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Camino frances vs camino norte in Aug/Sep,

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Skjongen

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino France
Hi, I hope I'm not asking something that's been answered 100 times before but I've searched the forum and I'm still struggeling to make up my mind.
I'll fly into Barcelona 18th of August and will have to fly home three weeks later, so I guess I can mostly expect to do 60% of the Camino.
I don't need to arrive in Santiago this time, I can go back and do the remaining distance later. I don't really have any strong feelings about where to start or where to end my walk, It could even be three weeks inn the middle or split (but I think I'll prefer a continous stretch).
What I'm looking for is your opinion of the best route for those three weeks? I understand that Norte will probably be crowded in August due to Spanish Vacations and Frances might be crowded and very hot?
I'm no fan of walking in 30 deg. C, and I don't mind rain now and then. But to experience the athmosphere in Frances might be the best option for a beginner anyway?
I'm a 58 years old Norwegain, usualy fit but broke my femur in January so not 100% yet but training.. Used to walk in mountains but still not a huge fan of steep descents to often.

So, any recommendations for a three week walk from 18th of August starting anywhere on the Frances or Norte?
 
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Skjongen

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino France
What about the Primitivo? I believe that you can go all the way to Santiago from Oviedo in 2 weeks, and you could see Santiago.
I must admit I haven't considered Primitivio, I've been reading mostly about Norte and Frances. I belive It's quite a bit harder than the other two with more ascent/descents, and less crowded? I need to read up on the Primitivo I guess.. Thank you for the tip :)
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
Hi, I hope I'm not asking something that's been answered 100 times before but I've searched the forum and I'm still struggeling to make up my mind.
I'll fly into Barcelona 18th of August and will have to fly home three weeks later, so I guess I can mostly expect to do 60% of the Camino.
I don't need to arrive in Santiago this time, I can go back and do the remaining distance later. I don't really have any strong feelings about where to start or where to end my walk, It could even be three weeks inn the middle or split (but I think I'll prefer a continous stretch).
What I'm looking for is your opinion of the best route for those three weeks? I understand that Norte will probably be crowded in August due to Spanish Vacations and Frances might be crowded and very hot?
I'm no fan of walking in 30 deg. C, and I don't mind rain now and then. But to experience the athmosphere in Frances might be the best option for a beginner anyway?
I'm a 58 years old Norwegain, usualy fit but broke my femur in January so not 100% yet but training.. Used to walk in mountains but still not a huge fan of steep descents to often.

So, any recommendations for a three week walk from 18th of August starting anywhere on the Frances or Norte?
I have another idea that may relieve your concerns about the steep descents. You could do the Portugues and start in Tomar or Coimbra. There is road walking and some cobblestone. When you get to Porto you could decide if you want to do the coastal which is really flat if you stay on the coastal lateral until you get to Spain or stay on the interior camino. Both have advantages. It may be a good alternative especially because of your recent injury. There are some really steep descents on the Norte.
 

Shinobi42

Member
Past OR future Camino
from Irun to Nueva
from Nueva to Muxia
I would recoomend not to start in Irun but later in Bilbao, when you want to avoid steep climbs. The Basque country can be a bit of a challenge. At that time you mostly have a cooling wind from the atlantic ocean, because you are close to the coast.
 
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Skjongen

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino France
I would recoomend not to start in Irun but later in Bilbao, when you want to avoid steep climbs. The Basque country can be a bit of a challenge. At that time you mostly have a cooling wind from the atlantic ocean, because you are close to the coast.
That sound like a good idea. Maybe the coast west of Bilbao is less crowded as well at that time? Could even start further west if necessary to get out of the turist areas.
 

Skjongen

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino France
I have another idea that may relieve your concerns about the steep descents. You could do the Portugues and start in Tomar or Coimbra. There is road walking and some cobblestone. When you get to Porto you could decide if you want to do the coastal which is really flat if you stay on the coastal lateral until you get to Spain or stay on the interior camino. Both have advantages. It may be a good alternative especially because of your recent injury. There are some really steep descents on the Norte.
Hi, that might be what I should have done yea. But I've already booked my flights into Barcelona, and return out from Madrid so I think It'll have to be Spain only this time. Thank you for the advice though 👍
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
Just based on the information you have provided, I would recommend Porto to Santiago.
Easy route, beautiful scenery, timely for your schedule and above all if you're recovering from an injury.
 

Shinobi42

Member
Past OR future Camino
from Irun to Nueva
from Nueva to Muxia
That sound like a good idea. Maybe the coast west of Bilbao is less crowded as well at that time? Could even start further west if necessary to get out of the turist areas.
I have walked the Camino del Norte in September and it was far from beeing overcrowded with only one shining exception, the legendary Albuerge in Güermes from Ernesto.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
Hi, that might be what I should have done yea. But I've already booked my flights into Barcelona, and return out from Madrid so I think It'll have to be Spain only this time. Thank you for the advice though 👍
Totally understandable but you may ne surprised how easy and cheap it may be to fly from Barcelona to Lisboa and getting back from Santiago to Madrid can also be fast and cheap too. But whatever you decide have a wonderful and safe Camino.
 
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Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2012
Hi, I hope I'm not asking something that's been answered 100 times before but I've searched the forum and I'm still struggeling to make up my mind.
I'll fly into Barcelona 18th of August and will have to fly home three weeks later, so I guess I can mostly expect to do 60% of the Camino.
I don't need to arrive in Santiago this time, I can go back and do the remaining distance later. I don't really have any strong feelings about where to start or where to end my walk, It could even be three weeks inn the middle or split (but I think I'll prefer a continous stretch).
What I'm looking for is your opinion of the best route for those three weeks? I understand that Norte will probably be crowded in August due to Spanish Vacations and Frances might be crowded and very hot?
I'm no fan of walking in 30 deg. C, and I don't mind rain now and then. But to experience the athmosphere in Frances might be the best option for a beginner anyway?
I'm a 58 years old Norwegain, usualy fit but broke my femur in January so not 100% yet but training.. Used to walk in mountains but still not a huge fan of steep descents to often.

So, any recommendations for a three week walk from 18th of August starting anywhere on the Frances or Norte?
You’re flying into Barcelona? You have three weeks and need to exit via Madrid? You have no need or desire to reach Santiago?
Why not just start walking from Barcelona? Search Gronze.com/todosloscaminos for possibilities. There are many.
 

Skjongen

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino France
You’re flying into Barcelona? You have three weeks and need to exit via Madrid? You have no need or desire to reach Santiago?
Why not just start walking from Barcelona? Search Gronze.com/todosloscaminos for possibilities. There are many.
Well, I do have a desire to reach Santiago eventually but I don't need to do it this time. I've been there once before by train from La Coruna. I'm working 4 weeks on/off so I can go back in October to complete whatever camino I end up with, possibly together with my wife.
I guess I'm a bit fixed at the Camino experience I read about from Frances, but at the same time I really would like to see more of northern Spain. I'm going home in a couple of weeks and can try out my hiking shape then, I still got 10 weeks for training... I think I can get into ok shape in August, doing 20k+ steps a day now but that's on flat surface.
 

PNeer

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2019, Portuguese 2022
Hi, that might be what I should have done yea. But I've already booked my flights into Barcelona, and return out from Madrid so I think It'll have to be Spain only this time. Thank you for the advice though 👍
take a look at Vueling Airline - the short flights from city to city in Europe are pretty inexpensive
 

Mark Di Marzio

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2015 -SJPP- Santiago .Oct/Nov
2017 -Porto to Santiago.Oct
2017- Santiago- Finesterre. Nov
I would recoomend not to start in Irun but later in Bilbao, when you want to avoid steep climbs. The Basque country can be a bit of a challenge. At that time you mostly have a cooling wind from the atlantic ocean, because you are close to the coast.
This is good advice from everything I have been reading . I am thinking of starting from bilbao and then segue to Primitivo around late September 2022 . I think starting from Irun will be too challenging for me (even though I have walked Frances 3 times and the Portuguese once) . Perhaps from bilbao I think maybe it will be a bit less challenging in terms of up and down steep hills from Bilbao on the Norte ?
 

Orlando Wren

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2018), Fisterra (2018)
Portuguese from Porto (Oct 2018)
Frances (2019)
Here's my two cents: It's your first camino and you want to experience what it feels like to walk the Camino. From what I've read, the Norte is a bit harder, and it's a bit more isolated. The tourists do book the coastline albergues along the Camino Norte, so there may be a bit of competition for a place to stay. I've hiked the entire Camino Frances twice (from SJPdP, 2018 and 2019) and I've hiked the Camino Portuguese just from Porto. I loved both of my CF experiences and they were completely unique to one another. I stayed in different cities and villages to "mix it up" but I made sure I stayed in Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos, Leon, Astorga, and Ponferrada. There are so many beautiful cities along the way, and the infrastructure along the CF is such to accommodate the many pilgrims who travel along its way. For that reason, I believe it will be your best opportunity to meet other pilgrims and feel the camaraderie of the Camino. Now, that being said, some people love to hike alone and will truly enjoy the solitude of the other "ways" (such as the Primitivo). Not me. I love the people and the interaction as I hike. So, I would say you should ask yourself, "What kind of experience am I seeking?" That will help you decide!
 
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Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
The norte is definitely more void of pilgrims than the Frances.
 

pepi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Last: 2021, next: ???
I'd take the train from Barcelona to Pamplona and start walking there. Then I might take bus-short cuts, like Belorado to Burgos, Sahagun to Leon, which would save you 2-3 days. As you'd need a connected airport to return back home, you'll want to make it to SdC anyway, with or without Compostela. With shortcuts above (mainly city approaches along with industry and gas stations) and a steady stride, you can reach SdC in 26-28 days without excess. No sweat.
The second part of August is IMHO an excellent time for the CF, not so much for the Norte with too many vacationers. As a single walker, you'll always find a bed.

Buen Camino
 

Orlando Wren

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2018), Fisterra (2018)
Portuguese from Porto (Oct 2018)
Frances (2019)
I'd take the train from Barcelona to Pamplona and start walking there. Then I might take bus-short cuts, like Belorado to Burgos, Sahagun to Leon, which would save you 2-3 days. As you'd need a connected airport to return back home, you'll want to make it to SdC anyway, with or without Compostela. With shortcuts above (mainly city approaches along with industry and gas stations) and a steady stride, you can reach SdC in 26-28 days without excess. No sweat.
The second part of August is IMHO an excellent time for the CF, not so much for the Norte with too many vacationers. As a single walker, you'll always find a bed.

Buen Camino
Do you think it's necessary to book ahead along the CF this year in mid-August and September? I ask because I've heard it is quite busy this year due to it being effectively-nearly closed for the last few years.
 

pepi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Last: 2021, next: ???
Do you think it's necessary to book ahead along the CF this year in mid-August and September? I ask because I've heard it is quite busy this year due to it being effectively-nearly closed for the last few years.
I had no problems doing that route last year - same time, but from what I read, it's more crowded this year. I would certainly book in Pamplona and use gronze.com to phone ahead a couple of days from there onward. Remain flexible regarding the type of accommodation, also using booking.com.

BC
 

Mark Di Marzio

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2015 -SJPP- Santiago .Oct/Nov
2017 -Porto to Santiago.Oct
2017- Santiago- Finesterre. Nov
Here's my two cents: It's your first camino and you want to experience what it feels like to walk the Camino. From what I've read, the Norte is a bit harder, and it's a bit more isolated. The tourists do book the coastline albergues along the Camino Norte, so there may be a bit of competition for a place to stay. I've hiked the entire Camino Frances twice (from SJPdP, 2018 and 2019) and I've hiked the Camino Portuguese just from Porto. I loved both of my CF experiences and they were completely unique to one another. I stayed in different cities and villages to "mix it up" but I made sure I stayed in Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos, Leon, Astorga, and Ponferrada. There are so many beautiful cities along the way, and the infrastructure along the CF is such to accommodate the many pilgrims who travel along its way. For that reason, I believe it will be your best opportunity to meet other pilgrims and feel the camaraderie of the Camino. Now, that being said, some people love to hike alone and will truly enjoy the solitude of the other "ways" (such as the Primitivo). Not me. I love the people and the interaction as I hike. So, I would say you should ask yourself, "What kind of experience am I seeking?" That will help you decide!
Good post and excellent advice especially the last two sentences .
 
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Skjongen

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino France
I'd take the train from Barcelona to Pamplona and start walking there. Then I might take bus-short cuts, like Belorado to Burgos, Sahagun to Leon, which would save you 2-3 days. As you'd need a connected airport to return back home, you'll want to make it to SdC anyway, with or without Compostela. With shortcuts above (mainly city approaches along with industry and gas stations) and a steady stride, you can reach SdC in 26-28 days without excess. No sweat.
The second part of August is IMHO an excellent time for the CF, not so much for the Norte with too many vacationers. As a single walker, you'll always find a bed.

Buen Camino
Thank you for the advice.
I've booked a train Barcelona to Pamplona the 18th now, and will decide later if I start there or go to SjPP :)

Now It's all about training for me :cool: 👍
 

pepi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Last: 2021, next: ???
Thank you for the advice.
I've booked a train Barcelona to Pamplona the 18th now, and will decide later if I start there or go to SjPP :)

Now It's all about training for me :cool: 👍
Hey, great!
I do my plannings with a little Excel spreadsheet, with accommodation contacts. Based on your arrival in Pamplona on Aug 18 and with the two suggested bus shortcuts, you would arrive in SdC on Sept. 15, just within your target. Additional shortcut(s) can further shorten the duration of your trip.
I'll mail it to you if you let me know your mail address by private message.

Buen Camino
 

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