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Is the camino del Norte in August a terrible idea?

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emjbelton

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hoping to do the del norte and/or the primitivo this year
Hello! I’ve been planning to walk the Camino del Norte from mid July this year, but the more I read on this forum the more I wonder if I should instead walk just the primitivo away from the crowds of tourists.

Has anyone walked the northern way in July/August and could advise if the crowds take away from the magic enough for it to be worth reconsidering ?

I’m sorry, I know this is something that comes up a lot... just feeling a little lost.
 

Lirsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo, Norte, Francés, Volunteer Hospitalero.
I would say that it is a good idea. It will be more crowded that the Primitivo, but still acceptable.

Anyhow, if you decide to take the Primitivo and the Primitivo looks to you a little too short, you can start in Leon and do the "Camino del Salvador" up to Oviedo and the Primitivo from Oviedo. This would add 5 more days to the Primitivo .... and the El Salvador is really amazing
 

Derf

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
St John to Santiago (2013) Santiago to Finisterre (2014)
One point re August: Spanish school holidays fall between June & September so as the Northern route which touches on the likes of Llanes, Santillana del Mar so expect crowds. Llanes is brilliant by the way. In 2016 in August I walked part of the Nothern route Santander to Sebrayo and then the Primitivo to Oviedo. My main problem was with markers. Unlike the Camino Frances where you would have to make an effort to get lost on the Nord, I had to backtrack more than once. Having said that I found the whole experience worthwhile and the weather was brilliant only rained once in Oviedo on my last day.
 

Trude

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
I think it’s a great Idea the Norte is beautiful any time of the year. The crowds will only be in the towns and that can be fun. You may even get a swim in but the water is pretty cold up north. Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte Sept 2013
Camino del Norte Sept 2014
Camino del Norte 2015,16,17,18
There is a lot of countryside and wild places on El Norte. There may be a few students and albergue s could be a bit full but why not give it a try and fast track to the Primitivo if too crowded. Buen Camino
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Hello! I’ve been planning to walk the Camino del Norte from mid July this year, but the more I read on this forum the more I wonder if I should instead walk just the primitivo away from the crowds of tourists.

Has anyone walked the northern way in July/August and could advise if the crowds take away from the magic enough for it to be worth reconsidering ?

I’m sorry, I know this is something that comes up a lot... just feeling a little lost.
@emjbelton, welcome to the forum.
That “little bit lost” feeling, that’s normal. Getting confused, bewildered and distressed as you read more and more conflicting opinion, that’s normal too.
Hordes of tourists on the Norte, well that’s especially normal ‘cos that beautiful coastline is where lot and lots of lovely people go for their all too brief holidays. And some pilgrims go there too. In July and August that means there’s a bit of competition for hotel beds but remarkably few holiday makers want to spend their nights in an Albergue.
July and August will be busy on just about any Camino you have ever heard of and on some of the others too. If you want to make a pilgrimage to Santiago that should not really be a problem: if you want to make the perfect Camino you just need to figure out what that is. 😉
“God does not weigh your pack nor Santiago count your steps.” “Tourists are just Pilgims who have not yet found their “Way”.” “The next Cafe might be better but it might also be “cerrado”.”
Other homilies are available. Buen Camino
 

Csutak

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances, Norte, Ingles, Primitivo, Aragones, Vasco, SanSalvador, Fisterre, Muxia - more than once
In July the Norte is not too crowded. But August is a bit different, as mentioned above. So I suggest you start at the beginning (or at latest in the middle)of July) if you want to avoid the holidaymakers.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
Hello! I’ve been planning to walk the Camino del Norte from mid July this year, but the more I read on this forum the more I wonder if I should instead walk just the primitivo away from the crowds of tourists.

Has anyone walked the northern way in July/August and could advise if the crowds take away from the magic enough for it to be worth reconsidering ?

I’m sorry, I know this is something that comes up a lot... just feeling a little lost.
Hi and welcome!
I’d say: Go as planned! There will be holiday makers on the coastline, of course but then, you may even be blessed with good weather 😎.
If you really don’t like it, switch to the Primitivo (or somewhere else). No stress.
I haven’t walked either - yet - btw but whatever I choose, I always have a plan B.😉
Good luck and buen camino!
 

Walton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 Sjpp to Sdc. 2018 Lisbon to Sdc to Finisterre. Next up hopefully VDP or Del Norte.
@emjbelton, welcome to the forum.
....
“God does not weigh your pack nor Santiago count your steps.” ..... “The next Cafe might be better but it might also be “cerrado”.” ....
I wish God weighed my pack daily, so I could prove once and for all that my wife kindly and frequently puts 'extra' things from her pack into my pack, while I'm not looking. 😇 She is, of course, in denial. "Don't you remember packing my sleeping bag and shoes" 😃.

My cheap Garmin counts steps plus or minus 5%, but if using poles while wearing it, it misses a lot of steps. If someone with better connections than I could arrange for Santiago to count our steps, that would be be an exciting enhancement to any Camino I recon.

On Cafes - The first cafe in any town is always more expensive than the second, but the second might be indeed be "cerrado" or actually doesn't exist, until you get to the next town which also might be 'cerrado'.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature
I wish God weighed my pack daily, so I could prove once and for all that my wife kindly and frequently puts 'extra' things from her pack into my pack, while I'm not looking. 😇 She is, of course, in denial. "Don't you remember packing my sleeping bag and shoes" 😃.

My cheap Garmin counts steps plus or minus 5%, but if using poles while wearing it, it misses a lot of steps. If someone with better connections than I could arrange for Santiago to count our steps, that would be be an exciting enhancement to any Camino I recon.

On Cafes - The first cafe in any town is always more expensive than the second, but the second might be indeed be "cerrado" or actually doesn't exist, until you get to the next town which also might be 'cerrado'.
Never ever miss that first café, it would be rude to. 😁 And more importantly, as mentioned above, you may never see another one 😳😉
 
Camino(s) past & future
this will be my first. Norte September 2018.
Hello! I’ve been planning to walk the Camino del Norte from mid July this year, but the more I read on this forum the more I wonder if I should instead walk just the primitivo away from the crowds of tourists.

Has anyone walked the northern way in July/August and could advise if the crowds take away from the magic enough for it to be worth reconsidering ?

I’m sorry, I know this is something that comes up a lot... just feeling a little lost.
It is a great idea! Go in late August into September. Norte then switch at Oviedo to the Primitivo. Fantastic combo. Did it last year.
 

Mark T17

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo 2012
Frances Sept 2017 (bike)
It is a great idea! Go in late August into September. Norte then switch at Oviedo to the Primitivo. Fantastic combo. Did it last year.
Hi Andy, I'm planning on doing the Norte and Primitivo combo in 2022. Have you written a report on this forum or can you give us some words of wisdom? I'm planning on walking in May/June because it fits in better with work. Any thoughts?

Thanks
M
 
Camino(s) past & future
this will be my first. Norte September 2018.
I just recommend the last summer because I had wonderful weather, always found a place to stay ( mostly public or municipal albergues) and ran into some lovely walking companions. The region is extremely hilly and I think the coast is prone to rain, more so in the spring. I walked until late September with only 4 rainy or semi rainy days. It is green and gorgeous. The cities are really nice, interesting if you have time. Asturias has some amazing 7th/8th century churches. Lugo Cathedral, Santillana Del Mar. Plenty of beaches for swimming. Hospitaleros/as were for the most part quite lovely and helpful. I’ve only just really started looking at the forum these days because I’m interested in the VDLP for 2020. I’d like to bike part of it...
 

Pilger99

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
addicted since 1999 (Aragones, CF), lots of caminos in Spain and Portugal since then
If you walk the beaches on a sunny sommer weekend it will be very crowded (as any beach). Walking 5km away between some villages might look deserted.
Juli/August is busy with pilgrim and "turigrinos" and pure tourists. All compete for a place to stay. On the other hand, some places are exclusive to pilgrim and these are much more in high summer than in winter (In June and September I found several places still/already closed, so I had to look for the touristic albergues and pensions).
So I guess walking from albergue to albergue should be OK in summer, while finding something else is the challenge. Places at the beach will be more populated by "turigrinos" (= pilgrims with more touristic, party and low budget intentions) than in other months.

In statistics August is always a bit more busy than July, but both are the traditional months for spanish and french families to be on vacation (the whole month!!!, whenever possible). The exchange weekend between the two vacation months is known for traffic jam, car crashes etc. Only the Semana Santa weekends compare.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
If you have a choice I would always advice to do the Norte in September/October instead of July/August. The tourists have gone home and most of the time the weather is nice the beginning of autumn.

Most of the time. It is unpredictable here. Last February we had much more hours of sun than last July, which was rainy and chilly.
 

Mark Duda

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2014)
That time of the year does have some advantages. Festivals are marvelous ways to experience the culture and are more likely at that time. The water is much warmer along the Norte than that of the Portuguese way. It is drier (hotter too but not like the south) and so discreet wild camping can be done with a better experience. Sleeping on the beach is a bit cold and damp; on some urban beaches it will be discouraged by the Guardia.

Disadvantages can counter each point stated above. Bring more money, for one. Places fill up quickly by pilgrims who are taking only two weeks to do a portion of the Camino: it’s a fun, cheap vacation for the young Spanish students. Matchless beauty is linked with strenuous climbs and descents. Mosquitoes welcome you more quickly than some hospitaleros.

No matter. Do it and you will appreciate everything.
 

manoll

Peregrina 2013
Camino(s) past & future
CDN 2013, 2018
Camino Primitivo - 2013, 2018
Camino Sanabrés - 2016
Camino Portugués Coastal - 2019
It's your Camino and you, and only you can make it a wondrous journey! It's not about the number of people along the trail, but the beauty that surrounds you, how you absorb it and bask in it; and, of course the cultural experience as you travel through the most unique provinces on the northern coast!

Don't let anything deter you from doing Camino del Norte, it is a marvelous journey, and if you continue on to the Primitivo it will only make your camino more memorable!

I have travelled this route 2 times and I would do it again in a heartbeat. It has been exhilarating to say the least!

Ultreïa!
 

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