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Cycling Via de La Plata or del Norte?

Camino(s) past & future
Walked from Astorga to SDC in May 2012.
Cycled the Frances from SJPP May 2014
Cycled the Portuguese from Lisbon May 2016
#1
Hi
I cycled the Frances from SJPP in 2014 and the Portuguese from Lisbon in 2016 and loved both of them. Now getting itchy feet again. Would like to do a different Camino and am looking at both the Via de La Plata and Del Norte. I have not been cycling much recently so not as fit as I was in 2016. How do these 2 routes compare to the Frances? Which is the easier ? I quite like to see other pilgrims around too. Would appreciate any guidance and personal opinions about the actual route and availability of albergues. I usually do my Caminos in May as love being out in the spring....would del Norte be very wet then? Thanks.
 

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Jean T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012) on foot (incomplete)
Camino del Norte on bicycle with children April 2018
#2
Hi, I have no experience with the Via de la Plata... the Camino del Norte is quiet, we restarted in Villaviciosa March 27th and enjoyed meeting some Spaniards on the Camino the first day but they were only doing a few days over Easter holidays, after that we only saw a handful of people until we joined Camino Frances at Lavacolla! Camino del Norte is ideal for cycling as route mostly roads and tracks, in some places there are Bici variations signed on the road, this time around I had done a lot of work checking the route on google maps and the Norte app and plotted cycling routes onto ViewRanger app. Often a longer road section was much quicker and easier than the shorter looking rocky muddy track that descended to a river and then climbed back up again... (lots of these between Muros de Nalon and Luarca). If you decide to do the Norte I’d be happy to compile a list of places where deviating from Camino is recommended for cyclists!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walked from Astorga to SDC in May 2012.
Cycled the Frances from SJPP May 2014
Cycled the Portuguese from Lisbon May 2016
#3
Oooh that would be great. I’d like to start in Irun and wouldn’t mind taking detours on roads if track becomes too rough. How long did it take you and which stops did you choose?
 

Jean T

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012) on foot (incomplete)
Camino del Norte on bicycle with children April 2018
#5
San Sebastián, Zarautz, Deba, Markina Xemein, Gernika, Lezama, Portugalete, Castro Urdiales, Liendo, Santoña, Guemes, Suances (off Camino slightly as nice bike path and beach), Santillana, Comillas, La Franca, Llanes, Sebrayo, Colunga, Villaviciosa, Gijon, Salinas, Cudillero, Novellana, Luarca, Villapedre (short day), A Caridad, Ribadeo, Lourenza, Abadin (Great hostel), Miraz (Witericus was great, hospitalleros in CSJ hostel were v nice also when we stopped in next day), Sobrado, O Pino, Santiago.
 

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MartinPE

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Done : Le Puy to Saint Jean ( June 2017)
Planning: Saint Jean to Santiago (June 2018)
#6
Hi
I cycled the Frances from SJPP in 2014 and the Portuguese from Lisbon in 2016 and loved both of them. Now getting itchy feet again. Would like to do a different Camino and am looking at both the Via de La Plata and Del Norte. I have not been cycling much recently so not as fit as I was in 2016. How do these 2 routes compare to the Frances? Which is the easier ? I quite like to see other pilgrims around too. Would appreciate any guidance and personal opinions about the actual route and availability of albergues. I usually do my Caminos in May as love being out in the spring....would del Norte be very wet then? Thanks.
Hi Michelle,
I am trying to get some info on cycling the Del Norte.
I did Francés June this year and want to go on another adventure in 2019
I would like to know if a MTB can be riden on the entire walking route ?
Regards
Martin
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walked from Astorga to SDC in May 2012.
Cycled the Frances from SJPP May 2014
Cycled the Portuguese from Lisbon May 2016
#7
I always try to stick to the walkers’ route so I always use a MTB. I would say you can do 90% of the Portuguese on the walkers route. I only recall a few instances where we chose to take the road as an alternative and that would be mainly to clock up some kilometres and speed things up a bit. Having said that I also recall us pushing the bike up a few rugged hills! All part of the fun! I have a detailed report about the Portuguese on this forum including a video.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#8
Hi, sounds like you have had sone good advice in the North route, as a comparison the Vdlp has a lot of long isolated sections and appears popular with groups of cyclists in the Spring, they often stay in local inns as the Alberuges on this route can be small and full of walkers at this time of year, I hear the windflowers are lovely. If you like long distances, then you should also check out the Levante, although the Aussie cyclists we met found it pretty hard going (and couldn't believe we walked it). All depends on what you are looking for in terms of Camino experience.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#9
Hola @michelle grech . I have only walked part of the VDLP but I would recommend it. Your choice of a MTB is sensible but even then you will find there are sections of this route that are not bike friendly. If you can get a copy of Alison Raju guide to the VDLP (I have the 2009/2010 edition but there may be a later one) I would recommend it. In this guide she does make mention of the sections that are "totally bike unfriendly". I have read other guides and can't remember whether they make route changes for bike. Being the one wholey Spanish Camino it does get a lot more local cyclists. Buen Camino.
 

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