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guidebook necessery?


New Member
Hello everybody,
Thanks for the information this forum offers. I am going to walk the camino del norte in july and august this summer. Last year I walked the camino frances and I loved it. Last year I didnt really prepare for the walk, I just red about it on the internet and in 3 days my backpack was packed and I was on the train to France. When I arrived in Saint Jean Pied de Port I just followed the other people to a little house were there were some people who gave pilgrim passports and a little map of the mountains and the villages(I dont know how you call such a map but the heights were on it too). Last year I did not have a guidebook, sometimes I read other peoples guidebooks or just followed them. And it was really easy to find the way because there were yellow arrows almost everywhere.

Since the camino del norte is less crowded and as I read it is not always clear which way to go, I was wondering if at the first place you get a heightmap and a list of all the albergues as we got on the frensh route. If not I could make one myself from the information on the internet. And my second question is if a road discription like in the guidebooks is really nessecery.

Thank you very much, Sam
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Veteran wanderer
Past OR future Camino
Hi Sam,

The Norte is quite different from the Francés.

Forget about the height map and the list of albergues. You will need a guidebook for that info.

Although the way is marked, it's tricky at times, especially in Asturia where it can get confusing.

I would strongly recommend a guidebook or at least a copy of the info found on some other sites such as this one:

Buen camino!


Veteran Member
That's a prompt response and hopefully yields practical information to you Sam. I've clicked on the link and although I don't expect to be on the Norte anytime soon I say thank you to you Jean-Marc.

Buen Camino.
I've not done the Norte myself, but last summer on the Frances, I ran into someone who started on the Norte and then took a but down to join the Frances because he said that he had problems finding budget accommodation on the North. He said that because the Norte route was quite 'touristy' but not in a peregrino way, prices reflected this. This is something you might want to consider (and even more reason to get a good guide). This may well have changed in view of the preparations for 2010.

I really can't give enough praise to the people in the pilgrim's office in St Jean. The info sheets they produce are very helpful indeed. When I arrived in Roncesvalles to get my sello, a number of Spanish peregrinos were getting their credenciales. I may be wrong here, but I don't remember them getting any helpful photocopies. So, I think that it is fair to say that you can't regard the information that you were given in St. Jean as standard practice.


Active Member
Past OR future Camino
I am on the Norte now (in Guernika). I got the CSJ guidebook and although I appreciate the author´s hard work, I am not finding it useful and have pretty much abandoned it and am just following the yellow arrows. I had the Brierly guide(last year on Camino Frances) and really liked the maps that showed where the foutains are, the next village, distance between villages , etc. I would download some pages as suggested above from mundicamino and/or the eroski site.
This camino is gorgeous. The views are just amazing. I cannot recommend it enough. You will enjoy it. It is a lot more expensive than the frances but more albergues will be opening in july which will keep the costs down.
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New Member
thanks everybody,

I think I will do what viajero suggests. I am copying all the 'etapa' maps from and I have also combined several albergue lists from all over this forum into one document. Then with these two combined I'll take the chances. And when you get lost you'll always know you have to go west :).
Thanks viajero, your post is really motivating. About the costs, I will also prepare to sleep outside of the albergue is too expencive or compleo. Does anyone know if this is well possible on the Norte. I know it was on the camino frances, I also met someone who was walking the camino frances without money at all, in fact even traveled all the way from letvia or something to saint jean pied.
thanks again, and have a wonderful journey viajero


Javier Martin

Veteran Member
viajero said:
...It is a lot more expensive than the frances but more albergues will be opening in july which will keep the costs down.

It's true that this area is more expensive, but is something related to the region, not the whole Camino del Norte. This region and Cantabria is more expensive, as Navarra.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.

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