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Newbie in Need!

2020 Camino Guides


New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future walk of Camino Del Norte in 2 weeks 2019
Hi everyone, I am really glad to have found this site as looks incredibly helpful with a great community so I thought I would reach out.

I am coming across for the Camino Del Norte in two weeks alone and its my first solo adventure. My main concerns are the following and if anyone has any advice I will be out of this world grateful to you:

1) In August how busy will the camino be with other pilgrims?
2) Is it fairly reliable to get into an Albergue?
3) How much would you say I should budget for 3 weeks?
4) I am flying into Bilbao and my friend recommends getting a train to Santander to start my walk?
5) how regular are way arks?

I know that's a lot but even if you have anything to share on one of them you will be setting my soul at ease :) thanks so much
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Camino(s) past & future
French 2015 Portuguese 2018 Norte May 2019 Finesterre and Muxia April 2019
I recently finished the Norte.

The season is different so I cant say anything other than my experience really. The route is busy enough to make friends, but quiet enough for you to be alone easily if you prefer. That was my experience ...

I didnt have any issues with finding a bed, but again ... this was based on May / June. August may be different. I would suggest that the sensible thing to do is reach your destination and then relax and explore the place you are in. I met a lot of people who arrived late, having had leisurely lunches etc ... that was OK in May, but may not be in August. Better to arrive and get a bed, and eat leisurely where you are I think.

Waymarking is excellent. No worries there.

A reasonable budget is 30 euros a day I think. Some younger pilgrims spent just 20. Municipal albergues cost around 6 euro, pilgrim menus are generally 10. Breakfast, snack, the odd beer? 30 is reasonable. It depends on your tastes and spending habits.

Id say walk from Bilbao ... I liked that stretch.

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
Why not go from Bilbao to Irun and start there?This is a very beautiful part of the Camino del Norte. Allthough it must be said that it is also the hardest part. The hardest part being on the first day, the climb over Jaizkibel. ( although there is an easier, lower route) I don't know why your friend adviced you to start in Santander, I don't see this.
Walking the Norte following the yellow arrows involves rather much walking on asphalt. There are many alternative routes, that avoid asphalt and stay closer to the sea. ( search this forum with the term "coastal alternatives to the norte's asphalt"
One of the alternatives I liked very much was from Santander, you can follow the coast there instead of taking the "straight yellow line". It will add about 25 kilometers but they are very beautiful. You can find a description in the forum


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019)
I walked late September/October so I can't say about beds. But people I have met who walked it in Summer say it is really not too much of a problem at all. I would suggest downloading the Wise Pilgrim or Buen Camino app. They both have gps but I doubt you will need it. They both also show some alternative routes along the way. You also should look at Gronze.com on Google Chrome (It will automatically translate it to English if your Spanish is weak) they have a great list of places to sleep with lots of reviews from people. No source will list every albergue or hostel so having them both will give you more options. I also highly recommend starting in Bilbos. The walk from there is fantastic. As Antonius said it is a hard stretch. It didn't seem harder than Irun to Bilbos to me but it could have been. Might be after the first stretch I was getting used to the fact that every day I had to start with a killer hill. But I had learned by then there was always a great payoff after each hill.
Antonius is also right about why start in Santander. That does't make sense to me either. The only thing I can think of would be if getting to Santiago is very important to you. It may be but you will miss some of the most spectacular scenery of your life. I checked the Wise Pilgrim app and it says it is 560 kilometers from Santander to Santiago. That would take walking 26.6 Kilometers a day. No rest days included. I do not know your fitness level or age but for a newbie those distances a day may be tough to accomplish. I learned on my first Camino that training is essential and I trained hard but you cant recreate the Camino when you train. The Camino is tougher.
I know for many getting to Santiago is very important and it definitely was for me the first time I walked. I have learned that the saying that the journey is far more important than the destination is without a doubt true. The step you are taking at the moment you take it is far more important to your body, mind and spirit than any destination. Buen Camino.
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Walli Walker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances '2009',Portuguese '2015', Ingles '2015', Fin and Muxia '2015'. Camino from Granada '2017'.
I left the Norte for the Primitivo 10 days ago (11th July). Because the towns are summer tourist spots beds could be very hard to come by and, in some places, booking ahead was necessary. I didn’t enjoy that & am loving the Primitivo which is much more relaxed and ‘camino like’.


Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
When I walked in July last year it wasn't uncommon for the albergues to fill up, leaving quite a few pilgrims looking for other accommodations. This part of Spain is popular with tourists, so prices can be higher in the summer months. I found that I needed to plan my stages more carefully than on the Frances, and spent more on lodging.

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