the forum?
Having said that, there's a reason the CF is busy - it's got something different about it that the other caminos don't have - and that's related to its busyness: it attracts more people from a wide range of places and walks of life, and often they want to express themselves along their journey with mementoes and offerings. And that all adds up (IMO) to a weird and wonderful dimension that is hard to explain, but great to experience... 😌
 
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backpack45

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Vezelay (2017, in progress); Primitivo & Norte; Geneva/LePuy; Arles; Portuguese; Francés + more
This is easily the most extraordinary part of the del Norte, but it is the most strenuous, particularly the day into Markina/Marquina. Those with flabbier thighs might want Santandar to Gijon, or Oviedo to Ribadeo.
Ribadeo is on the Norte, but Oviedo is on the Primitivo--did you do a different route or detour there?
 
Time of 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
Ribadeo is on the Norte, but Oviedo is on the Primitivo--did you do a different route or detour there?
There is a variant of the del Norte which goes from Villaviciosa to Pola de Siero to Oviedo to Avilés.
 

andarapie

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Kat, you've no doubt found lots of other threads about walking with dogs, to which I'd add....
On balance I'd say go for the Frances because it's just that much better set up to accommodate dogs - I remember seeing private albergues with signs outside saying 'pet-friendly!' and I don't think you'll get much of that on the Norte. We walked for a while with one guy who had quite a lot of rude responses at albergues - they treated him as a vagrant for walking with a dog. At Soto de Luina he was eventually, after much pleading, allowed to sleep outside on the veranda with his dog. But that was a few years ago and maybe attitudes have improved..
Also in hot weather, what you might gain in coastal breezes you lose from the heat in the extra pavements and tarmac, which could be very uncomfortable for paws!
I walked a good bit of the Norte last year with a guy who did it with his dog. He was camping outside of albergues, and never had a problem. Eventually the dog got tired of walking so far every day, so he had his parents come pick up the dog (he lived in Pamplona). On the other hand, I met a guy who had walked all the way from Belgium with his dog, and that dog only got fed up a day or so before they reached Santiago.
 

RegineNL

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte (september 2022)
Hi Mick
A couple more ideas for the Norte:
- Bilbao to Santander, only about 4.5 days, unless you walk around the bay to Santander, which I've been told is very nice and will add another day. Has the advantage of starting and finishing at cities with good transport connections, which might be important if you only have a week. Lots of great beaches. And you can stay at the famous Guemes albergue.
- Aviles to Ribadeo. This one is a bit of a mixed bag, but the second half you can extend (and go slower than standard stages) by detouring off the standard camino route and meandering along the E9 path around the coast, especially the stages before and after Tapia. Also first/second day, possible detour off to Cudillero, famously cute fishing village on the coast. Luarca reminded me of a Cornish fishing village too.
EDIT - I don't know why I wrote Porto - duh! Now amended to Bilbao
Today I walked the E9 coastal path from Valdepeñas to Tapia de Casariego. In the rain but this only made it more special. The scenery was so spectacular. If you have the time, take this route! There’s no better way to say goodbye to the coast.
 

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