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Changing from Camino Portugese to del Norte- Starting NEXT WEEK

mayaga

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances 2010
Hi!
Im dreaming about walking the camino del norte for many years now, and thought it too early now to start (starting next week) so I picked walking portugese instead. but now I read a few posts saying it's possible to walk del norte now- is it???

if it is I am willingly switching, but in order to do that I need a lot of information:
- how is the weather now? isn't it crazy rainy and cold?? i have a good rain gear, but walking full days for a month in the rain can be a bit of a problem..
- are there open albergues on the way? i'm not planning to bring my tent... will i manage to find places to sleep before easter?
- food, wi fi, electricity- problem finding?ill need to be connected to work every once in a while...
- where sould I start? where should I fly to? I have a bit less then a month but I walk fast.
- will I have any problem finding guide books and pilgrim passport in the starting point?

I have no problem with hard walk, have a lot of hiking experience, and have no problem walking alone.

it is a really last minute dessicion, so I would love any specific answers.

thanks a lot!!
maya
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
Hi Maya,

You'll love the Norte! In answer to your questions:

- weather in April is always a hit or a miss, and could change from day to day. Your guess about what's going to happen is as good as anybody's. The weather on the Portugues can also be unpredictable (who knows what storms could come in off the Atlantic?) Best check the weather report - I've set it to the starting point, Irun. It can rain a LOT along the north coast, at any time of year. But it seems like it's going to be ok next week.

- Go to Gronze and check the "albergue de peregrinos" for each stage. If you click on the albergue's name, it will give you more information about "Disponibilidad" (availability/opening times). Lots of them open from March/April onwards, best to make sure yourself. In places where the albergue is closed, you can get a cheap bed or room in a hostal/hostel/hotel/pension.

- There's usually wifi in the cafes, but not in the albergues. Check into a hotel if you need to get a lot of work done in one go.

- Start in Irun, the "traditional" starting point. The walk through the Basque country is spectacular. Relatively easy to get there from airports in Bilbao, San Sebastian, Biarritz, Bordeaux.

- You can get your pilgrim passport in Irun. The tourist information offices in the Basque Country issue a nice little guidebook. Otherwise, just use the Gronze site I mentioned above. It's in Spanish but you can make out lots of the information even if you don't speak the language (or just use Google translate). You really can't get lost - you basically just follow the arrows along the coast. p.s. sometimes the "official" trail takes you inland along the roads, if you do a search on this forum for "coastal alternatives on the Norte", you'll see there a lot of beautiful paths you can take to keep you next to the sea.
 

mayaga

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances 2010
Hi Maya,

You'll love the Norte! In answer to your questions:

- weather in April is always a hit or a miss, and could change from day to day. Your guess about what's going to happen is as good as anybody's. The weather on the Portugues can also be unpredictable (who knows what storms could come in off the Atlantic?) Best check the weather report - I've set it to the starting point, Irun. It can rain a LOT along the north coast, at any time of year. But it seems like it's going to be ok next week.

- Go to Gronze and check the "albergue de peregrinos" for each stage. If you click on the albergue's name, it will give you more information about "Disponibilidad" (availability/opening times). Lots of them open from March/April onwards, best to make sure yourself. In places where the albergue is closed, you can get a cheap bed or room in a hostal/hostel/hotel/pension.

- There's usually wifi in the cafes, but not in the albergues. Check into a hotel if you need to get a lot of work done in one go.

- Start in Irun, the "traditional" starting point. The walk through the Basque country is spectacular. Relatively easy to get there from airports in Bilbao, San Sebastian, Biarritz, Bordeaux.

- You can get your pilgrim passport in Irun. The tourist information offices in the Basque Country issue a nice little guidebook. Otherwise, just use the Gronze site I mentioned above. It's in Spanish but you can make out lots of the information even if you don't speak the language (or just use Google translate). You really can't get lost - you basically just follow the arrows along the coast. p.s. sometimes the "official" trail takes you inland along the roads, if you do a search on this forum for "coastal alternatives on the Norte", you'll see there a lot of beautiful paths you can take to keep you next to the sea.
thank you!!! im starting to look over it:) seems like i should be prepared for much higher accommodation prices,, right?
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
Not necessarily. The pilgrim albergues are usually around €6. And I think most of them will be open in April, so you shouldn't need to book private accommodation too often!
 

mayaga

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances 2010
Not necessarily. The pilgrim albergues are usually around €6. And I think most of them will be open in April, so you shouldn't need to book private accommodation too often!
cool! so no booking ahead...?
what about gear? do i need something spesificly different from the gear i take to portugal? probably a good coat, but sleeping bag- same?
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
No need to book ahead. And yes, you will need a sleeping bag. Whatever you were planning to bring to Portugal will be fine. I'd also recommend a poncho that covers everything (including your backpack) and maybe also rain pants and gaiters - although there are sports stores (like Decathlon) in cities all along the way, so don't worry too much if you don't have something with you.
 

greenratty

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte (2019)
Hello!
I've just finished my Camino del Norte so hopefully I can answer some or your questions.
I started in early March and although half of the albergues are closed with a good guide book and the gronze app I never struggled to find accommodation. I mostly stayed on Municipal albergues for €6. Sometimes it means altering the stages and walking further than intended. You shouldn't have a problem in a April as that seems to be when most open. If in doubt I phoned the albergue around 10am and double checked they were open if there weren't alternatives near by.

The weather: firstly I am from England and so walking in the rain all day is not new to me. I brought and used a waterproof jacket, trousers and waterproof socks (I hate having wet feet).
In 1 month I had approx 7 days of rain all day in March. However it's not as bad as it seems when you are in beautiful forest and having a perfect excuse to stop in a cafe!
I also had beautiful sunshine walking in a t-shirt and shorts and got sun burned. I needed to buy factor 50 suncream which is quite expensive here (€20 for a small bottle in a pharmacy, cheaper in a supermarket)
I brought a 3 season sleeping bag as a lot of the albergues have no heating and often slept fully clothed.
Good luck with your trip, you will have an amazing time. I know for me I will walk the Camino del Norte again at some point.
Beun Camino!
 

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