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Camino del Norte from Australia

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Dan T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on walking Camino del Norte early 2020
Hello All, this is my first post. My name is Dan, I live in Melbourne, Australia, & I will be walking an as yet undecided amount of Camino del Norte in March/April next year. I can squeeze 3 weeks in Europe, of which I'll be walking for up to 14 days. My plan is to walk from Irun to Santander/Santillana del Mar, or thereabouts, and from there travel to Lisbon, which is a city I've always wanted to spend time in.

So, my questions are, does anyone have experience in travelling from Australia to Irun, & can recommend where I should fly to? I had originally thought I would fly to Barcelona, spend a couple of days there, then travel by bus to Irun. But, if anyone has a better plan than that, please share.

Next, I have seen that there are reasonably cheap flights from Bilbao to Lisbon, but I'm concerned that the further I walk, the harder it might be to get back to Bilbao via bus. Any advice here would be greatly appreciated.

Buen Camino. I literally can't wait to get going, walking the Camino is a lifelong dream of mine. Unfortunately it will only be a small portion, but at this point it's either some or none.
 
Last edited:
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
I can't answer your first question, but it is really very easy to get to Bilbao by bus or train from anywhere on the del Norte. The train (FEVE) is the more scenic.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
Hello Dan,

The city of San Sebastian has an airport (with connections to Barcelona, amongst others). The good news is: the airport lies 25 km. east of the city, at walking distance from Irun town center! From the airport it's 1,6 km. to the 'Albergue de peregrinos de Irun'.


Vueling is a lowcost airline flying from Barcelona to San Sebastian airport.

Getting back to Bilbao by bus shouldn't be a problem. With Alsa you can travel from Santander to Bilbao by bus in 1,5 hours:

Hope this helps.
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
I fly into Paris CDG when heading to St Jean or Irun. It is easy to get on the fast TGV down to Biarritz / Bayonne (from CDG) and then down to Irun (I have only walked from Bayonne - 2 days). This means you can avoid having to negotiate Paris. Another option is to catch the train to Lyon and then down to Irun. My experience is that it is easier to get to Irun by flying into France, but if you wanted to start in San Sebastian it would be easier to fly into Barcelona - carriers to there would be Qatar and Singapore - not sure about Qantas / Emirates. I boycott UAE (Emirates) airlines these days because of the UAE's treatment of women.

There is a lovely train ride to San Sebastian from Barcelona, though if you are pressed for time you might like to fly into there with one of the smaller airlines. Will send you a PM. Buen Camino, Janet
 

Myra Ramsay

MyraNT
Camino(s) past & future
SDJP to SDC 2016
Porto to SDC, Finisterre, Muxia, Camino Ingles 2017
Camino del Norte 2019?
Reply from an Australian. If you fly into CDG in Paris, you can get a train to Hendaye on the border. Then a very short walk to the local train station where you can purchase a ticket to Irun. If you arrive early morning you can be in Irun late afternoon. The train ticket office at CDG is very helpful. I did this journey in April but continued to San Sebastián to start my Camino del Norte.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Another vote for a Vueling flight to Barcelina-San Sebastian, as the airport is actually in Irun.
Santander has an airport, dont they fly to Lisbon from there? We flew Santander-Madrid-Doha-Canberra after our Camino lebaniego in April. Very quiet airport.
 

Dan T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on walking Camino del Norte early 2020
Thanks all, much appreciated. I like the sound of flying from Barcelona to San Sebastian, & walking back to Irun. I'll see what my travel agent says when I book the flight in September. If he gets me a substantially cheaper flight to Paris, then i'll go from there.
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
Another thought, as you seem quite flexible, is that you fly into CDG, catch the train to Bayonne and then walk down to Irun from there. It is an attractive way, with views of the coast at times, and passing through some lovely countryside and takes 2 days. You could either stay in Hendaye, or cross the river and stay at the albergue in Irun before continuing on the del Norte. I suspect it might be difficult to walk "backwards" - the signs, which are plentiful, are placed in such a way as to see them moving West, rather than East. Then if you fly to Lisbon you can fly back to Oz from there (or Porto is having direct flights to and from twice a week next year). Buen Camino Janet
 

Bales

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2019
Hi from a Kiwi living in Melbourne - I am flying out in 8 weeks to start my Camino adventure - start walking 1st Sept from Irun - flying Singapore Airlines into Singapore (8 hrs) overnight - 1 day exploring - then on to Barcelona (13 hrs)- taking train next day directly to Irun (7hrs trip)-1st class -$75 Aus leaving Barcelona 7.30 am hope this helps-
 

Jan Jones

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April/May 2018
Hello All, this is my first post. My name is Dan, I live in Melbourne, Australia, & I will be walking an as yet undecided amount of Camino del Norte in March/April next year. I can squeeze 3 weeks in Europe, of which I'll be walking for up to 14 days. My plan is to walk from Irun to Santander/Santillana del Mar, or thereabouts, and from there travel to Lisbon, which is a city I've always wanted to spend time in.

So, my questions are, does anyone have experience in travelling from Australia to Irun, & can recommend where I should fly to? I had originally thought I would fly to Barcelona, spend a couple of days there, then travel by bus to Irun. But, if anyone has a better plan than that, please share.

Next, I have seen that there are reasonably cheap flights from Bilbao to Lisbon, but I'm concerned that the further I walk, the harder it might be to get back to Bilbao via bus. Any advice here would be greatly appreciated.

Buen Camino. I literally can't wait to get going, walking the Camino is a lifelong dream of mine. Unfortunately it will only be a small portion, but at this point it's either some or none.
Hello All, this is my first post. My name is Dan, I live in Melbourne, Australia, & I will be walking an as yet undecided amount of Camino del Norte in March/April next year. I can squeeze 3 weeks in Europe, of which I'll be walking for up to 14 days. My plan is to walk from Irun to Santander/Santillana del Mar, or thereabouts, and from there travel to Lisbon, which is a city I've always wanted to spend time in.

So, my questions are, does anyone have experience in travelling from Australia to Irun, & can recommend where I should fly to? I had originally thought I would fly to Barcelona, spend a couple of days there, then travel by bus to Irun. But, if anyone has a better plan than that, please share.

Next, I have seen that there are reasonably cheap flights from Bilbao to Lisbon, but I'm concerned that the further I walk, the harder it might be to get back to Bilbao via bus. Any advice here would be greatly appreciated.

Buen Camino. I literally can't wait to get going, walking the Camino is a lifelong dream of mine. Unfortunately it will only be a small portion, but at this point it's either some or none.
Not sure where you are flying from but I flew from Perth with Qatar. Booked online direct with Qatar. Perth - Barcelona- ( Vueling shared code with Qatar ) to SAN Sebastian then returned from Santiago ( (Iberian shared with code Qatar) to Madrid -Perth. My point is that you can book the whole journey as one ticket with Qatar which means your luggage is checked all the way through, and if there are connection issues because of flight delays you are OK. Worth checking out before you use a travel agent. Buen Camino.
 

robproct

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CP from Lisbon 2018
From another Aussie. I would suggest flying in to CDG and take the TGV from there directly to Hendaye and start walking. Its a short walk to Irun. If you plan to finish at Bilbao I would suggest catching the short train trip back to Hendaye ( roughly an hour or so as I recall) which is a regular service. Then take the 'Night Train To Lisbon' which I recall leaves around 1830. Its a rather magical experience, particularly if you have read the wonderful book of the same name. The train is a sleeper and with a small dining car and arrives at Lisbon at around 7am or thereabouts.
 

Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18, '19)
Reply from an Australian. If you fly into CDG in Paris, you can get a train to Hendaye on the border. Then a very short walk to the local train station where you can purchase a ticket to Irun. If you arrive early morning you can be in Irun late afternoon. The train ticket office at CDG is very helpful. I did this journey in April but continued to San Sebastián to start my Camino del Norte.
We did not take the train from Hendaye to Irun. We walked. Its literally just over the bridge, a kilometer or so!

The Norte is mostly covered by a narrow gauge train called the FEVE. Its the best way to move backwards or forwards on the trail. Its a regional train that makes a lot of stops, so not first choice for a long trip. The first station on the line is actually in Hendaye, across the parking lot from the TGV station. As the OP researches this, the FEVE stations are separate from the rest of the rail network, because they are different kinds of trains. it functions like a transit system: walk up, buy a ticket from the machine, and get on the next one that stops. Very handy for getting around on the north coast, and how a local would do it. Fares are ridiculously cheap.

Buen Camino
 

Dan T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on walking Camino del Norte early 2020
Hi from a Kiwi living in Melbourne - I am flying out in 8 weeks to start my Camino adventure - start walking 1st Sept from Irun - flying Singapore Airlines into Singapore (8 hrs) overnight - 1 day exploring - then on to Barcelona (13 hrs)- taking train next day directly to Irun (7hrs trip)-1st class -$75 Aus leaving Barcelona 7.30 am hope this helps-
Thanks, sounds great. Best of luck, let me know if you will be posting photos anywhere, I'd love to see how you go!
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
We flew to Bilbao, started our Camino near Santillana. It it is easy to get to Santillana. We took the Alsa bus to Santander and the train to Fuente San Miguel, 5 kilometer walk from Santillana. The bus station is across the street from the trainstation) Total traveling time about 2 hours, connectiontime not included)
 

Dan T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on walking Camino del Norte early 2020
From another Aussie. I would suggest flying in to CDG and take the TGV from there directly to Hendaye and start walking. Its a short walk to Irun. If you plan to finish at Bilbao I would suggest catching the short train trip back to Hendaye ( roughly an hour or so as I recall) which is a regular service. Then take the 'Night Train To Lisbon' which I recall leaves around 1830. Its a rather magical experience, particularly if you have read the wonderful book of the same name. The train is a sleeper and with a small dining car and arrives at Lisbon at around 7am or thereabouts.
Some really great ideas here, thanks for sharing.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
Or ... Skip the Norte and walk the Camino Portugues coastal route.
Fly to Santiago de Compostela. Spend two weeks walking to Porto (CP Coastal route). Train to Lisbon.
 

Dennis Pack

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago Norte 2018
Thanks all, much appreciated. I like the sound of flying from Barcelona to San Sebastian, & walking back to Irun. I'll see what my travel agent says when I book the flight in September. If he gets me a substantially cheaper flight to Paris, then i'll go from there.
That's what I did after flying from Sydney - Singapore - Rome - Barcelona. Flight from Barcelona to Irun was 48€ and arrived at 8am. Left me time to get my credential and look around Irun before starting my camino the following day.
I don't find racing around very enjoyable, so was happy to have the extra time. However, you also arrive in Irun early enough to start walking straight away if you want.
Buen Camino.
 

Jenny@zen

Jenny
Camino(s) past & future
Francesx2 Le Puy Primitivo Mozarabe Arles Norte Rota Vicentina Portuguese Stevenson Madrid Salvador
Hi Dan.

If you go to Iran, I STRONGLY recommend a visit to (or alternative overnight at) nearby Hondarribia - you can walk the first day of the del Norte from there to San Sebastian. Enjoy.
 

calmeg

Member
Dan- the san Sebastian is actually in/just outside irun. you can walk out of the airport and join the camino immediately- 2-3 km shorter than from the albergue. you could have a short day and stop in Pasajes,
 
Camino(s) past & future
2018 Camino Portugues (Valença to Santiago)
2019 (planned) Santiago- Finisterre-Muxia
Hello All, this is my first post. My name is Dan, I live in Melbourne, Australia, & I will be walking an as yet undecided amount of Camino del Norte in March/April next year. I can squeeze 3 weeks in Europe, of which I'll be walking for up to 14 days. My plan is to walk from Irun to Santander/Santillana del Mar, or thereabouts, and from there travel to Lisbon, which is a city I've always wanted to spend time in.

So, my questions are, does anyone have experience in travelling from Australia to Irun, & can recommend where I should fly to? I had originally thought I would fly to Barcelona, spend a couple of days there, then travel by bus to Irun. But, if anyone has a better plan than that, please share.

Next, I have seen that there are reasonably cheap flights from Bilbao to Lisbon, but I'm concerned that the further I walk, the harder it might be to get back to Bilbao via bus. Any advice here would be greatly appreciated.

Buen Camino. I literally can't wait to get going, walking the Camino is a lifelong dream of mine. Unfortunately it will only be a small portion, but at this point it's either some or none.
There is a bus from Santander to Bilbao that takes 90 minutes. From there you can fly from Bilbao to Lisbon non stop. I just finished my second Camino two weeks ago and I am planning my third for next year. It is very similar to yours- Irún to Santander in a couple of weeks. The San Sebastián airport is actually closer to Irún. You can actually begin your Camino from the Airport, and even walk into Hendaye, France for your first stamp.
I plan to fly into Madrid and out of Madrid, then take a one-way flight to San Sebastián and back to Madrid from Bilbao, bussing from Santander. Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017,Camino Primitivo 2018, Camino Finisterre/Muxía 2018 Camino del Norte 2019
Hi Dan,
We booked flights with Qatar - Perth, Madrid, San Sebastián and return Santiago,Madrid,Perth on the one ticket. The internal flights in Spain are with Iberia.
It worked well and we caught a taxi from San Sebastián airport to Irun . Only a short walk but after such a long flight the taxi trip was worthwhile. I would suggest that if you do fly via Madrid airport allow at least two hours transit or you will be sprinting to make the connecting flight. I only checked my hiking poles into baggage and they fortunately were there at San Sebastián.
Good luck and enjoy your Camino - it’s a beautiful walk.
 

Dan T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on walking Camino del Norte early 2020
Hi Dan.

If you go to Iran, I STRONGLY recommend a visit to (or alternative overnight at) nearby Hondarribia - you can walk the first day of the del Norte from there to San Sebastian. Enjoy.
Thanks for the tip Jenny!
 

Dan T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on walking Camino del Norte early 2020
There is a bus from Santander to Bilbao that takes 90 minutes. From there you can fly from Bilbao to Lisbon non stop. I just finished my second Camino two weeks ago and I am planning my third for next year. It is very similar to yours- Irún to Santander in a couple of weeks. The San Sebastián airport is actually closer to Irún. You can actually begin your Camino from the Airport, and even walk into Hendaye, France for your first stamp.
I plan to fly into Madrid and out of Madrid, then take a one-way flight to San Sebastián and back to Madrid from Bilbao, bussing from Santander. Buen Camino!
If it's somewhere around April/May next year, then i'll see you out there!
 

Liz Drew

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Coastal Portuguese
2018 Via de la Plata
(2019) del Norte
Hello All, this is my first post. My name is Dan, I live in Melbourne, Australia, & I will be walking an as yet undecided amount of Camino del Norte in March/April next year. I can squeeze 3 weeks in Europe, of which I'll be walking for up to 14 days. My plan is to walk from Irun to Santander/Santillana del Mar, or thereabouts, and from there travel to Lisbon, which is a city I've always wanted to spend time in.

So, my questions are, does anyone have experience in travelling from Australia to Irun, & can recommend where I should fly to? I had originally thought I would fly to Barcelona, spend a couple of days there, then travel by bus to Irun. But, if anyone has a better plan than that, please share.

Next, I have seen that there are reasonably cheap flights from Bilbao to Lisbon, but I'm concerned that the further I walk, the harder it might be to get back to Bilbao via bus. Any advice here would be greatly appreciated.

Buen Camino. I literally can't wait to get going, walking the Camino is a lifelong dream of mine. Unfortunately it will only be a small portion, but at this point it's either some or none.
Hi Dan,
I live in Brisbane and the del Norte will be my third camino. I fly into Madrid, from there I will train it to Irun. You might consider flying into Paris and train from here - it's just slightly longer.
It won't matter how far from Bilbao you are, you will find it easy to return there by bus.

I won't start my camino until September, meanwhile I will spend time in Canada, Mexico and Cuba!!! I leave in 18days!!!
Liz
 

donalomahony

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
"Camino Frances" 2013, "Burgos to Leon," February 2014 - "Frances" June '14
Hi Dan.

If you go to Iran, I STRONGLY recommend a visit to (or alternative overnight at) nearby Hondarribia - you can walk the first day of the del Norte from there to San Sebastian. Enjoy.
Hi Jenny, did you stay in Hondarribia - accommodation looks very expensive there?
 

Dan T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on walking Camino del Norte early 2020
Hi Dan,
I live in Brisbane and the del Norte will be my third camino. I fly into Madrid, from there I will train it to Irun. You might consider flying into Paris and train from here - it's just slightly longer.
It won't matter how far from Bilbao you are, you will find it easy to return there by bus.

I won't start my camino until September, meanwhile I will spend time in Canada, Mexico and Cuba!!! I leave in 18days!!!
Liz
Hi Liz, I think i'll choose the cheapest flight into Paris/Barcelona/Madrid, and also train it to Irun.
I'm also thinking of 2 rest days - 1 in San Sebastian, & another in Bilbao. I just don't think an evening in each city will be enough for me. Plus i'd like to eat heaps of Pintxos and drink some Txakoli without having to walk anywhere the next day...

Thanks for sharing Liz, if you have an instagram page, blog, or anything for your trip in September, i'd love to see it! Best of luck in Mexico & Cuba - wow, that sounds incredible

Dan
 

Liz Drew

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Coastal Portuguese
2018 Via de la Plata
(2019) del Norte
Hi Dan,
You will find me on Facebook at Elizabeth Drew, . I would stay in both those places for at least an extra day. Why the rush? I look forward to hearing from you.
Liz
 

nickpellatt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
French 2015 Portuguese 2018 Norte May 2019 Finesterre and Muxia April 2019
I recently completed the Norte, starting from Irun.

I don't think it has been mentioned, but Biarritz was the airport I flew into. A short train trip to Hendaye from there, and then a short walk to Irun.

I wouldnt walk BACK to Irun, especially if this is your first Camino experience. One of the great things is the companionship and friends you make, but if you walk BACK, you'll be going in a different direction to everyone else, so much less likely to bond with anyone. The first couple of weeks out of Irun are the most beautiful part of this Camino in my honest opinion.


My journey is recorded in an ebook with Haiku poetry in the above link
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis SJPP
April 2016, August 2017, May 2018
Camino PortuGUESE
May 2019
Or ... Skip the Norte and walk the Camino Portugues coastal route.
Fly to Santiago de Compostela. Spend two weeks walking to Porto (CP Coastal route). Train to Lisbon.
Yes!!!! Fellow Aussie. This May I flew to Lisbon from London -explored the lovely city for two days, caught a bus to various towns till Oporto then walked the central Portugese way for two weeks to Santiago. I received a compestella, experienced two cultures, & it's easier and gentler than the Norte..... I've heard.
I didn't need to have a rest day, would definately include the Spiritual variant next time.....
Love
 

Dan T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on walking Camino del Norte early 2020
Hi Dan,
You will find me on Facebook at Elizabeth Drew, . I would stay in both those places for at least an extra day. Why the rush? I look forward to hearing from you.
Liz
Exactly! Both cities seem to be truly amazing. I wish i had 6 weeks to slowly do the entire trek, but I don't unfortunately. Irun - Santander is my plan, with an extra day in both San Sebastian & Bilbao.

I sent you a facebook request, can't wait to see your Camino pics!
 

Susan Watson

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning Camino Del Norte to Oviedo and then Primitive in May / June 2018
Exactly! Both cities seem to be truly amazing. I wish i had 6 weeks to slowly do the entire trek, but I don't unfortunately. Irun - Santander is my plan, with an extra day in both San Sebastian & Bilbao.

I sent you a facebook request, can't wait to see your Camino pics!
Hi Dan, My husband and I did our first Camino last year on the Norte and walked the Portuguese from Lisbon this year (aged 64 & 70). We enjoyed Lisbon and Porto but the spectacular scenery on the Norte makes it well worth the more difficult terrain. We flew to Paris and then took the TGV to Hendaye & walked to Irun. Qatar also flies to Madrid and you can get the train from there directly to Irun. I am planning on taking a couple of girlfriends on the Norte next year and saw that Qatar flies from Perth to San Sebastián. The airport in San Sebastián is not far from the new Irun Pilgrims Hostel. May be worth investigating?
Whichever you choose you will have a wonderful experience.
Below is my blog on both routes

 

nickpellatt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
French 2015 Portuguese 2018 Norte May 2019 Finesterre and Muxia April 2019
Just revisiting this thread ... to comment on your number of days.

Arriving in Irun being my Day 1, I arrived in Santander on day 14. I didn't have any rest days. Walking for up to 14 days, with additional days to explore the cities may be tight.
 

Jenny@zen

Jenny
Camino(s) past & future
Francesx2 Le Puy Primitivo Mozarabe Arles Norte Rota Vicentina Portuguese Stevenson Madrid Salvador
Hi Jenny, did you stay in Hondarribia - accommodation looks very expensive there?
Hi Dan.

It is a bit expensive in Hondarribia especially if you’re there on a weekend. But you can stay in Irun and visit Hondarribia. It’s very close, a couple of kms walk or a short ride on the local bus.

On our first time on the del Norte, we arrived in Irun around lunchtime then spent a few hours in the afternoon and evening in Hondarribia, had dinner there (fabulous pinxtos bars) then bus back to Irun to our hostel and started walking the next day. The next time, we treated ourselves by staying in Hondarribia and started our Camino from there.

If you visit, be sure to spend time on both ‘levels’ of the town. Many of the bars and restaurants are on the lower level, but the upper level is fascinating with lots of history, a very good tourist information centre in the main square opposite an extraordinary building which houses the Parador That said, it’s a small town so worth visiting even if you’re short of time.

Enjoy.
 

Dan T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on walking Camino del Norte early 2020
Just revisiting this thread ... to comment on your number of days.

Arriving in Irun being my Day 1, I arrived in Santander on day 14. I didn't have any rest days. Walking for up to 14 days, with additional days to explore the cities may be tight.
Thanks Nick. I guess it remains to be seen how it will all pan out, but my plan is for 2 rest days, purely to enjoy some delicious food & wine along the way, and to soak up the atmosphere a little. I will be booking accomodation in Lisbon, so I guess i'll go as far as I can in 14 days, then get back to Bilbao for the overnight train to LIsbon. I'd love to get as far as Santander, & will do my best to get there.
 

Dan T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on walking Camino del Norte early 2020
Hi Dan, My husband and I did our first Camino last year on the Norte and walked the Portuguese from Lisbon this year (aged 64 & 70). We enjoyed Lisbon and Porto but the spectacular scenery on the Norte makes it well worth the more difficult terrain. We flew to Paris and then took the TGV to Hendaye & walked to Irun. Qatar also flies to Madrid and you can get the train from there directly to Irun. I am planning on taking a couple of girlfriends on the Norte next year and saw that Qatar flies from Perth to San Sebastián. The airport in San Sebastián is not far from the new Irun Pilgrims Hostel. May be worth investigating?
Whichever you choose you will have a wonderful experience.
Below is my blog on both routes

Hi Susan, i'm reading your blog now. Wow, that first day sounds really tough. Takes my mind back to walking the length of the Cinque Terre in Italy on a really steamy day. That was tough...
 

Liz Drew

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Coastal Portuguese
2018 Via de la Plata
(2019) del Norte
Exactly! Both cities seem to be truly amazing. I wish i had 6 weeks to slowly do the entire trek, but I don't unfortunately. Irun - Santander is my plan, with an extra day in both San Sebastian & Bilbao.

I sent you a facebook request, can't wait to see your Camino pics!
Request accepted. The photo of the dog confused me!
 

Walkerooni

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
Thinking of doing C. del Norte starting late May 2020. Did C. Frances same time 2018. Plan B is another C. Frances, as I absolutely loved it. I am Canadian, but would be coming from Ireland, so considering starting in Bilbao, then walking on to Muxia.
I see these pros: I love not knowing what is around the next corner, so something new appeals. Lover of seafood, so better food?
I see these cons: I can say please, thank you, and order wine or a beer in Spanish. Understand it may be challenging for me on del Norte without Spanish. Maybe I’d better get on that! I like walking alone and mostly did on the Frances, but I so enjoyed meeting people from all over the world at the end of the day. At that time of year am I likely to find great folks to visit with? I am quiet, but social, and have stayed in touch with many from the Frances. I am 65, but a fit runner/triathlete and had no problem with 25-35km days on C. Frances, but like the option of throwing in a shorter day here and there. Are there enough albergue options to make that happen? Forgive, but have ordered the book for the North, and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. That may answer all my questions. Affordability—consistently spent about 10€/night at private albergues. Is that doable on del Norte?

Thanks for any insight. Half the fun is in the planning,right?
 

nickpellatt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
French 2015 Portuguese 2018 Norte May 2019 Finesterre and Muxia April 2019
Lover of seafood, so better food?

I see these cons: I can say please, thank you, and order wine or a beer in Spanish. Understand it may be challenging for me on del Norte without Spanish.

I like walking alone and mostly did on the Frances, but I so enjoyed meeting people from all over the world at the end of the day.

like the option of throwing in a shorter day here and there. Are there enough albergue options to make that happen?

Affordability—consistently spent about 10€/night at private albergues. Is that doable on del Norte?
For me, the food was slightly worse than the Frances, because fewer options. Expensive seafood restaurants didnt suit my budget, and pilgrim menu's are similar everywhere.

I walked alone, but always met people in the evening. No worries there.

I had a 50 day Camino on the Norte, I never did over 30km, so shorter days are certainly possible. I did a few days under 20km.

I didnt stay in many private albergues, but few are 10 euros. The ones I stayed in ranged from 12 to 22 euros, but there are plenty municipals at 6 euro, donation based etc. To be honest, the private ones were not really any better in many examples.
 

Myra Ramsay

MyraNT
Camino(s) past & future
SDJP to SDC 2016
Porto to SDC, Finisterre, Muxia, Camino Ingles 2017
Camino del Norte 2019?
Walked the Del Norte in May/June this year. Found it tough at times but that was due to starting with injuries and wet days. As you will read, the walking after Bilbao becomes easier. Bilbao is worth two nights. Stayed in the old town. Plaza Nueva is lined with tapas bars. I tried to prove you could live on tapas whilst walking the Norte. Found I ate well. Being a small eater, I generally only took second course and sometimes postre. My request for some salad as well as patatas was always met. Everyone was so kind. Being a tortoise on the trail, I walked many short stages. Enjoyed the peace of solitary walking but met many wonderful people in the evenings. The evenings were long so stopping early gave me time to sightsee and unlike when I was on the Frances did not take a rest day after Bilbao. Take coastal paths when possible. (Check forum for some great info on coastal walking.) Locals told me to turn right in Miono instead of left along the road and through the tunnel as described in the guide book - a lovely cliff top walk all the way to Castro Urdiales. Stayed in a variety of accommodation (can give you my favourites if you pm). Booking ahead seems to be the norm these days. Only booked ahead when I thought there would be a bottle neck. Now I am home, my response to those who ask about the Camino del Norte is "it was a tough one but great" - and I turned 75 on this Camino - my fourth after getting hooked on the Camino Frances in 2016 followed by Portuguese from Porto and Ingles in 2017. With your fitness you should have no problems.
 

Myra Ramsay

MyraNT
Camino(s) past & future
SDJP to SDC 2016
Porto to SDC, Finisterre, Muxia, Camino Ingles 2017
Camino del Norte 2019?
Walked the Del Norte in May/June this year. Found it tough at times but that was due to starting with injuries and wet days. As you will read, the walking after Bilbao becomes easier. Bilbao is worth two nights. Stayed in the old town. Plaza Nueva is lined with tapas bars. I tried to prove you could live on tapas whilst walking the Norte. Found I ate well. Being a small eater, I generally only took second course and sometimes postre. My request for some salad as well as patatas was always met. Everyone was so kind. Being a tortoise on the trail, I walked many short stages. Enjoyed the peace of solitary walking but met many wonderful people in the evenings. The evenings were long so stopping early gave me time to sightsee and unlike when I was on the Frances did not take a rest day after Bilbao. Take coastal paths when possible. (Check forum for some great info on coastal walking.) Locals told me to turn right in Miono instead of left along the road and through the tunnel as described in the guide book - a lovely cliff top walk all the way to Castro Urdiales. Stayed in a variety of accommodation (can give you my favourites if you pm). Booking ahead seems to be the norm these days. Only booked ahead when I thought there would be a bottle neck. Now I am home, my response to those who ask about the Camino del Norte is "it was a tough one but great" - and I turned 75 on this Camino - my fourth after getting hooked on the Camino Frances in 2016 followed by Portuguese from Porto and Ingles in 2017. With your fitness you should have no problems.
Oops a typo. I only turned 74!
 

Monty52

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (twice), Camino Primitivo, Camino del Norte (twice), Camino del Norte again Oct. 2019
Oops a typo. I only turned 74!
That’s awesome. I’m going back
Hello All, this is my first post. My name is Dan, I live in Melbourne, Australia, & I will be walking an as yet undecided amount of Camino del Norte in March/April next year. I can squeeze 3 weeks in Europe, of which I'll be walking for up to 14 days. My plan is to walk from Irun to Santander/Santillana del Mar, or thereabouts, and from there travel to Lisbon, which is a city I've always wanted to spend time in.

So, my questions are, does anyone have experience in travelling from Australia to Irun, & can recommend where I should fly to? I had originally thought I would fly to Barcelona, spend a couple of days there, then travel by bus to Irun. But, if anyone has a better plan than that, please share.

Next, I have seen that there are reasonably cheap flights from Bilbao to Lisbon, but I'm concerned that the further I walk, the harder it might be to get back to Bilbao via bus. Any advice here would be greatly appreciated.

Buen Camino. I literally can't wait to get going, walking the Camino is a lifelong dream of mine. Unfortunately it will only be a small portion, but at this point it's either some or none.
 

Monty52

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (twice), Camino Primitivo, Camino del Norte (twice), Camino del Norte again Oct. 2019
Hi
Walked the Del Norte in May/June this year. Found it tough at times but that was due to starting with injuries and wet days. As you will read, the walking after Bilbao becomes easier. Bilbao is worth two nights. Stayed in the old town. Plaza Nueva is lined with tapas bars. I tried to prove you could live on tapas whilst walking the Norte. Found I ate well. Being a small eater, I generally only took second course and sometimes postre. My request for some salad as well as patatas was always met. Everyone was so kind. Being a tortoise on the trail, I walked many short stages. Enjoyed the peace of solitary walking but met many wonderful people in the evenings. The evenings were long so stopping early gave me time to sightsee and unlike when I was on the Frances did not take a rest day after Bilbao. Take coastal paths when possible. (Check forum for some great info on coastal walking.) Locals told me to turn right in Miono instead of left along the road and through the tunnel as described in the guide book - a lovely cliff top walk all the way to Castro Urdiales. Stayed in a variety of accommodation (can give you my favourites if you pm). Booking ahead seems to be the norm these days. Only booked ahead when I thought there would be a bottle neck. Now I am home, my response to those who ask about the Camino del Norte is "it was a tough one but great" - and I turned 75 on this Camino - my fourth after getting hooked on the Camino Frances in 2016 followed by Portuguese from Porto and Ingles in 2017. With your fitness you should have no problems.
That’s awesome. I’m going back back to do my 6th Camino (Norte) in October and will finish just before my 67th birthday. I’m taking you as my inspiration so should still have a few Caminos in me yet 😁
 

Monty52

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (twice), Camino Primitivo, Camino del Norte (twice), Camino del Norte again Oct. 2019
Hello All, this is my first post. My name is Dan, I live in Melbourne, Australia, & I will be walking an as yet undecided amount of Camino del Norte in March/April next year. I can squeeze 3 weeks in Europe, of which I'll be walking for up to 14 days. My plan is to walk from Irun to Santander/Santillana del Mar, or thereabouts, and from there travel to Lisbon, which is a city I've always wanted to spend time in.

So, my questions are, does anyone have experience in travelling from Australia to Irun, & can recommend where I should fly to? I had originally thought I would fly to Barcelona, spend a couple of days there, then travel by bus to Irun. But, if anyone has a better plan than that, please share.

Next, I have seen that there are reasonably cheap flights from Bilbao to Lisbon, but I'm concerned that the further I walk, the harder it might be to get back to Bilbao via bus. Any advice here would be greatly appreciated.

Buen Camino. I literally can't wait to get going, walking the Camino is a lifelong dream of mine. Unfortunately it will only be a small portion, but at this point it's either some or none.
Hi Dan. I’m also from Melbourne and will be doing the Norte again this October I’ve done the Primitivo and the Norte twice (this will be my third,) all starting at Irun. I always fly to Paris and take the train to Irun (one change over). A day or two in Paris and a lovely rail journey before starting the walk is perfect. You’ve picked a nice stretch, with SAN Sebastian, Bilbao and Santillana del Mar all great places. Warning, it can become addictive 😁
 

Dan T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning on walking Camino del Norte early 2020
HI @Monty52 I haven't been yet, but am well aware that it is addictive! I do struggle to keep things under wraps, and i'm spending far too much of my time reading and/or researching. Can't wait.

I am thinking Paris would be my likely starting point, though I would love a small taste of Barcelona, having not been there before.

Best of luck for October! If it's your 3rd time on the Norte, then it must be pretty special!
 

Monty52

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (twice), Camino Primitivo, Camino del Norte (twice), Camino del Norte again Oct. 2019
HI @Monty52 I haven't been yet, but am well aware that it is addictive! I do struggle to keep things under wraps, and i'm spending far too much of my time reading and/or researching. Can't wait.

I am thinking Paris would be my likely starting point, though I would love a small taste of Barcelona, having not been there before.

Best of luck for October! If it's your 3rd time on the Norte, then it must be pretty special!
An option is to catch a High Speed AVE train after the walk from Madrid to Barcelona.It’s an amazing city. Enjoy the planning and the walk
 

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