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? Camino Del Norte Middle August

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Helen Aussie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
Camino de Saint Jacques 2018
Hi, I will be arriving in Madrid at 830pm from Australia on a cheap flight. Is it practical for me to catch a night bus or train to Irun or San Sebastian or Pamplona to have a rest before starting my walk or should I stay in Madrid?
Is travelling at night on a bus or train safe for a woman alone?
I am quite happy to get up early and walk and like the freedom of not having to prebook accommodation. I did have to prebook last year in France on Camino St Jacques.
Will I have trouble getting a bed in an albergue? I am travelling alone.
Thanks so much for your knowledge and help.
 

Helen Aussie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
Camino de Saint Jacques 2018
That was supposed to be a big THANKS in advance for your replies.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Helen,
There is a bus that leaves T4 of Barajas at 9:45, which you could likely make, but it gets you to Irun at 3 in the morning. The alternative of going into Madrid, spending a night, and then getting a train or bus is more of a hassle but may be preferable. If I were to arrive in Irun at 3am, I would be sure to go to a hotel with 24 hours reception. I would guess there will be cabs waiting at the bus station. But I’m not positive.

If you’re walking the Norte, you would probably not want to stay in Pamplona. There are buses from Pamplona to Irun but that seems unnecessarily complicated to me.

I think the Norte is justas safe as the Francés. I have walked alone several times.

Middle August is high tourist time on the Norte, so pilgrims will be competing with tourists for beds (except in the albergues de peregrinos of course). Prices in those private places will also be higher than in off-tourist season, when the business people are quite happy to reduce prices for peregrinos.

But the albergue system on the Norte was good. I was there a couple of years ago and was surprised at the growth in private albergues.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I suggest sleeping in Madrid. If you look on Booking.com there are some nice hostels that are very reasonably priced. I have stayed at Toc Hostel a couple of times. It is very well run and very clean with lockers for your backpack. They have mixed rooms and rooms for women only. Why take a chance with late night travel. Get a good rest and leave the following morning. Try to get to the Municipal albergue early in the day if you can. It fills up as it is the only Albergue in Irun.
 

donalomahony

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
"Camino Frances" 2013, "Burgos to Leon," February 2014 - "Frances" June '14
Can someone confirm that the Albergue in Irun opens at 4pm each afternoon? Thank you...
 

nickpellatt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
French 2015 Portuguese 2018 Norte May 2019 Finesterre and Muxia April 2019
Can someone confirm that the Albergue in Irun opens at 4pm each afternoon? Thank you...
I was there May 1st this year, and it should have opened at 16.00, but as a few people were waiting, they opened a little earlier. The Albergue de Peregrino's from Irun onward for perhaps 2 weeks rarely opened before 3pm. I thought this was unusual and certainly different to the other routes, and towards the end of the Camino, when they tended to open at 1pm
 

donalomahony

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
"Camino Frances" 2013, "Burgos to Leon," February 2014 - "Frances" June '14
Thank you. That's very helpful.
 

nickpellatt

Member
Camino(s) past & future
French 2015 Portuguese 2018 Norte May 2019 Finesterre and Muxia April 2019
You're welcome. It did force a few decisions early on in my Camino. On occasion, I reached my intended destination around midday, but had a 3 hour wait before the albergue opened. This often meant 3 hours waiting in the grounds of the albergue to ensure I didnt lose my spot in the queue.

I decided early on that if I was at the front of a queue and was sure to get a bed, that Id take it. I was happy to relax in the grounds, get some sun, and drink a supermarket bought beer whilst waiting.
 

Helen Aussie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
Camino de Saint Jacques 2018
Thanks for your help. One reason I thought of Pamplona was that there is a bus from the airport at 1am that arrives at 630am. I could spend a couple of nights there recovering before a short bus ride to Irun. The Toc hostel in Madrid also looks great. I would have to take a early bus/train to Irun to get there before 4pm. Did you book in advance in San Sebastián or not stay there? Thanks again
 

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