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Camino del Norte or Camino Primitivo?

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sethjcarreiro

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués Central, Fisterra & Muxía (September 2018)
Hello, Pilgrims,

It's that time of year again and I'm back to deciding which Camino I'll walk this year. Last year I walked my first Camino (Porto-Santiago-Fisterra-Muxía) in September, and this year I'm considering the Camino del Norte OR the Camino Primitivo in August.

I found the Portugués Central to be rather easy and I'm looking for a more challenging path. I've heard both the Norte and Primitivo are more challenging, especially the latter. What has your experience been? What are the advantages for each?

Any insight, recommendations, or tips would be very highly appreciated. And, of course, Buen Camino to all.

Saludos,
Seth
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Hello, Pilgrims,

It's that time of year again and I'm back to deciding which Camino I'll walk this year. Last year I walked my first Camino (Porto-Santiago-Fisterra-Muxía) in September, and this year I'm considering the Camino del Norte OR the Camino Primitivo in August.

I found the Portugués Central to be rather easy and I'm looking for a more challenging path. I've heard both the Norte and Primitivo are more challenging, especially the latter. What has your experience been? What are the advantages for each?

Any insight, recommendations, or tips would be very highly appreciated. And, of course, Buen Camino to all.

Saludos,
Seth
You don't have to choose! You can start on the Norte, then veer off onto the Primitivo.
 

jonnyboy9

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018 October?
I did the Primitivo last year and absolutely loved it. V quiet at times, tranquil and peaceful - until we joined the Frances! But so many gorgeous days of walking and beautiful towns to walk around, found a municipal open air swimming pool one day which was just incredible for the legs!

Started in Oviedo on a Thursday, which meant we got to the fab, buzzy town of Lugo on a Friday night after 9 days' walking, which was perfect for a rest day. It was so good, I'd love to go again.
 

BeatriceKarjalainen

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Finished: See post signature.
Upcoming: Nothing planned
I vote for San Salvador + Primitivo. Then you get lovely views and some challenge.

Norte (2016 23 days)Primitivo (2015 8 days)San Salvador (2015 3 days)
Long (820 km)Medium (320 km)Short (122 km)
Sometimes crowdedNot crowdedSolitudish
Sea view and more sea viewMountain viewMountain view deluxe
Mix of albergues and albergue turistico and pension.Decent amount of albergues.Not so many albergues.
"Sporty". I found people walking the norte a bit to much turistico, I missed the tranquility and to much party people.Calm.Very calm.
Some minor hills to conquer. A bit up and down.Up up and more up and down here and there.
You pass some nice cities and interesting places.Beautiful views, nice people.Views and some more views.
Churches closed.Open churches.I can't really remember visiting any on that stretch except one.
You can take Camino del mar, join camino Inglés and skip Francés or you can walk as far as Santa Iréne without joining CF :)Comes out on the CF in Melide crowded :-(Does not end in SdC but can be done together with Primitivo.
 

pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2010j, Primitivo (2013), Plata (2014 + 2015), Salvador (2016), Torres 2017), Portugues (2018
I vote for San Salvador + Primitivo. Then you get lovely views and some challenge.

Norte (2016 23 days)Primitivo (2015 8 days)San Salvador (2015 3 days)
Long (820 km)Medium (320 km)Short (122 km)
Sometimes crowdedNot crowdedSolitudish
Sea view and more sea viewMountain viewMountain view deluxe
Mix of albergues and albergue turistico and pension.Decent amount of albergues.Not so many albergues.
"Sporty". I found people walking the norte a bit to much turistico, I missed the tranquility and to much party people.Calm.Very calm.
Some minor hills to conquer. A bit up and down.Up up and more up and down here and there.
You pass some nice cities and interesting places.Beautiful views, nice people.Views and some more views.
Churches closed.Open churches.I can't really remember visiting any on that stretch except one.
You can take Camino del mar, join camino Inglés and skip Francés or you can walk as far as Santa Iréne without joining CF :)Comes out on the CF in Melide crowded :-(Does not end in SdC but can be done together with Primitivo.
So do I!!! Did them separately - question of available time - and loved them both! The Norte less so!
Buen camino whichever you chose....
 

sethjcarreiro

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués Central, Fisterra & Muxía (September 2018)
Hi, Pilgrims! Thank you for the helpful information.

I only have 18 full walking days, so unfortunately the full Camino del Norte is not a possibility right now. For this reason I'm leaning toward the Camino Primitivo, but the coast and ocean are enticing. Thank you again for the comparison of the two, @BeatriceKarjalainen. This is beyond helpful. Buen camino a todos.
 
Camino(s) past & future
.
Hi Seth
Beatrice is suggesting both together. If you are fit and indeed looking for more of a challenge than last time, then I agree - this is a great combination. No sea, but great mountains. 5 days on the Salvador is plenty. Gronze stages for the Primitivo are quite short, hence it says 11 stages to Lugo. We shaved a couple off this no problem without even thinking about it. From Melide it's one day to Arzua and then a very straightforward day of 39k into Santiago. It's not for everyone, but you asked for something a bit more demanding, so the people who do the more demanding distances are providing it for you! :)
Cheers, tom
 

sethjcarreiro

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués Central, Fisterra & Muxía (September 2018)
Hi, @peregrino_tom! Thank you for your insight. It's great to hear of different alternatives. So far, I'm loving the possibility of combining the Camino San Salvador and the Camino Primitivo into a longer, more challenging journey. The other option would be the Camino del Norte and later continuing* to Fisterra and Muxía, but I've already done this*. Either way, there's a certain draw to finishing at the sea... again. We'll see!

From @BeatriceKarjalainen's description it sounds like there aren't as many services along the Camino San Salvador. In both of your experiences, was it hard to find lodging? I'll be walking in early August.

Another question regarding lodging. One thing I loved about the Camino Portugués was the number of "rural houses" (casas rurais, rurales) along the route... farmhouses, vineyards, cottages, etc. Do these same houses exist on the Camino San Salvador, Primitivo, and Norte. I'm certain they do, just making sure. :)

Thank you again for all of your wonderful insight and recommendations, everyone!

Best,
Seth
 

BeatriceKarjalainen

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Finished: See post signature.
Upcoming: Nothing planned
There is just not albergues in every 10 km you just need to plan some. Check out https://www.gronze.com/camino-salvador or http://www.wisepilgrim.com/camino_san_salvador_leon_to_la_robla for more info.

You will be fine. I wrote my experiences from when I walked there has been some development of the route since then.

I combined San Salvador and Primitivo a total of 11 days for me so 18 sounds like you will manage without problem.

See also the English guide at https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/enders-salvador-guide-in-english.40078/
 
Camino(s) past & future
.
Hi Seth
I also recommend Gronze for planning and as a guide.
For the Salvador I walked slower than Beatrice. Our group took 4 days to Mieres del Camino from which it was a few hours walk the next morning into Ovideo - and then a long day spent eating tapas and drinking in the street cafes!
We just stayed in municipal albergues. Poladura has a kitchen but no shop. All of the pilgims who stayed at La Robla met in Pola and bought provisions there which we carried over the hill to make a big meal together in the evening in Poladura - which was very nice.
We really enjoyed the private albergue at Sanctuario Benduenos which is just off the camino near Campomanes.
For the Primitivo, Gronze is also good and you'll see lots of casal rural listed there. We stayed in albergues, but I'm sure some other members of the forum will have good recommendations.
Cheers, tom
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I vote for San Salvador + Primitivo. Then you get lovely views and some challenge.

Norte (2016 23 days)Primitivo (2015 8 days)San Salvador (2015 3 days)
Long (820 km)Medium (320 km)Short (122 km)
Sometimes crowdedNot crowdedSolitudish
Sea view and more sea viewMountain viewMountain view deluxe
Mix of albergues and albergue turistico and pension.Decent amount of albergues.Not so many albergues.
"Sporty". I found people walking the norte a bit to much turistico, I missed the tranquility and to much party people.Calm.Very calm.
Some minor hills to conquer.A bit up and down.Up up and more up and down here and there.
You pass some nice cities and interesting places.Beautiful views, nice people.Views and some more views.
Churches closed.Open churches.I can't really remember visiting any on that stretch except one.
You can take Camino del mar, join camino Inglés and skip Francés or you can walk as far as Santa Iréne without joining CF :)Comes out on the CF in Melide crowded :-(Does not end in SdC but can be done together with Primitivo.
I found your description of the Norte accurate except at
64 it was pretty tough for me until Bilboa. I started in late September last year. It always amazes me and amusing and fun to read people’s reactions of others they meet. Last year it was never very crowded walking and the last few hundred kilometers I was pretty much alone every day and most nights. You found a little too much partying. I was struck by how many young people who were walking for a variety of pretty cool reasons. Almost all of them were taking time off work and were in jobs that for the most part were in the arts or working hard working with people who were much less fortunate and sometimes in pretty desperate situations. I really felt like there was hope for our future surrounded by those young people. Maybe the next time I do the Norte it will be a zoo!!! Lol
 

BeatriceKarjalainen

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Finished: See post signature.
Upcoming: Nothing planned
I found your description of the Norte accurate except at
64 it was pretty tough for me until Bilboa. I started in late September last year. It always amazes me and amusing and fun to read people’s reactions of others they meet. Last year it was never very crowded walking and the last few hundred kilometers I was pretty much alone every day and most nights. You found a little too much partying. I was struck by how many young people who were walking for a variety of pretty cool reasons. Almost all of them were taking time off work and were in jobs that for the most part were in the arts or working hard working with people who were much less fortunate and sometimes in pretty desperate situations. I really felt like there was hope for our future surrounded by those young people. Maybe the next time I do the Norte it will be a zoo!!! Lol
It wasn’t so many parting pilgrims but with albergue touristico you have other people as well. I walked in the middle of the summer, vacation period. There was some bed race going on as well. But I truly enjoyed most of the camino. Nice to hear that you met young hope-giving young people. Ok there were a lot of minor hills to Bilbao.
 

spik23

New Member
that's what I'm considering whether to take Norte this year. Camino Primitivo sets the level high up. Last year I really enjoyed it. The 11 days of beautiful landscapes, villages, valleys, cosy towns, and great people. Not crowded at all, always at least 2 - 3 empty beds at night in the albergues. It was the end of july. I was lucky to know bunch of walkers with same chemistry, we had lots of fun for the whole camino trip. If I walk it again, I would finish it in Lugo due to high density of walkers. Just Saying Hello to Julio, Cristobal, JAvier, Dorota, David, Zhana, ..... :cool:
 

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