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Coastal alternatives to the Norte's asphalt

2020 Camino Guides

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
To explain -- I walked the Norte in 2007 and suffered mightily with all the pavement. In fact, I found my foot in a walking cast for about 4 months afterwards due to the pounding. Tarsal tunnel is what they called it.

I went back to the Norte this year and got a lot of forum help in finding coastal alternatives. For me one of the biggest Norte frustrations was that it is a Camino that is frequently within a few kms of beautiful coastlines but the arrows keep you pounding the pavement on the side of the national highway.

I'm attaching a document that contains descriptions of my "Camino detours" and a few other stretches where the standard route has an alternative. Most are coastal, but a couple are not and have been added just for the heck of it. Here is a list of what the document describes:

1. Ruta Alpinista (Irún to Pasajes)
2. Pasajes to San Sebastián
3. Zumaia to Deba
4. Castro Urdiales to Laredo
5. Santander to Boo via the coast
6. La Franca to Llanes
7. Llanes to Playa del Poo (and beyond)

8. After La Nueva to Ribadesella
9. Dipping down to Oviedo from Villaviciosa
10. A Detour to Cudillero
11. Soto to Cadavedo
12. La Caridad to Ribadeo
13. Mondoñedo to Gontán
14. Baamonde to Sobrado
15. Sobrado to Pedrouzo/Arca


And at the suggestion of another forum member, I am going to add posts with a few pictures to illustrate most of these alternatives -- I think that once people see what they are missing, these coastal options will become more popular!

Buen camino, Laurie
 

Attachments

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
4. Castro Urdiales to Laredo

Two options as described in the document attached to the first post.

4A. "Official" camino via La Magdalena to Liendo, and coastal option from Liendo.
https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=16292260 (ignore the first part, where the author describes getting lost after La Magdalena. It is totally well-marked now; use these tracks to get from albergue in Liendo, to Ermita San Julián and then along the coast)


4B. Highway to Oriñón and then coastal route past Ermita San Julian. https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=16354415
 

Attachments

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
6. La Franca to Llanes
Just want to say that these pics are all from the coast before the camino comes to the coast in Pendueles.

GPS tracks from La Franca to Pendueles. At Pendueles, the coastal route merges right into the Camino.

https://es.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=10189855
 

Attachments

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member

Attachments

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member

8. After La Nueva to Ribadesella


GPS tracks showing the coastal alternative after La Nueva. https://es.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=9999603

GPS tracks for coastal alternative from La Nueva to the intersection with the coastal alternative above (I did not walk this part). With a night in the little hotel in La Nueva, the next day to Ribadesella could be all along the coast. BUT be sure to see that this track does not continue along the coast after Cuerres. Use the first tracks posted here for the "second half" of that coastal route, that is from Cuerres onward. Sorry if this is confusing, but someone with better tech skills should be able to combine the first half of the coastal route from Nueva to Cuerres (below) with the second half of the coastal route from Cuerres to Ribadesella (above).

https://es.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=8763164
 

Attachments

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
12. La Caridad to Ribadeo

GPS tracks for the coastal alternative from Tapia de Casariego to Ribadeo. Note that these tracks will take you to more beaches and more coastline than the official "Camino Coastal Alternative."

https://es.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=10682399
 

Attachments

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
Many thanks for this. I am considering walking the Norte next year and had read there are many coastal alternatives. Earlier I have tried to find a summary of all possibilities but have not found it yet. Your action sure fills in a gap for me. Is there anything you can tell me about extra distances?Muchas Gracias otravez
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Many thanks for this. I am considering walking the Norte next year and had read there are many coastal alternatives. Earlier I have tried to find a summary of all possibilities but have not found it yet. Your action sure fills in a gap for me. Is there anything you can tell me about extra distances?Muchas Gracias otravez
Hi, Antonious, if you look at my live posts in connection with this document, https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/a-few-tips-from-the-camino-del-norte.48291/
I think you will see where the alternatives add on the most kms. If you think some of them would be too long, I'm happy to try to help you split them up. Buen camino, Laurie
 

mla1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2000); Ch St. Giles (2013); Le Puy to SJPP (May/June 2015); vdlp 2016
Brilliant - thanks!
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
Hi, Antonious, if you look at my live posts in connection with this document, https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/a-few-tips-from-the-camino-del-norte.48291/
I think you will see where the alternatives add on the most kms. If you think some of them would be too long, I'm happy to try to help you split them up. Buen camino, Laurie
Hi, Antonious, if you look at my live posts in connection with this document, https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/a-few-tips-from-the-camino-del-norte.48291/
I think you will see where the alternatives add on the most kms. If you think some of them would be too long, I'm happy to try to help you split them up. Buen camino, Laurie
Thanks again. Next Tuesday I will be starting the Salvador. In the next months I will start making plans for next year. I'll be studying your descriptions in more detail, looking at maps and so on. I fear I will contact you than to make use of your generous offer of providing more information. Probably my wife will be walking with me at least for 3 weeks or so. She will not be able to walk more than 15 km/ 10 miles per day. That will of course have a major influence on the planning possibilities.
So you will hear from me, in the meantime I'll be reading your many valuable contributions on this forum
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks again. Next Tuesday I will be starting the Salvador. In the next months I will start making plans for next year. I'll be studying your descriptions in more detail, looking at maps and so on. I fear I will contact you than to make use of your generous offer of providing more information. Probably my wife will be walking with me at least for 3 weeks or so. She will not be able to walk more than 15 km/ 10 miles per day. That will of course have a major influence on the planning possibilities.
So you will hear from me, in the meantime I'll be reading your many valuable contributions on this forum
Hi, Antonius,
Sounds like a plan. Just so you know, there are many coastal towns with small htoels and pensiones that make it easy to divide up some of these longer coastal days. I will be happy to help!
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Chapeau Laurie for all your work! I see that I will have to go back to do the Norte once again;)
Hmmm and I thought that I took all the available coastal options.
 
P

pilgr

Guest
Awesome posts!!!
Much gratitude!

For #9 and #10, where is the download link?

Sorry...
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Awesome posts!!!
Much gratitude!

For #9 and #10, where is the download link?

Sorry...
Hi, pilgr, those aren't really camino alternatives. Number 9 talks about a way to avoid the stretch between Gijón and Avilés, by "dipping down" to Oviedo. This is a totally marked alternative, but most people staying on the Norte just plod on ahead to Gijón and from there to Avilés. Nothing wrong with that, but if you add an extra day, you can avoid a bad stretch and get to see Oviedo at the same time. I think my document describes it, and no need for tracks because the whole thing is perfectly well marked.

And number 10 is just my suggestion to go visit the town of Cudillero, which is about two km down from the Camino at El Pito. The document gives several suggestions on how to do that.

I hope you enjoy some of these alternatives. But I wouldn't try most of them without the tracks, not so much for finding your way along the coast, but more for finding your way to and from the coast. The E9 markers will help you on 7 and 12, and the GR121 markers will help earlier near San Sebastián and from Zumaia, but most of the routes are local trails. And well worth the trouble to find! Buen camino, Laurie
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
To explain -- I walked the Norte in 2007 and suffered mightily with all the pavement. In fact, I found my foot in a walking cast for about 4 months afterwards due to the pounding. Tarsal tunnel is what they called it.

I went back to the Norte this year and got a lot of forum help in finding coastal alternatives. For me one of the biggest Norte frustrations was that it is a Camino that is frequently within a few kms of beautiful coastlines but the arrows keep you pounding the pavement on the side of the national highway.

I'm attaching a document that contains descriptions of my "Camino detours" and a few other stretches where the standard route has an alternative. Most are coastal, but a couple are not and have been added just for the heck of it. Here is a list of what the document describes:

1. Ruta Alpinista (Irún to Pasajes)
2. Pasajes to San Sebastián
3. Zumaia to Deba
4. Castro Urdiales to Laredo
5. Santander to Boo via the coast
6. La Franca to Llanes
7. Llanes to Playa del Poo (and beyond)

8. After La Nueva to Ribadesella
9. Dipping down to Oviedo from Villaviciosa
10. A Detour to Cudillero
11. Soto to Cadavedo
12. La Caridad to Ribadeo
13. Mondoñedo to Gontán
14. Baamonde to Sobrado
15. Sobrado to Pedrouzo/Arca


And at the suggestion of another forum member, I am going to add posts with a few pictures to illustrate most of these alternatives -- I think that once people see what they are missing, these coastal options will become more popular!

Buen camino, Laurie
Thanks so much for this. The Norte is on my shortlist of future Caminos as I'd love to see san Sebastien, Guernica, Bilbao and the coast. (I'd switch to The Primitive at Gijon, hopefully that would be a bit quieter?) But I didn't realise that there's so much pavement. I'll refer to your new info trove and maybe check with you for updates.

Mike
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I'm not sure the Primitivo is quieter. We found most people turned off onto the Primitivo, and we saw very few people on the Norte after that.
 
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poogeyejr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, May 2011
Norte, Sept 2013
Started the Frances, 2017
I loved the Norte and will love trying out these options too...

Thank you for all your hard work!

Kathy
 

wisepilgrim

Guidebook Author
Camino(s) past & future
Many
Although it is not a "Coastal" option it is worth mentioning the alternative route into Gijón from Deva. It is known locally as the Senda de Peña Francia and is akin to the river walk into Burgos; meaning less asphalt. It is well marked and delivers you to the eastern edge of the Playa San Lorenzo. From there it is easy to follow the coast until it rejoins the official camino near the harbor.

From the campsite at Deva turn left downhill past the campsite parking lot. Follow the road to the bottom of the hill and the trail is directly in front of you. Turn right to follow it into town.

Wikiloc link here, but I have not checked it for accuracy.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Thanks for tracks. Is the Ruta del Flysch into Deba shorter in time taken than the normal route ? Visually it looks like it is on Google Earth but ...............
The Flysch route is longer and harder, but apparently beautiful. It would have been too much for me, so I passed and went the regular way.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
It may be shorter in distance, but I can't imgine it is shorter in time. I don't know what the Camino is like on this route, but I do remember that there is a rest stop (picnic tables and a food truck, I think) where the GR coincides with the Camino. If I were you, I would hunt on wikiloc.com and compare tracks to see which one looks like the best approximation. None of these wikiloc tracks are perfect, but always good enough to get me where I was going. If you are more tech savvy than I, the time comparing on wikiloc will be time well spent.

And as an aside, I didn't stop in Deba but carried on to the private albergue up in the hills about four km away. It was, for me, a great stop. Deba is a small city, Izarbide is out in the fields in an old cow barn (nicely renovated) and has the former pasture for pilgrims with covered picnic table, lounge chairs and gorgeous views. Yes, it was a long day, but totally doable for this 67 year old.
 

kerryabu

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino French 2016
camino northern 2017
It may be shorter in distance, but I can't imgine it is shorter in time. I don't know what the Camino is like on this route, but I do remember that there is a rest stop (picnic tables and a food truck, I think) where the GR coincides with the Camino. If I were you, I would hunt on wikiloc.com and compare tracks to see which one looks like the best approximation. None of these wikiloc tracks are perfect, but always good enough to get me where I was going. If you are more tech savvy than I, the time comparing on wikiloc will be time well spent.

And as an aside, I didn't stop in Deba but carried on to the private albergue up in the hills about four km away. It was, for me, a great stop. Deba is a small city, Izarbide is out in the fields in an old cow barn (nicely renovated) and has the former pasture for pilgrims with covered picnic table, lounge chairs and gorgeous views. Yes, it was a long day, but totally doable for this 67 year old.
 

Kosmos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2017
Barayo - Navia (Travesia Costa Naviega)
https://es.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=1795893

That trail is called Senda Costa Naviega is 17 kilometers long, and goes from Barayo to Navia, you only have to deviate about 800 meters to get from the Camino de Santiago to the coastal path. There is a very large sign that indicates it, and if you look for "Senda Costa Naviega" on Google Maps you will find the exact point where it begins.

The trail is 17 km long, it is part of the GR E9 and is perfectly signposted and homologated.

@Walking Nature World has made two beautiful videos on that route (Senda Costa Naviega)


http://www.jfcamina.es/caminoscosteros/AS-Z16-01-Navia/AS-Z16-01-Navia.htm

Luarca-Navia (GR E9 Coastal alternative)
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/luarca-navia-camino-de-santiago-del-norte-por-la-senda-costa-naviega-gr-e-9-26490483


Luarca - Ribadeo (GR E9 Coastal alternative)

52984

52983
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Kosmos,
Welcome to the forum and what a wonderful first post!

As far as I can tell, this route starts somewhere after Luarca and takes you into Navia. I am comparing GPS tracks for the "normal" Camino del Norte and your tracks, and I cannot see that the two intersect, so I think people would have to figure out how to get to your starting point, which seems to be in the middle of a forest!

That stretch of coast is beautiful, and the route goes through a little town called Puerto de Vega, which looks very lovely. Great video.

SO... for any intrepid "get me off the asphalt" Norte walkers, this is an 18 km walk along the coast into Navia, which is a biggish town with lots of services. Starting in Luarca would add, according to my very gross estimate, another 12, making it a 30 km day. Starting in Otur, where there is a basic hotel that is fine, would add just 6, to make it a 24 km day more or less to Navia. I stayed in Otur last year, and walked into Caridad, but had I known of this alternative, I would have done it and stopped in Navia! Next time.

But, @Kosmos, I could really use some help with how to get from the Camino del Norte to the starting point of your very nice looking coastal alternative. Thanks and buen camino, Laurie
 

Quiterio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None yet
To explain -- I walked the Norte in 2007 and suffered mightily with all the pavement. In fact, I found my foot in a walking cast for about 4 months afterwards due to the pounding. Tarsal tunnel is what they called it.

I went back to the Norte this year and got a lot of forum help in finding coastal alternatives. For me one of the biggest Norte frustrations was that it is a Camino that is frequently within a few kms of beautiful coastlines but the arrows keep you pounding the pavement on the side of the national highway.

Buen camino, Laurie
Hi Laurie

I started thinking about the Camino a year and a half ago, and, like you, didn't fancy pounding asphalt. The Primitivo sounded like a good bet, and I sent for the Editorial Buen Camino Guide, which is contained in their 'Camino del Norte' book.

However, when we looked at the various options in the book, we began to prefer the look of the 'Camino Costa' (also covered in the same guide), and have just completed a small section, starting just east of Santillana del Mar, and finishing up in Colombres. It really is a most beautiful route (although still quite a lot of it on tarmac), and not busy in terms of the number of pilgrims; but what we found challenging was not accommodation (we booked 'posadas' in advance) but places to eat.

On my return home, I thought I'd check out the experience of others on this route - and am beginning to think that I dreamt it. Where is the 'Camino Costa' section on this Forum?

Your route seems to pick up from where ours stopped. So it's maybe one for next year.

Buen camino,

Quiterio
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Laurie

I started thinking about the Camino a year and a half ago, and, like you, didn't fancy pounding asphalt. The Primitivo sounded like a good bet, and I sent for the Editorial Buen Camino Guide, which is contained in their 'Camino del Norte' book.

However, when we looked at the various options in the book, we began to prefer the look of the 'Camino Costa' (also covered in the same guide), and have just completed a small section, starting just east of Santillana del Mar, and finishing up in Colombres. It really is a most beautiful route (although still quite a lot of it on tarmac), and not busy in terms of the number of pilgrims; but what we found challenging was not accommodation (we booked 'posadas' in advance) but places to eat.

On my return home, I thought I'd check out the experience of others on this route - and am beginning to think that I dreamt it. Where is the 'Camino Costa' section on this Forum?

Your route seems to pick up from where ours stopped. So it's maybe one for next year.

Buen camino,

Quiterio
Hi, Quiterio, welcome to the forum! I think, though I have never seen the Editorial Buen Camino, that the route that he names "Camino Costa" is actually what most of us would just call the Camino del Norte. It is confusing to me that he would include the Camino Primitivo in a book titled Camino del Norte, but I checked it out and indeed his book is entitled ¨Camino del Norte (Costa y Primitivo). If you compare the route you walked with the same sections of gronze.com, you can tell me if I'm right or not.

https://www.gronze.com/etapa/santillana-mar/comillas
https://www.gronze.com/etapa/comillas/colombres

So this is a longwinded way of saying that I think that his "Camino Costa" is our "Camino del Norte." And this thread, the "coastal alternatives," shows ways in which you can get off the tarmac of the Camino Costa aka Camino del Norte and hug the coast.
 

Quiterio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None yet
Hi, Quiterio, welcome to the forum! I think, though I have never seen the Editorial Buen Camino, that the route that he names "Camino Costa" is actually what most of us would just call the Camino del Norte. It is confusing to me that he would include the Camino Primitivo in a book titled Camino del Norte, but I checked it out and indeed his book is entitled ¨Camino del Norte (Costa y Primitivo). If you compare the route you walked with the same sections of gronze.com, you can tell me if I'm right or not.

https://www.gronze.com/etapa/santillana-mar/comillas
https://www.gronze.com/etapa/comillas/colombres

So this is a longwinded way of saying that I think that his "Camino Costa" is our "Camino del Norte." And this thread, the "coastal alternatives," shows ways in which you can get off the tarmac of the Camino Costa aka Camino del Norte and hug the coast.
Yes, that's pretty much the route we took except that he took us over the hill through La Revilla on the way to San Vicente. Next time, I think we'll try and hug the coast wherever possible.

(I've also posted a response to a critique of the Norte on that part of the forum)
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
CSJ has 2 guide books called Los Caminos del Norte - Camino de la Costa (A&B), for the Camino del Norte It also has one that includes part of the Norte with the Primitivo (F) Villaviciosa to Oviedo and the Primitivo.
I think that the name 'Norte' is used rather than just 'de la Costa' to avoid confusion with the Portuguese coastal route.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
CSJ has 2 guide books called Los Caminos del Norte - Camino de la Costa (A&B), for the Camino del Norte It also has one that includes part of the Norte with the Primitivo (F) Villaviciosa to Oviedo and the Primitivo.
I think that the name 'Norte' is used rather than just 'de la Costa' to avoid confusion with the Portuguese coastal route.
Thanks, Tia, I didn't know that. This is so unnecessarily confusing!!! I don't know why anyone would use "de la costa" when talking about what is always referred to as the Camino del Norte! Nor do I understand why anyone would use "Camino del Norte" to refer to the Camino Primitivo! I guess in some ways @Dave also promotes the confusion by calling his book the Northern Caminos and then including the Norte, Primitivo and Ingles. But at least the fact that it's in English keeps us from assuming that it is a guidebook only about the Camino del Norte. Now I am really confused.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Thanks, Tia, I didn't know that. This is so unnecessarily confusing!!! I don't know why anyone would use "de la costa" when talking about what is always referred to as the Camino del Norte! Nor do I understand why anyone would use "Camino del Norte" to refer to the Camino Primitivo! I guess in some ways @Dave also promotes the confusion by calling his book the Northern Caminos and then including the Norte, Primitivo and Ingles. But at least the fact that it's in English keeps us from assuming that it is a guidebook only about the Camino del Norte. Now I am really confused.
I presume that the thinking is the same as in @Dave 's book. They are all 'Caminos del Norte' (guide titles are plural) and then distinguished by their own names/locations. They are all 'Northern' and historically predate the Frances, and other caminos, which are just named individually and not part of the 'Norte' systems.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
So now I have wikiloc tracks for another coastal alternative. The official camino from Luarca to La Caridad has maybe one or two glimpses of the ocean, but no coastal stretches. Kosmos, who sent in information about a coastal alternative after Otur, just sent me wikiloc tracks that show the entire route from Luarca to Navia.

https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=20202357 If you look at the tracks, every little flag you see is to alert you to the fact that Kosmos has put a picture there. GORGEOUS.

Here are the possible options I see. Luarca to La Caridad using the coastal alternative would be around 40. Very little elevation gain, but probably more than most people enjoy. But there are several ways to break it up.

Sleep at Otur, which is 6.4 km past Luarca. There is a family run pilgrim friendly hotel, La Casa Consuelo. I slept there last summer. That would make 34 from Otur to La Caridad, OR Otur to Navia, about 24. Navia has a highly recommended albergue and is a very bustling town. I remember thinking it would be a fun place to stay when we had a rest there. Also, Luarca to Navia with the coastal option is 30.

No doubt that taking these coastal alternatives makes your camino del Norte much longer, but at the same time it makes it oh so much more beautiful. I have gotten some PMs and emails from people who have taken one or another of these routes. Just so you know, I am not the only one who thinks they are a great idea! Buen camino, Laurie

And p.s. for those who want to be creative in planning, there are beach hotels on this alternative as well. E.g., https://www.hotelpleamar.com/
 

AJGuillaume

Pélerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
So now I have wikiloc tracks for another coastal alternative. The official camino from Luarca to La Caridad has maybe one or two glimpses of the ocean, but no coastal stretches. Kosmos, who sent in information about a coastal alternative after Otur, just sent me wikiloc tracks that show the entire route from Luarca to Navia.

https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=20202357 If you look at the tracks, every little flag you see is to alert you to the fact that Kosmos has put a picture there. GORGEOUS.

Here are the possible options I see. Luarca to La Caridad using the coastal alternative would be around 40. Very little elevation gain, but probably more than most people enjoy. But there are several ways to break it up.

Sleep at Otur, which is 6.4 km past Luarca. There is a family run pilgrim friendly hotel, La Casa Consuelo. I slept there last summer. That would make 34 from Otur to La Caridad, OR Otur to Navia, about 24. Navia has a highly recommended albergue and is a very bustling town. I remember thinking it would be a fun place to stay when we had a rest there. Also, Luarca to Navia with the coastal option is 30.

No doubt that taking these coastal alternatives makes your camino del Norte much longer, but at the same time it makes it oh so much more beautiful. I have gotten some PMs and emails from people who have taken one or another of these routes. Just so you know, I am not the only one who thinks they are a great idea! Buen camino, Laurie

And p.s. for those who want to be creative in planning, there are beach hotels on this alternative as well. E.g., https://www.hotelpleamar.com/
Thank you Laurie and Kosmos! This is awesome info. We've reworked our stages between Soto de Luina and La Caridad. It now looks like: Soto de Luina to Ballota (we aim to walk short stages on Sundays), Ballota to Barcia, Barcia to Puerto de Vega (on the coastal stretch suggested by Kosmos), Puerto de Vega to La Caridad.
A much better alternative to what we had using data from Bronze or the Buen Camino app.
Cheers
Andrew
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
To anyone planning to walk the Norte, I highly recommend trying at least some of these coastal or other alternatives. The asphalt on this Camino is hard going, and really takes its toll on the feet and joints. We were so glad to get onto a natural trail whenever we could.

There’s another little one on the approach to Zarautz (day 2 for most people). Immediately after Camping Zarautz, follow the GR markings on the right. This takes you down a track (along the side of the campsite) and onto a wooden walkway, leading down to the beach. You can then walk along the beach, or in the sea to Zarautz. It’s a nice alternative to the asphalt and concrete entry into Zarautz. When I walked this route in May, I looked back and saw this path from the road. I was determined to find it when I walked again in September!

For those continuing to Getaria, just stay on the beach and rejoin the road by the steps at the end. No need to go into the town, unless you particularly want to.

There are a few beachside restaurants and cafes, including the famous Karlos Aguinaño, which serves reasonably priced pintxos on the terrace.

Edit - a few photos:
IMG_2500.JPG IMG_2502.JPG IMG_2503.JPG IMG_2506.JPG IMG_2505.JPG IMG_2516.JPG
 
Last edited:

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thank you Laurie and Kosmos! This is awesome info. We've reworked our stages between Soto de Luina and La Caridad. It now looks like: Soto de Luina to Ballota (we aim to walk short stages on Sundays), Ballota to Barcia, Barcia to Puerto de Vega (on the coastal stretch suggested by Kosmos), Puerto de Vega to La Caridad.
A much better alternative to what we had using data from Bronze or the Buen Camino app.
Cheers
Andrew
Hi, Andrew, I assume you know that by going through Ballota, you won't be able to take the higher route with the sea views from Soto. But there is really nowhere to sleep after Soto on that route till you get to Cadavedo, at least that's how I remember it.

Where is Barcia?
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
I am just back from the Norte, these are my two cents on these proposed alternatives (see text in italics)

1. Ruta Alpinista (Irún to Pasajes)
Very easy to miss this option on a rainy day, I would have given the alpinist way a go, but I completely missed it. At that time, rather than on mud, I was simply walking upstream under torrential rain.

2. Pasajes to San Sebastián

I did notice on Monte Uria that there was an alternative path that goes along the coast and seems to be actually shorter, but with such a hell of rain, I decided to keep it safe and stick to good old arrows. A beautiful walk along the official Camino, in any case.

3. Zumaia to Deba

It must be worth it, indeed, but you need to document yourself in advance, when you are at the junction it is not inmediately obvious that this geological route will end up bringing you to Deba. Again, I missed this one too (3-0 so far!)

4. Castro Urdiales to Laredo

Possibly no other part of the Camino del Norte has so many choices. I picked the longest one, I believe, over Rioseco and Lugarejos, then down to the GORGEOUS valley of Liendo, a long beautiful walk that ends up in stunning cliffs before bringing you down to Laredo. There may be shorter alternatives, but I vividly recommend this one, even if the stage itself has enough tarmac to bore anyone (typical in the Cantabria part of the Camino, all must be said)
5. Santander to Boo via the coast
6. La Franca to Llanes

Beautiful part to walk by the coast!!! HOWEVER, please notice the Guardia Civil "recommended" to remove any yellow arrows recommending this part over the grass covered cliffs, so the first arrows have been replaced with patches of black paint. I do not think it is dangerous at all, and after the Cantabria tarmac and concrete nightmare, it is just paradise. On a foggy day, it might not be such a good idea to follow this part. The natural stone bridge in Buelna, Salto del Caballo, is just UNBELIEVEABLE. And the blowholes in Arenillas between Pendueles and Llanes are just magical at sunrise.
7. Llanes to Playa del Poo (and beyond)
Very well signposted as E-9 path, the route that follows Asturias coast, it also has plenty of yellow arrows. A MUST.
8. After La Nueva to Ribadesella
9. Dipping down to Oviedo from Villaviciosa
I took this detour, and it was worth it. I was able to visit Valdediós and its gorgeous 1132 year old preromanesque church and the likewise spectacular 899 romanesque church. Incidentally, I was the only peregrino sleeping in the albergue that night, quite imposing and eerie, to be honest. Worth the detour. In fact, I think the Camino del Norte split towards Gijón or Oviedo could be easily located here, it only makes the route some 2 km longer, and the visit to this jewel is a must.
10. A Detour to Cudillero
You will find a private albergue in El Pitu, only 2 km inland from Cudillero. Ask the neighbour where to catch the road to the graveyard and some stunning miradores. On the return, ask the neighbours on how to walk back to El Pitu along some estates and avoid the road.
11. Soto to Cadavedo
For some reason, pilgrims seem to be discouraged to pick the mountain road. It seems to be perfectly fine, as I heard, but I took the more coastal (that does not mean you are walking by the sea at all). The more coastal version is quite demanding physically, and, surprise, the bar/pension in Ballota closes on Saturdays!!! The first bar I ever see closing on a Saturday. You can avoid the constant up and downs in all very similar valleys by following the road, it is less exhausting
12. La Caridad to Ribadeo
13. Mondoñedo to Gontán

The new "mountain" route is superb, in my opinion, even if it does not go through any (dead) town, and even if you get a foggy rainy day as it was my case. It is not so easy to find, it is very easy to get confused upon leaving Mondoñedo. It does have 3.5 km of non stop ascent, but I found that rewarding and worth it! For some reason, Ana, an EXCELLENT hospitalera in a private albergue in Lorenzá strongly discourages pilgrims from following this magnificent alternative. I must write to her and tell her she is wrong, in my opinion, but in the Camino del Norte, there are too many wounds open after so many parts of the camino were diverted an redrawn last year, in many cases for no logical reason.
14. Baamonde to Sobrado
So many alternatives here! I would particularly recommend the so called "camino complementario" instead of just following the national road down to San Alberte bridge. On the roundabout in Baamonde, turn left instead of right. It is about 2 extra km, but it has just a bit of tarmac, it is perfectly signposted and, in my opinion, it goes through the most beautiful and diversified forest of the whole camino del norte: chestnut trees, oak, pine trees, the ever present eucaliptus, willows, a river, interesting wildlife (like a splendid grey heron taking off just a few meters away from me). Even if it adds to the mileage, this is definitely worth it.
15. Sobrado to Pedrouzo/Arca
Any option leaving Boimorto means tarmac and not particularly attractive landscape. At least the route to Arzua is shorter and brings you closer to bars! If you follow this detour, you can take two possible final destinations

15.1 to Santa Irene, all tarmac, no towns in between. It is 2 or 3 km shorter than via Arzua. In my opinion it is not worth it, you have a lot less tarmac via Arzua (plus bars, of course!)
15.2 all the way to the airport roundabout in Labacolla. In that case you are cutting not even 7 km in total (compared to via Arzua). This is a total of 28 km on pure tarmac, no towns, no services, NOTHING in between. If you start in Sobrado, that means you would end up doing some 39 km, 90% on tarmac. Worth it?
A pilgrim told me "I am going to go straight from Boimorto to Labacolla, it will save me 10 km". Then I asked him: "And what are you going to do with the 10 kilometers that you say you will be saving?" He was not able to give me an answer...
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I am just back from the Norte, these are my two cents on these proposed alternatives (see text in italics)

6. La Franca to Llanes
Beautiful part to walk by the coast!!! HOWEVER, please notice the Guardia Civil "recommended" to remove any yellow arrows recommending this part over the grass covered cliffs, so the first arrows have been replaced with patches of black paint. I do not think it is dangerous at all, and after the Cantabria tarmac and concrete nightmare, it is just paradise. On a foggy day, it might not be such a good idea to follow this part. The natural stone bridge in Buelna, Salto del Caballo, is just UNBELIEVEABLE. And the blowholes in Arenillas between Pendueles and Llanes are just magical at sunrise.

Love it!!! Thanks, Amancio

About your comments on alternative number 6: I take it that the "natural stone bridge" is that terribly uneven rocky arch about a meter wide for which there is no alternative but taking a HUGE detour down to the beach and up? I have to admit I had a bit of an elevated heartbeat for this part, but it was wide enough that even if I had tripped fallen down, I would probably not have fallen down to the beach.

Where did you see the Guardia Civil recommendations? I really don't see how it is any different than any of the other coastal paths that so many day hikers in Spain frequent.

We should also point out that you will go by the blowholes whether you take the coastal route or not, because from Pendueles the coastal route merges into the regular camino (I think o_O).
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Love it!!! Thanks, Amancio

About your comments on alternative number 6: I take it that the "natural stone bridge" is that terribly uneven rocky arch about a meter wide for which there is no alternative but taking a HUGE detour down to the beach and up? I have to admit I had a bit of an elevated heartbeat for this part, but it was wide enough that even if I had tripped fallen down, I would probably not have fallen down to the beach.

Where did you see the Guardia Civil recommendations? I really don't see how it is any different than any of the other coastal paths that so many day hikers in Spain frequent.

We should also point out that you will go by the blowholes whether you take the coastal route or not, because from Pendueles the coastal route merges into the regular camino (I think o_O).
Indeed, it is that terribly uneven rocky arch, it should be safe enough, but if you are so unlucky to fall, you are very likely to find an awful death. I would not imagine middle age pilgrims would take that route! Still, a refreshing experience.
The Guardia Civil recommendations were given to a local hospitalero who might or not have somehow been involved in painting the yellow arrows before Buelna. You are probaly thinking about the same person as I am ;)

48 hours after my return, still trying to integrate into the daily grinding routine, a long Camino is pure medicine for the soul and for the body (I lost weight and noticeably lowered my blood pressure too!)
 

AJGuillaume

Pélerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Hi, Andrew, I assume you know that by going through Ballota, you won't be able to take the higher route with the sea views from Soto. But there is really nowhere to sleep after Soto on that route till you get to Cadavedo, at least that's how I remember it.

Where is Barcia?
Hello Laurie,
Soto to Cadavedo in a day would be too long for our liking. In particular as it is a Sunday, and we would aim to make it a short walking day. So with nowhere to sleep on the higher route, we may have to give this a miss.
Barcia is 2.4km before Luarca, and Gronze indicates that there is a Casa Rural available. https://www.gronze.com/etapa/cadavedo/luarca
Cheers
Andrew
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hello Laurie,
Soto to Cadavedo in a day would be too long for our liking. In particular as it is a Sunday, and we would aim to make it a short walking day. So with nowhere to sleep on the higher route, we may have to give this a miss.
Barcia is 2.4km before Luarca, and Gronze indicates that there is a Casa Rural available. https://www.gronze.com/etapa/cadavedo/luarca
Cheers
Andrew
Sounds like a good plan! You can also get information about a possible short detour from the low route from Soto out to the Playa del Silencio. It's supposed to be less than a km, I believe. I have been to that beach, not walking, and it is one of the gems in that part of the coast. None of the pilgrims I met who had taken the low route had taken the detour, so it may not be well marked, I don't know.

Luarca is quite a nice place for a stop -- if you can, make sure to at least walk over to the right when you get to the top of the village, towards the lighthouse, because the views down to town and the harbor are really pretty.

Puerto de Vega looks like a very nice place to stop, based on Kosmos' pictures. Some of the shots of the fishing boats in the harbor look like places like Luarca looked decades ago before tourism invasions.

So, are you planning on some of the coastal options on other stages as well? I think some of the stages I posted are too long for some people, and if you had shorter stages incorporating the coastal options it could be really helpful. Buen camino, Laurie
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Indeed, it is that terribly uneven rocky arch, it should be safe enough, but if you are so unlucky to fall, you are very likely to find an awful death. I would not imagine middle age pilgrims would take that route! Still, a refreshing experience.
The Guardia Civil recommendations were given to a local hospitalero who might or not have somehow been involved in painting the yellow arrows before Buelna. You are probaly thinking about the same person as I am ;)

48 hours after my return, still trying to integrate into the daily grinding routine, a long Camino is pure medicine for the soul and for the body (I lost weight and noticeably lowered my blood pressure too!)
So, Amancio, do you think that that rocky arch/natural stone bridge before Buelna is too dangerous for most people? I thought that it was easy enough to find small steps, and I am no risk taker, but certainly anyone afraid of heights would not want to do it. But the uneven rocky-ness was a challenge. I think I will edit my post about #6 but want to make sure I have all the information.

For someone who wanted to avoid that spot, would we just recommend staying on the highway till Buelna and then heading straight north for the coastal path? That would miss some of the really beautiful parts of coast after La Franca and before Buelna, but would not include that stone bridge. But the Buelna to Pendueles off-camino coastal path is also pretty darn spectacular!

Thanks for the info. And I don't know who the hospitalero is, you will have to give me a clue. :)
 

AJGuillaume

Pélerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Sounds like a good plan! You can also get information about a possible short detour from the low route from Soto out to the Playa del Silencio. It's supposed to be less than a km, I believe. I have been to that beach, not walking, and it is one of the gems in that part of the coast. None of the pilgrims I met who had taken the low route had taken the detour, so it may not be well marked, I don't know.

Luarca is quite a nice place for a stop -- if you can, make sure to at least walk over to the right when you get to the top of the village, towards the lighthouse, because the views down to town and the harbor are really pretty.

Puerto de Vega looks like a very nice place to stop, based on Kosmos' pictures. Some of the shots of the fishing boats in the harbor look like places like Luarca looked decades ago before tourism invasions.

So, are you planning on some of the coastal options on other stages as well? I think some of the stages I posted are too long for some people, and if you had shorter stages incorporating the coastal options it could be really helpful. Buen camino, Laurie
Hello Laurie,
This is what we love about this forum, there is so much information...
We are still working through all the alternatives, and we will be trying to include coastal options.
What we will do, hopefully in the next few days, is upload our planned itinerary for comments/opinions/advice to this forum.
Buen camino, Andrew
 

Phoenix

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, CF: partial
2016, CF: SJPdP to Burgos/Leon to SdC
2018, CF: partial
2019, CP
So now I have wikiloc tracks for another coastal alternative. The official camino from Luarca to La Caridad has maybe one or two glimpses of the ocean, but no coastal stretches. Kosmos, who sent in information about a coastal alternative after Otur, just sent me wikiloc tracks that show the entire route from Luarca to Navia.

https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=20202357 If you look at the tracks, every little flag you see is to alert you to the fact that Kosmos has put a picture there. GORGEOUS.

Here are the possible options I see. Luarca to La Caridad using the coastal alternative would be around 40. Very little elevation gain, but probably more than most people enjoy. But there are several ways to break it up.

Sleep at Otur, which is 6.4 km past Luarca. There is a family run pilgrim friendly hotel, La Casa Consuelo. I slept there last summer. That would make 34 from Otur to La Caridad, OR Otur to Navia, about 24. Navia has a highly recommended albergue and is a very bustling town. I remember thinking it would be a fun place to stay when we had a rest there. Also, Luarca to Navia with the coastal option is 30.

No doubt that taking these coastal alternatives makes your camino del Norte much longer, but at the same time it makes it oh so much more beautiful. I have gotten some PMs and emails from people who have taken one or another of these routes. Just so you know, I am not the only one who thinks they are a great idea! Buen camino, Laurie

And p.s. for those who want to be creative in planning, there are beach hotels on this alternative as well. E.g., https://www.hotelpleamar.com/
Hi Laurie,

Thanks for all the CdN info you've provided in this and other threads.

I walked the CF last year with my son after he got out of the military. I will be going back alone for a new Camino in Sept 2018, and am currently focusing on the CdN. I recently bought the new Wise Pilgrim CdN guide from Ivar to start planning. I have a few questions for you:

1) How many days are needed to walk the CdN (estimate, of course), assuming I take all of the alternate routes you've provided? For reference, I followed the typical CF stages last year.
2) Regarding budget: in your experience, how much more €/day are needed for lodging on the CdN vs the CF?
3) What model of GPS tracker did you use on the CdN?

Thanks in advance.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Laurie,

Thanks for all the CdN info you've provided in this and other threads.

I walked the CF last year with my son after he got out of the military. I will be going back alone for a new Camino in Sept 2018, and am currently focusing on the CdN. I recently bought the new Wise Pilgrim CdN guide from Ivar to start planning. I have a few questions for you:

1) How many days are needed to walk the CdN (estimate, of course), assuming I take all of the alternate routes you've provided? For reference, I followed the typical CF stages last year.
2) Regarding budget: in your experience, how much more €/day are needed for lodging on the CdN vs the CF?
3) What model of GPS tracker did you use on the CdN?

Thanks in advance.

Hi, Phoenix,
I broke up my Norte this year with a quick trip to NYC, so I don't have exact days. I will count them on my blog, when I have time, but I followed the pretty standard stages. I didn't really adjust the stages to take account of the coastal alternatives, so I wound up with some very long days. If I were to do it again, I would probably break up and add coastal options that I have learned about since walking, but I found that it was perfectly doable, but long, to just swing out to the coast.

I think the Norte is definitely more expensive, but kind of counter-intuitively, if you walk off-season you will be able to get a lot of good deals that you can't get on other caminos that have less infrastructure. I walked in May-June, still low tourist season, but all the tourist places were up and running. I found that four of us were frequently able to rent an apartment for a night for 60-70 euros total, but that would be unavailable in the high summer months.

I use an old Garmin Dakota GPS. Many say I should just switch to my phone, but I am one of those people who suffers great psychological trauma when I have to learn new technology, :( so I just stick with the Garmin and the few things I know how to do on it.

My blog is linked below this post, so you can see my stages if you click on it. Happy to answer questions you may have, buen camino, Laurie
 

Phoenix

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, CF: partial
2016, CF: SJPdP to Burgos/Leon to SdC
2018, CF: partial
2019, CP
Hi, Phoenix,
I broke up my Norte this year with a quick trip to NYC, so I don't have exact days. I will count them on my blog, when I have time, but I followed the pretty standard stages. I didn't really adjust the stages to take account of the coastal alternatives, so I wound up with some very long days. If I were to do it again, I would probably break up and add coastal options that I have learned about since walking, but I found that it was perfectly doable, but long, to just swing out to the coast.

I think the Norte is definitely more expensive, but kind of counter-intuitively, if you walk off-season you will be able to get a lot of good deals that you can't get on other caminos that have less infrastructure. I walked in May-June, still low tourist season, but all the tourist places were up and running. I found that four of us were frequently able to rent an apartment for a night for 60-70 euros total, but that would be unavailable in the high summer months.

I use an old Garmin Dakota GPS. Many say I should just switch to my phone, but I am one of those people who suffers great psychological trauma when I have to learn new technology, :( so I just stick with the Garmin and the few things I know how to do on it.

My blog is linked below this post, so you can see my stages if you click on it. Happy to answer questions you may have, buen camino, Laurie
Thanks for the info!

I've been looking at other Camino routes, and am now considering a CdN/Primitivo combo.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks for the info!

I've been looking at other Camino routes, and am now considering a CdN/Primitivo combo.
Hi, Phoenix, that is one heck of a beautiful combination! If you do that, you will still have the first 8 or 9 options available. I would most highly recommend the Ruta del Flysch from Zumaia to Deba and the roundabout way from Santander as jaw-droppers. Though numbers 6 and 8 were pretty spectacular as well. So beautiful it's hard to choose!
 

pelerine

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte 2010, Primitivo 2013, Plata 2014 + 2015, Salvador 2016, Torres 2017, Portugues 2018, Mozarabe
I have just discovered this thread! Wonderful! Walked the Norte several years ago as part of my first pilgrimage, simply following the official route. Now I see there are so many alternatives that I want to walk it again trying those. Thank you, peregrina and all the others for so much detailed information!
 

lindam

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones, Norte
The time has now come to start thinking about what Camino to walk in 2018. My husband is keen to walk either the Primitivo or El Norte. From posts I have recently been reading, the Invierno has captured my interest as a possible starting point. In any event, I thank you for the information about "off road" alternatives along the Norte as I had already been growing concerned about the amount of tarmac/road walking along this route. We do not have a GPS device or Smartphone, we rely solely on maps and printed information (and occasionally pestering the locals) while walking. Do you think it would be possible to follow your alternate routes without the aid of technology? Thanks for any ideas you might have.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
The time has now come to start thinking about what Camino to walk in 2018. My husband is keen to walk either the Primitivo or El Norte. From posts I have recently been reading, the Invierno has captured my interest as a possible starting point. In any event, I thank you for the information about "off road" alternatives along the Norte as I had already been growing concerned about the amount of tarmac/road walking along this route. We do not have a GPS device or Smartphone, we rely solely on maps and printed information (and occasionally pestering the locals) while walking. Do you think it would be possible to follow your alternate routes without the aid of technology? Thanks for any ideas you might have.
Hi, lindam,
I think that some of the alternatives, like the GR 121 and the Ruta del Flysch are well marked. And I guess that with good maps and looking at my GPS tracks you could figure out how to cross over between Camino and Off camino and back to camino. But I am not very good with maps. I'm not very good with technology either, but I have learned enough to get me on to the right path.

I think the Wise Pilgrim guide to the Norte, just published a few months ago in hard copy, has instructions on a lot of those alternatives as well. And the alternative added by Kosmos in this thread also looks like it has good instructions. Once on the coast, the GPS is also occasionally helpful but wandering around the headlands will also eventually get you there. Maybe others who have walked without GPS can weigh in here. However you get there, it is well worth it. Buen camino, Laurie
 

AJGuillaume

Pélerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
The time has now come to start thinking about what Camino to walk in 2018. My husband is keen to walk either the Primitivo or El Norte. From posts I have recently been reading, the Invierno has captured my interest as a possible starting point. In any event, I thank you for the information about "off road" alternatives along the Norte as I had already been growing concerned about the amount of tarmac/road walking along this route. We do not have a GPS device or Smartphone, we rely solely on maps and printed information (and occasionally pestering the locals) while walking. Do you think it would be possible to follow your alternate routes without the aid of technology? Thanks for any ideas you might have.
Hello Lindam,
Assuming you have technology at home, I would suggest you print out the various important/critical maps.
I was asking myself the same question a few months ago, and with our son's help, we have now decided to buy a tablet and load maps and GPX tracks on it. Saves us having to carry loads of maps. In particular as we are walking over 2000km across France and Spain in 5 months.
Buen Camino
Andrew
 

SpaceCadetBrown

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016
Portugues 2016
Le Puy and Del Norte in the future
Hi Laurie, Thank you so much for your work and the info on the alternative routes of the del norte. Iwas going to ditch the del norte cause if the pavements but now, thanks to you, I'm on it!

You did mention a link to your blog. I can't seem to find it though.

Buen camino,
SpaceCadet
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, SpaceCadet,

Welcome to the forum!

I think you will love these coastal alternatives. And if you are really adventurous, you will find many more. Just ask the people in the bars, etc. I guess it wasn't really a blog that I wrote this year, but I did post almost every day on findpenguins. You will have to scroll through a lot (go back to May 2o, 2017 or thereabouts) but the Norte stuff is in there! https://findpenguins.com/7wlooua0y7gmt.

Will you have a GPS? I am NOT a tech person at all, but I think you will find that getting to the coastal alternatives from the Camino can be a challenge without a GPS, since those routes are not likely to be marked.

If you have any specific questions, just give a yell, there are a lot of people here who are happy to give opinions and suggestions! Buen camino, Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
I have been absent from the forum for quite a while -- most recently I had to have a total ankle replacement. Ugh! But hopefully I will be walking again by this summer. Tom and I are planning to walk from Le Puy to Santiago in 2020 to celebrate our retirement. I would really like to walk the Norte but I am worried about the hard surfaces! I'm sitting here today with my foot up dreaming about our 2020 walk. I clicked into the forum on the Norte and your post was right at the top! I think its a message. Thanks. Liz
 

Sue L

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept/Oct 2015 Le Puy - to Conques, Tui - Santiago. May/June 2017 Conques to SJPP
Happy 2018 from sunny Melbourne and good luck with your recovery. Having such an exciting plan to look forward to will surely speed your progress back to good health. We just loved, loved, loved Le Puy to SJPP and have needed time to let it go but now feel able to start planning for the Norte. With thanks to all of the wonderful Pilgrims who take the time to post their experiences and practical advice, we aim to avoid hard surfaces where possible and walk alternate coastal paths. I also get the sense that it isn't all bitumen and worth the effort as many write about how much they enjoy the Norte.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have been absent from the forum for quite a while -- most recently I had to have a total ankle replacement. Ugh! But hopefully I will be walking again by this summer. Tom and I are planning to walk from Le Puy to Santiago in 2020 to celebrate our retirement. I would really like to walk the Norte but I am worried about the hard surfaces! I'm sitting here today with my foot up dreaming about our 2020 walk. I clicked into the forum on the Norte and your post was right at the top! I think its a message. Thanks. Liz
Wow, Liz! I was traveling when you posted this and didn't see it till now. So good to hear from you again. I will PM you to talk more about this retirement thing. I retired at the end of AY 2016 and am still sorting it out. I can tell you one thing -- there is no shortage of need and opportunity for things for people like us to do given what's going on on the home front!

I am going to go back through these alternatives to see how I think they would be without a GPS, which is why I came across your thread. I think you are right, it was a sign from the camino gods, telling you that diverting over to the Norte at the border is the thing you need to consider!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have heard from several people who do not use GPS and are interested in these alternatives. I am a very low tech and a very cartographically challenged person, but Here are my thoughts:

1. Alpinista route from Irún to Pasajes. So long as you find the turnoff after the sanctuario, which I did without a GPS, there is no problem. Very well marked.

2. Pasajes to San Sebastián. There is a spot along the coast where the Camino tells you to ascend, and there is a sign for the GR 121. Stay on the GR121, absolutely. The Camino, I've been told, is asphalt on that stretch, while the GR is lovely and dirt. Well marked.

3. Zumaia to Deba. This is a very well known route, called Ruta del Flysch. It is gorgeous, a bit strenuous, and well worth it. Everyone in Zumaia can get you to the starting point and from there the marking is good into Deba. I continued on to Izarbide and stayed with Nerea in her great albergue (has had some problems recently but that was only because she had sublet the place to someone while she cared for her dying brother and she is back). Some may find that too long a stage and can easily shorten it by staying in Deba.

4. Castro Urdiales to Laredo. This alternative is well described in the document, I think, and it is for the most part the official camino. It's just that a lot of people decide to take the "straight shot" along the highway. I get why you would do that if the weather is bad or you are in bad shape, but otherwise, the coastal route is the way to go, IMO.

5. Santander to Boo. This route hugs the coast out of Santander. It involves a loop, so you may think you are headed in the wrong direction. This route has been extremely well described by Dave (author of Northern Caminos) both online and soon in the new version of his Northern Caminos book. So I am fairly confident you can do it without GPS if you are good with maps and directions. It was a long day to Boo, I think I arrived around 4:30 maybe? @Nuala recommends breaking it up at a point in the middle, in the very nice hotel rural that is there. Contact them ahead of time if you plan to stay there. And it's likely to be easier to get a room there in off-season.

6. La Franca to Llanes. Without a GPS, I think it might be hard to find the trail right at the place where I started. But as WisePilgrim explained to me, and his guide describes, there is a point on the main national highway soon after leaving La Franca, where you will see very clearly a trail off to the right. It will take you straight out to the coast, and I THINK may involve crossing the FEVE tracks. This is the stretch where the "natural stone bridge" is that Amancio described. It is not a terribly long crossing, and it is plenty wide, but the rocks are extremely, well, rocky. If this may be an issue for you, you can stay on the highway till Buelna and from there make your way straight north to the coast. It will be obvious, because I could see Buelna nearby from my coastal path. This is also a long day, and could be shortened by stopping in Pendueles.

7. Llanes to Playa del Poo and beyond. It's easy to start out of town on the coast, both Dave and WisePilgrim tell you how. I confess that I am a little confused about where Play del Poo is and where I actually walked, but it was a really nice coastal walk that must have been the E-9. That means that locals will be able to help you. This was a route with lots of people out walking dogs and waking with friends early in the morning. Not the most spectacular, IMO, but very pretty.

8. After La Nueva to Ribadesella. I walked Llanes to Ribadesella with options 7 and 8 in the same day. Others might want to break it up, and La Nueva is one good place to do it. There is a nice little two star family owned hotel there. This was one section where I was glad I didn't have to figure out how to get to the coast. My GPS had a direct route from the Camino someplace after La Nueva. Talking with the people in the hotel where I had my coffee break, it would be very easy to get to the coastal route directly from La Nueva. Without a GPS, this might make the most sense, but of course it would add kms. There is a sign in La Nueva directing you to the "playa." I would probably do this if there is a next time for me. Adding a few more coastal kms and spending the night in La Nueva would make a good day into Ribadesella.

9. and 10. are not coastal routes at all, but they are both alternatives that I HIGHLY recommend.

11. Soto to Cadavedo. The higher route is well marked as an alternative on the Camino. Another highly recommended option, and no GPS would be necessary.

11A. Barayo to Navia. I learned of this option only after @Kosmos posted about it. There is a lot of information earlier in this thread. Leaving from either Luarca or Otur in the morning should make for a nice coastal day into Navia, which is a big town and must have a lot of places to stay. I have no idea about the feasibility without a GPS though.

12. La Caridad to Ribadeo. This is another one where the official camino markings give you a "coastal option" through Tapia or a shorter shot that stays on the road. What I found, though, was that my GPS tracks actually took us to beaches along the coast that the Camino did not pass. I note the spot at which the Camino does merge with my coastal GPS tracks, but there were some stunning spots before the merge that we thoroughly enjoyed, actually getting down and into to the water several times. I suppose it is easy to find the trail by just forging north to hit the coast after Tapia, though, so this would be one where you could add the coastal kms without worrying or needing a GPS.

Rest of the suggestions are not coastal at all, and all are marked. If you can find the higher route out of Mondoñedo, you are smarter than I, because I tried three times and kept finding myself on the old camino route. Ignore what the hospitalera in Lourenzá says, this logging road out of Mondoñedo is reported to be fine and well marked.

Hope this helps some of you. I think that the coastal options are going to become more and more popular, especially as people find that all the road walking is killing their feet! Buen camino Laurie
 

lindam

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones, Norte
Thank you so much, Laurie, for sharing all of these details regarding alternate routes. Certainly, even without a GPS, we will try some of these options to get away from the road walking. It is only January but already I am keen to start my next Camino which will likely begin toward the end of September. Your insights are very much appreciated.
Sincerely,
Linda
 

Sue L

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept/Oct 2015 Le Puy - to Conques, Tui - Santiago. May/June 2017 Conques to SJPP
I have heard from several people who do not use GPS and are interested in these alternatives. I am a very low tech and a very cartographically challenged person, but Here are my thoughts:

1. Alpinista route from Irún to Pasajes. So long as you find the turnoff after the sanctuario, which I did without a GPS, there is no problem. Very well marked.

2. Pasajes to San Sebastián. There is a spot along the coast where the Camino tells you to ascend, and there is a sign for the GR 121. Stay on the GR121, absolutely. The Camino, I've been told, is asphalt on that stretch, while the GR is lovely and dirt. Well marked.

3. Zumaia to Deba. This is a very well known route, called Ruta del Flysch. It is gorgeous, a bit strenuous, and well worth it. Everyone in Zumaia can get you to the starting point and from there the marking is good into Deba. I continued on to Izarbide and stayed with Nerea in her great albergue (has had some problems recently but that was only because she had sublet the place to someone while she cared for her dying brother and she is back). Some may find that too long a stage and can easily shorten it by staying in Deba.

4. Castro Urdiales to Laredo. This alternative is well described in the document, I think, and it is for the most part the official camino. It's just that a lot of people decide to take the "straight shot" along the highway. I get why you would do that if the weather is bad or you are in bad shape, but otherwise, the coastal route is the way to go, IMO.

5. Santander to Boo. This route hugs the coast out of Santander. It involves a loop, so you may think you are headed in the wrong direction. This route has been extremely well described by Dave (author of Northern Caminos) both online and soon in the new version of his Northern Caminos book. So I am fairly confident you can do it without GPS if you are good with maps and directions. It was as long day to Boo, I think I arrived around 4. 38 maybe? @Nuala recommends breaking it up at a point in the middle, in the very nice hotel rural that is there. Contact them ahead of time if you plan to stay there. And it's likely to be easier to get a room there in off-season.

6. La Franca to Llanes. Without a GPS, I think it might be hard to find the trail right at the place where I started. But as WisePilgrim explained to me, and his guide describes, there is a point on the main national highway soon after leaving La Franca, where you will see very clearly a trail off to the right. It will take you straight out to the coast, and I THINK may involve crossing the FEVE tracks. This is the stretch where the "natural stone bridge" that Amancio described. It is not a terribly long crossing, and it is plenty wide, but the rocks are extremely, well, rocky. If this may be an issue for you, you can stay on the highway till Buelna and from there make your way straight north to the coast. It will be obvious, because I could see Buelna nearby from my coastal path. This is also a long day, and could be shortened by stopping in Pendueles. This was probably my latest arrival time, I think it was around 3 or was it 4.

7. Llanes to Playa del Poo and beyond. It's easy to start out of town on the coast, both Dave and WisePilgrim tell you how. I confess that I am a little confused about where Play del Poo is and where I actually walked, but it was a really nice coastal walk that must have been the E-9. That means that locals will be able to help you. This was a route with lots of people out walking dogs and waking with friends early in the morning. Not the most spectacular, IMO, but very pretty.

8. After La Nueva to Ribadesella. I walked Llanes to Ribadesella with options 7 and 8 in the same day. Others might want to break it up, and La Nueva is one good place to do it. There is a nice little two star family owned hotel there. This was one section where I was glad I didn't have to figure out how to get to the coast. My GPS had a direct route from the Camino someplace after La Nueva. Talking with the people in the hotel where I had my coffee break, it would be very easy to get to the coastal route directly from La Nueva. Without a GPS, this might make the most sense, but of course it would add kms. There is a sign in La Nueva directing you to the "playa." I would probably do this if there is a next time for me. Adding a few more coastal kms and spending the night in La Nueva would make a good day into Ribadesella.

9. and 10. are not coastal routes at all, but they are both alternatives that I HIGHLY recommend.

11. Soto to Cadavedo. The higher route is well marked as an alternative on the Camino. Another highly recommended option, and no GPS would be necessary.

11A. Barayo to Navia. I learned of this option only after @Kosmos posted about it. There is a lot of information earlier in this thread. Leaving from either Luarca or Otur in the morning should make for a nice coastal day into Navia, which is a big town and must have a lot of places to stay. I have no idea about the feasibility without a GPS though.

12. La Caridad to Ribadeo. This is another one where the official camino markings give you a "coastal option" through Tapia or a shorter shot that stays on the road. What I found, though, was that my GPS tracks actually took us to beaches along the coast that the Camino did not pass. I note the spot at which the Camino does merge with my coastal GPS tracks, but there were some stunning spots before the merge that we thoroughly enjoyed, actually getting down and into to the water several times. I suppose it is easy to find the trail by just forging north to hit the coast after Tapia, though, so this would be one where you could add the coastal kms without worrying or needing a GPS.

Rest of the suggestions are not coastal at all, and all are marked. If you can find the higher route out of Mondoñedo, you are smarter than I, because I tried three times and kept finding myself on the old camino route. Ignore what the hospitalera in Lourenzá says, this logging road out of Mondoñedo is reported to be fine and well marked.

Hope this helps some of you. I think that the coastal options are going to become more and more popular, especially as people find that all the road walking is killing their feet! Buen camino Laurie
Laurie this is fantastic. You are a "feet-saver" extraordinaire. Muchos Gracias
 

AJGuillaume

Pélerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I have heard from several people who do not use GPS and are interested in these alternatives. I am a very low tech and a very cartographically challenged person, but Here are my thoughts:

(snip)

Hope this helps some of you. I think that the coastal options are going to become more and more popular, especially as people find that all the road walking is killing their feet! Buen camino Laurie
You are amazing Laurie! Thank you very much!
Buen camino
Andrew
 

Sesame1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2017)
Castro Urdiales to Laredo Mountain Route
Hi, just wanted to add in another way to avoid tarmac on this route. I discussed the route with Yaya at the Castro Urdiales alburgue, and he recommended that it would be possible to cross the river at the beach, instead of walking all the way to El Pontarron. When I got there I truly though he was joking, the river looked wide and deep from the highway near Islares. 2 hours of walking later I was back looking at the same view from the other side of the river and saw it is in fact possible, but only at low tide.

Low Tide Shortcut description
You would need to join the beach near the surf school in Islares. Walk along the beach, and cross the river on the far side of the beach near Orinon. You then walk back up the beach, to find some steps and rejoin the road to Sonabia with the green pedestrian tarmac, mentioned by Lucas in his description.
I would only attempt this route at low tide and in calm seas - it would be wise to have a chat with the surf school in Islares before attempting. But it would be worth checking out - it saves you 3km of highway to El Pontarron, then 3km back.
Attached is a photo of the river crossing on the beach, taken from the road to Sonabia. You can see the surf school in Islares in the distance, on the far side of the beach. You can also see some people wading the river!
 

Attachments

Sesame1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2017)
8. After La Nueva to Ribadesella

GPS tracks showing the coastal alternative after La Nueva. https://es.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=9999603

GPS tracks for coastal alternative from La Nueva to the intersection with the coastal alternative above (I did not walk this part). With a night in the little hotel in La Nueva, the next day to Ribadesella could be all along the coast. BUT be sure to see that this track does not continue along the coast after Cuerres. Use the first tracks posted here for the "second half" of that coastal route, that is from Cuerres onward. Sorry if this is confusing, but someone with better tech skills should be able to combine the first half of the coastal route from Nueva to Cuerres (below) with the second half of the coastal route from Cuerres to Ribadesella (above).

https://es.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=8763164
La Nueva to San Esteban Coastal Route Report
Hi Peregrina!
Just to let you know that I followed your suggestion here, and broke the journey up in La Nueva. I followed the 8763164 wikiloc GPS tracks down from La Nueva to Playa de Cuevas del Mar with its wonderful rock arch and towards VillaNueva. As we passed through the village we found signs to "Bufones de Pria" for both bike and walker. I followed the bike signs as I was chatting with a cyclist. At some point we got enjoyably lost, but eventually found our way to Bufones de Pria, which is much better than Bufones de Arenillas! Perhaps another pilgrim could try the signposted walking path?
At Bufones de Pria I again picked up the wikiloc GPS tracks, which involved an unexpected wade of the river to get me to the other side of the Rio Guadamia, heading for Area Recreativa de Guadamia. From here I completely ad-libbed my route and followed tiny footpaths along the cliff edge. These led me almost all the way to Ribadesella! A truly gorgeous section of coastline. Arches, bufones, all sorts! Thanks so much for the inspiration!
I finished my day in San Esteban, this seemed a fairly reasonable day. San Esteban was a very lovely Alburgue too.
 
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lindam

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones, Norte
Thanks so much Sesame 1, for your thoughtful suggestions. I have now received my new guidebook in the mail and have begun to consider our route for this Camino. By the way, did you stay on El Norte all the way to Santiago? How many stages did this require?
Linda
 

Sesame1

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2017)
Thanks so much Sesame 1, for your thoughtful suggestions. I have now received my new guidebook in the mail and have begun to consider our route for this Camino. By the way, did you stay on El Norte all the way to Santiago? How many stages did this require?
Linda
I did finish in Santiago, but via the Primitivo, with some complicated bus jiggling to appease my partner, so I'm afraid my schedule is of no use to anyone. What I can say is that the Primitivo was something of a disappointment after all the glorious coastal alternatives on the first half of the Norte!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
La Nueva to San Esteban Coastal Route Report
Hi Peregrina!
Just to let you know that I followed your suggestion here, and broke the journey up in La Nueva. I followed the wikiloc GPS tracks down from La Nueva to Playa de Cuevas del Mar with its wonderful rock arch and towards VillaNueva. As we passed through the village we found signs to "Bufones de Pria" for both bike and walker. I followed the bike signs as I was chatting with a cyclist. At some point we got enjoyably lost, but eventually found our way to Bufones de Pria, which is much better than Bufones de Arenillas! Perhaps another pilgrim could try the signposted walking path?
At Bufones de Pria I again picked up the wikiloc GPS tracks, which involved an unexpected wade of the river to get me to the other side of the Bufones river (marked on Google Maps as Area Recreativa de Guadamia). From here I completely ad-libbed my route and followed tiny footpaths along the cliff edge. These led me almost all the way to Ribadesella! A truly gorgeous section of coastline. Arches, bufones, all sorts! Thanks so much for the inspiration!
I finished my day in San Esteban, this seemed a fairly reasonable day. San Esteban was a very lovely Alburgue too.
Forum cooperation at its best! Thanks so much for improving on this list. I thought that part would be quite nice. It’s so great to have all these asphalt alternatives. Makes me want to go back to try these new suggestions.
 

Stormrund

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Norte (2018)
The Flysch route is longer and harder, but apparently beautiful. It would have been too much for me, so I passed and went the regular way.
I just did it with a couple of friends this week, certainly difficult (very steep inclines and declines), but the views are absolutely breathtaking. You are quite literally walking along cliffs the whole way. Awesome workout, and tons of cows
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I just did it with a couple of friends this week, certainly difficult (very steep inclines and declines), but the views are absolutely breathtaking. You are quite literally walking along cliffs the whole way. Awesome workout, and tons of cows
Yes, the Ruta del Flysch is one of the most spectacular of these alternatives. Lots of huffing and puffing, but well worth it, IMO. Just to put people’s mind at ease, I do not do well with heights, but had not one moment of panic. The path is wide and well traveled, in fact the day I walked there were several groups with kids, some as young as 9 or 10 and they were fine.

And your post on this thread reminded me I had meant to post a bunch of photos @Kosmos sent to me. It shows pictures from the route he described in post number 35 of this thread. That is one stretch I did not walk, but it looks to be as gorgeous as the rest of them! It begins after Luarca, near Barayo and goes into Navia. Navia looked to me like it would be a nice stopover.
http://cort.as/-7G2R
 

Marybee

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(15); CdN(18)
To explain -- I walked the Norte in 2007 and suffered mightily with all the pavement. In fact, I found my foot in a walking cast for about 4 months afterwards due to the pounding. Tarsal tunnel is what they called it.

I went back to the Norte this year and got a lot of forum help in finding coastal alternatives. For me one of the biggest Norte frustrations was that it is a Camino that is frequently within a few kms of beautiful coastlines but the arrows keep you pounding the pavement on the side of the national highway.

I'm attaching a document that contains descriptions of my "Camino detours" and a few other stretches where the standard route has an alternative. Most are coastal, but a couple are not and have been added just for the heck of it. Here is a list of what the document describes:

1. Ruta Alpinista (Irún to Pasajes)
2. Pasajes to San Sebastián
3. Zumaia to Deba
4. Castro Urdiales to Laredo
5. Santander to Boo via the coast
6. La Franca to Llanes
7. Llanes to Playa del Poo (and beyond)

8. After La Nueva to Ribadesella
9. Dipping down to Oviedo from Villaviciosa
10. A Detour to Cudillero
11. Soto to Cadavedo
12. La Caridad to Ribadeo
13. Mondoñedo to Gontán
14. Baamonde to Sobrado
15. Sobrado to Pedrouzo/Arca


And at the suggestion of another forum member, I am going to add posts with a few pictures to illustrate most of these alternatives -- I think that once people see what they are missing, these coastal options will become more popular!

Buen camino, Laurie
Thank you so much!
 

Kosmos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2017
Thank you Laurie and Kosmos! This is awesome info. We've reworked our stages between Soto de Luina and La Caridad. It now looks like: Soto de Luina to Ballota (we aim to walk short stages on Sundays), Ballota to Barcia, Barcia to Puerto de Vega (on the coastal stretch suggested by Kosmos), Puerto de Vega to La Caridad.
A much better alternative to what we had using data from Bronze or the Buen Camino app.
Cheers
Andrew
I have done an update of that route

The new route goes on the left side of Barayo, where the coastal path officially begins, there is a very large sign that indicates it, in fact on google maps it is also marked the beginning of the coastal path. It's called "Senda costa Naviega".

There is less than one kilometer from the Camino de Santiago (from EL Bao) to the start of the coastal path (Senda Costa Naviega).

This is the link with the new route
Luarca - Navia (G.R.E9 Coastal path)
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/luarca-navia-camino-de-santiago-del-norte-por-la-senda-costa-naviega-gr-e-9-26490483

I have also done all the G.R. E9 coastal paths that are approved, and perfectly signposted from Luarca to Ridadeo.

Navia - Tapia (G.R. E9 Coastal path)
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/navia-tapia-camino-de-santiago-del-norte-por-la-senda-costera-gr-e9-25871414

Tapia - Ribadeo (G.R. E9 Coastal Path)
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/tapia-ribadeo-camino-de-santiago-del-norte-por-la-senda-costera-gr-e9-25881836

The 3 stages together in one
Luarca - Ribadeo (79 kilometers) GR E9 Coastal path
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/luarca-ribadeo-camino-de-santiago-del-norte-por-la-senda-costera-g-r-e9-26729565

Finally I have put the 3 stages together in one, from Luarca to Ribadeo and back to Luarca along the Camino de Santiago, and so you can easily see where the coastal path (GR E9) goes and where the route of the Camino de Santiago goes.
Luarca-Ribadeo-Luarca
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/luarca-ribadeo-luarca-por-la-senda-costera-gr-e9-y-regreso-por-el-camino-de-santiago-27400707

51553



On the official tourism website of Asturias You can see all the coastal paths (GR E9) that are approved in Asturias.
https://www.turismoasturias.es/descubre/naturaleza/rutas/sendas-costeras

54365
Buen camino.
 
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Duayne Meyer

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, April, 2016
Frances: SJPP to Ponferrada April & October, 2017
Le Puy 2018/19
I have done an update of that route because the small wooden bridge that crosses the Rio Barayo is no longer there.

The new route goes on the left side of Barayo, where the coastal path officially begins, there is a very large sign that indicates it, in fact on google maps it is also marked the beginning of the coastal path. It's called "Senda costa Naviega".

There is less than one kilometer from the Camino de Santiago (from EL Bao) to the start of the coastal path (Senda Costa Naviega).

This is the link with the new route
Luarca - Navia (G.R.E9 Coastal path)
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/luarca-navia-camino-de-santiago-del-norte-por-la-senda-costa-naviega-gr-e-9-26490483

I have also done all the G.R. E9 coastal paths that are approved, and perfectly signposted from Luarca to Ridadeo.

Navia - Tapia (G.R. E9 Coastal path)
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/navia-tapia-camino-de-santiago-del-norte-por-la-senda-costera-gr-e9-25871414

Tapia - Ribadeo (G.R. E9 Coastal Path)
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/tapia-ribadeo-camino-de-santiago-del-norte-por-la-senda-costera-gr-e9-25881836

The 3 stages in 1
Luarca - Ribadeo (79 kilometers) GR E9 Coastal path
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/luarca-ribadeo-camino-de-santiago-del-norte-por-la-senda-costera-g-r-e9-26729565

Finally I have put together the 3 stages in one, from Luarca to Ribadeo and back to Luarca along the Camino de Santiago, and so you can easily see where the coastal path goes and where the route of the Camino de Santiago goes.
Luarca-Ribadeo-Luarca
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/luarca-ribadeo-luarca-por-la-senda-costera-gr-e9-y-regreso-por-el-camino-de-santiago-27400707

On the official tourism website of Asturias You can see all the coastal paths that are approved in Asturias.
https://www.turismoasturias.es/descubre/naturaleza/rutas/sendas-costeras

Buen camino.
Thank you for putting this together and for the updates. It is my hope and plan to walk the last 350km of the Chemin du Puy in April 2019 (walked the first half in April, 2018) and then to make plans for walking the Camino Norte in 2020, at least until I make the turn to get on the Primitivo (I have a couple years before I must decide). One thing putting me off of the Norte is all the hard pavement.

You've provided a great resource which cinches it for me. The Camino Norte it is, the good Lord and my pies willing! Thanks again.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thank you for putting this together and for the updates. It is my hope and plan to walk the last 350km of the Chemin du Puy in April 2019 (walked the first half in April, 2018) and then to make plans for walking the Camino Norte in 2020, at least until I make the turn to get on the Primitivo (I have a couple years before I must decide). One thing putting me off of the Norte is all the hard pavement.

You've provided a great resource which cinches it for me. The Camino Norte it is, the good Lord and my pies willing! Thanks again.
Watch this space for @AJGuillaume's Norte. He started in Switzerland, and is just starting the Norte. You can follow him on polarstepshttps://www.polarsteps.com/AndrewGuillaume and I see he is posting on the forum a bit as well. I am SO jealous, because I thnk AJ is going to take @Kosmos's alternative and some others I didn't know about. Laurie
 

Walsh Camino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012, 2014, Norte June 2017, Primitivo July 2017, Portuguese May 2018, Salvador (2019)
Hello Laurie,
This is what we love about this forum, there is so much information...
We are still working through all the alternatives, and we will be trying to include coastal options.
What we will do, hopefully in the next few days, is upload our planned itinerary for comments/opinions/advice to this forum.
Buen camino, Andrew
Hi Laurie,
I am trying to locate the alternative coastal tracks for the Norte on wikilocs. My husband and I are planning to walk the Norte for about 10-12 days from Santander. Do you have a link to yours?
Thanks,
Judy
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Laurie,
I am trying to locate the alternative coastal tracks for the Norte on wikilocs. My husband and I are planning to walk the Norte for about 10-12 days from Santander. Do you have a link to yours?
Thanks,
Judy
I did not record mine (well, the machine probably did record them, but I never downloaded them) , I just followed the ones I had downloaded from wikilocs. I think those are all posted in my original descriptions of each alternative. Do you not see them? Did I mess that up?
 

Walsh Camino

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012, 2014, Norte June 2017, Primitivo July 2017, Portuguese May 2018, Salvador (2019)
I guess I didn't look back far enough. I found your link. Thanks!
 

david marquez

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte ( Irun to Luarca), Camino Primitivo-Fisterra: April-May 2018
Via de la Plata 2019
Rereading thru this thread, I want to do the del Norte again! I can subtract significant sections of highway from my camino last year and add more spectacular and solitary seafront time!
Amazing thread and a real resource for anyone who really is interested in the best possible Camino del Norte experience!
Buen Camino to all!
 

Kosmos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2017
Rereading thru this thread, I want to do the del Norte again! I can subtract significant sections of highway from my camino last year and add more spectacular and solitary seafront time!
Amazing thread and a real resource for anyone who really is interested in the best possible Camino del Norte experience!
Buen Camino to all!
And there are so many coastal paths to discover.

For example, Asturias has the least urbanized coast in Spain, only 6% of the Asturias Coast is urbanized, you could cross Asturias along the coast almost without stepping on the asphalt.

There is a blog called JFcamina. They have walked 575 kms crossing Asturias from Bustio to Ribadeo walking along the coastal paths as close to the coast as possible.
http://www.jfcamina.es/caminoscosteros/index.htm

Buen Camino!
 

Elizabeth Cheung

Existential Sherpa
Camino(s) past & future
Let's just say I've been around ;-)
Yes, the Ruta del Flysch is one of the most spectacular of these alternatives. Lots of huffing and puffing, but well worth it, IMO. Just to put people’s mind at ease, I do not do well with heights, but had not one moment of panic. The path is wide and well traveled, in fact the day I walked there were several groups with kids, some as young as 9 or 10 and they were fine.

And your post on this thread reminded me I had meant to post a bunch of photos @Kosmos sent to me. It shows pictures from the route he described in post number 35 of this thread. That is one stretch I did not walk, but it looks to be as gorgeous as the rest of them! It begins after Luarca, near Barayo and goes into Navia. Navia looked to me like it would be a nice stopover.
http://cort.as/-7G2R

Does anyone have any photos of this section? I am also afraid of heights but I don't want to miss spectacular coast walking where possible. The "rock bridge" section sounds like I would need too much ativan to cross LOL!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Does anyone have any photos of this section? I am also afraid of heights but I don't want to miss spectacular coast walking where possible. The "rock bridge" section sounds like I would need too much ativan to cross LOL!
Hi, Elizabeth,
Which section are you referring to? My posts 2-13 have pictures of the alternatives I took. Kosmos posted pictures in post 30 of this thread. Are you talking about a different section?

And btw, the rock bridge was a bit outside my comfort zone, but there are ways to stay on the road a bit longer to pass it, so that when you dip down to the coast, that section will be behind you. I can look at my tracks and help you figure that out if you would want to give it a try.
 

Elizabeth Cheung

Existential Sherpa
Camino(s) past & future
Let's just say I've been around ;-)
Hi, Elizabeth,
Which section are you referring to? My posts 2-13 have pictures of the alternatives I took. Kosmos posted pictures in post 30 of this thread. Are you talking about a different section?

And btw, the rock bridge was a bit outside my comfort zone, but there are ways to stay on the road a bit longer to pass it, so that when you dip down to the coast, that section will be behind you. I can look at my tracks and help you figure that out if you would want to give it a try.

Ruta del Flysc into Deba. I went back and you have a few photos but I was curious what the trial is like as far as heights. I am ok walking along the cliffside like in the UK on the SW Coast Path but I don't want to be walking rocky cliffs like I did sometimes on the Lycian Way. Good to know I can divert to avoid the rock bridge!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Ruta del Flysc into Deba. I went back and you have a few photos but I was curious what the trial is like as far as heights. I am ok walking along the cliffside like in the UK on the SW Coast Path but I don't want to be walking rocky cliffs like I did sometimes on the Lycian Way. Good to know I can divert to avoid the rock bridge!
There were kids on the Ruta del Flysch, and no scary narrow paths that I can remember. The path is on the strenuous side, but it is oh so worth it. You can see the profile here:https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/ruta-flysch-deba-zumaia-zarautz-2810918

And if you put “ruta del flysch” into google images, you will see lots of photos. Many focus on the crazy rock formations but there are some pictures of the actual trail. IMO, it is a trail that is accessible for people in good, but not necessarily great, shape. Three people from the albergue the night before came with me and they all survived (and were gobsmacked by the beauty) and were not very experienced.
 

High Endeavours

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 13
VdlP 14
LePuy 15
Invierno DosFaros CP 16
88 Templ Japan 17
Sicily Arles-Santiago 18
Norte 19
There were kids on the Ruta del Flysch, and no scary narrow paths that I can remember. The path is on the strenuous side, but it is oh so worth it. You can see the profile here:https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/ruta-flysch-deba-zumaia-zarautz-2810918

And if you put “ruta del flysch” into google images, you will see lots of photos. Many focus on the crazy rock formations but there are some pictures of the actual trail. IMO, it is a trail that is accessible for people in good, but not necessarily great, shape. Three people from the albergue the night before came with me and they all survived (and were gobsmacked by the beauty) and were not very experienced.
Thanks for all your good work (as usual). I'm planning to finally walk the Norte late May and June after looking at it twice previously. The rain typical to this coast has usually led me to walk elsewhere, but I had so much rain and snow walking in late October and November this year that I've developed webbed feet and am feeling pretty much immune! That said, I'm still hoping for sunny ways, coastal trails, good company and great photography as I cross.
 

Mugatu

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
And there are so many coastal paths to discover.

For example, Asturias has the least urbanized coast in Spain, only 6% of the Asturias Coast is urbanized, you could cross Asturias along the coast almost without stepping on the asphalt.

There is a blog called JFcamina. They have walked 575 kms crossing Asturias from Bustio to Ribadeo walking along the coastal paths as close to the coast as possible.
http://www.jfcamina.es/caminoscosteros/index.htm

Buen Camino!
I’m beginning to create my route through the Norte, and looking at their page ... 🤯. After sifting through their blog, I think I’m going to need to start planning for tide as well.
 

Elizabeth Cheung

Existential Sherpa
Camino(s) past & future
Let's just say I've been around ;-)
Hey! It's me again! Now that I've read more on the Norte I am getting a much better sense of what is being covered here. Excited to do these alternatives. I have the Wise Pilgrim app and I think it shows these coastal alternatives. Is that correct? Also, the rock bridge - does anyone have any photos of it? I keep picturing this narrow strip of shitty uneven rock high above some abyss of certain death if I fall.
 

Mugatu

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
Hey! It's me again! Now that I've read more on the Norte I am getting a much better sense of what is being covered here. Excited to do these alternatives. I have the Wise Pilgrim app and I think it shows these coastal alternatives. Is that correct? Also, the rock bridge - does anyone have any photos of it? I keep picturing this narrow strip of shitty uneven rock high above some abyss of certain death if I fall.
From my research... yes, mostly; however there are a few coastal alternatives that aren’t mentioned. For example the GR 121 section from Irún to Puerto de Pasajes that’s primarily along the coast.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hey! It's me again! Now that I've read more on the Norte I am getting a much better sense of what is being covered here. Excited to do these alternatives. I have the Wise Pilgrim app and I think it shows these coastal alternatives. Is that correct? Also, the rock bridge - does anyone have any photos of it? I keep picturing this narrow strip of shitty uneven rock high above some abyss of certain death if I fall.
Yes, I think WisePilgrim has all or most these alternatives.

I WISH I had taken a picture of it. It is not so narrow, just extremely uneven. Like someone threw a bunch of stones together and then melded it all together. I think Amancio has been there, so I will contact him. I am bad with distance estimates, so I can’t give you a good sense of how high it was.

If you zoom in on the wikiloc tracks, you can clearly see it. It is the only spot on the tracks where you can see water on both sides. https://es.wikiloc.com/rutas-senderismo/senda-costera-la-franca-pendueles-por-la-costa-10189855

It looks like you would have to miss all of the coastal part from La Franca to Buelna if you didn’t want to cross it. But maybe Wise Pilgrim or Amancio can help here. I have PM-ed them. Buen camino, Laurie

P.s, if you look at my pictures in post number 7, this is exactly the kind of rock that it is. I would say the bridge itself is at least 3’ wide, but very uneven and jagged.

EUREKA, if you put puente natural buelna into google images, you will see it. None that I see are taken FROM the bridge, just of it. But you can see people walking on top. The best one I saw was picture number six on this website. https://mapio.net/pic/p-1043883/
 
Last edited:

Elizabeth Cheung

Existential Sherpa
Camino(s) past & future
Let's just say I've been around ;-)
Yes, I think WisePilgrim has all or most these alternatives.

I WISH I had taken a picture of it. It is not so narrow, just extremely uneven. Like someone threw a bunch of stones together and then melded it all together. I think Amancio has been there, so I will contact him. I am bad with distance estimates, so I can’t give you a good sense of how high it was.

If you zoom in on the wikiloc tracks, you can clearly see it. It is the only spot on the tracks where you can see water on both sides. https://es.wikiloc.com/rutas-senderismo/senda-costera-la-franca-pendueles-por-la-costa-10189855

It looks like you would have to miss all of the coastal part from La Franca to Buelna if you didn’t want to cross it. But maybe Wise Pilgrim or Amancio can help here. I have PM-ed them. Buen camino, Laurie

P.s, if you look at my pictures in post number 7, this is exactly the kind of rock that it is. I would say the bridge itself is at least 3’ wide, but very uneven and jagged.

EUREKA, if you put puente natural buelna into google images, you will see it. None that I see are taken FROM the bridge, just of it. But you can see people walking on top. The best one I saw was picture number six on this website. https://mapio.net/pic/p-1043883/

Thank you for that link! From the photos it looks doable for me. I thought it was going to be more like a precarious balancing act crossing a very narrow surface.
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Hola compañeros!

I think you are talking about the Salto del Caballo, the Horse's Leap, which Google translates as Horse Jumping.

This would be the view from above

52409

It is about 20 feet wide, not levelled or smooth at all, very rocky and has nasty looking drops on both sides, but it is worth it, you can sort of crawl on all fours if you do not feel comfortable (I did). It maybe 50 feet long. I personally enjoyed it, although I would have preferred being less tired. Very uneven surface.

This is what it looks like when you look back, people with give you an idea of the scale
52410


and also a broader view; amazingly, on your right you will find a beach inland, quite amazing

52411

Below you can see the track of my GPS. Red marks the route I followed, along the beautiful prairies, near the cliffs, it is not dangerous at all, unless it is very wet and foggy, of course. The single track is on and off, just follow the coastline as you see, there is lots of grass and low brush.

Where the green arrow is pointing is a spot where yellow arrows have been covered with black paint to discourage people from taking that path, but you can safely ignore it you feel confident.

52412
as you walk along the hard shoulder, you will see camino marks (red circle below), but you want to keep your eyes on the tarmac untill you find a single track on your right, and some traces of black/yellow paint (the green arrow in the photo below marks the approximate spot for the detour)

52413

In google maps, that precise spot is marked with Acceso a Bufones de Santiuste


52414

I hope that helps you, please let me know if you need any further information, it is one the magical stretches of the camino, particularly after the Cantabria tarmac hell, I needed green Asturias, and this is where I found it first!!!
In Pendueles you find an excellent albergue, Aves de paso, with dinner in common, and you also find a fantastic restaurant with a BBQ and all the sexiest Asturias dishes you can dream of, washed down with zesty cider.
 

Iriebabel

Iriebabel & the cyborg turtle
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte 26 March 2019
Hola compañeros!

I think you are talking about the Salto del Caballo, the Horse's Leap, which Google translates as Horse Jumping.

This would be the view from above

View attachment 52409

It is about 20 feet wide, not levelled or smooth at all, very rocky and has nasty looking drops on both sides, but it is worth it, you can sort of crawl on all fours if you do not feel comfortable (I did). It maybe 50 feet long. I personally enjoyed it, although I would have preferred being less tired. Very uneven surface.

This is what it looks like when you look back, people with give you an idea of the scale
View attachment 52410


and also a broader view; amazingly, on your right you will find a beach inland, quite amazing

View attachment 52411

Below you can see the track of my GPS. Red marks the route I followed, along the beautiful prairies, near the cliffs, it is not dangerous at all, unless it is very wet and foggy, of course. The single track is on and off, just follow the coastline as you see, there is lots of grass and low brush.

Where the green arrow is pointing is a spot where yellow arrows have been covered with black paint to discourage people from taking that path, but you can safely ignore it you feel confident.

View attachment 52412
as you walk along the hard shoulder, you will see camino marks (red circle below), but you want to keep your eyes on the tarmac untill you find a single track on your right, and some traces of black/yellow paint (the green arrow in the photo below marks the approximate spot for the detour)

View attachment 52413

In google maps, that precise spot is marked with Acceso a Bufones de Santiuste


View attachment 52414

I hope that helps you, please let me know if you need any further information, it is one the magical stretches of the camino, particularly after the Cantabria tarmac hell, I needed green Asturias, and this is where I found it first!!!
In Pendueles you find an excellent albergue, Aves de paso, with dinner in common, and you also find a fantastic restaurant with a BBQ and all the sexiest Asturias dishes you can dream of, washed down with zesty cider.
Awesome ! Thank you 🥰👍🏼
 

F. Javier

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Northern one in 2015 and I plan repeat it in next march.
To explain -- I walked the Norte in 2007 and suffered mightily with all the pavement. In fact, I found my foot in a walking cast for about 4 months afterwards due to the pounding. Tarsal tunnel is what they called it.

I went back to the Norte this year and got a lot of forum help in finding coastal alternatives. For me one of the biggest Norte frustrations was that it is a Camino that is frequently within a few kms of beautiful coastlines but the arrows keep you pounding the pavement on the side of the national highway.

I'm attaching a document that contains descriptions of my "Camino detours" and a few other stretches where the standard route has an alternative. Most are coastal, but a couple are not and have been added just for the heck of it. Here is a list of what the document describes:

1. Ruta Alpinista (Irún to Pasajes)
2. Pasajes to San Sebastián
3. Zumaia to Deba
4. Castro Urdiales to Laredo
5. Santander to Boo via the coast
6. La Franca to Llanes
7. Llanes to Playa del Poo (and beyond)

8. After La Nueva to Ribadesella
9. Dipping down to Oviedo from Villaviciosa
10. A Detour to Cudillero
11. Soto to Cadavedo
12. La Caridad to Ribadeo
13. Mondoñedo to Gontán
14. Baamonde to Sobrado
15. Sobrado to Pedrouzo/Arca


And at the suggestion of another forum member, I am going to add posts with a few pictures to illustrate most of these alternatives -- I think that once people see what they are missing, these coastal options will become more popular!

Buen camino, Laurie
Thanks a lot. I've walked over some of then, thre years ago.
 

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