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Camino Francis or del Norte early april

2020 Camino Guides

Rural1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(may 2019)
Hi All peregrinos.

I am flying out to Bilbao on April 1st and returning the 11th. I am undecided on doing frances or del Norte, last may I did st jean to Pamplona and was thinking to going to Burgos but del Norte seems to be nice scenic wise but has less accommodation and as it’s Easter and semana Santa what would be my best choice if anyone has suggestions. Thanks all
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
I recommend that you bring your credencial from the original SJPdP to Pamplona effort. Start from Pamplona. Use the same credential. Continue where you left off.

Using the same, or an attached new credencial, you can establish that you eventually walked all the way from SJPdP to Santiago. Many pilgrims take multiple years to accomplish the entire Camino Frances.

This will support a Distance Certificate showing the full distance. Only walking the final 100 Km, from Sarria to Santiago gets you a Compostela. The distance walked before that point on the Frances, or any other route, is irrelevant to the Compostela.

At that time of year, the Norte will likely be colder, wetter and have more snow than the Frances. You can experience snow anywhere in northern Spain at altitudes of 700 meters ASL or more, through late May.

I have had light, but wet snow at Cruz de Ferro in three years there. In 2014, I experienced a brief but intense "white out" at O'Cebriero one morning in late April. These snows were not deep, less than 3 cm. But it is wet and can cover the yellow arrows. THAT makes walking more hazardous.

Taking either route, you will hit a fair amount of rain and mud. But there are more higher peaks and thus more likelihood of snow on the Norte, at least IMHO. Others may disagree.

I have walked the Frances from late April through the end of May twice. I have not yet walked the Norte but have talked to a lot of pilgrims who have done so.

Hope this helps.
 

Rick M

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
April ('16,'18, '19, '20)
At that time of year, the Norte will likely be colder, wetter and have more snow than the Frances. You can experience snow anywhere in northern Spain at altitudes of 700 meters ASL or more, through late May.

Taking either route, you will hit a fair amount of rain and mud. But there are more higher peaks and thus more likelihood of snow on the Norte, at least IMHO. Others may disagree.
Agree with everything you said......with one quibble. The Norte is at much lower altitude than the Francis. You start and finish most days at or near sea level, as opposed to the Francis, where you are generally at 700 meters. Lots of hills every day to be sure, but never over 700 meters, at least for the first few weeks. The Norte will be Warmer and wetter than the Frances at that time of year. Snow is unlikely, rain is a certainty! Having done both at the same time of year, the "morning coffee" temperatures were several degrees warmer on the Norte every day, as expected.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Like I said. I have not personally walked the Norte yet. So while I have a lot of experience with the Frances, the same is not true of the Norte.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Home for Easter, good idea, you will be walking through Semana Santa also a good idea - lots of processions and festivals, you will be trying o get back home over Good Friday and the Easter Weekend...Good Luck with that! Spain loves their holidays so everybody and his brother, everybody and her sister will be going somewhere on the buses, on the trains, on the Camino - plan well and reserve transportation well ahead of time wherever you can.
 
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Rural1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(may 2019)
Thanks all for replies, think I will play it by ear nearer the time and can hop from one to the other the excitement in not planning and letting the water flow.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Hi All peregrinos.

I am flying out to Bilbao on April 1st and returning the 11th. I am undecided on doing frances or del Norte, last may I did st jean to Pamplona and was thinking to going to Burgos but del Norte seems to be nice scenic wise but has less accommodation and as it’s Easter and semana Santa what would be my best choice if anyone has suggestions. Thanks all
I guess it depends how much time you want to spend walking and how much time you are prepared to spend faffing about with public transport. Your time-frame would let you walk some exquisite bits of the Norte, from Bilbao to at least Santander if not Llanes / Boo and travel back to Bilbao on the FEVE (narrow gauge railway) or a more prosaic bus. Or lose a day getting to Pamplona and find yourself in Belorado / St Juan on a major public holiday with the one bus of the day booked out since xmas ;)

That said I'm the sort that'll get to the airport 3 hours before a flight, a bus or rail station 2 hours before departure and hate public transport anyway. I'd rather maximise my walking time and minimise the opportunities of finding myself the wrong side of the gate at lift off or the wrong end of the ticket queue at "completo'.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Thanks all for replies, think I will play it by ear nearer the time and can hop from one to the other the excitement in not planning and letting the water flow.
During Semana Santa I would not wing it on the Norte, because you will be competing for beds with tourists. Who all book ahead.
 

Rural1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(may 2019)
During Semana Santa I would not wing it on the Norte, because you will be competing for beds with tourists. Who all book ahead.
Thanks for info was thinking that less pilgrims would be on Norte early April so plenty of room in the albergues
 

Robi Diaz De Vivar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016), Norte (2017), Portuges (2018), Mozarabe (2019), Primitivo (2019), Via de La Plata (2
Hi All peregrinos.

I am flying out to Bilbao on April 1st and returning the 11th. I am undecided on doing frances or del Norte, last may I did st jean to Pamplona and was thinking to going to Burgos but del Norte seems to be nice scenic wise but has less accommodation and as it’s Easter and semana Santa what would be my best choice if anyone has suggestions. Thanks all
I think that the main issue here will be weather related. I walked Pamplona to Burgos in 10 days in 2016 and it was a fantastic experience. I did San Sebastian to Bilbao the following September and I found that really tough. The countryside is stunningly beautiful but I found the locals at best indifferent to peregrinos. My main issue was that that there was no maintenance of the Camino and as a result after some recent heavy rain the track was reduced to calf deep seas of mud in which it was impossible to get traction going up or down hill. The Basque Country and Cantabria are usually very wet at the start of April so I think that you should take this into consideration. Good luck.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2013, CF 2014, CP 2016, CN 1st half 2018, CN 3rd qtr+R. Cantabrico 2019, Via Francigena 2017
We were on the Norte last year at Easter. We found that accommodations during Semana Santa (Easter week) were a bit more expensive and harder to find. But we did find them. Once we realized there was a problem we booked a few places in advance. All worked out fine, we just didn't have as many choices as at other times. You get spoiled on the Norte in April by all the choices for accommodations. Hotels/B&Bs/tourist apartamentos are open and inexpensive and not yet busy. But I wouldn't want to try it in the summer when the Spaniards head north to escape the heat.
 

YMMV

Your Mileage May Vary
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Planning for April 2020)
A couple of newbie questions » My plan is to be on the Camino Frances during Semana Santa (April 5 to 13, 2020). If all goes as planned I would be in and between Puente de la Reina and Burgos during Easter week.

How far in advance will the pilgrim albergues take reservations?

Would calling the day before or the morning of be sufficient to reserve a bed?

Thank you in advance.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
A couple of newbie questions » My plan is to be on the Camino Frances during Semana Santa (April 5 to 13, 2020). If all goes as planned I would be in and between Puente de la Reina and Burgos during Easter week.

How far in advance will the pilgrim albergues take reservations?

Would calling the day before or the morning of be sufficient to reserve a bed?

Thank you in advance.
In general the municipal albergues do not take reservations, they are first come, first served. You can both municipal and private albergues listed on Gronze.com, along with hostales, pensiones, hotels, ets.

 

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