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camino del norte


New Member
Hello Peregrina,
Thank you for your answer, and I follow your advice and post my questions here too.

Dear All,
I'm a Hungarian, so please excuse me, if my English is not very good.
If everything goes well,in July I will start the Camino Norte with a friend of mine. I’m very excited, I do my best to get prepared both physically and spiritually. This will be our first Camino, so we are pretty inexperienced.
I have some questions, would you please help me out by answering them, if you could?

• Is the way well marked, or better to take a proper map?
• Are there “etapas” which are too long to make them within one day? Is it better to be prepared for sleeping somewhere outside? Or will we certainly get into some villages where we can find some sort of hostel/albergue?
• How good shape is required? We are training since March, but now I’m a bit confused… I read somewhere that the Camino del Norte is very difficult and hard, a lot harder than the Frances. (more hills, mountains etc) Is that right?
• Is it true, that there is a lot of walk on asphalt?
• Is it better to carry some food, or there will be shops, restaurants to get the necessary food on the way?

Thank you in advance!!!
Kind regards:
Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.


Staff member
Hi, Lya,
Good to have you on the forum! I thought I'd post the answer I sent you privately, in case others have the same questions, and also in case others have different opinions from mine. I guess you're counting the days now! Here's my response to Lya:

Hi, Lya,
I am always happy to answer questions, but you should also post them on the forum here because that way you will get a more balanced perspective. My perspective is that of a woman in her 50s, and it always helps to hear from a variety of different types of people. But anyway, here are my replies:

-- well marked vs. "proper map" -- I don't really know where you will get a n accurate map of the trail. I will say that there were several places in which we got lost, but they tended to be in the Asturias region. Almost everywhere else, things were very well marked. The best guidebook is the German one, so if you can read German as many Hungarians can, you should definitely buy the book. We walked with some Germans for about 6 days and we never got lost when we were with them because their book was very specific.

-- distances of etapas -- If you are able to afford a hotel/pension you will never have to worry about finding a place to sleep. and if you are on a strict budget and want to sleep only in the albergues, I think it is possible as well. We weren't so worried about that and frequently stopped in towns without albergues just because we liked the town, were hungry, were tired, etc.

-- what shape you have to be in -- I am in pretty good shape, but I don't think you need to be in terrific shape to do this walk. I am 57, I sometimes walked with peoplein their 70s. If you've been training, I'm sure you will be fine. There are a lot of ups and downs (usually from the ocean up to the headlands), but I don't think you ever have to go up more than several hundred meters.

-- asphalt -- Yes there is some road walking. I usually was able to find some ground on the side of the road to walk on, because I get heel problems if I walk on asphalt too much. People say there is more asphalt on the norte than on the Frances, and I believe them, but I just don't have an overall memory of there being an overwhelming amount of asphalt. (Maybe it's like giving birth to a child -- you forget the pain as soon as the baby is born! Now in retrospect all I remember of the norte are the beautiful ocean walks and maybe I forget all the pain).

-- food -- we usually carried food for snacks and sometimes sandwiches for lunch. You will be able to find out what the next day's walk is like when you stop for the night, and then you can know how much food to bring. We usually carried some dried fruit/chocolate/nuts and soemtimes a sandwich and always a liter or two of water (water is heavy, too!)

So, Lya, I'm very happy to answer more questions, but think about posting your questions here like the others do, because you'll find that people are very happy to help, and you will get a more balanced picture that way.

Buen camino, Laurieperegrina2000
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Alan Pearce

Veteran Member
The CSJ overview of the northern coastal route suggests that the route is best done between late May and early October. It suits my social calender in Australia better if I am back home by mid-June.Does anyone have experience of walking this route in April/May?


Staff member
Hi, Alan,
I walked from early May (maybe beginning around May 4 or 5) till whenever it was in June that we arrived, and I think it was a very good time of year to walk. As you know, the path goes through a lot of tourist destinations, so it is nice to avoid the tourist crowds by going in May. There were other walkers going at that time, not hoards, but we met about 20-30 total, I'd say (maybe closer to 20). As far as weather, we lucked out and had only one day with a lot of rain, but others a few days ahead or behind had much more. So it's really the luck of the draw. The temperatures were very nice, things were green -- all in all, I think May is a very nice month to walk the Norte. Laurie

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