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Camino Del Norte

Camino(s) past & future
June 2015
#1
Hello, i want to know if the camino del norte is well mark? I know there is some alternative route to pass near of the beaches, is those route are mark? Thank's
 

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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#2
I walked the Norte from San Sebastian to Llanes and it is very well marked.

As for alternatives to maximise seascapes, the only one on that stretch I can think of is between Guemes and Samos. I assume it is marked, but everyone was walking that way, and detailed info about it given in the evening at the albergue. It was also very clearly indicated in the Editorial Buen Camino guide I was using.

I think there has also been talk here of a detour near Liendo, but since walking through Liendo and up the hill was just fine by me I didn’t pay attention to that thread much.
 
#3
Hi, Dodog,
There are a lot of coastal options that leave the camino and hug the coast. Here is a list of some of them. You would likely need GPS tracks in some cases to make the connection from Camino to coastal path and from coastal path back to the camino, because the camino is likely to be a km or two away from the coast. I have walked the Norte twice, once on the Camino all the time (or with the occational E-9 alternative) and once looking obsessively to avoid the asphalt and stay close to the water. These alternatives are magical.

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/coastal-alternatives-to-the-nortes-asphalt.49578/
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF -15, VdlP -15, Sanabres-16. Portugues -17, Norte/Primitivo -17, Mozarabe/Torres-18
#4
Just finished del Norte at Villaviciosa for chanching to Primitivo. Started in Irun. For us as averidge pilgrims the "oficial" Norte gives absolutely enough costal walking without any extra options. We knew those Peregrina 2000's variants but didn't need any of them.
 
#5
Just finished del Norte at Villaviciosa for chanching to Primitivo. Started in Irun. For us as averidge pilgrims the "oficial" Norte gives absolutely enough costal walking without any extra options. We knew those Peregrina 2000's variants but didn't need any of them.
Hi, Kimmo, you know, that's a good point. For me, when I walked the "official Norte" in 2006, I would never have said, oh there aren't enough coastal sections. My memory was of a lot of beautiful coastline. What did me in was the huge amount of asphalt. It messed with my feet big time, and I wound up with tarsal tunnel (carpal tunnel of the foot) and it was a long slow recovery. So when I thought about going back to the Norte, I tried to find off-asphalt alternatives, and most of them just happened to be along the coast. So I wound up doing these alternatives to keep my feet healthy and was just lucky enough to be able to enjoy coastal paths that are tantalizingly close to the official camino.

I think it's great that they are available to those who want to get off the path, but if your feet will take the asphalt happily, it may just be gilding the lily.

Enjoy the Primitivo, would love to hear how it goes for you!
 

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Camino(s) past & future
June 2015
#6
I walked the Norte from San Sebastian to Llanes and it is very well marked.

As for alternatives to maximise seascapes, the only one on that stretch I can think of is between Guemes and Samos. I assume it is marked, but everyone was walking that way, and detailed info about it given in the evening at the albergue. It was also very clearly indicated in the Editorial Buen Camino guide I was using.

I think there has also been talk here of a detour near Liendo, but since walking through Liendo and up the hill was just fine by me I didn’t pay attention to that thread much.
Thank's
 
Camino(s) past & future
June 2015
#7
Hi, Dodog,
There are a lot of coastal options that leave the camino and hug the coast. Here is a list of some of them. You would likely need GPS tracks in some cases to make the connection from Camino to coastal path and from coastal path back to the camino, because the camino is likely to be a km or two away from the coast. I have walked the Norte twice, once on the Camino all the time (or with the occational E-9 alternative) and once looking obsessively to avoid the asphalt and stay close to the water. These alternatives are magical.

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/coastal-alternatives-to-the-nortes-asphalt.49578/

Thank you very much!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Several alone and with children
#8
We took the E-9 whenever we realized we could.
I can't remember all the specific town etc... but did share them in my blog as we came along them.
This past Norte (I've done it twice) I hit TWO areas that were on the coast that I missed the first time I did it,
I could not believe that I missed such beatiful walking the first time.
I know one was the day we got to DEBA, there is a park and you come out of the woods and there are porto potties (bathrooms) there. My first time I walked with those to my back, this last time I walked with their entry door to my right...this walk was stunning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not to be missed!!!
I'm bad with town names and sequence...but my blog I think hits on all of the E9 spots we could find.
shefollowsshells.blogspot.com
using the side bar go to mid October 2016 and that gets you to our Norte.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#9
Hefollowsseeshells is right, this variante is the Flysch route, flysch being geological formations and they are found in that area. There is a txacoli vineyard there called Flysch just after the park.

The variante is actually the GR 121. It’s between Zumaia and Deba. The detour makes the route longer and apparently much more difficult, bit certainly unique.

You can see it here: http://zumaia.eus/fr/tourisme/que-faire/randonnee/sentiers-pedestres

And here is the actual Camino: http://caminodesantiago.consumer.es/etapa-de-zarautz-a-deba
 

amancio

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Aragon, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno
#10
Just back from el Norte myself. There are so many variants, the only thing you can do is ask each hospitalero about options for the next day. I wanted to do plenty of seaside, but it was not always easy. Also bear in mind weather might make some parts quite tricky if it rains, it is mucky or if it is very windy.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#11
In general, the Camino del Norte is easy to navigate, with lots of Coastal walking already included. Navigating towns are always a bit tricky because you need to learn whatever that town's strategy is for signage, and sometimes it is not consistent one place to another. I can only remember two towns that were particularly vague: Aviles and the following town. Keep your eyes open and you will do fine. If you don't see any indication of the Camino (a yellow arrow, a shell on the ground, a sign, or a bollard) for a city block, you are probably not on the Camino any more, and retracing your steps to the last time you saw a sign is a good idea. It would have saved me about 5 km of walking on my first night :)

When there was a coastal alternative to the official Camino route, the alternative was often more up and down or longer (I am careful not to say easier/harder). You may find that despite the potential beauty of the alternative route, you aren't feeling up to additional climbing/descents. On the other hand, the coastal routes are less likely to be paved and you may find your feet want the rest. Pay attention to how you are feeling that day, and follow your gut.

Side note: the Basque people will always tell you to take the scenic route, despite the extra effort required. The Asturians would always recommend the easier route. A farmer once told me to avoid the coastal route because "all it is is cliffs and waves - no cows or houses or anything interesting".

The one place that it is well signed BUT easily misleading is Boimorto. Remember that name! There are bollards on both sides of the street. But if you go to the right, you will notice you suddenly and magically walked 10km (the distance to Santiago is 10km shorter than it should be). If you go to the left, things proceed normally. There is no clear indication that there are two different routes, especially if you happen to be on the right hand side of the road (as the Camino flows).

The right is a short cut: the total distance to Santiago is reduced by 10km. But the next albergue is 20 to 30 km from Boimorto. Feasible if you started your day in Boimorto. Possibly not feasible if you started before Boimorto.

The left is the traditional route, and is about 10km to 15km to Arzua.

Myself and several other groups got caught by this change - an extra 200m walking for me before I noticed the distance markers. An extra 4 km for the other groups before they noticed the change.
 

Dandabika

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Completed GR65 (2016)
#12
Hello, i want to know if the camino del norte is well mark? I know there is some alternative route to pass near of the beaches, is those route are mark? Thank's
Hi, Del Norte is well maked with yellow arrows that are sometimes on curbs in towns and a bit difficult to spot, scallop shells where the orientation of the shell (when it is on its side) indicates which way to go: the base of the shell is the way to go (all the lines of the shell go to the base) I've also seen pink indicators, although they were rare. I walked the Norte this year (2017) then switched to the Primitivo where the markings are about 40 % more weather beaten than those on the Norte. The Primitivo has about 80% less hardtop surfaces than Del Norte but is more challenging than the Norte. I'm 65 and could handle the Primitivo withought much to complain about. With respect to the beaches, there are about a dozen (from memory) along Del Norte that are almost impossible to miss. Some of those beaches are more than 10 kilometers in length. When approaching a town with a beach, stop and ask at the first bar you see about using the beach as an alternate path to the camino route. I guarantee your feet will appreciate walking on sand instead of asphalt. Walk about 1 to 2 meters from the water where the sand is the easiest to walk on. The Norte is eye candy when the sea and beaches are in view. You are going to love it, I promise.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Camino 2017
#13
Hi, Kimmo, you know, that's a good point. For me, when I walked the "official Norte" in 2006, I would never have said, oh there aren't enough coastal sections. My memory was of a lot of beautiful coastline. What did me in was the huge amount of asphalt. It messed with my feet big time, and I wound up with tarsal tunnel (carpal tunnel of the foot) and it was a long slow recovery. So when I thought about going back to the Norte, I tried to find off-asphalt alternatives, and most of them just happened to be along the coast. So I wound up doing these alternatives to keep my feet healthy and was just lucky enough to be able to enjoy coastal paths that are tantalizingly close to the official camino.

I think it's great that they are available to those who want to get off the path, but if your feet will take the asphalt happily, it may just be gilding the lily.

Enjoy the Primitivo, would love to hear how it goes for you!
Did you walk from Irun to Bilbao? Is there much asphalt along that section
 

Dandabika

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Completed GR65 (2016)
#14
Did you walk from Irun to Bilbao? Is there much asphalt along that section
Almost all asphalt between Irun and Bilbao. It gets better after Bilbao. There are alternate routes to avoid cities and large towns. Sometimes you can walk the beach instead of walking the city street. Ask the first bar you see as you approach any town or city. Bar keepers seem to know everything.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF -15, VdlP -15, Sanabres-16. Portugues -17, Norte/Primitivo -17, Mozarabe/Torres-18
#15
I don’t remember asfalt at all between Irun and Bilbao. It, mostly going on rather difficoult mountain paths if you follow the arrows. Of course it’s always possible to walk on the roads if you prefer it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#16
Did you walk from Irun to Bilbao? Is there much asphalt along that section
It’s a mixture every day, including some 1100 year old flagstone. (Which is amazing, but hard to walk on and slippery when wet. ). A lot of small, narrow and steep concrete lanes mixed with stretches of other surfaces. Very minimal actual asphalt-but that’s because there is lots of concrete. Very minimal “hiking trail” like (narrow, single person width, soft surface through forest, pedestrian only), at least not on the main route-the alternate routes would be different. What there was was absolutely divine.

I don’t trust me memory on proportions, but certainly less heavily trafficked roads than Cantabria.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#17
I should add that imho Irun to larabetzu (spelling???) was the most spectacular-possibly because it was early on and I was still in the honeymoon phase :) if there is such a thing
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many
#18
The one place that it is well signed BUT easily misleading is Boimorto. Remember that name! There are bollards on both sides of the street. But if you go to the right, you will notice you suddenly and magically walked 10km (the distance to Santiago is 10km shorter than it should be). If you go to the left, things proceed normally. There is no clear indication that there are two different routes, especially if you happen to be on the right hand side of the road (as the Camino flows).
This is no longer the case in my experience. The maps are of typically awful design but the split in Boimorto/Gándara is well defined. What it doesn't do much to inform you of is what services exist along the way. The old way via Arzúa is chock full of stuff. The savings of 10km in the other direction comes at the cost of few services... though it is still preferred in my opinion.

The alternative routes are not necessary, that is true. But the same could be said for a toothbrush. I for one think life and the camino is better with both. :p
 

Phil71

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (2014,2016),Primitivo (2015), San Salvador (2017), Norte (2018), Ingles (2018)
#20
Hi all, regarding the right turn in Boimorto - can you tell me where it re-joins the Camino. I'm tackling the Norte in June (first solo camino!) - I fancy missing the crowds in Arzua - but was planning on staying in Salceda. Can maybe stretch to Pedrouzo if I have to but would be nice to know.....
Cheers,
Phil.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salv-Primitivo
#21

Phil71

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (2014,2016),Primitivo (2015), San Salvador (2017), Norte (2018), Ingles (2018)
#22
Perfect - thank you!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Way (2017)
#23
This is no longer the case in my experience. The maps are of typically awful design but the split in Boimorto/Gándara is well defined. What it doesn't do much to inform you of is what services exist along the way. The old way via Arzúa is chock full of stuff. The savings of 10km in the other direction comes at the cost of few services... though it is still preferred in my opinion.

The alternative routes are not necessary, that is true. But the same could be said for a toothbrush. I for one think life and the camino is better with both. :p
@wisepilgrim this may be the case now - but the wrong turn we took happened in October 2017. I did find the map in question. Unlike other splits, the sign posts on the right hand side of the road did not show two arrows, so I didn't realize that I'd walked past a split, and I didn't see the map on the other side of the road. I still would have got there in the end, but I was pretty exhausted by the time I got to Arzua.

The alternate routes are quite helpful and if redoing the Camino, I would happily delay joining the Camino Frances. Arzua was something of a culture shock!. But some of the alternate routes really work better for those comfortable walking 30km or more. I did walk that distance a couple of days, but it tended to come at a cost to my feet :(
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many
#24
Hi all, regarding the right turn in Boimorto - can you tell me where it re-joins the Camino. I'm tackling the Norte in June (first solo camino!) - I fancy missing the crowds in Arzua - but was planning on staying in Salceda. Can maybe stretch to Pedrouzo if I have to but would be nice to know.....
The right turn option rejoins the Francés just past the end of the Lavacolla runway, which means that San Paio is the first town on the Francés that you will come to.
 

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