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Bilbao - Casto Urdiales

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
I went from Portugalete to Castro Urdiales and that was far enough for me. Heavy day, much up and down and asfalt roads.
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
Even if you left Bilbao along the river (the shorter route), it's still 40km to Castro Urdiales. Otherwise 47km along the 'official' route. For the majority of pilgrims, that's double their daily average. (I've met some pilgrims who do very long daily distances as a norm, but I have no idea whether this is your intention!)
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
You can see the distances here. If you take the 'official' camino route, it's 19.4km from Bilbao to Portugalete, and then 27.6km from Portugalete to Castro Urdiales.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2017-18)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
Seeing as how Portugalete is basically a suburb of Bilbao these days, we took the metro to Portugalete in the (fairly) early morning and started walking there. The way which is a local run/bike path was easy walking. We got into Castro-Urdiales around maybe 3? I forget exactly, close to the beginning of siesta time. I think the only place in town with a sello was the Turismo office.
HTH
Buen camino
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
Did you take the shortcut from Pobena ? Portugalete Castro Urdiales is 25 km.
I went by the sea along a path from Probena, but after Ontón I walked some streches on road. It is 7 years ago so memories are fading. Had to check the map to find out.
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
Did you take the shortcut from Pobena ? Portugalete Castro Urdiales is 25 km.
At the end of the Arena beach there's a green bridge (see screenshot) that takes you into Pobeña - well, the outskirts, you leave the town very soon. From there, as ranthr says, it's a nice walk along the coast to Ontón.
 

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Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
Is the shortcut from El Pontarron to Hazas wel signed and is it a busy road ?
See screenshot. That's where you need to make your decision. The camino path goes up on the left. Otherwise, you just carry on along the N-634. It's the old highway, they've now built a new one (which you'll be standing under when you get to this point!) For longer distances, everyone uses the A-8, but they still use the N-634 for travel between the smaller towns, so it can get quite busy at certain times of day or certain days of the week. You need to be cautious.
 

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Camineiro

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
several
The way is well marked and the road wasn‘t very busy last year when I did it in april as there is a motorway (A8) leading parallel to it (may be a handful of cars). There‘s an alternative route (not shown on your map) along the coastline between El Pontarron and Villanueva. But I have no further information about it. You may find it in the wise pilgrim guide.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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
It is well-signed but, having done both at different times, I would easily opt for the longer route. The road can be busy at times, and is generally not as much fun. Either way, make sure of your water after El Pontarron as sources are few and far between.
 

Frank1963

New Member
I went by the sea along a path from Probena, but after Ontón I walked some streches on road. It is 7 years ago so memories are fading. Had to check the map to find out.
I want to go via Oviedo and not via Gijon.

Is the point well marked where you need to take the Camino to Oviedo ?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
It is well-signed but, having done both at different times, I would easily opt for the longer route. The road can be busy at times, and is generally not as much fun. Either way, make sure of your water after El Pontarron as sources are few and far between.
Totally agree with @Raggy. I initially took the longer route to avoid asphalt, and then discovered that the way to La Magdalena is all asphalt, but it is a MUCH less traveled road. It is true that the N-634 is not the main highway anymore, but the stretch after Islares was really quite busy. Nothing as hair-raising as the traffic on the road out of Cáceres on the Vdlp on weekday rush hours or the even scarier walk on the shoulder-free national highway on the Mozárabe going into Torrefresnada, but really busy. I assume weekend traffic would be much thinner, as it is on all of these busy stretches, but the combination of garbage trucks, delivery trucks, and cars trying to zip around them with too short of a passing distance made for an elevated heartbeat.

From La Magdalena you go through a forest, and then very rural residential areas, it is quite pleasant.

I would DEFINITELY recommend the loop from Villanueva to Laredo, it is beautiful. If you look at the schematic Gronze map posted above, though, you will see that if you walk the route into Hazas as I did, you will actually have to walk “backwards“ on the Norte for a couple of kms to get to the turnoff for the coastal alternative.

BTW, I don’t think anyone has mentioned the “coastal alternatives” thread lately. There is a lot of great information in that thread about many different ways to avoid the slogs on asphalt that are so prevalent on the Norte. This is especially frustrating since you are usually just a few kms from the ocean!

 

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