A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Long distance routes with minimal walking on paved roads/paths

ChristianF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Coastal route Porto-Santiago (2016)
Hello there,

I'm looking for my next long distance walk and hoped to dip into the collective knowledge of this forum.

I'm looking for a route within Europe (including the UK) which has a low proportion of walking on paved roads/paths. I find that tarmac/asphalt etc doesn't agree with my feet/ankles/knees over long distances and would like to do a long distance route (1000+ kms / 2-3months) with as much as possible on 'off-road' terrain. Dirt or gravel paths are fine. I've walked the French and Portuguese ways so far, so would like to try something different.

I hoped to get a few suggestions :)

Thank you

Christian
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
The Le Puy? It follows the GR65 and is predominantly a nature walk. You could start from Geneva to add kms.

I recall shortening some of the stages ... I felt no need to walk up every stinking hill ... by following the road instead, but the marked route meandered down farm tracks and along fields and woods.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
The Via de la Plata is a good alternative. 1005 kms., easy walk (not many ups and downs).
 

Dromengro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Leon 1984
Frances (2021)
The Scottish National Trail https://www.scottishnationaltrail.org.uk/ 864km


Mostly offroad and might be a little too wild, don't expect a waymarked trail and I wouldn't recommend the northern part unless you have good navigational skills. Could also be combined with the Pennine Way to make an even longer route.
 
Last edited:

roving_rufus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013-2015) Portugues (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??) Camino from Ireland (2020-??)
Is this more about long distance walks rather than pilgrimage routes? There are many long distance routes across Europe including European Long Distance TRails, Grand Randonnee Routes in France, Kungsleden in Sweden. There are rules for instance on GR routes in France about avoiding roads as much as possible
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Estrecho, Ruta Fray Leopoldo,
Vía Serrana, Camino Francés
would like to do a long distance route (1000+ kms / 2-3months) with as much as possible on 'off-road' terrain.
Here's a link to all the GR's in Spain. Some, like the GR 7 (2,600 km), are over 1000 kms. Open the page in Chrome for auto-translation.

Here's a map of the e-paths:
 

ChristianF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Coastal route Porto-Santiago (2016)
The Le Puy? It follows the GR65 and is predominantly a nature walk. You could start from Geneva to add kms.

I recall shortening some of the stages ... I felt no need to walk up every stinking hill ... by following the road instead, but the marked route meandered down farm tracks and along fields and woods.

Thanks. Perhaps if I combined Le Puy with Camino Del Norte I would find a largely off-paved-road walk.
 

ChristianF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Coastal route Porto-Santiago (2016)
The Via de la Plata is a good alternative. 1005 kms., easy walk (not many ups and downs).
Looks good. Is this route furnished with Albergues or perhaps a little camping is in order?
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC

ChristianF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Coastal route Porto-Santiago (2016)
Is this more about long distance walks rather than pilgrimage routes? There are many long distance routes across Europe including European Long Distance TRails, Grand Randonnee Routes in France, Kungsleden in Sweden. There are rules for instance on GR routes in France about avoiding roads as much as possible
I would consider either type of route. I suppose the difference would be largely in the infrastructure along the route (albergues etc). If I were to opt for a non-Pilgrimage route I would be keen to wild camp as much as possible. I'd struggle to afford frequent hotels etc.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
I'm looking for a route within Europe (including the UK) which has a low proportion of walking on paved roads/paths.
I can't blame you for wanting to avoid asphalt. The further east you go, the less pavement. There are marked routes from the far eastern fringes of formerly-Catholic Europe (Bratislava, Warsaw, even the Baltic states). At least on the Prague - Nuremberg - Geneva - Le Puy - SJPP route, there was accommodation available at practical intervals. (Most European camping-grounds have some sort of cabins available, no need to carry a tent or stove for real camping.) Some maps for your inspiration: http://www.prodeogemist.nl/karte-vom-jakobsweg.html
 

ChristianF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Coastal route Porto-Santiago (2016)
Here's a link to all the GR's in Spain. Some, like the GR 7 (2,600 km), are over 1000 kms. Open the page in Chrome for auto-translation.

Here's a map of the e-paths:

Thanks very much. Is it realistic to expect to be able to find basic provisions along
the long distance trails (food supplies, water)? (Oh and I'm not talking about hunting... :)
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I walked the Via Baltica and Via Regia, lots of asphalt on both. The Le Puy, which I have walked 3 times now, has rather more asphalt, then I remember, especially, from just before Moissac onwards.
The Madrid route is 95% natural paths! Flattish. Heaven!
The trail network through the Czech Republic is superb. Very well marked and practically all off road. You can create your own route and snake through the country and discover beautiful landscapes and old towns and villages.
 

lindam

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, VDLP, Invierno, Portuguese, Madrid, Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan/Aragones/Loyola Norte
Thanks. Perhaps if I combined Le Puy with Camino Del Norte I would find a largely off-paved-road walk.
Do be advised that the Camino del Norte is not considered to be a loargely off-paved-road walk. Elsewhere on the forum you will find alternatives for reducing the amount of paved road walking on this route.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Estrecho, Ruta Fray Leopoldo,
Vía Serrana, Camino Francés
Thanks very much. Is it realistic to expect to be able to find basic provisions along
the long distance trails (food supplies, water)? (Oh and I'm not talking about hunting... :)
Hi Christian,
Re finding food and water along the GR's, yes, you will almost always be able to resupply every day. All the GR's we've walked go from village to village. In fact, you can usually resupply several times a day. To check it out, take a look at the topoguides that are linked to various GR's and are generally available free online.

Here are some other links that will give you an idea of how each stage ends in a village. Open the Spanish language sites in Chrome for auto-translation. Note that the shorter GR's - say 250 km - often intersect with longer ones, so you could string several together.




If you decide to research a specific GR, let me know, and I'll send you the links I've found for that one.
Elaine
 
Last edited:

ChristianF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Coastal route Porto-Santiago (2016)
I walked the Via Baltica and Via Regia, lots of asphalt on both. The Le Puy, which I have walked 3 times now, has rather more asphalt, then I remember, especially, from just before Moissac onwards.
The Madrid route is 95% natural paths! Flattish. Heaven!
The trail network through the Czech Republic is superb. Very well marked and practically all off road. You can create your own route and snake through the country and discover beautiful landscapes and old towns and villages.
Le Puy has lots of asphalt??
 

ChristianF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Coastal route Porto-Santiago (2016)
Do be advised that the Camino del Norte is not considered to be a loargely off-paved-road walk. Elsewhere on the forum you will find alternatives for reducing the amount of paved road walking on this route.
That's good to know. Thank you
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
Le Puy has lots of asphalt??
The Le Puy route has more asphalt than the routes further east, and much less than the CF. It's about one-third forest paths, one-third unpaved farm roads, and one-third paved country by-ways with little or no traffic. But it's not evenly distributed. West of Moissac, you hit the flats with the big commercial agriculture areas, so more of the paved stretches are there.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
The Le Puy route has more asphalt than the routes further east, and much less than the CF. It's about one-third forest paths, one-third unpaved farm roads, and one-third paved country by-ways with little or no traffic. But it's not evenly distributed. West of Moissac, you hit the flats with the big commercial agriculture areas, so more of the paved stretches are there.
I guess my memory of non-paved paths on the Le Puy was stuck in the earlier part. Thanks for clarifying.
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
If I were to opt for a non-Pilgrimage route I would be keen to wild camp as much as possible
I suggest you consider :
1) Thames Path from the source in the west to Woolwich on the eastern side of London. My recollection is that most of the trail is unpaved to at least Pitney Bridge, well into central London. About three weeks. Food and water etc most days. I wild camped most days to Windsor I noticed quite a number of wild campers discretely camping after that. I "camped" with my London family near Staines and used the variety of backpacker hostels from Waterloo eastwards.

2) 1 suggest walking some of the European route E2. In the UK I would consider a start near Birmingham in the west Midlands of England. The sectons before have many widerness tramps with infrequent supply points over 1000 km or more. If you consider this suggestion you combine part of Thames Path (Oxford to Weybridge - west London) an the North Downs Way from Guildford to Dover, diverting to Canterbury as you may be inclined.

why not take the Pilgim's Way from Winchester or London to Canterbury.
I'm my experience in Scotland and England nackpacker hostels are almost always only found in the larger cities and can fill up quickly. On my progress down the Thames in late June there were no beds at Oxford that week! B&Bs were expensive and tended to be hide-bound as to breakfast times. If sunrise was 06h breakfast was non-negotiable at 08h, for example. "And you want porridge? Don't you know... "

@ChristianF, kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going) and please let us all know what you intend and what you completed.
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
Le Puy has lots of asphalt??
Not much until Conques. Not much along Cele Valley. Asphalt creeps in more and more towards the end, into Moissac and after...I have walked this route 3 times now, could swear, they re routed some of the tracks...the last week or so had quite a lot of it....
 
Camino(s) past & future
June 2018
Le Puy has lots of asphalt??
NO! It's well signed, off road all the way to Cahors, and few people and those are 99% French, Lots of Auberges, a bit of 'wild camping' goes on. And you can wander on alternative routes, you must see Conques and you must see Pech Merle!
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
NO! It's well signed, off road all the way to Cahors, and few people and those are 99% French, Lots of Auberges, a bit of 'wild camping' goes on. And you can wander on alternative routes, you must see Conques and you must see Pech Merle!
Agree with Pech Merle, but after walking it 3 times, there is more asphalt than you would want!
 

ChristianF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Coastal route Porto-Santiago (2016)
I suggest you consider :
1) Thames Path from the source in the west to Woolwich on the eastern side of London. My recollection is that most of the trail is unpaved to at least Pitney Bridge, well into central London. About three weeks. Food and water etc most days. I wild camped most days to Windsor I noticed quite a number of wild campers discretely camping after that. I "camped" with my London family near Staines and used the variety of backpacker hostels from Waterloo eastwards.

2) 1 suggest walking some of the European route E2. In the UK I would consider a start near Birmingham in the west Midlands of England. The sectons before have many widerness tramps with infrequent supply points over 1000 km or more. If you consider this suggestion you combine part of Thames Path (Oxford to Weybridge - west London) an the North Downs Way from Guildford to Dover, diverting to Canterbury as you may be inclined.



I'm my experience in Scotland and England nackpacker hostels are almost always only found in the larger cities and can fill up quickly. On my progress down the Thames in late June there were no beds at Oxford that week! B&Bs were expensive and tended to be hide-bound as to breakfast times. If sunrise was 06h breakfast was non-negotiable at 08h, for example. "And you want porridge? Don't you know... "

@ChristianF, kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going) and please let us all know what you intend and what you completed.
Thanks Alwyn. It looks like you know the Via Francigena? How are you finding it?
 

ChristianF

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Coastal route Porto-Santiago (2016)
Hi Christian,
Re finding food and water along the GR's, yes, you will almost always be able to resupply every day. All the GR's we've walked go from village to village. In fact, you can usually resupply several times a day. To check it out, take a look at the topoguides that are linked to various GR's and are generally available free online.

Here are some other links that will give you an idea of how each stage ends in a village. Open the Spanish language sites in Chrome for auto-translation. Note that the shorter GR's - say 250 km - often intersect with longer ones, so you could string several together.




If you decide to research a specific GR, let me know, and I'll send you the links I've found for that one.
Elaine

Thanks Elaine. I was drawn to the Via Francigena, but I developed the impression that there is a lot of asphalt walking and following busy roads. Perhaps I could do a similar route via a combination of GR and E-paths and keep to the 'off road' stuff.

Which GR routes are you familiar with and as far as you know is wild camping tolerated? I appreciate this last question probably depends upon which country you're walking in.

Thanks again

Christian
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Estrecho, Ruta Fray Leopoldo,
Vía Serrana, Camino Francés
Which GR routes are you familiar with and as far as you know is wild camping tolerated? I appreciate this last question probably depends upon which country you're walking in.
Other than the GR 5 in France, all our GR walking has been in Spain on the GR's 7, 48, 240 (Sulayr), and 247 plus several other shorter GR's. These sometimes coincide with a camino route. Re wild camping, here's a nice summary from a Spanish walker:
Regarding the question of wild camping. The councils tolerate it as long as you reach the place at the end of the day and get things ready for departure early next morning and if the place you choose is not too near an inhabited area. They do not allow camping during the day or for several days in the same place. So there would be no problem to spend the night in the tent you carry on your backpack. Even on Natural Parks, far from the entrance or the information offices, you can fix the tent late in the evening and get ready at sunrise and nobody would notice you've been there. The GR1, as you well know, passes through wild empty countryside and there are plenty of places where you are unlikely to see anyone.
There are comments from people who wild camped on the GR 7 on these pages:

The GR 247 has a series of small, unmanned mountain huts that can be used for free.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Del Estrecho, Ruta Fray Leopoldo,
Vía Serrana, Camino Francés
ChristianF, another way to gather some information on this topic is by joining the "Walking in Europe" group on Facebook which has recently had numerous posts about camino routes in various countries.
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
Looks like you know the Via Francigena? How are you finding it?
Kia ora, @ChristianF . I know my Via Francigena from Canterbury to Chaumont-en-Haut-Marne.

My understanding before leaving home was that there was little sing-posts. So, I had decided to take my first preference anyway and walk the road. Usually the road signposts point the way ahead to the next town on my list. That tactic worked well for all but two days. Found a relevant signpost once: just after Sillery having walked down the canal from Reims: I should have known better. It pointed up a hill to a mock windmill in the heat of a mid September summer's day and I was dehydrating. But that was all: nothing to show how to get down the other side. But later a householder took pity and offered me a lunch: they were vignerons in the midst of the champagne district.

And then nearly two more days walking alongside the Marne lateral. And an unsolicited lift that completed a days walking in a little over 30 minutes.

And so on.

All in all, a wonderful adventure so far.

And in less than two months I will have departed Chaumont for the border. From Pontarlier I have discerned what looks to be the easiest route to Jounge (almost no hills, just steady gradients mirroring the nearby main roads) and on to Bretonnieres. And so on. Hope to use my two-person tent (me and my pack) a lot more from Chaumont.

Busy doing last minutes details finding what others have done and whether or not they fit my way of doing things.

And to you I say, kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 

David61

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2019
Frances (2020)
Hello there,

I'm looking for my next long distance walk and hoped to dip into the collective knowledge of this forum.

I'm looking for a route within Europe (including the UK) which has a low proportion of walking on paved roads/paths. I find that tarmac/asphalt etc doesn't agree with my feet/ankles/knees over long distances and would like to do a long distance route (1000+ kms / 2-3months) with as much as possible on 'off-road' terrain. Dirt or gravel paths are fine. I've walked the French and Portuguese ways so far, so would like to try something different.

I hoped to get a few suggestions :)

Thank you

Christian

Over 1100km, doable in your time frame though challenging
 

Get on our Mailing list for new products on the Camino Store and news from the Camino Forum








Advertisement

Booking.com

Camino Conversations

Camino Conversations

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

Most downloaded Resources

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 55 4.2%
  • April

    Votes: 196 15.0%
  • May

    Votes: 325 24.8%
  • June

    Votes: 95 7.3%
  • July

    Votes: 24 1.8%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.1%
  • September

    Votes: 379 29.0%
  • October

    Votes: 158 12.1%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 7 0.5%

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock