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Favorite stops on the Norte?

dnaleonard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
One Camino Or The Other (Feb/March 2020)
For anyone willing to share their favorite stops, accommodations, or side trips along the Norte, I would be thrilled to hear them. I will have 42 days to make my way across, so in theory, I will have some time to smell the roses. Or, considering my Feb/March timetable, I guess I could give them some dormant season pruning!
 

Mima1965

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo/Frances (2021)
For anyone willing to share their favorite stops, accommodations, or side trips along the Norte, I would be thrilled to hear them. I will have 42 days to make my way across, so in theory, I will have some time to smell the roses. Or, considering my Feb/March timetable, I guess I could give them some dormant season pruning!
Hola dnaleonard,
Never mind about the roses just pray for no rain! Can't advise you on albergues del peregrino, as I have used casas rurales and alternative accomodation but I have lived in Asturias & Cantabria and these are some of my favourite places to spend to visit with time:
San Sebastian, a must to see & a foodies paradise (
 

Mima1965

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo/Frances (2021)
For anyone willing to share their favorite stops, accommodations, or side trips along the Norte, I would be thrilled to hear them. I will have 42 days to make my way across, so in theory, I will have some time to smell the roses. Or, considering my Feb/March timetable, I guess I could give them some dormant season pruning!
Hola dnaleonard,
Never mind the roses just pray for no rain...or too much of it!
But plenty of historic places & things to do on wet days anyway!
Can't advise you on albergues del peregrino, as I have used casas rurales and alternative accomodation but I have lived in Asturias & Cantabria and these are some of my favourite places along the camino del norte to visit with time.
San Sebastian:
One of my favourite cities & a foodies paradise (2nd city with Michelin stars in the world) & the best pinchos & tapas!
Bilbao:
Casco historico & Guggenheim museum. The rest is too industrial for me.
Santander:
Palacio de la Magdalena, el sardinero and old part of the city. Rest ordinary.
Santillana del Mar:
A must. This village & near by Altamira caves are a UNESCO world heritage site.
Comillas & Laredo:
Seaside villages like so many others along the way with beautiful scenary.
Llanes:
A real favourite of mine. A quaint fishing village, known for seafood dishes & sidra. Also an easy drive from there to Picos de Europa & Covadonga (most visited places in Asturias).
Ribadesella:
Known as the pearl of Asturias. Another favourite village. A must to visit: Tito Bustillo caves; a UNESCO world heriage site & you are lucky as they open in early March!
Also in the area is La ruta y museo de los dinosaurios.
Near Colunga there is also a place I love visiting... the quaint fishing village of Lastres:
Popular for its fresh local seafood dishes & cider.
Oviedo:
Casco antiguo and the cathedral with its Camara Santa. Also its UNESCO romanic monumentos.
Luarca:
Interesting fishing village.
Although I have passed through the rest of the places on the route to Santiago & many beautiful places are worth mentioning I didn' t have enough time to know them well so I encourage other forum members to contribute.
I have also been to some amazing winter/spring harvest festivals along the way. San Sebastian & Ribadesella amongst others. I'll check dates & post in case you are in the area.
Saludos y buen camino!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Mima, I appreciated reading your comprehensive list! It evoked many memories for me as I have visited a majority of the places you mention on my Norte walk!
 

Heikki

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Burgos to Santiago 2008, Madrid to Sáhagun 2012, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2014, Camino del Norte 2020
Thank you for the list, I’ll be on the Norte next month.
 

dnaleonard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
One Camino Or The Other (Feb/March 2020)
Mima, Thank you so much for sharing your treasures. This is the first I have read about the caves and will definitely seek them out. I do hope I am lucky enough to happen upon a village festival. One of my favorite hiking memories is walking down a mountain into a fete de village. What a treat to meet everyone in town! Thank you! Amy
 

Mima1965

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo/Frances (2021)
Mima, I appreciated reading your comprehensive list! It evoked many memories for me as I have visited a majority of the places you mention on my Norte walk!
Gracias Chrissy! I'm a new member and blown away by the generosity of spirit on this forum. Learning & inspired by all of you everyday!
I was planning el camino frances for 2021 but I'm now booking tickets for May this year....with the intention of returning in 21!
Saludos y buen camino del norte!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte 17.4.-25.5. 2018
Ruta Jakobean Gran Canaria 13-15.11.2018
Hi dnaleonard

If you are planning to make your camino in February-March, be prepared for the fact that the inns and cafes are a bit open at that time. We did Camino Norte in April-May 2018 and there were little openings at that time. Also, there were not many dining options available during the day trip.

Buen Camino
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
My favourite places to stay were
- los doce tribus (twelve tribes) about 5 km before San Sebastian
- el reposo de andayon in Cuerres
- o Xistral after Abadin
- Izarbide after Deba
They have in common that they are not situated in a village, no shops or restaurants, they serve good food
I would advice you to look into the many possibilities to take alternative trails that avoid the many stretches of asphalt, are more close to the sea but add on some extra miles. It is very worthwhile. You can find them on this forum, under the thread " coastal alternatives to the norte's asphalt" My favourite one was the coastal route from Santander to Boo de Pielagos, it is about 25-30 kilometers longer than the "yellow arrow" route.
If you stay on the Norte and don't cross over to the Primitivo I would stay 2 nights in Ribadeo and visit the " catedral beach". (Playa de catedrales)You can take a train, taxi or bus and walk back ( or the other way around, depending on the hours of low tide. The beach is very beautifull and the walk is also very rewarding ( certainly when the flowers are in bloom) it is about 15 kilometers I think, the route is marked ( ruta de cantabrica)
You can leave your backpack in Ribadeo and have an easy walk
 

dnaleonard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
One Camino Or The Other (Feb/March 2020)
Hi dnaleonard

If you are planning to make your camino in February-March, be prepared for the fact that the inns and cafes are a bit open at that time. We did Camino Norte in April-May 2018 and there were little openings at that time. Also, there were not many dining options available during the day trip.

Buen Camino
[/QUOT
Thank you for the advice!
 

dnaleonard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
One Camino Or The Other (Feb/March 2020)
Thank you all for your generous replies. I will add all of these suggestions to my outline. I appreciate you so much!
 

suzanne perron

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Frances, Norte, Primitivo, Aragones, 1/2 Via Plata. Future: Italian part of Via Francigena
For anyone willing to share their favorite stops, accommodations, or side trips along the Norte, I would be thrilled to hear them. I will have 42 days to make my way across, so in theory, I will have some time to smell the roses. Or, considering my Feb/March timetable, I guess I could give them some dormant season pruning!
It is a great walk. Here are 2 suggestions. If you stay in Gernika (city bombarded my Germans during the Spanish Civil War to help Franco) you should check out the reproduction of the Picasso mural depicting that day (original painting in Madrid). There is a bench in font of it (outside) and it is intersting to see. The albergue there is very nice and comfortable too.
Too bad it will be Feb/March as there is great swimming along the first days (San Sebastian, Deba ...)!
If you stay in Laredo (monastery type albergue, simple with communal meals), there is a wonderful little walk to a Tunnel just 1km from downtown. It is about 250 meters long and you come out of it to a beautiflu view of the ocean crashing on the rocks.. Really neat (well lit, not scary!). Google it!
I turned off onto the Primitivo. There is a milestone with 2 arrows one saying straight for the Norte the other saying left for the Primitivo ... it is only then that you need to make up your mind where you want to go! You needn't even think about it until you get there.The Primitivo is more challenging but oh so lovely ...
 

BryanBailey

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017
Caserio Pozueta Albergue (5.3 km past Gernika). Great pilgrims meal

Albergue de Peregrinos Zenarruza Monastery (7 km past Markina). Craft beer made by the monks.

Albergue La Cabana Del Abuelo Peuto near Guemes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
Hola dnaleonard,
Never mind about the roses just pray for no rain! Can't advise you on albergues del peregrino, as I have used casas rurales and alternative accomodation but I have lived in Asturias & Cantabria and these are some of my favourite places to spend to visit with time:
San Sebastian, a must to see & a foodies paradise (
I agree. San Sebastian is fantastic
 

dnaleonard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
One Camino Or The Other (Feb/March 2020)
Thank you! I have added these things to my running list. I am trying to plug all of the recommendations in where they will happen. Wishing I was one of those people with the nickname "Spreadsheet"! I am lucky to have a friend with an apartment on the playa in San Sebastian, right on the Camino, so I intend to properly stuff myself with tapas for a couple of days before I get on my way in earnest. I am very much looking forward to immersing myself in Spain. I have never been there. Only a month away!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
My favorite place to stay overall: Casa Carmina in Muros de Nalón which is a privately run albergue.
Cities/towns to spend more time: Bilbao, San Sebastian, Santander, Luarca to name a few.
I stayed there at the end of October 2019. It is a really nice albergue. Those last few weeks on the Norte I didn't see alot of pilgrims anywhere. Most nights just a few in my albergue or just me. It was just me at Casa Carmina the night I was there. There were some people sleeping upstairs in the private rooms but it was me downstairs. Not another pilgrim in sight haha.
 

WayWalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2016
Yes, Casa Carmina was awesome. I will never forget the dessert we had with our dinner there queso de vaca, cheese from the cow, was a yogurt type dessert with honey drizzled on top that was so fresh it tasted like all the cow lined paths we had walked this far. Hard to descend delicious! My husband had the apple compote with apples picked out of the trees on sight.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Totally agree on the Casa Carmina recommendation. And if you stay there, I would highly recommend taking an afternoon bus to Cudillero to visit this off-Camino jewel of a little town. Touristy yes, but understandably so. I was there on a weekday afternoon in June, though, and it wasn´t at all packed with tourists. The bus stop is very close to the albergue.

Another of my favorite albergues on the "second half" of the Camino del Norte is O Xistral, about 6 km after Abadín and before Vilalba. It's a terrific albergue with lots of comfortable outdoor spots for relaxing. Very rural, and the owners provide an evening meal. The albergue itself is really one of the nicest. Walking those extra 6 km beyond Abadín then make it easy for you to bypass Vilalba the next day (one of my least favorite places on the Norte, but others may disagree) and continue to Baamonde, if you are comfortable with days around 30. O Xistral to Baamonde is 32, I believe.

One last Norte recommendation -- try to get to Playa dos Catedrales, it is an amazing spot. Very crowded, but easy to get to from Ribadeo in a cab. Go at low tide. In high summer tickets are needed, but we went in June and it wasn´t an issue. The beach was crowded but not mobbed, as it must be in high summer.

And as a general recommendation, if you are a bit adventursome, check out some of the gorgeous coastal alternatives that are frequently within a km of the camino, which trudges along the side of the national highway. This thread has been added to over the past few years by others, so it is a pretty good resource.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Love your input, Laurie! We plan to visit the places you mention. Unfortunately I am not staying at your favorite albergues as I used booking.com exclusively, having now three newbies joining up!
 

The Kolbist

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
past: Frances, inland Portuguese, Fatima
future: Del Norte, coastal Porugues, Englis
thank y'all.. we will start our Del Norte Camino in Irun on the last week of May... this discussion is very helpful for us..
 

Kelly Catlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking Camino April 8th 2017 start date - excited much!!!
My favorite place to stay overall: Casa Carmina in Muros de Nalón which is a privately run albergue.
Cities/towns to spend more time: Bilbao, San Sebastian, Santander, Luarca to name a few.
I walked the first half of the norte and then the primitivo last year, and this year will walk from Gijon to Santiago de Compostela. I would appreciate any great albergues you stayed at. Thank you in advance.
 

dnaleonard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
One Camino Or The Other (Feb/March 2020)
Totally agree on the Casa Carmina recommendation. And if you stay there, I would highly recommend taking an afternoon bus to Cudillero to visit this off-Camino jewel of a little town. Touristy yes, but understandably so. I was there on a weekday afternoon in June, though, and it wasn´t at all packed with tourists. The bus stop is very close to the albergue.

Another of my favorite albergues on the "second half" of the Camino del Norte is O Xistral, about 6 km after Abadín and before Vilalba. It's a terrific albergue with lots of comfortable outdoor spots for relaxing. Very rural, and the owners provide an evening meal. The albergue itself is really one of the nicest. Walking those extra 6 km beyond Abadín then make it easy for you to bypass Vilalba the next day (one of my least favorite places on the Norte, but others may disagree) and continue to Baamonde, if you are comfortable with days around 30. O Xistral to Baamonde is 32, I believe.

One last Norte recommendation -- try to get to Playa dos Catedrales, it is an amazing spot. Very crowded, but easy to get to from Ribadeo in a cab. Go at low tide. In high summer tickets are needed, but we went in June and it wasn´t an issue. The beach was crowded but not mobbed, as it must be in high summer.

And as a general recommendation, if you are a bit adventursome, check out some of the gorgeous coastal alternatives that are frequently within a km of the camino, which trudges along the side of the national highway. This thread has been added to over the past few years by others, so it is a pretty good resource.
Thank you so much for your response! I have added these places to my list and your coastal alternative document is the first thing I saved to my phone when I joined this site. I plan to take every coastal alternative available and should have plenty of time to do so with 42 days of walking. I can’t believe I leave for Spain in two weeks. I better choose my walking clothes get my pack together! Yikes! Thanks again for your input. You have offered such great information for so many all over this site.
 

dnaleonard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
One Camino Or The Other (Feb/March 2020)
Yes, Casa Carmina was awesome. I will never forget the dessert we had with our dinner there queso de vaca, cheese from the cow, was a yogurt type dessert with honey drizzled on top that was so fresh it tasted like all the cow lined paths we had walked this far. Hard to descend delicious! My husband had the apple compote with apples picked out of the trees on sight.
I hear I may be lucky enough to run into spring festivals in some of the villages this time of year. One of my favorite memories from Tour du Mont Blanc was walking down the mountain into a tiny fete du village. We were offered raclette and wine and great company. The people really are the best part of travel!
 

dnaleonard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
One Camino Or The Other (Feb/March 2020)
I stayed there at the end of October 2019. It is a really nice albergue. Those last few weeks on the Norte I didn't see alot of pilgrims anywhere. Most nights just a few in my albergue or just me. It was just me at Casa Carmina the night I was there. There were some people sleeping upstairs in the private rooms but it was me downstairs. Not another pilgrim in sight haha.
I think that walking in February, I am in for the same kind of experience!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I think that walking in February, I am in for the same kind of experience!
Most definitely. I did the CF and just finished in early December. Gronze and the Buen Camino app were wrong over 50% of the time about albergues beating open or closed. Mostly wrong about albergues that they said were open. So call ahead. Definitely take a sleeping bag. Some of those albergue will be really cold.
 

dnaleonard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
One Camino Or The Other (Feb/March 2020)
My favorite place to stay overall: Casa Carmina in Muros de Nalón which is a privately run albergue.
Cities/towns to spend more time: Bilbao, San Sebastian, Santander, Luarca to name a few.
Casa Carmina is definitely getting the most popular vote here!
 

dnaleonard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
One Camino Or The Other (Feb/March 2020)
Most definitely. I did the CF and just finished in early December. Gronze and the Buen Camino app were wrong over 50% of the time about albergues beating open or closed. Mostly wrong about albergues that they said were open. So call ahead. Definitely take a sleeping bag. Some of those albergue will be really cold.
I am taking a super light sleeping bag. I'm sure it will be worth it. Even when it's not freezing it's nice to have a woobie from home.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I am taking a super light sleeping bag. I'm sure it will be worth it. Even when it's not freezing it's nice to have a woobie from home.
I hope it is really warm. I know you can buy super light well insulated bags but are very expensive. There were a couple of nights I slept in municipald that were in Galicia and the only option and it was colder inside the albergue than outside. One night a pilgrim and were alone in our room and you could see your breath as we talked. We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. That was the end of October.
 

dnaleonard

Member
Camino(s) past & future
One Camino Or The Other (Feb/March 2020)
I hope it is really warm. I know you can buy super light well insulated bags but are very expensive. There were a couple of nights I slept in municipald that were in Galicia and the only option and it was colder inside the albergue than outside. One night a pilgrim and were alone in our room and you could see your breath as we talked. We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. That was the end of October.
I had an apartment in my twenties where I could see my breath in the morning. The good old days! I have a nice little down flip bag that is 30deg on one side and 50deg on the other. It keeps me toasty in a tent as long as the weather is 35F or above and it compresses down very small. It should be perfect for the job.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
You can always put more clothes on when needed and hopefully it will never be needed!
 

Kelly Catlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking Camino April 8th 2017 start date - excited much!!!
Hola dnaleonard,
Never mind the roses just pray for no rain...or too much of it!
But plenty of historic places & things to do on wet days anyway!
Can't advise you on albergues del peregrino, as I have used casas rurales and alternative accomodation but I have lived in Asturias & Cantabria and these are some of my favourite places along the camino del norte to visit with time.
San Sebastian:
One of my favourite cities & a foodies paradise (2nd city with Michelin stars in the world) & the best pinchos & tapas!
Bilbao:
Casco historico & Guggenheim museum. The rest is too industrial for me.
Santander:
Palacio de la Magdalena, el sardinero and old part of the city. Rest ordinary.
Santillana del Mar:
A must. This village & near by Altamira caves are a UNESCO world heritage site.
Comillas & Laredo:
Seaside villages like so many others along the way with beautiful scenary.
Llanes:
A real favourite of mine. A quaint fishing village, known for seafood dishes & sidra. Also an easy drive from there to Picos de Europa & Covadonga (most visited places in Asturias).
Ribadesella:
Known as the pearl of Asturias. Another favourite village. A must to visit: Tito Bustillo caves; a UNESCO world heriage site & you are lucky as they open in early March!
Also in the area is La ruta y museo de los dinosaurios.
Near Colunga there is also a place I love visiting... the quaint fishing village of Lastres:
Popular for its fresh local seafood dishes & cider.
Oviedo:
Casco antiguo and the cathedral with its Camara Santa. Also its UNESCO romanic monumentos.
Luarca:
Interesting fishing village.
Although I have passed through the rest of the places on the route to Santiago & many beautiful places are worth mentioning I didn' t have enough time to know them well so I encourage other forum members to contribute.
I have also been to some amazing winter/spring harvest festivals along the way. San Sebastian & Ribadesella amongst others. I'll check dates & post in case you are in the area.
Saludos y buen camino!
Which places did you enjoy on the second half of the norte, or any favourite albergues?
 

Kelly Catlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking Camino April 8th 2017 start date - excited much!!!
Yes, Casa Carmina was awesome. I will never forget the dessert we had with our dinner there queso de vaca, cheese from the cow, was a yogurt type dessert with honey drizzled on top that was so fresh it tasted like all the cow lined paths we had walked this far. Hard to descend delicious! My husband had the apple compote with apples picked out of the trees on sight.
I am definitely ear marking this one
 

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