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Guidebook for Norte?

Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones
#1
Hello All,
Just starting to plan this year's Camino. We are seriously considering the Norte route beginning towards the end of September. I have been reading with interest some of the recent discussions about coastal alternatives along this route. I have been wondering which guidebook others have used for the Norte? I have heard positive reports about both the Cicerone guide and the Wise Pilgrims book. I am wondering which of these show some of the coastal alternative routes? We travel without any electronic devices so will be relying solely on the guidebook we take along. Any advice would be sincerely appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Many more to come in my future God willing !
#2
I just ordered the Cicerone guide. It was printed a couple of years ago, but most of it seemed to still pertain to today. Go online to Amazon and you can read a 20-40 page "sample" of it to give you some idea if it will work for your needs. It seemed fairly comprehensive.

Buen Camino !
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (SJPP to SDC); Finisterre and Muxia; Portuguese; Primitivo; Norte (Irun to SDC); Ingles
#3
We're planning on doing the Norte in May - June, and I was excited about the publication of the Wise Pilgrim print version, since we had found the Wise Pilgrim app. very helpful on the Primitivo. However, the print version is very difficult to use. The font size is so tiny that the text is almost unreadable wihout reading glasses (which I don't generally use), and the overall maps are separated from the description by hundreds of pages so you're always flipping back and forth. On the plus side, it is packed full of information, with very comprehensive lodgings listings, and plenty of town maps (which are again difficult to use because of the minuscule font size). It does list the coastal alternatives -- at least insofar as I've researched them -- but it doesn't have much in the way of evaluative descriptions, like why one alternative is better than another.
Being somewhat disappointed overall, I then ordered the Cicerone guide, which is generally a lot clearer in format, and easier to digest. The authors are also less shy about making recommendations, and explaining their reasoning. It also lists the coastal alternatives. On the down side, there's much less information overall, especially with respect to lodgings. The stage maps are better than in the Wise Pilgrim book, but there are no city / town maps at all.
To me, there was no clear winner, but if you're going to do without any electronic apps., such as gronze or the Wise Pilgrim app itself to supplement the written book, I would probably opt for the Wise Pilgrim book, since it simply has more information. Just bring your magnifying glass.
Also, if you haven't found it already, check out Peregrina 2000's thread entitled Coastal Alternatives to the Norte's Asphalt, which is linked below. She lays them out very clearly, and if you can afford to order both books, you can then check out in detail whether they include her alternatives (which is what I'm in the process of doing now).
 

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#4
Both Northern Caminos and Wise Pilgrim's book have coastal alternatives, I think at least as many as the ones I listed in the thread. But if you have a GPS you will be fine. Though the paths are very obvious (since you are walking along the ocean it's hard to get lost), the connections between the Camino and the coastal path and back to the Camino are not always obvious. I did all the ones I described and didn't have a guidebook. Gronze online is all you need for lodging, and the Camino itself is so well marked you don't need anything to tell you where to go. Good luck, the coastal alternatives are very very very beautiful!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones
#5
Thanks, Bob. I'll take a look on Amazon.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones
#6
Many thanks, Andycohn, for your thoughtful comments regarding the two publications.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF April 2016 April - Jun
Del Norte planned 2018 May - Jul
#7
We're planning on doing the Norte in May - June, and I was excited about the publication of the Wise Pilgrim print version, since we had found the Wise Pilgrim app. very helpful on the Primitivo. However, the print version is very difficult to use. The font size is so tiny that the text is almost unreadable wihout reading glasses (which I don't generally use), and the overall maps are separated from the description by hundreds of pages so you're always flipping back and forth. On the plus side, it is packed full of information, with very comprehensive lodgings listings, and plenty of town maps (which are again difficult to use because of the minuscule font size). It does list the coastal alternatives -- at least insofar as I've researched them -- but it doesn't have much in the way of evaluative descriptions, like why one alternative is better than another.
Being somewhat disappointed overall, I then ordered the Cicerone guide, which is generally a lot clearer in format, and easier to digest. The authors are also less shy about making recommendations, and explaining their reasoning. It also lists the coastal alternatives. On the down side, there's much less information overall, especially with respect to lodgings. The stage maps are better than in the Wise Pilgrim book, but there are no city / town maps at all.
To me, there was no clear winner, but if you're going to do without any electronic apps., such as gronze or the Wise Pilgrim app itself to supplement the written book, I would probably opt for the Wise Pilgrim book, since it simply has more information. Just bring your magnifying glass.
Also, if you haven't found it already, check out Peregrina 2000's thread entitled Coastal Alternatives to the Norte's Asphalt, which is linked below. She lays them out very clearly, and if you can afford to order both books, you can then check out in detail whether they include her alternatives (which is what I'm in the process of doing now).
Hi... Also doing the del Norte in May-June and just received both these books I ordered from Ivar!! Will be pouring over them meticulously in the coming weeks. Thanks for the info on the thread which is so helpful as well. Our paths my cross...buen camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones
#8
Thanks, Perigrina2000, I have been following your suggestions related to the coastal alternatives. My main concern is whether or not we will be able to follow them without an electronic device (no cell phone or GPS). I have often found the information you have shared to be very useful.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones
#9
Thanks, Loretta. Maybe once you've had time to digest and compare the information contained in the two guides you could post your impressions. Thanks!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#10
We use the CSJ guides and write extra notes from such as Cicerone/Gronze into them. Very good guides and light to carry.
There are 2 guides needed for the Norte (Caminos del Norte A: Ruta de la Costa 1&2) cost £5 each. Note that the £4 guide to the Norte is an overview not a guide.
 
#11
Thanks, Perigrina2000, I have been following your suggestions related to the coastal alternatives. My main concern is whether or not we will be able to follow them without an electronic device (no cell phone or GPS). I have often found the information you have shared to be very useful.
Dave, the author of the Cicerone guide, told me he would have directions for all the Norte alternatives in his new edition, which should be out soon. See his comments in this thread that I rudely derailed when he posted a few weeks ago. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/mar-stages.52094/

I also had a few conversations in Santiago with Wise Pilgrim and know that he too was putting in coastal options. I remember our discussion of one of them in particular and saw how he described the turn-off in very easy to understand language. It was for the turn-off from the camino to the coast from La Franca, I think.

I could not have done the alternatives without a GPS, but as I said it was not so much for the trail itself but for getting to and from the trail from the Camino. I only bring a GPS when I walk solitary routes and didn't use it on the Norte proper, but it was essential for me on those transfer points. I will take a look at the alternatives thread and post something there about which ones I think are reasonable without a GPS, at least as best as I can remember.

Also, though andy posted the document from the coastal thread above, I would look at the thread itself because there are comments and additional routes noted in the discussions. Also a heads up about a "stone bridge" that you have to cross depending on which point you hop off the camino on the day into Llanes. I am a pretty cautious person and made it without too much adrenaline pumping, but for some it could be scary. I will have to ask Amancio if he has a picture,

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/coastal-alternatives-to-the-nortes-asphalt.49578/
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (SJPP to SDC); Finisterre and Muxia; Portuguese; Primitivo; Norte (Irun to SDC); Ingles
#12
Dave, the author of the Cicerone guide, told me he would have directions for all the Norte alternatives in his new edition, which should be out soon. See his comments in this thread that I rudely derailed when he posted a few weeks ago. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/mar-stages.52094/

I also had a few conversations in Santiago with Wise Pilgrim and know that he too was putting in coastal options. I remember our discussion of one of them in particular and saw how he described the turn-off in very easy to understand language. It was for the turn-off from the camino to the coast from La Franca, I think.

I could not have done the alternatives without a GPS, but as I said it was not so much for the trail itself but for getting to and from the trail from the Camino. I only bring a GPS when I walk solitary routes and didn't use it on the Norte proper, but it was essential for me on those transfer points. I will take a look at the alternatives thread and post something there about which ones I think are reasonable without a GPS, at least as best as I can remember.

Also, though andy posted the document from the coastal thread above, I would look at the thread itself because there are comments and additional routes noted in the discussions. Also a heads up about a "stone bridge" that you have to cross depending on which point you hop off the camino on the day into Llanes. I am a pretty cautious person and made it without too much adrenaline pumping, but for some it could be scary. I will have to ask Amancio if he has a picture,

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/coastal-alternatives-to-the-nortes-asphalt.49578/
Dave, the author of the Cicerone guide, told me he would have directions for all the Norte alternatives in his new edition, which should be out soon. See his comments in this thread that I rudely derailed when he posted a few weeks ago. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/mar-stages.52094/

I also had a few conversations in Santiago with Wise Pilgrim and know that he too was putting in coastal options. I remember our discussion of one of them in particular and saw how he described the turn-off in very easy to understand language. It was for the turn-off from the camino to the coast from La Franca, I think.

I could not have done the alternatives without a GPS, but as I said it was not so much for the trail itself but for getting to and from the trail from the Camino. I only bring a GPS when I walk solitary routes and didn't use it on the Norte proper, but it was essential for me on those transfer points. I will take a look at the alternatives thread and post something there about which ones I think are reasonable without a GPS, at least as best as I can remember.

Also, though andy posted the document from the coastal thread above, I would look at the thread itself because there are comments and additional routes noted in the discussions. Also a heads up about a "stone bridge" that you have to cross depending on which point you hop off the camino on the day into Llanes. I am a pretty cautious person and made it without too much adrenaline pumping, but for some it could be scary. I will have to ask Amancio if he has a picture,

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/coastal-alternatives-to-the-nortes-asphalt.49578/
Thanks for posting the link to your thread, and especially for putting together the information in the first place. Looking forward to the updated Cicerone guide.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (SJPP to SDC); Finisterre and Muxia; Portuguese; Primitivo; Norte (Irun to SDC); Ingles
#14
Just chiming in to say that all of the currently known coastal routes are included in the Wise Pilgrim book.
Thanks. Good to know. I was doing a one-by-one comparison, but now I can rest easy.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016, Portuguese 2017, May 2018 Norte
#15
Hi... Also doing the del Norte in May-June and just received both these books I ordered from Ivar!! Will be pouring over them meticulously in the coming weeks. Thanks for the info on the thread which is so helpful as well. Our paths my cross...buen camino
Hi Loretta, I am planning to start the Del Norte on May 1-4, 2018. This will be my third Cammino but my first alone. Hopefully we will meet up on the way. Let me know when you will start. Rose
 

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