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Camino del Norte or Via de la Plata?

Woozleywoo

New Member
Hello Pilgrims,

Has anybody walked both the Camino del Norte and Via de la Plata?

I am leaving in 2 weeks on my first pilgrimage. I had intended to walk from Seville - Santiago. But I am suddenly feeling drawn towards to Camino del Norte. As I have not yet made any arrangements and have 7 weeks available, I am able to be flexible about routes.

I am wondering roughly how long it takes to walk the Camino del Norte and if anyone has walked both, which route you would recommend for a girl waking alone, who would like to have space and solitude but have the odd person to chat to every so often? Natural beauty and landscape are important to me. I speak, shamefully, very little Spanish but I intent to improve dramatically on the way! I am comfortable with adventure but I do not want to carry a tent! I have chosen not to walk the Camino Frances as I do not want to be amongst crowds. I also want to enjoy this walk and take it at my own pace and not feel pressured to rush to Santiago!

Your comments would be greatly appreciated.

Love to you all.

Jo.
 
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lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
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Hello, Woozleywoo.
My preference would be for the Via de la Plata, turning left at Zamora along the via Sanabres (beautiful) to Ourense. Seville, Merida, Caceres, Salamanca & Zamora are outstanding places to visit. One of the highlights along the VdlP is staying at the Casa Paraoquia in the pueblo Fuenterobble de Salvatierre (50 kms before Salamanca). The priest, Blas is a legend. There was too much asphalt walking on the Camino del Norte for my liking.
Cheers, Lovingkindness
 
Past OR future Camino
2016
I have not walked the Via de la Plata so I cannot comment on that route. Yes, there is a lot of asphalt on the Norte but, in my opinion, not too much to deter from the incredible scenery. There are some inspiring walks along the coast. San Sebastián, Bilbao, the route through the Basque Country, Santillana del Mar, the beach walks around Laredo, the albergue in Güemes, the pre-romanesque church in Valdedios, the Asturian coast, and much more. I walked the Norte in 33 days in 2009. I lucked out and only had rain on less than five days.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hello woozleywoo,

I have walked the Norte and the Vdlp and though I really loved them both, I think I tilt towards lovingkindness' preference. The Norte scenery is spectacular, no doubt about that, but in many ways it feels a lot less like a Camino than the Vdlp. The Norte goes through many resort towns, beautiful, but they have a much different feeling. There are also fewer albergues, which means that you either have to plan your stages very carefully or just decide to stay in hotels/pensiones (I did the latter, but that also makes it harder to form your camino bubble/family).

The Vdlp has the advantage of going both through a lot of beautiful rural areas, but also the cities of Merida, Caceres, Salamanca, Zamora, and Ourense are well worth a visit. I think that the albergues are better on the Vdlp, with a few exceptions for the Norte star albergues of Miraz, Tapia, and Baamonde.

I started the Vdlp and the Norte right around May 1, and the weather was superb on both. More rain on the Norte, but it wasn't bad. I think spring in Extremadura and Andalucia is just beautiful. I think you have a tough choice, but can't go wrong! Buen camino, Laurie
 

evanlow

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
Good information to know Laurie as I will be going to the Norte in 2 weeks.

Your description on the la Plata made me miss that route. :)

In any case, I kinda expect what you have mentioned for the Norte. Guess it is not so much for the money but for the bubble that I will plan to stay as much as possible in the albergues.


Thanks.
 
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mikevasey

Guest
Hi Jo, I was going to walk the Via de la Plata this year but realised that I was not feeling drawn to it, there wasnt the feeling of attraction. In the end my work situation changed and two friends asked if I wanted to walk on the Norte with them, I realised straight away that I did.

I have walked the Norte from Santander before, and yes there is a a lot of asphalt, but if you are willing to go away from the yellow arrows you can find alternative routes which go via farm tracks. One example is the route out of Santander you can follow the coastal path, and even when you rejoin the main route at Boo de Pieaglos you go over train tracks and then follow pipes, but again these can be avoided. It is like this all the way across the Norte if you are lucky or research it you can find out where the asphalt is and avoid it.

I walked in July 2010 and it felt very solitary, but that might be because I am late starter and usually miss the waves of people who head out from albergues.

Good luck and Buen Camino

Mike
 

mmm042

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
VDLP 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014
Hi Jo.

I've only walked the VDLP, but I absolutely love it. The scenery is beautiful and, if asphalt is a consideration, there isn't that much of it. It's also great for solitude, or at least not big crowds. It was very easy to walk alone all day, but meet up with pilgrims for dinner. I agree that if you do it, you should head west through Sanabria and Ourense. But maybe, as Mike said, you'll feel drawn to a particular route. If that's the case, go with your gut.

Melanie
 

angulero

Active Member
Claro que hay opciones para evitar el asfalto. Una de ellas son las sendas costeras. Por la costa asturiana existen unas cuantas, pero antes de cogerlas, infórmate bien hasta donde llegan y si luego es fácil volver al camino. Esto lo puedes hacer en las oficinas de turismo que te vayas encontrando.

Un ejemplo que ya puse en alguna ocasión es la senda costera de Muros de Nalón. Es ideal para dividir en dos la etapa entre Avilés y Soto de Luiña. Pasas la noche en el Albergue de San Esteban de Pravia, y al día siguiente, en vez de regresar al Camino, coges esta senda que te llevará hasta la playa de Aguilar. Desde esta playa hasta El Pito, hay un par de kilómetros por una pequeña carretera. En el Pito ya enlazas de nuevo con el Camino.

Of course there are options to prevent the asphalt. One of these is the coastal paths. For the Asturian coast there are a few, but catch them before, get the facts as far as they arrive and if it is then easy to get back on track. This can be done in the tourist offices you go finding.

An example already put in some time is the coastal path Muros de Nalón. It is ideal to split the stage between Avilés and Soto de Luiña. You spend the night at the Lodge of San Esteban de Aviles, and the next day, instead of returning to the road, you take this path that takes you to the beach Aguilar. From the beach to El Pito, a couple of miles down a small road. In the Pito and you link back to the Way.


http://losdelasclaras.blogspot.com/search/label/Aguilar

http://meteoasturias.elcomercio.es/foro ... osta+muros
 

Woozleywoo

New Member
Thank you all so much for your advice. I have decided to stick with my original plan and walk the VDLP this time. Maybe there will be another opportunity for me to walk the Norte.

Love to you all. x
 
M

mikevasey

Guest
Woozleywoo said:
Thank you all so much for your advice. I have decided to stick with my original plan and walk the VDLP this time. Maybe there will be another opportunity for me to walk the Norte.

Love to you all. x

A big thanks to you as well and have a Good Camino :D
 
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manoll

Peregrina 2013
Past OR future Camino
CDN & Camino Primitivo 2013, 2018,
Sanabrés 2016
Angulero, te agradezco muchísimo la información que has puesto sobre las opciones que existen para evitar el asfalto. Al investigar y escuchar a bastantes peregrinos decir que hay mas camino por carretera en esta ruta costera que en la francesa, estaba a punto de cambiar mis planes. Sin embargo me encontré con los enlaces que has puesto y ya que eres del área, obviamente sabes de lo que estás hablando; me imagino que habrá otros sitios del camino donde también habrá opciones de evitar el asfalto, al menos eso espero. :D Parece ser que la mayoría de los que hacen el peregrinaje no saben hablar el castellano, por lo tanto les es más difícil aventurarse a lo que no está marcado. De nuevo, te quedo muy agradecida por tu contribución y de haberte encontrado en este foro.

Ultreia,

Mary
 

josephgabriel

New Member
Past OR future Camino
future
Same question I had I plan to go in October.for about 2-3 weeks. Initially on the camino France's, but family is from Sevilla, where I once lived and am very familiar. I read somewhere that France's is be becoming very crowed though I would like some company, I would like to hav e solitude as well. Thoughts please. Thanks
 

Mark2012

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012, 2014) Camino Finisterre (2012, 2013, 2014) Camino Portugues (2013), Camino del Norte (2015)
Excellent information in this thread, thanks to all the posters!

Having walked the Camino Frances in 2012 and the Portuguese Way from just outside Porto in 2013, I'm hoping to walk either VdlP or the Norte later this year, but I can't quite decide which will suit me best. One relevant question I still have after reading all of the above relates to time of year. If all works out as I hope, I'll be starting the walk in early July, which I'm guessing will make for hot conditions in Seville and for long stretches of the VdlP. I'm Irish and so have a complex relationship (!) with sun and heat, but I think I'd be able to handle it as long as the conditions weren't extreme. That said, it's something to ponder. I'd love to hear some thoughts from people who've walked either route in July/August and if the high summer factor is something I should be conscious of when deciding which route to take.

Thanks in advance!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Mark,
I've never walked either route in July or August, and I think those are not the best months for either of the caminos you mention. For the norte, because the route goes through so many beautiful tourist/beach spots, July and August will be crowded with tourists. This makes things difficult and perhaps more expensive if there are no albergues or the albergues are filled.

For the Vdlp as you guessed it's the heat. There have been many conversations about this, do a search and you will find some. Here are a few to get you started.

http://www.caminodesantiago.me/comm...arting-in-slamanca-in-june-july-too-hot.4174/
http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/august-vdlp.19663/
http://www.caminodesantiago.me/comm...-summer-vdlp-contd-sevilla-here-i-come.11484/

Anniesantiago attempted to start from Sevilla in (I think) September and found it still way too hot. Maybe she will weigh in here.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

Mark2012

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012, 2014) Camino Finisterre (2012, 2013, 2014) Camino Portugues (2013), Camino del Norte (2015)
Hi, Mark,
I've never walked either route in July or August, and I think those are not the best months for either of the caminos you mention. For the norte, because the route goes through so many beautiful tourist/beach spots, July and August will be crowded with tourists. This makes things difficult and perhaps more expensive if there are no albergues or the albergues are filled.

For the Vdlp as you guessed it's the heat. There have been many conversations about this, do a search and you will find some. Here are a few to get you started.

http://www.caminodesantiago.me/comm...arting-in-slamanca-in-june-july-too-hot.4174/
http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/august-vdlp.19663/
http://www.caminodesantiago.me/comm...-summer-vdlp-contd-sevilla-here-i-come.11484/

Anniesantiago attempted to start from Sevilla in (I think) September and found it still way too hot. Maybe she will weigh in here.

Buen camino, Laurie

Thanks for the reply, Laurie. I'll be sure to check out those threads. I see what you mean about the potential issues related to walking in July and August. In a perfect world, I'd look to start in the middle of May, but my life circumstances this year mean that won't be possible, so I just to make things work as best I can!

All things being equal, I like the idea of the coastal route, although I remember last year walking by the ocean on my first day on the Camino Portugues and finding that it didn't "feel" like a Camino at all, and trudging through sand wasn't the most enjoyable either! As for the VdlP, the heat thing would be the big danger for me. The Irish weren't designed for long-distance hiking under a pulsing sun! ;-)
 
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Tommy Barr

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances ,Le Puy, Norte,Primitivo, VDLP,Ingles,Portuguese, Mozarabe
Excellent information in this thread, thanks to all the posters!

Having walked the Camino Frances in 2012 and the Portuguese Way from just outside Porto in 2013, I'm hoping to walk either VdlP or the Norte later this year, but I can't quite decide which will suit me best. One relevant question I still have after reading all of the above relates to time of year. If all works out as I hope, I'll be starting the walk in early July, which I'm guessing will make for hot conditions in Seville and for long stretches of the VdlP. I'm Irish and so have a complex relationship (!) with sun and heat, but I think I'd be able to handle it as long as the conditions weren't extreme. That said, it's something to ponder. I'd love to hear some thoughts from people who've walked either route in July/August and if the high summer factor is something I should be conscious of when deciding which route to take.

Thanks in advance!
Hi Mark Irish too so share the complexion thing. Last year I walked from Le Puy to St John then over to Irun - the Norte to Oviedeo - then the Primitivo to Santiago and on to Finnisterre and Muxia. Beautiful scenery the heat wasn't too bad - early (6:30) start most mornings. From Irun the first 2 weeks there was a lot of young ones obviously with no intention of going to Santiago just there for the beaches but it wasn't much of a problem. You do have to stick to the stages if you want to stay in albergues. They were a bit crowded but I never was turned away. After 2 weeks it tends to ease off. Thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it. If you go do not miss staying in the albergue in Guemmes - a special place. Get there as early as you can as they provide a good lunch as well as dinner and breakfast 9donativo) and go to the evening meeting I found it inspirational . I'm doing the via plata this year but still feel drawn to the Norte/Primitivo.
 

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