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Best stages of the Camino del Norte? (son-in-law in trouble)

Charles Montera

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese 2010, Camino del Norte 2016
Hello pilgrims!!

My name is Carlos, I live in Spain and I need some advise regarding the Camino del Norte.

My wife's parents (in-laws) are visiting from Australia next year and they want to walk some sections of the Northern Way. They walked the French Camino in 2011 and the Portuguese Camino in 2013, however this time they won’t have enough time to walk the entire route and they will probably won’t come back again to finish it. They don’t want to walk the first, middle or the last section this time. They just want me to choose and walk with them the "seven or eight best and most picturesque stages of the Camino del Norte”. Stages don’t have to be consecutive as they do not mind skipping sections by taxing ahead.

I have walked the Portuguese Camino in the past but I’m not familiar at all with the Camino del Norte. I know there are many interesting cities and villages along the northern route (Hondarribia, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Santander, Llanes, etc.); however, what I'm actually interested in is the attractiveness of the walking stages (hilltops overlooking the ocean, stunning views, sandy beaches, etc.).

I would be very grateful if someone who has walked the entire Camino del Norte could help me to hand-pick the best 7 or 8 walking stages. I know it not easy, there are too many beautiful sections of the Camino to choose from. No need to be consecutive (i.e. 3-4 stages in the Basque Country plus 3-4 in Cantabria and/or Asturias) and there’s no need to end in Santiago either as they have been there twice.

Thank you, in advance, for your help!!
 
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A

AJ

Guest
Consider the E9 coastal path rather than the Camino and check with the tourist office.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Hi Carlos, welcome to the forum. If your parents-in-law aren't happy you will get the blame! As a fellow Aussie, I think they should join this forum and work it out themselves - there are tons of beautiful photos on the Norte, and lots of threads for them to explore. There are also lots of local pilgrim groups in Australia and, depending on where they live, they could go to one and talk to some who have already walked the Norte. On the front page of the forum you will see the Australian and New Zealand section - most groups are listed there.
 

nalod

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2011, Finnesterre 2011,Le Puy to SJPDP 2011& 2012,Via de la Plata,Sambrasa 2012, Mozarabe 2013, Portugees 2013.PartNorde 2011, VDPL 2014,St-Guilhem 2014.Espalion-Roncesvalles 2014.Levante2015
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Charles Montera

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese 2010, Camino del Norte 2016
Thank you for your advice.

Regardless of the outcome I'm always the one to blame!! (Just kidding ;)). I really would like to help them (my in-laws) to plan this trip. I’m doing a lot of research on the Internet; I have also called both the tourist office in Bilbao and San Sebastian (they gave me some valuable information, but they didn't want to favor one location over another), and I have already bought the CSJ guides.

I was wondering if someone who has already walked the whole route could share with me what were his/her favorite stages.

Warm regards,
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
Thank you for your advice.

Regardless of the outcome I'm always the one to blame!! (Just kidding ;)). I really would like to help them (my in-laws) to plan this trip. I’m doing a lot of research on the Internet; I have also called both the tourist office in Bilbao and San Sebastian (they gave me some valuable information, but they didn't want to favor one location over another), and I have already bought the CSJ guides.

I was wondering if someone who has already walked the whole route could share with me what were his/her favorite stages.

Warm regards,

Great that they are, the only thing that the CSJ guides don't have are pictures - I suggest that you also buy the Cicerone guide called "The Northern Caminos" - then you can make an informed choice based on the descriptions of the stages and the colour pictures

It also makes a big difference when you plan to walk - you will that such beaches are also very attractive to non-Camino people in August and September
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I vote for starting in Irun and heading towards Bilbao. There are ways to split the etapas so they are not too difficult, especially between Irun and San Sebastian. Gernika to Bilbao is not great though, but just getting to Gernika can be 6 or 7 days. Skipping getting in and out of Bilbao then you walk on from Portugalte, which is on theBilbao metro line. Thrn walk to Laredo.

Other than that it's walking a day,bussing, walking a day, bussing. Not quite the camino experience. City hopping between the points you mention will nice touring as those cities and towns are lovely, but as usual going in and leaving is never the best for scenary.
 

lunna

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
frances; lisboa-muxia; norte+bayonne; vdlp; le puy; voie d'arles+aragones; geneva to ales
Second Anemone's suggestion, and strongly recommend you deviate off the Camino to the GR (red white) trail between Getaria and Deba. Castro Urdiales to Islares stands out as well. If you decide to walk along the E9 at parts, be aware that it won't necessarily hug the coast, but there'll be many side roads to beaches every few hundred meters.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I agree: the alternative camino (GR) between Getaria and Deba that descends to the ocean is very nice. That is part of the first week, which is very beautiful and you'll have a lot of views of the ocean when walking among the hills. (After Deba, the trail goes inwards and you won't be seeing the ocean for quite a few days.) When I look back on it, the first stages from Irún to Deba were my best part.

What to avoid: leaving Santander and entering Avilés (the same stage) is the most depressing stage I've ever done. Asphalt, traffic, pollution, dirty. dangerous. Although in between it's nice, walking through a forest among the hills. If I had time restraints I would definitely skip that part.

/BP
 
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TerryB

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
What to avoid: leaving Santander and entering Avilés (the same stage) is the most depressing stage I've ever done. Asphalt, traffic, pollution, dirty. dangerous. Although in between it's nice, walking through a forest among the hills. If I had time restraints I would definitely skip that part. /BP

Agree that the walk out of Santander needs to be avoided. However, Santander to Avilés is some 200 kilometers! There are 10 stages (etapas) in most guides. Gronze is here:- http://www.gronze.com/camino-de-santiago/caminos/guia-del-camino-del-norte.
It would be a pity to write off the stages from Colombres to Villaviciosa which are mainly on tracks, much of it along the coast with beaches and sea views. I would look at including some of the Camino around Llanes to La Isla.

Blessings on your planning
Tio Tel
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Agree that the walk out of Santander needs to be avoided. However, Santander to Avilés is some 200 kilometers! There are 10 stages (etapas) in most guides. Gronze is here:- http://www.gronze.com/camino-de-santiago/caminos/guia-del-camino-del-norte.
It would be a pity to write off the stages from Colombres to Villaviciosa which are mainly on tracks, much of it along the coast with beaches and sea views. I would look at including some of the Camino around Llanes to La Isla.

Blessings on your planning
Tio Tel

Oooh sorry I meant from Gijón to Avilés! :Oo
 

poogeyejr

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Norte, May 2011
Norte, Sept 2013
Frances, 1wk, Jan 2017
I too loved from Irun to San Sebastian. How ever if it is raining I would not walk down the hill into San Sebastian I would stop at the top and catch a cab from the restaurant/hostel down. Very slippery when wet and new packs and extra weight can make for a disastrous start to the Camino. I would keep walking until Deba then take the EuskoTren to Bilbao. Sightsee for a day in Bilbao and take the train to Portugalete and walk from there to Guemes spending your last Camino night at the hostel in Guemes - cool hostel experience. I loved Luarca - but walking in and out weren't the best stages. So I would recommend Irun to Deba and Portugalete to Guemes.
 

poogeyejr

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Norte, May 2011
Norte, Sept 2013
Frances, 1wk, Jan 2017
I would be very grateful if someone who has walked the entire Camino del Norte could help me to hand-pick the best 7 or 8 walking stages. I know it not easy, there are too many beautiful sections of the Camino to choose from.

Hi Carlos,

Did your in-laws walk??? What did I they choose???

Kathy
 

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