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Coastal alternatives to the Norte's asphalt

2020 Camino Guides

Elizabeth Cheung

Existential Sherpa
Camino(s) past & future
Let's just say I've been around ;-)
amancio - you had me at cider! LOL Thank you for the great post with photos about the bridge. It does look dicey as far as uneven rock surfaces go but I can see that it is wide enough to gingerly peck my way over without getting vertigo. I had also posted about this to a FB group on the Norte and a couple of people also shared photos of the crossing. Also big thank you as well to peregrina2000 for putting all this info in one place and making sure no one has to do more pavement than necessary :)
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
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/
Wise Pilgrim has those alternatives, indeed. We used the app on many occasions.
Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of the Salto del Caballo, as we stayed the night at Buelna. But we enjoyed the Cueva Cobijeru, which we recommend.

Buen Camino
Andrew
 

andralynn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I am leaving for Barcelona May 20th, 2019 and will begin my Camino in San Sebastian May 27th, 2019
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
If you don't mind my asking, how old are you? I turned 70 in February and am in good shape for my age. Do you have a list of hostels, alburgues that you stayed in along the way. I will be starting in San Sebastian.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
If you don't mind my asking, how old are you? I turned 70 in February and am in good shape for my age. Do you have a list of hostels, alburgues that you stayed in along the way. I will be starting in San Sebastian.
Hi Andrea Lynn,welcome to the forum. I am almost 69. I am a good walker and try to walk a camino every year. I posted a list with my stages here:

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/my-stages-on-the-norte-2017-one-year-late.55828/

And I think I gave some suggestions on places to stay when I was posting live.
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/a-few-tips-from-the-camino-del-norte.48291/

Buen camino, Laurie
 

Ozrob

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Nord
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. I start walking on the 26th May from Irun and you have condensed all my notes for keeping to the coast. Very handy. Much appreciated. Robin
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
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
Hi Laurie, my plan is to walk this wonderful looking Nueva - Ribadesella alternative somewhere in the coming weeks. I need to train a bit for a Camino of a week on the Francés the end of May and I am in the luxury position that I can do my training along the Asturian coast :) Do you have any idea how long the combination of the two wikiloc tracks would be? My plan is to record my walk on wikiloc as well, so after that I will share the track here.

I am bit by bit discovering the Asturians coastal routes (as they are now more or less located in my backyard). It is such a pity that the Norte misses quite a few of them...
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Laurie, my plan is to walk this wonderful looking Nueva - Ribadesella alternative somewhere in the coming weeks. I need to train a bit for a Camino of a week on the Francés the end of May and I am in the luxury position that I can do my training along the Asturian coast :) Do you have any idea how long the combination of the two wikiloc tracks would be? My plan is to record my walk on wikiloc as well, so after that I will share the track here.

I am bit by bit discovering the Asturians coastal routes (as they are now more or less located in my backyard). It is such a pity that the Norte misses quite a few of them...
Hi, Luka,
You are one lucky holandesa! I found a GPS track from La Nueva all along the coast, looks like about 20 km. https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/vie...-por-la-costa-junio-28-2014&id=21555506&rd=en

Would love to hear how it goes, and see some pictures, of course. The section that I walked, more or less after Cuerres, I think, had some gorgeous rocks very similar to As Catedrales, but you can’t walk on the beach around them. Buen camino, Laurie
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
WOW what a thread, @peregrina2000 and everyone else that added to it!
My thought exactly. And I'm not even walking the Norte. Gracias, Laurie!

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.
One thing to add for any potential rockhounds out there: This is a blessed patch of geology which has the one of the longest exposed sequences of sedimentary layers in the whole world. Not to mention caves and neolithic paintings. There is much to pause at and marvel over.

From this:
"The coastal area contains a complete record of the important boundaries between geological ages such as the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K-T boundary) and the Palaeocene/Eocene, and likewise includes the official stratotypes (international references) for two internal boundaries within the Palaeocene (Danian-Selandian and Selandian-Thanetian)."
"The entire area contains excellent examples of tectonic deformation structures such as different types and scales of folds and faults, which were created during the opening of the Bay of Biscay and the compression and lifting of the Pyrenees.
Almost the entire stratigraphic record corresponds to marine environments. There is a great deal of palaeontological evidence: bioconstructions of rudist bivalves, Ammonoidea, trace fossils, calcareous plankton, etc."
"The municipalities of Deba and Mutriku have one of the greatest concentrations of caves with archaeological sites in the whole of Gipuzkoa. The cave paintings in Ekain cave (Deba), in particular the figures of horses, are one of the best examples of Franco-Cantabrian art. As a result, the Ekain cave was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008. "
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Hi, Luka,
You are one lucky holandesa! I found a GPS track from La Nueva all along the coast, looks like about 20 km. https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/vie...-por-la-costa-junio-28-2014&id=21555506&rd=en

Would love to hear how it goes, and see some pictures, of course. The section that I walked, more or less after Cuerres, I think, had some gorgeous rocks very similar to As Catedrales, but you can’t walk on the beach around them. Buen camino, Laurie
I am! And thanks for the link, that one looks perfect. And yes, I will report afterwards!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
My thought exactly. And I'm not even walking the Norte. Gracias, Laurie!


One thing to add for any potential rockhounds out there: This is a blessed patch of geology which has the one of the longest exposed sequences of sedimentary layers in the whole world. Not to mention caves and neolithic paintings. There is much to pause at and marvel over.

From this:
That reminds me of a conversation I had years ago in Villaviciosa in a hotel terrace. I met a geology professor who had just taken a group of students on a field trip/short course from the US to some European country. He and his wife were traveling through Northern Spain for a few weeks. I asked him why he didn’t just bring the students to Spain, and he said — oh, the geology here is way too complicated for beginning students. :)
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
That reminds me of a conversation I had years ago in Villaviciosa in a hotel terrace. I met a geology professor who had just taken a group of students on a field trip/short course from the US to some European country. He and his wife were traveling through Northern Spain for a few weeks. I asked him why he didn’t just bring the students to Spain, and he said — oh, the geology here is way too complicated for beginning students. :)
My father was a geologist, and I would often think of him on the Norte, and how he would try to explain geology to us kids...
There is definitely some great geology on the Norte!
 

Kuuipo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2019)
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
Since we're talking about alternate routes: Has anyone done or has any info on Subida al Monte Candina. It looks like a doable trail after crossing the river leaving Islares and heading to Laredo. It looks like it heads up to the coast but avoids the dangerous section. Also avoids a lot of asphalt. My husband and I will be on the CdN in June and we hate road walking and this looks like a viable alternative. Any info or advice on this would be greatly appreciated ;-)
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Since we're talking about alternate routes: Has anyone done or has any info on Subida al Monte Candina. It looks like a doable trail after crossing the river leaving Islares and heading to Laredo. It looks like it heads up to the coast but avoids the dangerous section. Also avoids a lot of asphalt. My husband and I will be on the CdN in June and we hate road walking and this looks like a viable alternative. Any info or advice on this would be greatly appreciated ;-)
Hello @Kuuipo ,
We walked around Monte Candina. I wrote a post:
It's post #31 in the thread.
Hope this helps.
Buen Camino
 

Kuuipo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2019)

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
I did a beautiful little circular today that might add an extra option for lovers of the Asturian coast. There is a wonderful coastal path between La Isla and La Griega (the beach of Colunga). I often see pilgrims taking a short cut on the road from La Isla to Colunga. Perfectly possible, because there is a side walk next to it. But extremely boring.

There are two better options instead:
- One is a little detour on little roads through meadows, which will take you to San Juan de Duz. From there Colunga is maybe half a kilometer away. It might even be the official Camino, but I hardly saw arrows today.
- One is a little bigger detour. Then you'll take the coastal path from the beach of La Isla to the beach of La Griega. From there you can take a path that goes to Colunga.

I combined the two and walked a circular which I uploaded on wikiloc (with more pictures) and had a lovely afternoon! Note, by the way, that I walked the coastal path in opposite direction.
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/la-isla-la-griega-circular-35564275

55711
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I did a beautiful little circular today that might add an extra option for lovers of the Asturian coast. There is a wonderful coastal path between La Isla and La Griega (the beach of Colunga). I often see pilgrims taking a short cut on the road from La Isla to Colunga. Perfectly possible, because there is a side walk next to it. But extremely boring.

There are two better options instead:
- One is a little detour on little roads through meadows, which will take you to San Juan de Duz. From there Colunga is maybe half a kilometer away. It might even be the official Camino, but I hardly saw arrows today.
- One is a little bigger detour. Then you'll take the coastal path from the beach of La Isla to the beach of La Griega. From there you can take a path that goes to Colunga.

I combined the two and walked a circular which I uploaded on wikiloc (with more pictures) and had a lovely afternoon! Note, by the way, that I walked the coastal path in opposite direction.
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/la-isla-la-griega-circular-35564275

View attachment 55711
Thank you @Luka ! Brings back memories! :)
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Hi, Luka,
You are one lucky holandesa! I found a GPS track from La Nueva all along the coast, looks like about 20 km. https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/vie...-por-la-costa-junio-28-2014&id=21555506&rd=en

Would love to hear how it goes, and see some pictures, of course. The section that I walked, more or less after Cuerres, I think, had some gorgeous rocks very similar to As Catedrales, but you can’t walk on the beach around them. Buen camino, Laurie
Hi Laurie, tried that one today and I have to adjust it. The part after playa de Villanueva was totally unrecommendable. The path was completely overgrown, mostly with gorse. Later on also brambles. I had a hard time finding my path and unluckily I was wearing shorts. Got scratches all over my legs and arms. The gorse at some stretches grew as high as my shoulders.

56798

I had to crawl underneath barbed wire, press myself through bushes and got more or less lost. The path finally ended up in a meadow (I was still on the Wikiloc track) full of cows and calfs. I didn't bother looking if there was a bull around and started walking in the opposite direction. After quite a lot of roaming through fields and crossing a couple more fences I ended up on a road in the outskirts of Villanueva.

At that point I was just happy to be back in civilisation, my legs hurt and I was running out of water. I decided to walk to the little trainstation of Belmonte del Pría and call it a day. Now back on my own terrace with a beer and my legs covered in betadine.

I will probably give it another try on Friday, but then I'll stay on the E9. That will more or less be a combination of the other two Wikiloc tracks you added here. Maybe a bit less adventurous, but hopefully more pleasant ;-)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Oh, dear, that is not such great news. The notes on the GPS tracks on wikiloc made it sound like a perfectly good and open trail. But they were from 2014 so maybe things have changed. I can tell you though that the part I walked had none of that, and it was really quite nice, so I hope your Friday is better than today was! Laurie
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Ah well, that is the risk of trying an older Wikiloc route indeed. Luckily it was just a day trip and not a pilgrimage. I'll take care of my scratches, wait a couple of days and give it another try!

Which part did you walk?
 

Kosmos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2017
Hi Laurie, tried that one today and I have to adjust it. The part after playa de Villanueva was totally unrecommendable. The path was completely overgrown, mostly with gorse. Later on also brambles. I had a hard time finding my path and unluckily I was wearing shorts. Got scratches all over my legs and arms. The gorse at some stretches grew as high as my shoulders.

View attachment 56798

I had to crawl underneath barbed wire, press myself through bushes and got more or less lost. The path finally ended up in a meadow (I was still on the Wikiloc track) full of cows and calfs. I didn't bother looking if there was a bull around and started walking in the opposite direction. After quite a lot of roaming through fields and crossing a couple more fences I ended up on a road in the outskirts of Villanueva.

At that point I was just happy to be back in civilisation, my legs hurt and I was running out of water. I decided to walk to the little trainstation of Belmonte del Pría and call it a day. Now back on my own terrace with a beer and my legs covered in betadine.

I will probably give it another try on Friday, but then I'll stay on the E9. That will more or less be a combination of the other two Wikiloc tracks you added here. Maybe a bit less adventurous, but hopefully more pleasant ;-)
It is a pity that the town council doesn't clean that area, in the west of Asturias the town councils are in charge of ensuring that all the coastal paths are clean and well conditioned.

Since you live in Ribadesella and you are 2 hours from Navia, I recommend the Travesia Costa Naviega that takes place on June 16, and gathers 2,000 hikers from all over Spain.

On the website of the association (Peña Furada) you have all the information

Photos COSTA NAVIEGA
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
@Kosmos thanks for the tip! But I don't live in Ribadesella anymore (Navia is a little over a 2 hours drive) and I prefer solitary walks ;-)

Can't blame the ayuntamiento of Ribadesella for the overgrown path, I guess. The official E9 is in perfect condition. This is (or was) cleary a path used for cattle. This is what the first (still walkable) part looked like:

56813
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
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
I think I have sorted it out. This time I stayed on the E9 where I last time ended up in gorge bushes higher than my shoulders. About 2k later on there is another coastal option. Little dirt tracks but not overgrown that will take you to the Bufones del Pría and Playa de Guadamía. Absolutely recommendable!

At Playa de Guadamía it depends a bit on the tide. With low tide you could just cross the beach and climb to the area recreativa on the other side. I took a bigger loop around the beach, but still had to wade across a little stream. Another option is to follow a nice river path that brings you into Cuerres, where you can continue on the Norte.

From the area recreativa you can walk along the cliffs to the next area recreativa (called Area Recreativa del Infierno...). Stunning and recommendable. From there I would call it a day and follow the asphalt road which connnects with the Norte. I tried to stay on the coast, but got caught up in another wikilocs track covered by gorge...

Here is my track: https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/nueva-ribadesella-along-the-coast-36369779
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Ah yes, how can I forget the pictures...

57123
57124
57125
571265712757128

I now realise that it is a little bizarre that I am walking my training rounds here to prepare for a week on the Meseta...
 

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calmeg

Member
We are on el norte now. Took the alpinista route from Irun- but it seems everyone else did so too The views were spectacular! took the other variations where possible as well. The best one was arriving in Santander, and walking in the opposite direction as everyone else to go by the lighthouse, along the top of the peninsula. The views were great and we were chased by some cows and horses. We did not know where to sty- we planned on Liencres but found a cabin in a camping site in San Juan del Canal, and continued on the next day to La Requejada. Will post pics later but thanks to all of you who make this so easy to do!
 

Orlando Wren

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (June-Aug 2018)
Camino Portuguese from Porto Oct 2018
Camino Frances (July-Aug 2019)
I am very much appreciative of the posts on this thread. Thank you all. I am concerned about hiking alone and am hopeful there are others hiking during July and August. Do you know?
 

Ozrob

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Nord
I am very much appreciative of the posts on this thread. Thank you all. I am concerned about hiking alone and am hopeful there are others hiking during July and August. Do you know?
You definitely wont be alone. I just finished and there was already a fair number hiking. July August will be much busier. Enjoy. Its incredible.
 

Orlando Wren

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (June-Aug 2018)
Camino Portuguese from Porto Oct 2018
Camino Frances (July-Aug 2019)
You definitely wont be alone. I just finished and there was already a fair number hiking. July August will be much busier. Enjoy. Its incredible.
Thank you!
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
I found an alternative out of Ribadesella, to avoid the suburbs and with a couple of coastal views as well. You will be back on track just before walking into La Vega. Actually there are two alternatives. There is also a way to just avoid the suburbs and join in again just before the last roundabout out of Ribadesella. See my wikiloc tracks.

 

Holly West

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
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
I would love to have your opinion of highlights of the Norte as I am not sure my daughter and I can take enough days to be able to do the whole thing but could go for three weeks or so next May or June. I have been told that the last inland part is not as amazing as the part along the coast. If you have any advice on this I would love to hear it. We walked the Portuguese route this year and the Frances last year. It definitely gets into your psyche and you miss it when you aren't there walking. Thanks for any advice.
Holly
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I would love to have your opinion of highlights of the Norte as I am not sure my daughter and I can take enough days to be able to do the whole thing but could go for three weeks or so next May or June. I have been told that the last inland part is not as amazing as the part along the coast. If you have any advice on this I would love to hear it. We walked the Portuguese route this year and the Frances last year. It definitely gets into your psyche and you miss it when you aren't there walking. Thanks for any advice.
Holly
Hello Holly,
We walked the Norte last year.
There are too many highlights to point out, in my opinion, but if you're limited in time, start from Irun (or Hondarribia) and go as far as you have time for, following Laurie's alternatives.
Buen Camino!
Andrew
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
7. Llanes to Playa del Poo (and beyond)

There seem to be lots of paths between Llanes and Celorio that get you closer to the coast. Follow the E9, but my wikiloc searching brings up lots of different alternatives. Thanks to Tia Valeria for this description.

https://www.turismoasturias.es/en/descubre/naturaleza/rutas/sendas-costeras/llanes-celorio
I walked and uploaded this one today, from Poo de Llanes to Villahormes. Easy to expand on both sides.
 

Walkerooni

Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPdP to Santiago (June-ish 2018)
Barayo - Navia (Travesia Costa Naviega)
https://es.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/view.do?id=1795893

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-trai...te-por-la-senda-costa-naviega-gr-e-9-26490483


Luarca - Ribadeo (GR E9 Coastal alternative)

View attachment 52984

View attachment 52983
[/QUO
 

Walkerooni

Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPdP to Santiago (June-ish 2018)
The scenery looks wonderful. Just one comment though. As someone who did the C. Frances in June 2018–I NEVER EVER saw even a fraction of the #of people in most of these photos! I take it these are tour groups travelling together in packs, as they don’t seem to be carrying anything? It’s a total turn-off. Please tell me this is not what I will see if I do C. del Norte next June!?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
The scenery looks wonderful. Just one comment though. As someone who did the C. Frances in June 2018–I NEVER EVER saw even a fraction of the #of people in most of these photos! I take it these are tour groups travelling together in packs, as they don’t seem to be carrying anything? It’s a total turn-off. Please tell me this is not what I will see if I do C. del Norte next June!?
The videos @Kosmos has posted show group day walks on these routes. Lots of people vacation in the area, and there are also lots of local walking groups.

I walked all of the alternatives I described in the original post, and I never saw more than a handful of others. Many fewer people than on the official Camino del Norte. On the Ruta del Flysch, a very popular route between Zumaia and Deba, there were a few more, but no large groups.

I walk a lot of untraveled caminos and every now and then I have met a busload of people out walking a portion for a day hike. It’s usually a fun time — they are interested to meet the crazy old woman out walking for days alone, and if I happen to meet them when they are stopped, they inevitably have a feast they want to share. So I wouldn’t worry that this will ruin your camino, quite the opposite, even if you happen to run into an occasional group or two.
 

Kosmos

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte 2017
The scenery looks wonderful. Just one comment though. As someone who did the C. Frances in June 2018–I NEVER EVER saw even a fraction of the #of people in most of these photos! I take it these are tour groups travelling together in packs, as they don’t seem to be carrying anything? It’s a total turn-off. Please tell me this is not what I will see if I do C. del Norte next June!?
Don't worry about that, It is not so crowded, those photos are from a special day of hiking, that day more than 1500 hikers from all over Spain came to walk the route (Senda Costa Naviega) from Barayo to Navia.


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


-

 
Last edited:

Walkerooni

Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPdP to Santiago (June-ish 2018)
Don't worry about that, It is not so crowded, those photos are from a special day of hiking, that day more than 1500 hikers from all over Spain came to walk the route (Senda Costa Naviega) from Barayo to Navia.


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


-

Whew!
 

hielienie

Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 2020: Del Norte: Irun -> Santiago
April 2017: SJPDP -> Santiago -> Muxia -> Finisterre
Thank you so much to everyone adding their wisdom to this thread. I'll be starting in Irun on April 12th and even though I'm notoriously good at getting lost, I will definitely try to find as many alternative routes as possible. I suppose you can't get lost too much as long as the beach is on your right? ;)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thank you so much to everyone adding their wisdom to this thread. I'll be starting in Irun on April 12th and even though I'm notoriously good at getting lost, I will definitely try to find as many alternative routes as possible. I suppose you can't get lost too much as long as the beach is on your right? ;)
Hi, @hielinie,

Aside from some of the more well-traveled coastal options, like the Ruta del Flysch from Zumaia, you will need either a good map or a GPS to make the connection from the camino to the coast. The trails are usually a couple of kms away from the camino/road and those connection points are not marked. And once on the trails, though you are right that the ocean will guide you in the right westerly direction, I was frequently relieved to have the GPS — the coast is jagged and irregular and the paths not always obvious.

But you will absolutely love these alternatives, they are so spectacular.
 

dnaleonard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
One Camino Or The Other (Feb/March 2020)
I have spent an entire day combing this post. Thank you for your generosity!
 

Vaughan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais April/May 2019
Camino Notre April/May 2020
Apologies if I have missed this but is there any advice on the coastal variant from El Bao (before Villapedre) to Navia? Looks like it would add around 6kms to the route from Luarca to La Caridad?
 
Thank you for this. I will be cycling from Biarritz to Santiago in September 2020. I will follow parts of Camino Norte but also wish to visit some lighthouses and beaches and make use of the coastal roads and paths. This resource will be very useful.
 

Holly West

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
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 for posting that!! I have printed it off. My daughter and I are starting in Irún on May 9.
 

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