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current (May 2024) status of albergue bed availability on CDN

The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Maybe I’ll see you on the trail. I’m starting from Biarritz next Wed. Whilst I’m typing this, I see @trecile has replied re the situation with accommodation early on the route. For the first few days, I’m mixing plans to stay in a couple of muni albergues with booking a bed in private albergues, till I see the lie of the land.
 
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Maybe I’ll see you on the trail. I’m starting from Biarritz next Wed. Whilst I’m typing this, I see @trecile has replied re the situation with accommodation early on the route. For the first few days, I’m mixing plans to stay in a couple of muni albergues with booking a bed in private albergues, till I see the lie of the land.
Yes we may see you although we are starting from Bilbao on bicycles. We have the first 5 nights booked so will then make reservations on a rolling 5 days.
Thanks for your input.
Buen Camino
 
Hi! I'm on the del Norte now, in Santander. Walking from Irun, the pinch points seemed to be Deba and Markina. Other than those place it's been no trouble so far to get a bed. I'm staying in a mix of hostels, albergues, and small
Excellent. We are cycling from Bilbao and have booked from there to Santander (2 nights).
Thanks for your help. Buen Camino
 
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Hi! I'm on the del Norte now, in Santander. Walking from Irun, the pinch points seemed to be Deba and Markina. Other than those place it's been no trouble so far to get a bed. I'm staying in a mix of hostels, albergues, and small hotels.
Same here. Although apparently tonight (8 May) there is nothing in Islares.
 
I'm walking (planning to walk) the CDN in early September, but am having second thoughts given the bed situation for the first 10 days out of Irun. There aren't many municipal albergues. On the first day, there's an albergue de peregrinos in Pasajes San Juan right before San Sebastian. In some of the towns, the hostels/hotels are much pricier than what's advertised on gronze, or already booked solid. Maybe walking the CDN in September is not such a great idea, and should be done earlier in the season (in May) before the arrival of all the tourists in the beach towns during the summer.....
 
At the beginning of the Norte the pilgrim infrastructure is somewhat lacking.
Have you checked what Gronze and Wise Pilgrim have listed?


Yes and try to get to the donativo in Irun early. Last year I walked the Vasco but it starts in Irun. It was my second time in Irun as I did the Norte in 2018. I was there about 45 minutes before it opened. Gronze says it opens at 4PM but i think it opened at 3 but I could easily be wrong. Even in October it filled up but of course not completely. It is a fantastic donativo. Everyone I met was walking the Norte. I met so many nice people. There is alot of positive energy there as it is the night before you start the Norte. I wold highly recommend staying there. You can't really leave your backpack outside and leave. But there is a park very close by that is really nice and a cafe on the opposite end of the park if you want to get a drink if you do arrive early.
 
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I walked from Irun last September and booked the first two nights in San Sebastian and Zarautz. After that I didn't bother booking and was fine though Markina and Deba were both crowded. The Norte is no longer a solitary walk.

I also found the Primitivo quite crowded. I booked more but for the most part, I didn't have much problem at the municipals; I do walk pretty quickly though.
 
Hi, I'm off to CDN next week Friday in Irún and booked from San Sebastián to Bilbao. I called to the albergue in San Sebastián because the prices for a bed were ridiculous
 
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Personally i’m going to see how things go to Bilbao. If I’m not feeling it, I’m going to beetle to Leon to walk the Salvador, maybe earlier than I thought
 
So currently on the Norte a few days past Santander. I was in a huge bubble of folks that were overwhelming the accommodations so I walked on but went too far and joined into another bubble!!! This is NOT the CF where you have multiple options of cheap accommodations. If you can’t secure a pilgrim accommodation, you are looking at paying tourist coastal hotel tariffs. And while it’s easy to walk on to the next village on the CF, the next albergue on the Norte may be another 15km away. I’ve been fortunate, but albergues have been completo about half of the nights so far. Additionally, many of the public albergues do not open until June 1st. While many thought the stress on beds would go away as some hikers stopped in Bilbao, that idea quickly was discarded by the increased numbers STARTING in Bilbao!

In short, it doesn’t take that much of an increase in pilgrims to create some serious issues on this route. Plan wisely and budget a bit more than you are used to.
 
Personally i’m going to see how things go to Bilbao. If I’m not feeling it, I’m going to beetle to Leon to walk the Salvador, maybe earlier than I thought

The Salvador is a great idea but it is quite short. You might also think of the Labinego/Vadiniense from San Vincente de la Barquera. It is 9 - 12 days and very very quiet. There are a couple of relatively expensive hostal stays (25 to 40 Euros) but it is also very beautiful.
 
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The Salvador is a great idea but it is quite short. You might also think of the Labinego/Vadiniense from San Vincente de la Barquera. It is 9 - 12 days and very very quiet. There are a couple of relatively expensive hostal stays (25 to 40 Euros) but it is also very beautiful.

A Camino friend, who favours the quieter caminos, has been on at me about this one…
 
The Salvador is a great idea but it is quite short. You might also think of the Labinego/Vadiniense from San Vincente de la Barquera. It is 9 - 12 days and very very quiet. There are a couple of relatively expensive hostal stays (25 to 40 Euros) but it is also very beautiful.
The camino San Salvador, followed by the Primitivo, might be what I decide to do in September. That way, I get the San Salvador certificate in addition to another compostela. I walked the Primitivo back in 2021 and remember walking many mornings with fog in the valleys below me. It's a great camino, and I wouldn't mind doing it again! I would really like to walk the CDN, but the reports of increased numbers of pilgrims, limited bed space and competition with regular tourists for accomodations makes me hesitate.
 
So currently on the Norte a few days past Santander. I was in a huge bubble of folks that were overwhelming the accommodations so I walked on but went too far and joined into another bubble!!! This is NOT the CF where you have multiple options of cheap accommodations. If you can’t secure a pilgrim accommodation, you are looking at paying tourist coastal hotel tariffs. And while it’s easy to walk on to the next village on the CF, the next albergue on the Norte may be another 15km away. I’ve been fortunate, but albergues have been completo about half of the nights so far. Additionally, many of the public albergues do not open until June 1st. While many thought the stress on beds would go away as some hikers stopped in Bilbao, that idea quickly was discarded by the increased numbers STARTING in Bilbao!

In short, it doesn’t take that much of an increase in pilgrims to create some serious issues on this route. Plan wisely and budget a bit more than you are used to.
Thanks for this helpful post @Vacajoe, some really key points here
 
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So currently on the Norte a few days past Santander. I was in a huge bubble of folks that were overwhelming the accommodations so I walked on but went too far and joined into another bubble!!! This is NOT the CF where you have multiple options of cheap accommodations. If you can’t secure a pilgrim accommodation, you are looking at paying tourist coastal hotel tariffs. And while it’s easy to walk on to the next village on the CF, the next albergue on the Norte may be another 15km away. I’ve been fortunate, but albergues have been completo about half of the nights so far. Additionally, many of the public albergues do not open until June 1st. While many thought the stress on beds would go away as some hikers stopped in Bilbao, that idea quickly was discarded by the increased numbers STARTING in Bilbao!

In short, it doesn’t take that much of an increase in pilgrims to create some serious issues on this route. Plan wisely and budget a bit more than you are used to.
Thanks so much for the info. We'll factor it in and hopefully will be OK. Buen Camino!
 
A Camino friend, who favours the quieter caminos, has been on at me about this one…
I would definitely second this. I haven't walked it, but it is my part of the world having spent all of my holidays around the Picos for the last 15 years. It is some of the most beautiful scenery, wild and rugged. There are a few options after to carry on and join the CF at various places I think one of which is Mansilla de las Mulas which then gives you a short hike to Leon and the Salvador.
 
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Maybe walking the CDN in September is not such a great idea, and should be done earlier in the season (in May) before the arrival of all the tourists in the beach towns during the summer.....
I don't think May will be better than September given the reports. Maybe if you try and start towards the end of the month it will be better. I certainly had no issue son the CF when I started 25th September last year.
 
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I don't think May will be better than September given the reports. Maybe if you try and start towards the end of the month it will be better. I certainly had no issue son the CF when I started 25th September last year.
Last year I walked the Norte in May/June, and my friend walked in September. It was much busier for her in September than it was for me in May.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Hi! I'm on the del Norte now, in Santander. Walking from Irun, the pinch points seemed to be Deba and Markina. Other than those place it's been no trouble so far to get a bed. I'm staying in a mix of hostels, albergues, and small hotels.
Hi , I am starting Norte on Wednesday after flying into San Sebastián airport. Was it difficult to find the trail?
 
Hi , I am starting Norte on Wednesday after flying into San Sebastián airport. Was it difficult to find the trail?
In this screenshot from the mapy.cz app you can see how close the Camino (dark blue line) is to the airport.

Edited to add the missing screenshot

Screenshot_20240511_214339_Mapycz.jpg
 
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Albergue 25% full last night, while tonight’s is 50% full. Two stages before Oviedo.
 
I was about to post the same @Vacajoe !

We started just before llanes 2 days ago. No reservations needed anywhere. Relaxed everywhere.

PS - where are you now? We’re staying in Pola tonight!
 
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I was about to post the same @Vacajoe !

We started just before llanes 2 days ago. No reservations needed anywhere. Relaxed everywhere.

PS - where are you now? We’re staying in Pola tonight!
Gijon! Turns out with the long days and no set destination, I tend to walk further than I expect (10 days from Bilbao to Gijon)
 
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I'm just home from a month long camino which finished with a week's volunteering at La Cabaña del Abuelo Peuto in Güemes, where we had between 50 and 90 pilgrims every night. This might give some indication of how busy things are on the Norte, and many pilgrims complained of no bed availability in the preceding days...
 
Hi there. Our 'on the spot' findings so far are places are OK but we are calling ahead on a rolling week basis and not necessarily staying in the main pilgrim albergue. We have bikes and try to find a place that has double rooms
 
Hi, I won’t start another thread because I know people here will be able to help me. A friend and I are walking from Bilbao to Comillas next month. Exciting. We want to have our packs transported. Can anyone recommend a service? Also, where in Bilbao can we get our pilgrim passports and what are they called in Spanish? Thanks for your help!
Helen
 
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Hi, I won’t start another thread because I know people here will be able to help me. A friend and I are walking from Bilbao to Comillas next month. Exciting. We want to have our packs transported. Can anyone recommend a service? Also, where in Bilbao can we get our pilgrim passports and what are they called in Spanish? Thanks for your help!
Helen
Correos is the primary luggage transport service on the Norte.

 
Hi, I won’t start another thread because I know people here will be able to help me. A friend and I are walking from Bilbao to Comillas next month. Exciting. We want to have our packs transported. Can anyone recommend a service? Also, where in Bilbao can we get our pilgrim passports and what are they called in Spanish? Thanks for your help!
Helen
You will see the name in the picture. This is for Camino pilgrims, but, it's only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6.30-8pm.
 

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Hi,
Hi, I won’t start another thread because I know people here will be able to help me. A friend and I are walking from Bilbao to Comillas next month. Exciting. We want to have our packs transported. Can anyone recommend a service? Also, where in Bilbao can we get our pilgrim passports and what are they called in Spanish? Thanks for your help!
Helen
Hi Helen, just search PAC mochila from Correos.es , it's really good
 
I’m a day ahead of @AlexB

You can absolutely get beds, but I wouldn’t say that there are few pilgrims tbh. I’m at the albergue Izarbide and almost every bed is taken. I WhatsApp’d them a few days ago to reserve a bed, some people called two evenings ago, some yday. I was in Hostel Getaria two nights ago and I know Iñaki had to turn away some prospective walk-ins - though there were beds available at the albergue up the hill.
 
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I'm in Bilbao and the albergue in Lezama is closed until the 31 of May and only 11 beds in Larrabetzu, so I saw a few taking the train to Bilbao
 
There was no albergue in Gernika as well so people stayed in Mendieta or Pozueta
 
We leave Portsmouth for Bilbao tonight. Good to hear the Albergues not too busy. Buen Camino!
Where are you staying in Bilbao? I am having trouble figuring out where to stay after arriving at the airport late afternoon. Buen Camino!
 
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Where are you staying in Bilbao? I am having trouble figuring out where to stay after arriving at the airport late afternoon. Buen Camino!
Hi, there are plenty of hostels in Bilbao. Though they don't have a Camino vibe, if you can check Gronze, I stayed on All-Iron hostel, it was too big for my taste and I would have preferred going to Portugalete ones
 
Am in Comillas tonight.

Have spoken with a number of albergue owners and hospis along both Pais Vasco and Cantabria sections, and they all say this is a record year for pilgrims.

I’m doing fine so far with finding a bed, I do tend to send a WhatsApp 1-2 days ahead to reserve a bed.
 
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