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El Camino Norte - Cost of Refugios

ozpilgrim

New Member
Hi Pilgrims,

My partner and I have just started the Camino Norte...currently in San Sebastian. We have previously done the Camino Frances so thought that it would be a wonderful and new experience traveling the northern route this time.

We started in Irun and are discovering that the pilgrims refugios or Albergues are few and far between (which we had heard), but where there is accomodation, it´s generally more like hostels and very expensive...

Is this generally the case along the northern route?

We´re prepped for camping but were hoping to find refugios every second or third night.

And do Albergues generally mean it´s more expensive?

Any advice or tips would be extremely appreciated! After the Frances route we´re perhaps not as organised as we should be!

Cheers!
 

MermaidLilli

Active Member
I will be starting the Camino del Norte in early May and am always looking for info on this route. Now that you are walking it so soon before mine, if you are able, would you report what stages, where you are staying, how much....anything you can? I am gathering as much info as possible and plan on writing in the CSJ guide when I receive it, any info I find online, and of course, this forum.
Buen Camino
:p Thanks
Lillian
 

Dave

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
The first part of the Norte is definitely the most difficult in terms of finding cheap accommodation. There are albergues, but many of them are only open July/August, and most of them don't open before May. If I were in your shoes, I'd aim for the following:

Zarautz (21km) - Gran Camping Zarautz, on the Camino a couple of km before town, has a pilgrim's albergue for 5E

Deba (21km) - Pilgrim's albergue, open year round, donativo; keys from turismo or policia

Zenarruza (26km) - Pilgrim's albergue in monastery, donativo

Next stretch is tough. Gernika (17km) doesn't have an albergue and Lezama (37km) has an albergue but is probably too far (and I don't know if it would even be open). Your best bet might be in Morga, south of the Camino, where the Albergue privado Meakaur has beds for around 15 euros. 944 911 746. That would make for a 23 km day and then...

Bilbao (27km) - Albergue (Privado) Bilbao Aterpetxea, on the far side of Bilbao along the Camino, around 15 euros

From there to Castro Urdiales (around 37km, if you follow the river out of Bilbao) you'll have another empty stretch, unless the albergues in Portugalete or Pobena open earlier than they ever have before. You'll pass through beach towns along the way, so a hostal would be no problem, but there are no super cheap options.

Now, if you aren't obsessed with walking every step, you could take advantage of the cheat many pilgrims use, taking the Bilbao metro from the city center to Portugalete, chopping off an ugly section of the walk and making the distance between Bilbao and Castro-Urdiales more manageable.

Liendo (19km, from Castro) - The polideportivo is available to pilgrims, donativo

Guemes (31.2km) - One of the must-stay albergues on the Norte, donativo

Santander (14km) - 4 or 5 euros

Requejada/Polanco (35km, or 28km if you follow the train-bridge over the river from Boo de Pielagos instead of following the Camino all the way around to the car-bridge) - 4 euros

Santillana del Mar (10.5km) - Why not take an easy day and stay in one of the nicest towns on the Norte (and check out the Altamira Caves)? New albergue opposite the church, 6 euros

Comillas (22.5km) - Another beautiful stopping point with a new albergue (4 euros)

Colombres (29.1km) - The polideportivo is available to pilgrims (2 euros)

Llanes (23.3km) - Lots of hostels, I recommend Albergue La Estacion (around 10 euros). Also recommended is the Albergue Asturias in Playa de Poo, 3km after Llanes (9 euros)

San Esteban de Leces (34.2km) - A nice albergue (4 euros) just off the Camino; a private hostel is available in Ribadesella if you want to pay a little more to go a little less far.

Soon after that, the Camino splits, as does my knowledge of the route (I only know the Primitivo from there on). Hope this helps you make it halfway to Santiago, though! Please let me know if any of the info proves to be inaccurate, or if you find any other good options.

EDIT: Just so I'm clear, there are other places to stay - lots more in the summer - but I think this is the cheapest way to move through the Norte at a reasonable pace outside of the summer.

Dave
 

Dave

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
Glad to help. In your case, you might have a little more luck with openings - I'm pretty sure the albergue in Pobena is open in May, which would help fill one of those gaps. It's really nice, just a couple of minutes from a great, sandy beach.

The Primitivo should be no problem for albergues - regularly spaced, generally donativo (until Galicia, where they're all 3 euros), and generally open much more than those on the Norte.

Dave
 

mdefrayne

Member
Hi Dave,

My wife and I are walking from mid-June to mid-July beginning in Santander. Your post is really helpful. Please do drop a line now and then. I have done the Camino Frances but this is my wife's first pilgrimage so the Camino Norte seemed like a better route for middle of summer. I wish you a good journey and good luck in your quest for affordable accomodations.

Buen Camino,
Mark
 

ozpilgrim

New Member
Thank you Dave for all your information! I managed to check your reply quickly in San Sebastian and it has been so helpful. We are now in Gernika and staying at the youth hostel...12€ for peregrinos with credentials.

Looking forward to getting to Bilbao and the hills becoming a little less intense! Does anyone know of a nice little pension in Bilbao...we´re thinking of spending a rest day there and checking out the city.

Lillian, I will post some more information in another reply once in Bilbao for you. We have been camping quite a bit as most Albergues do seem to be closed this time of year.

Thanks again,
Buen Camino
 

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
Terry has asked me to say that he is finding the cost of accomodation and also food quite high. About 15 euros for the albergue in some places, the same as a cheap single room nearby. Meals too are costing about 15 to 20 euros per day. He says that Ivar's figure of 35 euros per person per day is 'just right'. Having said that he is eating well and recommends the 'Bacalao a la vizcaina' with ensalada mixta. He said there would have been enough for 2, if they let you share the plata del día. To eat cheaper you would have to be self-catering, or have bread and cheese. He is also making use of a variety of accomodation according to the availability of food and the distance he has walked.
Away from the coast, and out of Oviedo, is much cheaper. The hotel in Salas is 15 euro and was good, the municipal albergue would have been 5 euros and Terry says 'avoid it'.
If he comments again on prices I will 'post' again
Happy walking and remember, as some-one said to Terry, 'This is pilgrimage, not penance'
Tia Valeria for Tio Tel
 

MermaidLilli

Active Member
Although all info given to me, either through guides or papers with albergue listings show that Gernika´s albergue is closed, that is not the case. Just as you come into town, it is to the right, a blue building. Very large and with great accomodations. 12 euros.
The menu at El Viejo restaurant that is recommended was not good at all. 15 euros and does not include wine. Only 2 choices for first and second plato, the bread stale. Very disappointing. Then I was told that other bars offering menu del dia is much better in choices and price.
I am actually a bit disappointed at the cost of lodging and the menus offered to pilgrims. Most of those menus have been 15 euros. Almost twice the Frances two years ago and about 5 euros more than the Via. Of course the walk itself is the best deal of all.
Lillian
 

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
Terry is able to take the Primitivo, so any further comments re albergues and prices will be on that thread. He says once past Ovideo and heading onto the Primitivo the prices are lower than on the Norte, which he started from Santander. He enjoyed the fairly rustic albergue Arco Iris, near Santillana. For other places and comments see either the 'Introduction' thread in Pilgrim Introductions, or Terry's blog
http://walktocompostela.blogspot.com
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Lilli,
Please keep leaving notes when you can. We're struggling to decide which road to take and your notes are VERY helpful since you've done both the VDLP and now the Coastal route.

How about historical sites... how does this route compare with the VDLP?
 

viajero

Active Member
Hi Lilli,
I, too, am paying close attention to your wonderful posts as I set out from Irun next month. I know weather is quite variable but...how is it? I prefer cold to hot but...just wondering, thinking about packing for this time of year, how cool is it getting, what is the warmest article of clothing that you brought to wear at cooler times (morning and evening I would guess)? Hope all is going well.
 

sabrina

New Member
These posts are brilliant!
Im doing the costal route in a couple of days and am cycling from Bilboa, very informative and keep posting!! :D
Sabrina
 

MermaidLilli

Active Member
Sabrina, you should be catching up with me. That would be nice, to meet a forum member. Asturias is beautiful. You know I complain about so much road/asphalt walking and it is true, there is much of it, but at the end of the day, you know the feeling, "Wow, so glad to be here and hang out, rest, drink wine and laugh about the day". The cost of albergues has gone down, some of them donativo. The menus as well have gone down to under 10€.
The weather is not anything one can predict and especially when you come this way. It rained or misted for a couple of weeks and then a day of sunshine. The wind stopped and it got hot. For 3 days we had perfect dry and cool weather. Yesterday it rained all day. And today it is sooooo windy. And although blue skies when I left the albergue it is now raining! So who knows.
I walked to the edge (understatement) of Luarca and am now here taking it easy due to my shin pain. I stood at the top of the village and saw how deep the town is and sighed and started down the many steps, but once down here, I love it. Very lively town.
I wrote on the 3rd of June in my book, "I shed a tear today and there was nothing wrong". It was one of those wonderful times where a feeling came over me realizing I was in such a Here Now moment. I was deep in an enchanting forest, alone, and came upon a bridge, standing there listening to the birds and the water trickling along, underfoot, the ground so green and realized the scent of mint came from there, ferns as tall as me, my senses felt so alive. Then, bird shit fell on my right boob!! I laughed out loud!
Loving Nature
Lillian
 

jprogers

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2005
Ptgse 2007 Norte 2009 Ingles 2011
Vasco del 2013 Ourense to SdC 2016
Invierno? 2020
Hi Lilli
We are on the Camino at Bilbao great to read your comments... We had the great weather these past 4-5 days. At Guernica Alburgue was full so stayed at Hotel Borika (I think) in town had menu del dia for pilgrim at night €6 wonderful food. Yes Irun ti Bilboa is hard. Costs are high for singles and accomodation is hard to find. Tourist Information Office are helpful.
Jill
 

FlyingBarney

New Member
sabrina said:
These posts are brilliant!
Im doing the costal route in a couple of days and am cycling from Bilboa, very informative and keep posting!! :D
Sabrina

Sabrina,

I am about to start doing the same, cycling from Bilbao, on September 15. Would love to hear of (at least some of) your experiences.

Simon
 
N

nathanael

Guest
Lillian, greetings would like some info on doing the Camino Norte. Since I did the Frances route would like a different way to walk in June let me everything pros and cons would like a challenge.
chao,
n.
 

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