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Camino Norte or Portugues

2020 Camino Guides

Wandering Scot

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CaminoFrances/Portugues 2020
Hi everyone, planning my first Camino end of April 2020. I’m looking for beautiful scenery, nature and picturesque villages/towns en route . I would prefer to avoid busy roads and walk mainly on paths/tracks. Torn between Camino Portugues and Norte. Any advice would be great and thank you in advance.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
All the best for your planning. I wonder why I can hear this in ny head: My heart’s in the highlands, my heart is not here...! Seriously, you will get lots of suggestions. Take your time, choose what looks like up your street and off you go. Buen camino.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I've walked both and it's like comparing apples with oranges. My opinion is that the Del Norte has more striking and beautiful scenery overall and several lovely coastal towns/cities such as San Sabastian, Bilbao, Castro Urdiales, Gernika, and Santillana del Mar, to name a few. The Portuguese camino out of Porto (a beautiful city by its own merit) where I began, probably has more small villages. My favorite larger exceptional towns were Ponte de Lima and Pontevedra. I preferred the villages after crossing into Spain as I'm partial to old stone structures. Both caminos have "some" tarmac, but the cobbles on the Portuguese are harder on the feet.
That said, I really enjoy both apples and oranges! 😊
 
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sugargypsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First one planned for May 2019: Camino Francés
Hi everyone, planning my first Camino end of April 2020. I’m looking for beautiful scenery, nature and picturesque villages/towns en route . I would prefer to avoid busy roads and walk mainly on paths/tracks. Torn between Camino Portugues and Norte. Any advice would be great and thank you in advance.
I only walked the Frances so far (this spring), but el Camino del Norte as well as the Portugués are on my to-do-list, and I'ver read quite a lot about both Caminos. But as far as I figured out those two Caminos are not really comparable - in altitude, personal physical & time requirements. **

How much time can you spend on your first Camino?

From where do you want to start the Camino Portugues? Lisbon / Porto/Tui? Same question about Camino del Norte? Irun / Bilbao / Santander?

What about your physical requirements? How fit are you?

Camino del Norte is up and down all the time, not really easy - as far as I've researched yet, want to walk that Camino as well.

Camino Portugues seems to pretty flat (check Gronze.com), but lot's of tarmac which ain't easy on feet too ...

More information would be helpful to advice you well.

Best wishes

Sugar



** Both are on my to-do-list, I've already read a lot about both Caminos, hence my opinion.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Hi everyone, planning my first Camino end of April 2020. I’m looking for beautiful scenery, nature and picturesque villages/towns en route . I would prefer to avoid busy roads and walk mainly on paths/tracks. Torn between Camino Portugues and Norte. Any advice would be great and thank you in advance.
Where would you start either the Portuguese or the Norte? Most people start the Portuguese route from Porto, and I haven't heard much about picturesque villages between Lisbon and Porto. So if you want a short Camino Porto to Santiago would be nice.
The Norte from Irun is over 800 km, and is very beautiful, but there is more road walking than on some other Caminos.
 

markgrubb

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016
Camino Del Norte 2017
Camino Mozarabe (Almeria) 2019
Camino Portuguese 2019
I've walked the Frances, Portuguese, Norte and Mozarabe and the Portuguese would rank number 4 out of the group. It's pretty flat and the scenery for the most part is so so. There are however lovely old towns that you stop in on the way such as Barcelos, Ponte de Lima, Valenca and Tui . Lots of walking on tracks though there are quite long sections on slightly uneven cobbles that are hard on the feet.

I'm very much into nature and know birdsong well and can identify butterflies and the Norte had far more to see and hear. The Norte has a far greater variety of scenery-mountains, hills and some truly spectacular coast. The one drawback is there is a lot of walking on tarmac on minor roads though there is very little traffic. There are less in the way of attractive and historic towns and a short section of a grotty run down industrial area after Gijon. It is a more physically demanding route and the first week of constant ups and downs in the Basque country is quite hard
 

Wandering Scot

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CaminoFrances/Portugues 2020
Thank you for taking the time to describe both routes. In summary pros and cons to both so I will just have to make a decision. Leaning towards Norte. Will I be missing out on more camaraderie by not experiencing Camino Francés first? Heard it is becoming very busy and don’t want to be racing for beds etc.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Thank you for taking the time to describe both routes. In summary pros and cons to both so I will just have to make a decision. Leaning towards Norte. Will I be missing out on more camaraderie by not experiencing Camino Francés first? Heard it is becoming very busy and don’t want to be racing for beds etc.
Re: Camino Frances. Just to say that "very busy" is relative. My first Camino was in 1989 and certainly it was much busier in 2016. (They gave out about 5,000 Compostelas total in 1989.) But I still found the 2016 Camino a great experience. And I expect if I were wearing my 1989 lenses, it has been very busy for several decades now yet people still enjoy it and find it a transformative experience. Yes, there are more people on the Camino Frances. But there are also more beds, too. Many people do the Camino Frances and don't find it a bed race.

Which isn't to say that you shouldn't do the Camino Portugues or the Norte for your first Camino. Many people do and also have great experiences. But I'm not sure those are the best reasons to drive the decision. Rather, I could see choosing the Portugues over the Frances for a first Camino because you really want to experience the culture of Portugal as well as Spain or because you want to pass through Padron, so closely associated with the history or legend of Santiago. Or perhaps choosing the Norte because you really would rather walk much of the 800 km along the seashore rather than inland.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
Thank you for taking the time to describe both routes. In summary pros and cons to both so I will just have to make a decision. Leaning towards Norte. Will I be missing out on more camaraderie by not experiencing Camino Francés first? Heard it is becoming very busy and don’t want to be racing for beds etc.
I dont know why the Frances gets such a bad rap for being busy. We are couple of months back from Spain, having walked the Frances with our grandson from Leon to Santiago. I had walked the Frances twice before from SJPDP.
We walked in September, which is a busy month, and found it quite empty, often only a few other people in the same place. We often had an entire dormitory to ourselves, which was almost disappointing.
It does get busy from Sarria onwards, there were definitely more people on the trail for the first two days. Not just twice the number but hordes for that first day into Portomarin. Our grandson actually enjoyed sitting out watching all the people walk past as we ate.
From then on we avoided Brierly stages and were back to being quieter again, with no problem getting accommodation.
So the Frances was fine, until the last 4 days.
 
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KatBeni

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 0toño - Camino Primitivo ✓

2017 0toño -Camino del Norte ✓

2020 - Primevera - Via del Plata ?
Thank you for taking the time to describe both routes. In summary pros and cons to both so I will just have to make a decision. Leaning towards Norte. Will I be missing out on more camaraderie by not experiencing Camino Francés first? Heard it is becoming very busy and don’t want to be racing for beds etc.
Hola Wandering Scot!

Though yet to walk the Portuguese, I can share my experience having walked the Primitivo in 2016 and del Norte from Irun in 2017. The North of Spain is stunning and if you love the mountains + ocean views - del Norte will satisfy your wanderlust soul! When walking del Norte, you have the option to take many 'alternative routes' to the marked Camino. Always take the scenic route - for these routes lead one more along the coast than the 'regular' marked way and get you off the tarmac. = D These paths will be marked with a red and white dash.

Del Norte is extensive; and compared to the Primitivo I did find myself in solitude more hours than not. However, wonderful camaraderie does develop - it just may take more time than another Camino. Everyone embarking on this journey are committing to a month (+) adventure, so you are bound to experience wonderful friendships - whether for an hour, a day or the entire Way; it's all apart of the Camino magic. ; )

There is apparently a lot of tarmac as you approach Gijon and Aviles; I detoured this by walking from Villaviciosa - Pola de Siero - Oviedo --- (highly recommended!!) --- then from Oviedo to Aviles --- (well marked and straight forward).

There is also a camino within the camino on del Norte!! Should you have ample time to walk and feeling well physically - another great adventure is the Camino Lebaniego! From Serdio on del Norte one can venture on this Camino into the Picos de Europa. It's absolutely stunning up there & Potes is a wonderful town. : )

As for accessing information on alternative routes to the North, try Gronze.com and the Wise Pilgram App is very handy!

Buen Camino!!
 

Domnall

New Member
I love the Portuguese Camino and have just finished my 4th from Santarem to Santiago. But seeing your dislike from road walking, and there is a lot of it on the Portuguese, I recommend the Camino del Norte, which also has road walking as they all do but I walked from Gijon a few years ago and I loved it. There are some difficult, long days but nothing extreme.
This is my Opinion only.
Donal (Ireland)
Hi everyone, planning my first Camino end of April 2020. I’m looking for beautiful scenery, nature and picturesque villages/towns en route . I would prefer to avoid busy roads and walk mainly on paths/tracks. Torn between Camino Portugues and Norte. Any advice would be great and thank you in advance.
 

WayWalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2016
Addressing the social aspect, after having walked the CF, the Portugese from Lisbon and the Norte from Irun, my experience was that the Norte was more social for me than the Portugese coastal way. All caminos done in the fall.
 

Dinah Shaw

Volcano Climber
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
Hi everyone, planning my first Camino end of April 2020. I’m looking for beautiful scenery, nature and picturesque villages/towns en route . I would prefer to avoid busy roads and walk mainly on paths/tracks. Torn between Camino Portugues and Norte. Any advice would be great and thank you in advance.
The Norte for sure. A no brainer
 

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