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Camping and cycling and pilgrim's passes on the Camino Norte


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I've left this all a bit late but ....
Has anyone camped on the Camino del Norte?

I will be arriving in Bilbao tomorrow night with the intention of cycling the Camino del Norte and Primitivo on a very low budget.

I like the idea of using the refugios as a nice place to meet people and due to their low cost; but because I love sleeping and camping I would like to use my tent to sleep in.

Do refugios along the Northern route usually allow camping in their grounds or do you have any camping advice?

Also, when I arrive in Bilbao do I go to have to go to the cathedral to get a pilgrims pass or are there less crowded places to get one?

Is it true that these passes can be stamped at local shops?

If you can answer any of these questions I will be very grateful, (I have found a lot of contradictions when researching.)
Many thanks

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Cant answer your first question, as I have no idea, though I would not recommend it due to the variable weather.

As for Bilbao, the city runs a number of tourist ofices, all near major sites (like the guggeheim) with a special stamp for pilgrims. You can also obtain stamps at any number of local shops- I got one in a bar just outside of Lezama,for example, and most will not oblige you to buy anything if all you seek is the stamp.

Hope this helps, buen camino.

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