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Camino Norte or?

Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi All,

I've been quite overwhelmed by the information on this forum. This is my first attempt at reaching out. My 18-year old daughter and I leave for Madrid on Monday, the 28th of June. For the entire time, we have been planning to walk a 75-100 kilometer portion starting around Llanes. My son pointed out that there was a lot of road walking, which does not seem very appealing. As I finally began searching the forum for "best routes" it seems like accommodations may be a serious problem. I'm wondering if we should even attempt the Camino Norte? Perhaps the Frances is more manageable for first-time not-so-fit walkers? I was hoping for some natural beauty and, frankly, an opportunity to see some of the world and do some soul searching before my daughter begins the next phase of her life. Any advice would be much appreciated.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I haven't walked it yet, but if you want to do 100km I would do the Camino Inglés. There really is something special about finishing in Santiago.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I haven't walked it yet, but if you want to do 100km I would do the Camino Inglés. There really is something special about finishing in Santiago.
I would imagine, too, that they are better set up at this time?
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I was hoping for some natural beauty and, frankly, an opportunity to see some of the world and do some soul searching before my daughter begins the next phase of her life
You say you're not so fit. But have a look at the Invierno from Monforte. It's about 120km, doable in bite-sized pieces in a week:
Monforte-Fion
Fion-Chantada
Chantada-Rodeiro
Rodeiro-Lalin
Lalin-Silleda
Silleda-Ponte Ulla
Ponte Ulla-Santiago.

(Chantada-Rodeiro could be 2 short Days: Chantada-Penasilas, Penasilas-Rodeiro)

The Ingles is less challenging but also les interesting and less beautiful.

Finishing in Santiago is indeed a special thing, and what sets the camino apart from any old walk.
 
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Turigrino

Carpe Diem
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
If I were a first timer, in a pandemic year I wouldn't risk to try any exotic caminos and just go for the classic Frances.

And if I had to limit myself to 100 km I would probably start at Astorga and finish at O'Cebreiro - and if I arrived there earlier then expected (which happens to many pilgrims) then a walk to Samos Monastery and further to Sarria would be a nice extra.

✅ beautiful nature
✅ breathtaking views
✅ sufficient accommodation options
✅ great company of fellow pilgrims
✅ option of a day trip to Santiago after finishing a walk - by bus
✅ easy travel from Madrid to Astorga via Leon

Walking through El Bierzo
tramo-desde-camponaraya-a-cacabelos_701_p.jpg
 

Sean Lad

Member
Hi All,

I've been quite overwhelmed by the information on this forum. This is my first attempt at reaching out. My 18-year old daughter and I leave for Madrid on Monday, the 28th of June. For the entire time, we have been planning to walk a 75-100 kilometer portion starting around Llanes. My son pointed out that there was a lot of road walking, which does not seem very appealing. As I finally began searching the forum for "best routes" it seems like accommodations may be a serious problem. I'm wondering if we should even attempt the Camino Norte? Perhaps the Frances is more manageable for first-time not-so-fit walkers? I was hoping for some natural beauty and, frankly, an opportunity to see some of the world and do some soul searching before my daughter begins the next phase of her life. Any advice would be much appreciated.
70/100 km Sarria to Santiago last section of French way just over 100 km or
Tui to Santiago just over 100 km
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Hi All,

I've been quite overwhelmed by the information on this forum. This is my first attempt at reaching out. My 18-year old daughter and I leave for Madrid on Monday, the 28th of June. For the entire time, we have been planning to walk a 75-100 kilometer portion starting around Llanes. My son pointed out that there was a lot of road walking, which does not seem very appealing. As I finally began searching the forum for "best routes" it seems like accommodations may be a serious problem. I'm wondering if we should even attempt the Camino Norte? Perhaps the Frances is more manageable for first-time not-so-fit walkers? I was hoping for some natural beauty and, frankly, an opportunity to see some of the world and do some soul searching before my daughter begins the next phase of her life. Any advice would be much appreciated.

I'm with @Sean Lad. Start in Sarria and experience the Camino Francés, in all its glory, and arrive in Santiago de Compostela. The crowds that have scared people in recent years are all but gone because of the pandemic. And we tend to forget that the walk from Sarria, in terms of the landscape, is absolutely beautiful - soft paths, glorious deep green Galician lanes, pretty villages, lots of ups and downs - really, it has the lot. Plus a good infrastructure and there will be enough pilgrims to give you a feeling for the whole Camino.
 

nathanael

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Plata,
Hi All,

I've been quite overwhelmed by the information on this forum. This is my first attempt at reaching out. My 18-year old daughter and I leave for Madrid on Monday, the 28th of June. For the entire time, we have been planning to walk a 75-100 kilometer portion starting around Llanes. My son pointed out that there was a lot of road walking, which does not seem very appealing. As I finally began searching the forum for "best routes" it seems like accommodations may be a serious problem. I'm wondering if we should even attempt the Camino Norte? Perhaps the Frances is more manageable for first-time not-so-fit walkers? I was hoping for some natural beauty and, frankly, an opportunity to see some of the world and do some soul searching before my daughter begins the next phase of her life. Any advice would be much appreciated.
I walked my first Norte and met up with Italians, a lot of people don't like road walking I prefer it. which was nice and improved Italian. One of them preferred to do the road walk and I joined him and was great because we came across many interesting places and Bruno loved cafes
 

pitztop

Solvitur ambulando
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Another option is to walk the Camino Sanabrés starting in Ourense and finishing in Santiago de Compostela. The distance is 108km which can be easily done in 5 stages. I highly recommend John Brierley's guide book which you can purchase on this website. Ourense is a wonderful city with Roman hot springs and well worth exploring before you start walking. I traveled this route in 2017 when I walked the Via de la Plata and loved it. Once you arrive at your accommodation the day before your final walk into Santiago (Ponte de Ulla or thereabouts), I highly recommend that you hire a taxi to take you up to the Pico Sacro (the Holy Mountain). It's about a 10-minute drive. This place is steeped in ancient folklore and is part of the St. James legend. It also has a stunning view of the landscape you will be walking through on your journey into Santiago the next day. On a clear day, it is possible to see the cathedral of Santiago in the distance from the top.
 
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Deleted member 73526

Guest
Another option is to walk the Camino Sanabrés starting in Ourense
I don't think that I would recommend the Sanabres from Ourense to the OP at this time. From recent reports, I understand that there are a couple of gaps in the albergue network and some paths that need clearing. People are walking the Camino Sanabres now, of course, but for someone who is anxious about accommodation and difficulty, I think there are more suitable choices.

Also, if beautiful nature is a key factor, I don't think Ourense to Santiago is a top pick. I heard that the approach to Santiago on the Sanabres is more scenic than the approach on the CF ... but it's not as beautiful as other stretches of the Camino.
 

peregrino_tom

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
Hi t1souchet,
The Llanes option is not a terrible one, but you will have a couple of stages with the sea on one side on the Autopista often not very far away on the other. We think you can do better.
As nathaniel says, road walking can be fine. I'd say so long as the roads are quiet, and you have cushioned shoes like trail runners, not solid soled mountain boots....
I'd recommend starting a little bit upstream on the Norte - Bilbao (metro to Portugalete if you want to avoid the walk out) to Santander. Yes some road walking, usually quietish, but lots of other interesting coast-related stuff (including 2 boat rides, big beaches, cliffs, Guemes - and a prison..).
If you do want to finish up in Santiago then I think the Ingles is a pretty good option. It has quite a lot asphalt, but roads generally very quiet after first or second stage. I'm saying all this without having any idea about what accommodation is open or closed. And BTW worth checking Gronze if you haven't already
 

arch

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Del Norte from Irun to Santander, Primitivo from Oviedo to Frances to Santiago September 2016
Hi All,

I've been quite overwhelmed by the information on this forum. This is my first attempt at reaching out. My 18-year old daughter and I leave for Madrid on Monday, the 28th of June. For the entire time, we have been planning to walk a 75-100 kilometer portion starting around Llanes. My son pointed out that there was a lot of road walking, which does not seem very appealing. As I finally began searching the forum for "best routes" it seems like accommodations may be a serious problem. I'm wondering if we should even attempt the Camino Norte? Perhaps the Frances is more manageable for first-time not-so-fit walkers? I was hoping for some natural beauty and, frankly, an opportunity to see some of the world and do some soul searching before my daughter begins the next phase of her life. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Think about the Norte from Irun to Santander. It’s very beautiful and rewarding. San Sebasian food and Basque culture, Gernica history, Bilbao art and all the small towns along the coast.
 

Turigrino

Carpe Diem
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
I noticed that many pilgrims like to give advice based on their pre-pandemic, historical experiences.

And this can actually get a prospective pilgrim in trouble, or at least cost them $$$ for unexpected hotel accommodation and maybe even taxis to get there.

I suggest following all the "yellow" threads (Live from the Camino) where pilgrims who actually walk the PRESENT Camino share their experiences. I know that pre-pandemic pilgrims have their best intentions and I respect and appreciate that, but... the Camino may look very different now. It's a 2021 Pandemic Camino.
 
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pitztop

Solvitur ambulando
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I don't think that I would recommend the Sanabres from Ourense to the OP at this time. From recent reports, I understand that there are a couple of gaps in the albergue network and some paths that need clearing. People are walking the Camino Sanabres now, of course, but for someone who is anxious about accommodation and difficulty, I think there are more suitable choices.

Also, if beautiful nature is a key factor, I don't think Ourense to Santiago is a top pick. I heard that the approach to Santiago on the Sanabres is more scenic than the approach on the CF ... but it's not as beautiful as other stretches of the Camino.
I guess it depends on what is considered scenic and beautiful. The Senabrés is very pastoral and as far as I remember is largely off asphalt roads. I found it very scenic and beautiful in its own way. But I guess “scenic” is subjective. The Sanabrés also ends at Santiago and allows for a Compostela at the cathedral office. I have also walked from Saria, from the Camino Inglés, and from the Portugés into Santiago. My favorite is still the Camino Sanabrés as the final route into Santiago. Of course this is just my opinion. Other’s are welcome to thier’s.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
You say you're not so fit. But have a look at the Invierno from Monforte. It's about 120km, doable in bite-sized pieces in a week:
Monforte-Fion
Fion-Chantada
Chantada-Rodeiro
Rodeiro-Lalin
Lalin-Silleda
Silleda-Ponte Ulla
Ponte Ulla-Santiago.

(Chantada-Rodeiro could be 2 short Days: Chantada-Penasilas, Penasilas-Rodeiro)

The Ingles is less challenging but also les interesting and less beautiful.

Finishing in Santiago is indeed a special thing, and what sets the camino apart from any old walk.
That's an interesting option. I'll have a look!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
If I were a first timer, in a pandemic year I wouldn't risk to try any exotic caminos and just go for the classic Frances.

And if I had to limit myself to 100 km I would probably start at Astorga and finish at O'Cebreiro - and if I arrived there earlier then expected (which happens to many pilgrims) then a walk to Samos Monastery and further to Sarria would be a nice extra.

✅ beautiful nature
✅ breathtaking views
✅ sufficient accommodation options
✅ great company of fellow pilgrims
✅ option of a day trip to Santiago after finishing a walk - by bus
✅ easy travel from Madrid to Astorga via Leon

Walking through El Bierzo
tramo-desde-camponaraya-a-cacabelos_701_p.jpg
Looks beautiful!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I just want to thank everyone for their advice. I should have posted sooner. There are so many considerations. I'll keep thinking it over. This my first, so whatever I choose may always seem the most special, if not beautiful. In the end, I think I'll just trust the choice. For several months, I was focused on EL Norte, but I really don't think it's the best for us at this time. We shall see! I leave a week from today! Thanks again for all the advice.
 
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Jacqueline17

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte (2016/2017)
Camino Ingles (2017)
Santiago to Muxia (2018)
Think about the Norte from Irun to Santander. It’s very beautiful and rewarding. San Sebasian food and Basque culture, Gernica history, Bilbao art and all the small towns along the coast.
Irun to Santander is a fantastic section but it is tough to begin with if, as you say, you're not so fit. You also need to check on whether accommodation is available between Irun and San Sebastian as it's fairly sparse.

Camino Ingles from Ferrol to Santiago was also a great walk.
 

keith duke scott

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Planning on the pilgrimage 2015
Hi All,

I've been quite overwhelmed by the information on this forum. This is my first attempt at reaching out. My 18-year old daughter and I leave for Madrid on Monday, the 28th of June. For the entire time, we have been planning to walk a 75-100 kilometer portion starting around Llanes. My son pointed out that there was a lot of road walking, which does not seem very appealing. As I finally began searching the forum for "best routes" it seems like accommodations may be a serious problem. I'm wondering if we should even attempt the Camino Norte? Perhaps the Frances is more manageable for first-time not-so-fit walkers? I was hoping for some natural beauty and, frankly, an opportunity to see some of the world and do some soul searching before my daughter begins the next phase of her life. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Hello
I have done the norte in 2017. It is spectacular but I would say pretty challenging. For what your thinking plus with the concern about alberges or lack there of I would suggest the frances route. They will have the most places to stay. Plus I'm told it's not as challenging as the norte. Get place for soul searching. Have fun and try not to have to many expectations. Just let it happen. The camino always provides😊
 

Thomas1962

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2010/2011/2012/2013: Madrid -Salvador -Primitivo 2014: EPW 2015: Amsterdam - SdC
Here another option, just to make things more easy... :)
You can also start in Lugo on the primitivo. Lugo is exactly 100 kms from Santiago. After 50 kms it joins the Frances in Melide, but if you want you can also take a different route that brings you to the Norte.
On this map you can actually see al possibilities, you can zoom in to Santiago:
https://www.santiago.nl/looproutes-in-europa
 

andarapie

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Think about the Norte from Irun to Santander. It’s very beautiful and rewarding. San Sebasian food and Basque culture, Gernica history, Bilbao art and all the small towns along the coast.
I started from Irun on Sunday (I'm in Getaria now), and I can tell you that while the first day was not easy with Mt. Jaizkabel, and the weather has been less than ideal (drenched in two storms yesterday), the scenery has been fantastic and the food is great. I would advise anyone who is in reasonably good shape to take a light pack (i.e., don't do what I'm doing) and hit the Basque Country, it really is remarkable. I've just finished dinner and am looking at the lights of San Sebastian in the distance across the water. (I meant to send this a few hours ago but got involved in a conversation with some Spaniards at the next table over, and so, a few glasses of wine later, finally hit send. I don't think it's going to be an early start tomorrow.)
 

Canche

Volcano Climber
Year of past OR future Camino
2016
Hi All,

I've been quite overwhelmed by the information on this forum. This is my first attempt at reaching out. My 18-year old daughter and I leave for Madrid on Monday, the 28th of June. For the entire time, we have been planning to walk a 75-100 kilometer portion starting around Llanes. My son pointed out that there was a lot of road walking, which does not seem very appealing. As I finally began searching the forum for "best routes" it seems like accommodations may be a serious problem. I'm wondering if we should even attempt the Camino Norte? Perhaps the Frances is more manageable for first-time not-so-fit walkers? I was hoping for some natural beauty and, frankly, an opportunity to see some of the world and do some soul searching before my daughter begins the next phase of her life. Any advice would be much appreciated.
The Norte is fantastic. Scenery on Frances I found boring compared to the Norte and too crowded. People on their phones, etc. Frances I think is easier terrain wise and might be better for "first-time hot-so-fit walkers" Buen Camino
 
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