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El Camino del Norte Questions

Sunny Fitgirl

Fast Little Canadian
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May/June 2017)
Camino Norte (May/June 2018)
#1
I did the Frances Route last year at this time and loved it. Next month I start the Norte. I have a couple of questions.
1) It sounds like I may average coming across around 15 pilgrims per day. Does that sound about right? Huge difference from the Frances.
2) I didn't have a Spanish Sim card or plan last time. Just used wifi but I think I will get a package. Any suggestions of what plans worked best for you. (Movistar, Vodafone, ...) Canadian add-ons are too expensive and I haven't had the best luck with them in the past.

Thanks,

Carla
 

Scarlet Fez

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances Sept/Oct 2016
Camino Portuguese Oct 2017
Del Norde Start 2nd May 2018
#2
Hi Carla, I set off from Irun this Wednesday the 2nd of May. I was thinking the same about how many are likely to be on the trail. Perhaps the wise and good on here can enlighten us.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#3
I start on 13 May from Laredo and from I have been reading there are more than the average number of pilgrims on the Norte. That could be a result of the May Day holiday and/or the floods in Navarre.
I used Vodaphone last year and was very disappointed. I normally stick with Orange.
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
#4
I did the Frances Route last year at this time and loved it. Next month I start the Norte. I have a couple of questions.
1) It sounds like I may average coming across around 15 pilgrims per day. Does that sound about right? Huge difference from the Frances.
2) I didn't have a Spanish Sim card or plan last time. Just used wifi but I think I will get a package. Any suggestions of what plans worked best for you. (Movistar, Vodafone, ...) Canadian add-ons are too expensive and I haven't had the best luck with them in the past.

Thanks,

Carla
Hi Carla, We are near Llanes in Asturias. Orange works we!l for us. Over 8 years never used anything else. Picks up Movistar masts when appropriate.

God bless your planning
Tio Tel
 

MLB

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013
Camino Norte (2017)
#5
Hi, we walked last September and were told there are usually 1/10th of the walkers on the Norte as compared to the Frances. When the 2 caminos joined it was quite a shock.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata (2013/2014)
Via Podiensis, Camino Francés (2015)
Camino del Norte (2017)
#6
It sounds like I may average coming across around 15 pilgrims per day. Does that sound about right? Huge difference from the Frances.
It will definitely be more than 15. It is now probably at least 30 to 40 and next month it could be around 50 or so. I walked last year in July and think it averaged somewhere between 60 and 80 a day. But the number might be higher, because it is difficult to count the pilgrims that are not staying in albergues. You won't be lonely, no worries!
 

Scarlet Fez

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances Sept/Oct 2016
Camino Portuguese Oct 2017
Del Norde Start 2nd May 2018
#7
I started the Del Norte on Wednesday the 3rd at Irun, I’m just doing the first section to maybe Bilbao. You can almost go all day without seeing a soul which can be quite a culture shock if you have done the Frances like me you like occasionally like having a little chat whilst walking through the day. Trying to buy somthing to eat on Route is hit and miss as like a lot of the cafes bars, Albergues are still closed.
 

Edel7303

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Norte July 2018
#8
It will definitely be more than 15. It is now probably at least 30 to 40 and next month it could be around 50 or so. I walked last year in July and think it averaged somewhere between 60 and 80 a day. But the number might be higher, because it is difficult to count the pilgrims that are not staying in albergues. You won't be lonely, no worries!

Hello, I'm starting the Camino del Norte from Irun on July 1st. Curious was it always easy to get a place in albergues when you were there last July?
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata (2013/2014)
Via Podiensis, Camino Francés (2015)
Camino del Norte (2017)
#9
@Edel7303 No, it wasn't. I did always find a bed. But that was because I anticipated on the fact that there are more pilgrims than beds in July. So I always checked the options for the next day. If I saw there weren't many beds I either booked ahead or made sure I would arrive at the albergue early. The last one means standing in line until the albergue opens.
 

Edel7303

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Norte July 2018
#10
Thanks for the advice. Can I ask you opinion on something else? I am going for 6 weeks, and I know the entire Camino del Norte can be done in 6 weeks, but I am quite unfit and overweight (this trip is to help me turn that around) so I will probably be slower than most, and might not get the full Irun to Santiago completed. I am flying into Bilbao, but was planning to travel to Irun to start. I've read the section from Irun to Bilbao is some of the best scenery but also the toughest climb. I'm a little anxious starting out on such a tough section, but I suppose I don't need to do the 25km each day if I'm not able. What would your advice be? If I have to skip a section, what would you suggest?

Your advice is much appreciated :)
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata (2013/2014)
Via Podiensis, Camino Francés (2015)
Camino del Norte (2017)
#11
It is true. I found the Irún - Bilbao part the most beautiful long stretch, but also the hardest. I think you will be fine if you walk in your own pace and don't overdo it regarding distance. Especially the first couple of days.

For example:
Irún - Pasajes de San Juan (17k)
Pasajes de San Juan - San Sebastián (8k)
San Sebastián - Orio (16,5k)
Orio - Zumaia (15,5k)
Zumaia - Deba (12,5k)

You'll have some short stages in the beginning, but this will give your body time to heal and adjust. Besides, San Sebastián is very nice with lots to see. This way you will still have the energy to explore the city (or dive into the ocean).

The 6th day you'll have your first long stretch from Deba to Markina of 24k (as far as I know there is nothing in between). But by that time your body will be used to walking, climbing, descending and carrying a pack, so I think you'll be fine.

How important is arriving in Santiago to you? Doing the Camino in a hurry isn't a good idea. I would either just see how far you get or skip the first part and start in Bilbao.
 

Edel7303

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Norte July 2018
#12
Yes I think I'll take your advice and start in Irun and just take a slower pace. It doesn't bother me to have to miss a section wether at the end or middle. If I was to skip a section via bus what was the least interesting section in your opinion?
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata (2013/2014)
Via Podiensis, Camino Francés (2015)
Camino del Norte (2017)
#13
I have only walked from Irún to Villaviciosa so far. I would say around the cities. More industrial, and always public transport options. For example:

Larrabetzu - Bilbao (14,5k)
Bilbao - Portugalete (12,5/19.5k)
Santander - Mogro (12k) -> take the train and you'll skip the railway bridge between Boo and Mogro
Gijón - Avilés (25k) -> haven't done it, but seems to be very industrial

You could also expand the last one and skip all the way between Colunga and Avilés. This way you'll skip 3 stages (Colunga - Villaviciosa - Gijón - Avilés). I found Colunga - Villaviciosa not so interesting because the Camino stays close to the highway A8 all the time (crossing it a few times) and Villiviciosa - Gijón would mean walking into a city, so I guess that stage is also less interesting (but I haven't done it).
 

Edel7303

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Norte July 2018
#14
Great, thanks for the info. Yes I'd prefer to skip over industrial/ highway sections rather than just skipping the last section into Santiago
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#15
@Edel7303 and @Luka Thank you so much for that conversation, i'm starting to think about my Norte camino and that was very useful. I like doing shorter days at the start and then increase it little bits.

I was thinking about starting just Irun to Arkollla (5km) , then the second day i see how I feel about stopping in San Juan or going on to San Sebastian... But I suppose I will just 'feel' it :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#16
Thanks for the advice. Can I ask you opinion on something else? I am going for 6 weeks, and I know the entire Camino del Norte can be done in 6 weeks, but I am quite unfit and overweight (this trip is to help me turn that around) so I will probably be slower than most, and might not get the full Irun to Santiago completed. I am flying into Bilbao, but was planning to travel to Irun to start. I've read the section from Irun to Bilbao is some of the best scenery but also the toughest climb. I'm a little anxious starting out on such a tough section, but I suppose I don't need to do the 25km each day if I'm not able. What would your advice be? If I have to skip a section, what would you suggest?

Your advice is much appreciated :)
Is there a reason that you have chosen the Norte over the Camino Frances? I'm asking because the CF has more infrastructure making it easier to walk shorter stages when you want. I haven't walked the Norte yet (I start July 4th), but I've heard that it's a lot more challenging. I'm glad that the Camino Frances was my first (and second) Camino, but now I'm ready to branch out. BTW, I've found a website that's good for planning stages on the Norte: http://www.rutasasantiago.com/BDCaminos/configurador-etapas-camino-de-santiago?cam=Camino-del-Norte. Also, Gronze.com is very helpful.
 

Edel7303

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Norte July 2018
#17
Is there a reason that you have chosen the Norte over the Camino Frances? I'm asking because the CF has more infrastructure making it easier to walk shorter stages when you want. I haven't walked the Norte yet (I start July 4th), but I've heard that it's a lot more challenging. I'm glad that the Camino Frances was my first (and second) Camino, but now I'm ready to branch out. BTW, I've found a website that's good for planning stages on the Norte: http://www.rutasasantiago.com/BDCaminos/configurador-etapas-camino-de-santiago?cam=Camino-del-Norte. Also, Gronze.com is very helpful.
Well I chose the Norte route because I love the sea/coast and thought it would be less crowded and slightly cooler. I found an excellent little book on Camino del Norte that lists all stages and info by Matthew Harms
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte?
#18
Thanks for the advice. Can I ask you opinion on something else? I am going for 6 weeks, and I know the entire Camino del Norte can be done in 6 weeks, but I am quite unfit and overweight (this trip is to help me turn that around) so I will probably be slower than most, and might not get the full Irun to Santiago completed. I am flying into Bilbao, but was planning to travel to Irun to start. I've read the section from Irun to Bilbao is some of the best scenery but also the toughest climb. I'm a little anxious starting out on such a tough section, but I suppose I don't need to do the 25km each day if I'm not able. What would your advice be? If I have to skip a section, what would you suggest?

Your advice is much appreciated :)
I walked the Norte in may/June this year. The first 3 weeks I walked with my wife, who did not walk a Camino before. To start in Irun did not seem to be a good idea. So we started in Bilbao. As all was going well we decided after about 8 days to travel back to Irun and do the beautifully stretch from Iran to Bilbao. Without any doubt this stretch was harder than after Bilbao, but we had done a long week of "training" We turned back in Boo the Pielagos, where the albergue is 100 meter from the station. From there I continued after waiking from Irun to Bilbao. The only disadvantages was "loosing" a day.
There were much more than 15 per day on the road.
 

gypsy9

Active Member
#19
Hello, I am starting in Irun end of August--yes, a busy time...
I plan to walk to Pasajes de San Juan as San Sebastian seems too far.

I see there is only one albergue with fifteen beds. I wonder if anyone has advice regarding where I could stay (on a modest budget).

Do you suggest booking in advance? I am not planning to take a phone, but will have wifi access. I have not needed to book before (Primitivo, CF or Le Puy en Velay), but I understand that I am walking during a busy time.

Also, is it customary for hospitalero/a to make reservations for pilgrims for the next night's accommodation?

Thank you for any advice.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances, Norte, Ingles, Primitivo, Aragones, Vasco, SanSalvador, Fisterre, Muxia - more than once
#20
Hi gypsy9,
It might be difficult to find a bed on the Norte sometimes, but don't worry, there is always a sollution. :cool:
Last time (in 2015) the albergue in Pasajes was full - I don't like running for beds... so we had to take the bus to San Seb as my companion was too tired to walk on. My advice: A few kilometers from San Seb there is a wonderful place run by "The Twelve Tribes". You can stay there, and besides, it is donativo. Here's a photo - you can't miss it.

Buen Camino!
I'm starting in two days! :D

1530351941648.jpeg

1530351469433.jpeg
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte?
#21
I stayed there too, it's a beautiful place about 5 km before San Sebastian. It is run by a religious/spiritual community (who find their inspiration in the Old Testament :, the twelve tribes of Abraham) They will tell you more about this at the communal meal. So be prepared. There's no beer, cola and so on available
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, Primitivo, Plata, Salvador Torres
#22
I have only walked from Irún to Villaviciosa so far. I would say around the cities. More industrial, and always public transport options. For example:

Larrabetzu - Bilbao (14,5k)
Bilbao - Portugalete (12,5/19.5k)
Santander - Mogro (12k) -> take the train and you'll skip the railway bridge between Boo and Mogro
Gijón - Avilés (25k) -> haven't done it, but seems to be very industrial

You could also expand the last one and skip all the way between Colunga and Avilés. This way you'll skip 3 stages (Colunga - Villaviciosa - Gijón - Avilés). I found Colunga - Villaviciosa not so interesting because the Camino stays close to the highway A8 all the time (crossing it a few times) and Villiviciosa - Gijón would mean walking into a city, so I guess that stage is also less interesting (but I haven't done it).
I don’t remember the Colunga-Vilaviciosa-Gijon bit, but I would definitely skip Gijon-Aviles, just before Aviles some 8 km wedged between a busy highway and a laminated steel works if I remember correctly. Quite awful!

Bon courage and buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#23
Hello, I am starting in Irun end of August--yes, a busy time...
I plan to walk to Pasajes de San Juan as San Sebastian seems too far.

I see there is only one albergue with fifteen beds. I wonder if anyone has advice regarding where I could stay (on a modest budget).

Do you suggest booking in advance? I am not planning to take a phone, but will have wifi access. I have not needed to book before (Primitivo, CF or Le Puy en Velay), but I understand that I am walking during a busy time.

Also, is it customary for hospitalero/a to make reservations for pilgrims for the next night's accommodation?

Thank you for any advice.
I was worried about that too, and have made a reservation at a guest house called Casa Txurdin, which is close to the albergue in Pasajes, that another member mentioned. It's 25€ and includes breakfast. The phone number is +34 685 47 57 33. They are on WhatsApp, so I messaged them that way to make my reservation.
 

gypsy9

Active Member
#24
Thank you so much, Trecile. Yes, making a reservation in advance can relieve some anxiety during a busy time of year....
 

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