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Compare routes?


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How does the Camino del Norte compare to the Frances route? I haven't officially chosen a route yet as I am still investigating. This route seems scenically very beautiful and because I live by the sea, I will enjoy the ocean. Am sure my dog Dakota would prefer this route... perhaps the Camino de la Costa... Any advice on this route appreciated!

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Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (May 2005), Norte (May 2006), Vezelay (2007).

I just finished my Camino Norte which I walked from Hendaya to Colunga.
As I did the Frances last year I can compare the two and the aspects that I can compare:

1) Norte is much,much more beautiful than the Frances: some parts you walk along the cliffs with on your right the sea and on the left the mountains.
2) Norte is more challenging: it is a lot heavier and tougher to walk because of the continious up and downs. Most little villages you cross are at sea-level so after your coffe-break you know one thing for have to climb again.
3) Norte has much fewer refugios and as I experienced... alot of them were not open in May. You have to think/find out about this before starting an etappe otherwise you have to make a lot of kilometers.
4) You do not meet a lot of other pelgrims (in May) as on the Frances. That will give another spirit along your route: if you did not do the Frances I would advise to do that first.
5) Some parts of the Norte are not nice: esp. the great cities as Santander and Bilbao are no fun to walk. At some stretches you walk along the N-632 for some km adn sometimes this is boring and not nice.

See the picture-index with some pictures of mine of the Camino Norte.
Buen Camino!

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