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Norte Accommodations - COVID Updates

Dave

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
Hi all,

My partner Laura and I have been struggling for a while with figuring out how to handle COVID-era accommodation updates on the Caminos in our guides (Norte, Primitivo, Inglés, Mar). With conditions on the ground constantly shifting and few pilgrims on the road, it has seemed almost futile, and we've been grateful to Gronze, Wise Pilgrim, and others for their best efforts.

Now, though, with some genuinely encouraging trends, we wanted to capture a snapshot of conditions on the ground, while doing so in a format that allows for quick and easy updates in the coming weeks. To that end, we've recently sent out a simple survey to accommodations on these routes, asking four questions: a) are they open or do they plan to open soon, b) are they operating at reduced capacity, c) have their prices increased (as a consequence, likely, of reduced capacity and closures), and d) any other advice they'd like to offer 2021 pilgrims.

You can find the results for the Camino del Norte here.

Some key points of note:
  • Public albergues remain closed all along the route. Little cause for hope of short-term or medium-term reopening comes through in the communication from albergues in the Basque Country
  • Private albergues are mostly operational, often at 30-50% capacity
  • Most hotels are operating as usual, with only some minor restrictions (masks, social distancing, reduced capacity in public spaces)
  • Some albergues are still doing meals, but many have stopped for 2021
  • Very, very few accommodations have raised prices from 2020. This was a surprise to me
We've only heard back from around a quarter of the accommodations on our list thus far, so there's much more information to come. To this point, I've been encouraged by the small number of closures reported, but it stands to reason that other closed places are not checking their email too closely any longer! We'll keep tracking responses as they roll in and the spreadsheet will update automatically. We welcome on-the-ground reports as well.

One last tidbit from this initial round of communication: 2021 will be the last year for the beloved Casa Belén in Cuerres, as Manfred has decided to "retire" as an hospitalero.

More to come,
Dave
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Hi all,

My partner Laura and I have been struggling for a while with figuring out how to handle COVID-era accommodation updates on the Caminos in our guides (Norte, Primitivo, Inglés, Mar). With conditions on the ground constantly shifting and few pilgrims on the road, it has seemed almost futile, and we've been grateful to Gronze, Wise Pilgrim, and others for their best efforts.

Now, though, with some genuinely encouraging trends, we wanted to capture a snapshot of conditions on the ground, while doing so in a format that allows for quick and easy updates in the coming weeks. To that end, we've recently sent out a simple survey to accommodations on these routes, asking four questions: a) are they open or do they plan to open soon, b) are they operating at reduced capacity, c) have their prices increased (as a consequence, likely, of reduced capacity and closures), and d) any other advice they'd like to offer 2021 pilgrims.

You can find the results for the Camino del Norte here.

Some key points of note:
  • Public albergues remain closed all along the route. Little cause for hope of short-term or medium-term reopening comes through in the communication from albergues in the Basque Country
  • Private albergues are mostly operational, often at 30-50% capacity
  • Most hotels are operating as usual, with only some minor restrictions (masks, social distancing, reduced capacity in public spaces)
  • Some albergues are still doing meals, but many have stopped for 2021
  • Very, very few accommodations have raised prices from 2020. This was a surprise to me
We've only heard back from around a quarter of the accommodations on our list thus far, so there's much more information to come. To this point, I've been encouraged by the small number of closures reported, but it stands to reason that other closed places are not checking their email too closely any longer! We'll keep tracking responses as they roll in and the spreadsheet will update automatically. We welcome on-the-ground reports as well.

One last tidbit from this initial round of communication: 2021 will be the last year for the beloved Casa Belén in Cuerres, as Manfred has decided to "retire" as an hospitalero.

More to come,
Dave
Thank you for all the work that you did on this!
 

Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Various ones.
One last tidbit from this initial round of communication: 2021 will be the last year for the beloved Casa Belén in Cuerres, as Manfred has decided to "retire" as an hospitalero.

I was lucky enough to have found out about this place when I was on the Norte in 2012, this isn't one I feel you can put down to the Pandemic, but it helped make up his mind of what has been there for a few years, it felt like it was only going to be short term back in 2012.
 
Last edited:
Past OR future Camino
2019
Hi all,

My partner Laura and I have been struggling for a while with figuring out how to handle COVID-era accommodation updates on the Caminos in our guides (Norte, Primitivo, Inglés, Mar). With conditions on the ground constantly shifting and few pilgrims on the road, it has seemed almost futile, and we've been grateful to Gronze, Wise Pilgrim, and others for their best efforts.

Now, though, with some genuinely encouraging trends, we wanted to capture a snapshot of conditions on the ground, while doing so in a format that allows for quick and easy updates in the coming weeks. To that end, we've recently sent out a simple survey to accommodations on these routes, asking four questions: a) are they open or do they plan to open soon, b) are they operating at reduced capacity, c) have their prices increased (as a consequence, likely, of reduced capacity and closures), and d) any other advice they'd like to offer 2021 pilgrims.

You can find the results for the Camino del Norte here.

Some key points of note:
  • Public albergues remain closed all along the route. Little cause for hope of short-term or medium-term reopening comes through in the communication from albergues in the Basque Country
  • Private albergues are mostly operational, often at 30-50% capacity
  • Most hotels are operating as usual, with only some minor restrictions (masks, social distancing, reduced capacity in public spaces)
  • Some albergues are still doing meals, but many have stopped for 2021
  • Very, very few accommodations have raised prices from 2020. This was a surprise to me
We've only heard back from around a quarter of the accommodations on our list thus far, so there's much more information to come. To this point, I've been encouraged by the small number of closures reported, but it stands to reason that other closed places are not checking their email too closely any longer! We'll keep tracking responses as they roll in and the spreadsheet will update automatically. We welcome on-the-ground reports as well.

One last tidbit from this initial round of communication: 2021 will be the last year for the beloved Casa Belén in Cuerres, as Manfred has decided to "retire" as an hospitalero.

More to come,
Dav
Hi all,

My partner Laura and I have been struggling for a while with figuring out how to handle COVID-era accommodation updates on the Caminos in our guides (Norte, Primitivo, Inglés, Mar). With conditions on the ground constantly shifting and few pilgrims on the road, it has seemed almost futile, and we've been grateful to Gronze, Wise Pilgrim, and others for their best efforts.

Now, though, with some genuinely encouraging trends, we wanted to capture a snapshot of conditions on the ground, while doing so in a format that allows for quick and easy updates in the coming weeks. To that end, we've recently sent out a simple survey to accommodations on these routes, asking four questions: a) are they open or do they plan to open soon, b) are they operating at reduced capacity, c) have their prices increased (as a consequence, likely, of reduced capacity and closures), and d) any other advice they'd like to offer 2021 pilgrims.

You can find the results for the Camino del Norte here.

Some key points of note:
  • Public albergues remain closed all along the route. Little cause for hope of short-term or medium-term reopening comes through in the communication from albergues in the Basque Country
  • Private albergues are mostly operational, often at 30-50% capacity
  • Most hotels are operating as usual, with only some minor restrictions (masks, social distancing, reduced capacity in public spaces)
  • Some albergues are still doing meals, but many have stopped for 2021
  • Very, very few accommodations have raised prices from 2020. This was a surprise to me
We've only heard back from around a quarter of the accommodations on our list thus far, so there's much more information to come. To this point, I've been encouraged by the small number of closures reported, but it stands to reason that other closed places are not checking their email too closely any longer! We'll keep tracking responses as they roll in and the spreadsheet will update automatically. We welcome on-the-ground reports as well.

One last tidbit from this initial round of communication: 2021 will be the last year for the beloved Casa Belén in Cuerres, as Manfred has decided to "retire" as an hospitalero.

More to come,
Dave
Thanks for this. We’re looking being there by August. I think this will be a great benefit to us!
 
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lnella

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2004 - Camino Frances
2020 - Camino Portuguese
In between different types of travels/himez
Hi Dave,
Thank you so much for your hard work
I'd like to walk the North Road Irun-Finisterre in September, start at the end of August. Do you think these informations will be different by that time, will be more albergues open? Will you update the Excel sheet?
All the best
Bon Camino
Nelly
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Thank you @Dave. I really appreciate the work you and Wise Pilgrim are doing trying to keep us informed. Hopefully things will have settled by this time next year (when I may get to walk again).
 

Dave

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
Hi Dave,
Thank you so much for your hard work
I'd like to walk the North Road Irun-Finisterre in September, start at the end of August. Do you think these informations will be different by that time, will be more albergues open? Will you update the Excel sheet?
All the best
Bon Camino
Nelly
I've been wrong about so many COVID-related predictions, Nelly, that I'm loathe to make more guesses! I asked the respondents to let me know if they think a short- or medium-term reopening is possible and those in the Basque Country who replied made it sound like they're not optimistic. The reality is that a lot of those are very seasonal albergues, open mostly in the July-August peak, so their window of opportunity is slim. If I were walking in August, I wouldn't count on those. I'd be very organized in my planning to make sure that I had beds lined up in the limited privates along the way.

The feedback I got from Asturias/Galicia--combined with the fact that you won't get there until September--would make me cautiously optimistic that you'll have more options at that point.

And yes, we'll try to keep this updated through 2021. It'll be trickier if/when I'm on the road this summer, but that's the value of the format--it's really easy to make quick edits.
 

Judy's Way

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Autumn (2015) and Spring (2019)
Hi all,

My partner Laura and I have been struggling for a while with figuring out how to handle COVID-era accommodation updates on the Caminos in our guides (Norte, Primitivo, Inglés, Mar). With conditions on the ground constantly shifting and few pilgrims on the road, it has seemed almost futile, and we've been grateful to Gronze, Wise Pilgrim, and others for their best efforts.

Now, though, with some genuinely encouraging trends, we wanted to capture a snapshot of conditions on the ground, while doing so in a format that allows for quick and easy updates in the coming weeks. To that end, we've recently sent out a simple survey to accommodations on these routes, asking four questions: a) are they open or do they plan to open soon, b) are they operating at reduced capacity, c) have their prices increased (as a consequence, likely, of reduced capacity and closures), and d) any other advice they'd like to offer 2021 pilgrims.

You can find the results for the Camino del Norte here.

Some key points of note:
  • Public albergues remain closed all along the route. Little cause for hope of short-term or medium-term reopening comes through in the communication from albergues in the Basque Country
  • Private albergues are mostly operational, often at 30-50% capacity
  • Most hotels are operating as usual, with only some minor restrictions (masks, social distancing, reduced capacity in public spaces)
  • Some albergues are still doing meals, but many have stopped for 2021
  • Very, very few accommodations have raised prices from 2020. This was a surprise to me
We've only heard back from around a quarter of the accommodations on our list thus far, so there's much more information to come. To this point, I've been encouraged by the small number of closures reported, but it stands to reason that other closed places are not checking their email too closely any longer! We'll keep tracking responses as they roll in and the spreadsheet will update automatically. We welcome on-the-ground reports as well.

One last tidbit from this initial round of communication: 2021 will be the last year for the beloved Casa Belén in Cuerres, as Manfred has decided to "retire" as an hospitalero.

More to come,
Dave
Thank you for this information. Our plans are to start walking from Bilbao where we left off in 2019 and will be flexible regarding accommodation, not wanting to book ahead. Just go... :)
 

Dave

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
Thank you for this information. Our plans are to start walking from Bilbao where we left off in 2019 and will be flexible regarding accommodation, not wanting to book ahead. Just go... :)
Do what's right for you, Judy! If you're open to hotels, you'll probably be ok, though I imagine the beach towns will get crowded in the summer. Do note, though, that when the accommodations have offered advice, they've made one consistent recommendation for 2021: book ahead.
 
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Mycroft

Active Member
Hi Dave,
Thank you so muc for your hard work
I'd like to walk the North Road Irun-Finisterre in September, start at the end of August. Do you think these informations will be different by that time, will be more albergues open? Will you update the Excel sheet?
All the best
Bon Camino
Nelly
Please let me know, Nelly, what you find--I plan to walk from Santiago-Muxia-Finisterre at the end of October, foolishly not thinking about early closures of hostelry in the season. I'll be interested in finding out what will be opened a month after you are there, so when you have a chance, do ask the proprietors where you stay. Many thanks.
 

Mycroft

Active Member
Hi all,

My partner Laura and I have been struggling for a while with figuring out how to handle COVID-era accommodation updates on the Caminos in our guides (Norte, Primitivo, Inglés, Mar). With conditions on the ground constantly shifting and few pilgrims on the road, it has seemed almost futile, and we've been grateful to Gronze, Wise Pilgrim, and others for their best efforts.

Now, though, with some genuinely encouraging trends, we wanted to capture a snapshot of conditions on the ground, while doing so in a format that allows for quick and easy updates in the coming weeks. To that end, we've recently sent out a simple survey to accommodations on these routes, asking four questions: a) are they open or do they plan to open soon, b) are they operating at reduced capacity, c) have their prices increased (as a consequence, likely, of reduced capacity and closures), and d) any other advice they'd like to offer 2021 pilgrims.

You can find the results for the Camino del Norte here.

Some key points of note:
  • Public albergues remain closed all along the route. Little cause for hope of short-term or medium-term reopening comes through in the communication from albergues in the Basque Country
  • Private albergues are mostly operational, often at 30-50% capacity
  • Most hotels are operating as usual, with only some minor restrictions (masks, social distancing, reduced capacity in public spaces)
  • Some albergues are still doing meals, but many have stopped for 2021
  • Very, very few accommodations have raised prices from 2020. This was a surprise to me
We've only heard back from around a quarter of the accommodations on our list thus far, so there's much more information to come. To this point, I've been encouraged by the small number of closures reported, but it stands to reason that other closed places are not checking their email too closely any longer! We'll keep tracking responses as they roll in and the spreadsheet will update automatically. We welcome on-the-ground reports as well.

One last tidbit from this initial round of communication: 2021 will be the last year for the beloved Casa Belén in Cuerres, as Manfred has decided to "retire" as an hospitalero.

More to come,
Dave
Thank you for doing this. I have to say it was a knife to the heart to see those black lines through the places that are permanently closed.
Please tell me the best source to find out something similar for the Santiago-Muxia-Finisterra route come October. Early closings?
Many thanks.
 

andarapie

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Dave - Many thanks for this information. I bought your guide early last year in anticipation of doing the Norte in 2020, and will be leaving in a few weeks to tackle it this year. When making reservations earlier, I did notice that hotel rates were down a bit in San Sebastian and Bilbao. Do you have any plans for a similar survey for the Camino Primitivo?

Also, if the albergues are closed, where do you recommend we apply for getting sellos?
 

Dave

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
Thank you for doing this. I have to say it was a knife to the heart to see those black lines through the places that are permanently closed.
Please tell me the best source to find out something similar for the Santiago-Muxia-Finisterra route come October. Early closings?
Many thanks.
Not sure if it eases the heartache at all, Mycroft, but a number of those closures were probably already in effect (or very much on their way) prior to the pandemic. I just hadn't caught them yet!

I should do a round of updates for the Finisterre extension as well, when the smoke clears on the other routes, but I'd feel confident about Gronze's updates.
 

Dave

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
Dave - Many thanks for this information. I bought your guide early last year in anticipation of doing the Norte in 2020, and will be leaving in a few weeks to tackle it this year. When making reservations earlier, I did notice that hotel rates were down a bit in San Sebastian and Bilbao. Do you have any plans for a similar survey for the Camino Primitivo?

Also, if the albergues are closed, where do you recommend we apply for getting sellos?
Yep, the Primitivo and Inglés/Mar spreadsheets are developing right now. I'm just waiting until I get a reasonable number of responses before pushing them out. I can "only" send ~500 emails per day, so that's the bottleneck in all of this.

You can get sellos almost anywhere. Hotels will have them; the only question is whether they'll be aesthetically pleasing or mundane address stamps. Same for bars. Tourism offices have pilgrim-friendly stamps. You'll find them in some churches, if they're open. Town halls (ayuntamientos) have them as well, though I don't have any idea how accessible those will be.
 
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Teresita16

New Member
Past OR future Camino
León-Santiago (2015)
Oviedo-Santiago (2016)
Gijón-Vilalba (2018)
Irún-Santander (2019)
Thank you so much for this information, just what I was looking for to help me plan. I'll be walking from Santander (where I finished in 2019) starting on the 26th July. I didn't imagine that I'd have to book ahead for accommodation, not what I usually like to do, but at least we can walk again and I'm grateful for that.
 

Moll1e

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2015 St. jean to Logrono
Hi all,

My partner Laura and I have been struggling for a while with figuring out how to handle COVID-era accommodation updates on the Caminos in our guides (Norte, Primitivo, Inglés, Mar). With conditions on the ground constantly shifting and few pilgrims on the road, it has seemed almost futile, and we've been grateful to Gronze, Wise Pilgrim, and others for their best efforts.

Now, though, with some genuinely encouraging trends, we wanted to capture a snapshot of conditions on the ground, while doing so in a format that allows for quick and easy updates in the coming weeks. To that end, we've recently sent out a simple survey to accommodations on these routes, asking four questions: a) are they open or do they plan to open soon, b) are they operating at reduced capacity, c) have their prices increased (as a consequence, likely, of reduced capacity and closures), and d) any other advice they'd like to offer 2021 pilgrims.

You can find the results for the Camino del Norte here.

Some key points of note:
  • Public albergues remain closed all along the route. Little cause for hope of short-term or medium-term reopening comes through in the communication from albergues in the Basque Country
  • Private albergues are mostly operational, often at 30-50% capacity
  • Most hotels are operating as usual, with only some minor restrictions (masks, social distancing, reduced capacity in public spaces)
  • Some albergues are still doing meals, but many have stopped for 2021
  • Very, very few accommodations have raised prices from 2020. This was a surprise to me
We've only heard back from around a quarter of the accommodations on our list thus far, so there's much more information to come. To this point, I've been encouraged by the small number of closures reported, but it stands to reason that other closed places are not checking their email too closely any longer! We'll keep tracking responses as they roll in and the spreadsheet will update automatically. We welcome on-the-ground reports as well.

One last tidbit from this initial round of communication: 2021 will be the last year for the beloved Casa Belén in Cuerres, as Manfred has decided to "retire" as an hospitalero.

More to come,
Dave
Thanks so much for doing that survey and providing all of us with some very useful information! Here's to Camino 2022 🤞
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances: 2016/17; LePuy 2018/19; Norte 2021
Hi all,

My partner Laura and I have been struggling for a while with figuring out how to handle COVID-era accommodation updates on the Caminos in our guides (Norte, Primitivo, Inglés, Mar). With conditions on the ground constantly shifting and few pilgrims on the road, it has seemed almost futile, and we've been grateful to Gronze, Wise Pilgrim, and others for their best efforts.

Now, though, with some genuinely encouraging trends, we wanted to capture a snapshot of conditions on the ground, while doing so in a format that allows for quick and easy updates in the coming weeks. To that end, we've recently sent out a simple survey to accommodations on these routes, asking four questions: a) are they open or do they plan to open soon, b) are they operating at reduced capacity, c) have their prices increased (as a consequence, likely, of reduced capacity and closures), and d) any other advice they'd like to offer 2021 pilgrims.

You can find the results for the Camino del Norte here.

Some key points of note:
  • Public albergues remain closed all along the route. Little cause for hope of short-term or medium-term reopening comes through in the communication from albergues in the Basque Country
  • Private albergues are mostly operational, often at 30-50% capacity
  • Most hotels are operating as usual, with only some minor restrictions (masks, social distancing, reduced capacity in public spaces)
  • Some albergues are still doing meals, but many have stopped for 2021
  • Very, very few accommodations have raised prices from 2020. This was a surprise to me
We've only heard back from around a quarter of the accommodations on our list thus far, so there's much more information to come. To this point, I've been encouraged by the small number of closures reported, but it stands to reason that other closed places are not checking their email too closely any longer! We'll keep tracking responses as they roll in and the spreadsheet will update automatically. We welcome on-the-ground reports as well.

One last tidbit from this initial round of communication: 2021 will be the last year for the beloved Casa Belén in Cuerres, as Manfred has decided to "retire" as an hospitalero.

More to come,
Dave
Thank you for this. It is immensely helpful.
 

andarapie

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Yep, the Primitivo and Inglés/Mar spreadsheets are developing right now. I'm just waiting until I get a reasonable number of responses before pushing them out. I can "only" send ~500 emails per day, so that's the bottleneck in all of this.

You can get sellos almost anywhere. Hotels will have them; the only question is whether they'll be aesthetically pleasing or mundane address stamps. Same for bars. Tourism offices have pilgrim-friendly stamps. You'll find them in some churches, if they're open. Town halls (ayuntamientos) have them as well, though I don't have any idea how accessible those will be.
Thanks again for the info and the work you are doing!
 

musicianary

New Member
Past OR future Camino
1341
Hi all,

My partner Laura and I have been struggling for a while with figuring out how to handle COVID-era accommodation updates on the Caminos in our guides (Norte, Primitivo, Inglés, Mar). With conditions on the ground constantly shifting and few pilgrims on the road, it has seemed almost futile, and we've been grateful to Gronze, Wise Pilgrim, and others for their best efforts.

Now, though, with some genuinely encouraging trends, we wanted to capture a snapshot of conditions on the ground, while doing so in a format that allows for quick and easy updates in the coming weeks. To that end, we've recently sent out a simple survey to accommodations on these routes, asking four questions: a) are they open or do they plan to open soon, b) are they operating at reduced capacity, c) have their prices increased (as a consequence, likely, of reduced capacity and closures), and d) any other advice they'd like to offer 2021 pilgrims.

You can find the results for the Camino del Norte here.

Some key points of note:
  • Public albergues remain closed all along the route. Little cause for hope of short-term or medium-term reopening comes through in the communication from albergues in the Basque Country
  • Private albergues are mostly operational, often at 30-50% capacity
  • Most hotels are operating as usual, with only some minor restrictions (masks, social distancing, reduced capacity in public spaces)
  • Some albergues are still doing meals, but many have stopped for 2021
  • Very, very few accommodations have raised prices from 2020. This was a surprise to me
We've only heard back from around a quarter of the accommodations on our list thus far, so there's much more information to come. To this point, I've been encouraged by the small number of closures reported, but it stands to reason that other closed places are not checking their email too closely any longer! We'll keep tracking responses as they roll in and the spreadsheet will update automatically. We welcome on-the-ground reports as well.

One last tidbit from this initial round of communication: 2021 will be the last year for the beloved Casa Belén in Cuerres, as Manfred has decided to "retire" as an hospitalero.

More to come,
Dave
Hi Dave,
Thank you soooo much for all this work to get more accurate info on accommodations along the Norte. The Norte was my first (and only, thus far) Camino and I long to return as it is simply magical.
 
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musicianary

New Member
Past OR future Camino
1341
Hi Dave,
Thank you soooo much for all this work to get more accurate info on accommodations along the Norte. The Norte was my first (and only, thus far) Camino and I long to return as it is simply magical.
I forgot to mention that I walked from Irun to SDC in July/August of 2019 and am hoping to return August/September of 2021. What do you think of camping as a viable option for when I wouldn’t be able to find an alburgue (don’t want the expand of hotels). I bought a tent and camped a few times on my second half of the Norte after finding myself close to sleeping on the ground anyway due to Festivales filling the alburgues in a few of the cities I arrived in.
 

Dave

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
I forgot to mention that I walked from Irun to SDC in July/August of 2019 and am hoping to return August/September of 2021. What do you think of camping as a viable option for when I wouldn’t be able to find an alburgue (don’t want the expand of hotels). I bought a tent and camped a few times on my second half of the Norte after finding myself close to sleeping on the ground anyway due to Festivales filling the alburgues in a few of the cities I arrived in.
Totally viable. While only a couple of places have volunteered information about camping being an option on their grounds, I suspect you'll find others that will allow you to do so, and then have access to their facilities. And wild camping is easy to pull off. I've seen plenty of others pull that maneuver on the Norte in the summer. Just follow all the common-sense practices: don't encroach upon people's homes, be inconspicuous, pack out everything, etc.
 

andarapie

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
As of today, the following Xunta albergues have reopened on the Norte: Lourenzá, Baamonde, and A Cabana. Just three!
Thanks, Dave, for all the work you are putting into these updates. I am departing from Irun this coming Sunday, so if I don't say it later because I am preoccupied, please keep up the good work!
 

Dave

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
Thanks, Dave, for all the work you are putting into these updates. I am departing from Irun this coming Sunday, so if I don't say it later because I am preoccupied, please keep up the good work!
Hope you have a great time! I'll be sending out new emails to all of the non-responses once I wrap up school in a couple of days, so I hope to get more of the blanks filled in soon.
 
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F

Former member 97924

Guest
Hi all,

My partner Laura and I have been struggling for a while with figuring out how to handle COVID-era accommodation updates on the Caminos in our guides (Norte, Primitivo, Inglés, Mar). With conditions on the ground constantly shifting and few pilgrims on the road, it has seemed almost futile, and we've been grateful to Gronze, Wise Pilgrim, and others for their best efforts.

Now, though, with some genuinely encouraging trends, we wanted to capture a snapshot of conditions on the ground, while doing so in a format that allows for quick and easy updates in the coming weeks. To that end, we've recently sent out a simple survey to accommodations on these routes, asking four questions: a) are they open or do they plan to open soon, b) are they operating at reduced capacity, c) have their prices increased (as a consequence, likely, of reduced capacity and closures), and d) any other advice they'd like to offer 2021 pilgrims.

You can find the results for the Camino del Norte here.

Some key points of note:
  • Public albergues remain closed all along the route. Little cause for hope of short-term or medium-term reopening comes through in the communication from albergues in the Basque Country
  • Private albergues are mostly operational, often at 30-50% capacity
  • Most hotels are operating as usual, with only some minor restrictions (masks, social distancing, reduced capacity in public spaces)
  • Some albergues are still doing meals, but many have stopped for 2021
  • Very, very few accommodations have raised prices from 2020. This was a surprise to me
We've only heard back from around a quarter of the accommodations on our list thus far, so there's much more information to come. To this point, I've been encouraged by the small number of closures reported, but it stands to reason that other closed places are not checking their email too closely any longer! We'll keep tracking responses as they roll in and the spreadsheet will update automatically. We welcome on-the-ground reports as well.

One last tidbit from this initial round of communication: 2021 will be the last year for the beloved Casa Belén in Cuerres, as Manfred has decided to "retire" as an hospitalero.

More to come,
Dave
I'm considering walking the Norte in a few weeks. I'm finding your list extremely helpful. Thank you so much! Based on your research and experience, do you think's it's likely that I'd be able to walk it this July a) without booking accommodations and b) staying only at albergues?
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Hi Dave,
Thank you for responding so faithfully to all the inquiries on this thread. I used your guidebook in 2016 and eventually turned onto the Primitivo, which I did not regret, having taken your advice!
I was to finish the last half of the Norte, combined with walking to Muxia and Finesterre in 2020. I'm hoping things will have smoothed out by next spring and I will have less planning to do if I keep my same plans in motion.
 

Dave

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
I'm considering walking the Norte in a few weeks. I'm finding your list extremely helpful. Thank you so much! Based on your research and experience, do you think's it's likely that I'd be able to walk it this July a) without booking accommodations and b) staying only at albergues?
I'm skeptical, especially about the word "likely." Albergue hospitalero/as are consistently encouraging reservations. I think you'd need to make a choice. If albergues are the priority, commit to reservations. If flexibility is more important, be ready to spring for more hotels. Keep in mind that albergues are very limited in the Basque Country right now.

As I've written elsewhere, it's worth acknowledging that I've been wrong about just about every prediction I've made related to the pandemic. So who knows! This opinion is built largely on the consistent messaging from albergues on the Norte.
 

Dave

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
Hi Dave,
Thank you for responding so faithfully to all the inquiries on this thread. I used your guidebook in 2016 and eventually turned onto the Primitivo, which I did not regret, having taken your advice!
I was to finish the last half of the Norte, combined with walking to Muxia and Finesterre in 2020. I'm hoping things will have smoothed out by next spring and I will have less planning to do if I keep my same plans in motion.
I hope that works out for you, Chrissy! My hope is that I'll have an extra week this summer, once I wrap up my scouting work on Le Puy, to revisit that last portion of the Norte. There are a couple of newer, high-level variants to check out, and I also want to walk the historic approach via Vegadeo. The blessing and the curse of the Norte: there are always more variants to explore.
 
F

Former member 97924

Guest
I'm skeptical, especially about the word "likely." Albergue hospitalero/as are consistently encouraging reservations. I think you'd need to make a choice. If albergues are the priority, commit to reservations. If flexibility is more important, be ready to spring for more hotels. Keep in mind that albergues are very limited in the Basque Country right now.

As I've written elsewhere, it's worth acknowledging that I've been wrong about just about every prediction I've made related to the pandemic. So who knows! This opinion is built largely on the consistent messaging from albergues on the Norte.
Would you say the same thing for the Frances?
 
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Dave

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
Would you say the same thing for the Frances?
I just don't track it closely enough to offer you a particularly useful answer. Lots more albergues in operation, lots more pilgrims. Not sure how that shakes out!
 
F

Former member 97924

Guest
I just don't track it closely enough to offer you a particularly useful answer. Lots more albergues in operation, lots more pilgrims. Not sure how that shakes out!
Thank you. Not booking and just starting each day without knowing where I'll end up is such an important part of the camino for me that it'll probably determine which camino I walk this year.
 

Turigrino

Carpe Diem
Past OR future Camino
2020
Thank you. Not booking and just starting each day without knowing where I'll end up is such an important part of the camino for me that it'll probably determine which camino I walk this year.

Camino Frances is my choice for July 2021. I did much investigation about the Norte which would be my preference for a summer Camino, but I gave up. The accommodation is lacking and if you have to find a hotel at the coastal area it can be very expensive. I believe that after the May-June wave of pilgrims on Frances recedes, it is possible that you can do it the way you wanted, walking into albergues without a booking. Based on 2019 statistics, the number of long distance pilgrims (from SJPP) arriving to Santiago in June drops down by 35% in July. That's because people don't like to walk Frances in the summer due to high temperatures. But for you, it gives you many more options as for choosing the accommodation, what's more, you don't have to compete for beds with beach-goers. as you would have to on the Norte.

After walking for 3 days from SJPP to Pamplona you will know if booking ahead is necessary.
Buen Camino, Peregrino!
 
F

Former member 97924

Guest
Camino Frances is my choice for July 2021. I did much investigation about the Norte which would be my preference for a summer Camino, but I gave up. The accommodation is lacking and if you have to find a hotel at the coastal area it can be very expensive. I believe that after the May-June wave of pilgrims on Frances recedes, it is possible that you can do it the way you wanted, walking into albergues without a booking. Based on 2019 statistics, the number of long distance pilgrims (from SJPP) arriving to Santiago in June drops down by 35% in July. That's because people don't like to walk Frances in the summer due to high temperatures. But for you, it gives you many more options as for choosing the accommodation, what's more, you don't have to compete for beds with beach-goers. as you would have to on the Norte.

After walking for 3 days from SJPP to Pamplona you will know if booking ahead is necessary.
Buen Camino, Peregrino!
Thank you and Buen Camino! I see the situation the same way you do. A non-booking Camino Frances in July it is!
 

Kch

Member
Past OR future Camino
French Camino competed (2019)
Portuguese Camino maybe (2020)
Hi all,

My partner Laura and I have been struggling for a while with figuring out how to handle COVID-era accommodation updates on the Caminos in our guides (Norte, Primitivo, Inglés, Mar). With conditions on the ground constantly shifting and few pilgrims on the road, it has seemed almost futile, and we've been grateful to Gronze, Wise Pilgrim, and others for their best efforts.

Now, though, with some genuinely encouraging trends, we wanted to capture a snapshot of conditions on the ground, while doing so in a format that allows for quick and easy updates in the coming weeks. To that end, we've recently sent out a simple survey to accommodations on these routes, asking four questions: a) are they open or do they plan to open soon, b) are they operating at reduced capacity, c) have their prices increased (as a consequence, likely, of reduced capacity and closures), and d) any other advice they'd like to offer 2021 pilgrims.

You can find the results for the Camino del Norte here.

Some key points of note:
  • Public albergues remain closed all along the route. Little cause for hope of short-term or medium-term reopening comes through in the communication from albergues in the Basque Country
  • Private albergues are mostly operational, often at 30-50% capacity
  • Most hotels are operating as usual, with only some minor restrictions (masks, social distancing, reduced capacity in public spaces)
  • Some albergues are still doing meals, but many have stopped for 2021
  • Very, very few accommodations have raised prices from 2020. This was a surprise to me
We've only heard back from around a quarter of the accommodations on our list thus far, so there's much more information to come. To this point, I've been encouraged by the small number of closures reported, but it stands to reason that other closed places are not checking their email too closely any longer! We'll keep tracking responses as they roll in and the spreadsheet will update automatically. We welcome on-the-ground reports as well.

One last tidbit from this initial round of communication: 2021 will be the last year for the beloved Casa Belén in Cuerres, as Manfred has decided to "retire" as an hospitalero.

More to come,
Dave
Just wanted to say thanks!... I started Camino Norte a few days ago and could not figure out accommodation around Deba until I found this ...
 
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The most selling Camino Guide is shipping November 1st. Get your today and start planning.

Teresita16

New Member
Past OR future Camino
León-Santiago (2015)
Oviedo-Santiago (2016)
Gijón-Vilalba (2018)
Irún-Santander (2019)
Hi all,

My partner Laura and I have been struggling for a while with figuring out how to handle COVID-era accommodation updates on the Caminos in our guides (Norte, Primitivo, Inglés, Mar). With conditions on the ground constantly shifting and few pilgrims on the road, it has seemed almost futile, and we've been grateful to Gronze, Wise Pilgrim, and others for their best efforts.

Now, though, with some genuinely encouraging trends, we wanted to capture a snapshot of conditions on the ground, while doing so in a format that allows for quick and easy updates in the coming weeks. To that end, we've recently sent out a simple survey to accommodations on these routes, asking four questions: a) are they open or do they plan to open soon, b) are they operating at reduced capacity, c) have their prices increased (as a consequence, likely, of reduced capacity and closures), and d) any other advice they'd like to offer 2021 pilgrims.

You can find the results for the Camino del Norte here.

Some key points of note:
  • Public albergues remain closed all along the route. Little cause for hope of short-term or medium-term reopening comes through in the communication from albergues in the Basque Country
  • Private albergues are mostly operational, often at 30-50% capacity
  • Most hotels are operating as usual, with only some minor restrictions (masks, social distancing, reduced capacity in public spaces)
  • Some albergues are still doing meals, but many have stopped for 2021
  • Very, very few accommodations have raised prices from 2020. This was a surprise to me
We've only heard back from around a quarter of the accommodations on our list thus far, so there's much more information to come. To this point, I've been encouraged by the small number of closures reported, but it stands to reason that other closed places are not checking their email too closely any longer! We'll keep tracking responses as they roll in and the spreadsheet will update automatically. We welcome on-the-ground reports as well.

One last tidbit from this initial round of communication: 2021 will be the last year for the beloved Casa Belén in Cuerres, as Manfred has decided to "retire" as an hospitalero.

More to come,
Dave
Hi Dave. Casa Belen in Cuerres have just cancelled my reservation saying that due to the number of Covid cases they will not open in August, they are old and feel vulnerable. Maybe you should update your document. I now have the total headache of trying to find something else!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Dave. Casa Belen in Cuerres have just cancelled my reservation saying that due to the number of Covid cases they will not open in August, they are old and feel vulnerable. Maybe you should update your document. I now have the total headache of trying to find something else!
Dave is out walking, I think. I’m sure he will update when he comes back and your info will be helpful for others.

You’re lucky that you have two pretty sure options in each direction. Nueva is about 5 km before, and Ribadesella is about 6 after.

BTW, the coastal alternative after Nueva is just gorgeous, if you want to venture off camino a bit!
 

Teresita16

New Member
Past OR future Camino
León-Santiago (2015)
Oviedo-Santiago (2016)
Gijón-Vilalba (2018)
Irún-Santander (2019)
Dave is out walking, I think. I’m sure he will update when he comes back and your info will be helpful for others.

You’re lucky that you have two pretty sure options in each direction. Nueva is about 5 km before, and Ribadesella is about 6 after.

BTW, the coastal alternative after Nueva is just gorgeous, if you want to venture off camino a bit!
Yes, I just looked on Booking.com but it's all so expensive and way above my budget. I've emailed 2 more reasonable options from Dave's list and waiting for replies 🤞
 

Dave

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Norte/Primitivo 2019
It's tough out there right now! I'm wrapping up in France over the next few days and then popping ahead to Gijón to re-walk the last chunk of the Norte, focusing on a lot of alternative routes. Finding beds has been tough. I didn't want to book too far ahead, because I didn't know if I'd want to stay in France if the COVID situation in Spain became dicier, but that's going to cost me. Beds are just really limited and pilgrims are competing against tourists for them.
 

isa paris

New Member
Past OR future Camino
1998
Bonjour,

jn'arrive pas à enrgistrer la feuille avec la liste des hébregements à jour et donc voir la liste à partir de santander . serais t il possible que quelqu'un m'envoie au format excel.
Isabelle
 
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Yan999

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Hi all,

My partner Laura and I have been struggling for a while with figuring out how to handle COVID-era accommodation updates on the Caminos in our guides (Norte, Primitivo, Inglés, Mar). With conditions on the ground constantly shifting and few pilgrims on the road, it has seemed almost futile, and we've been grateful to Gronze, Wise Pilgrim, and others for their best efforts.

Now, though, with some genuinely encouraging trends, we wanted to capture a snapshot of conditions on the ground, while doing so in a format that allows for quick and easy updates in the coming weeks. To that end, we've recently sent out a simple survey to accommodations on these routes, asking four questions: a) are they open or do they plan to open soon, b) are they operating at reduced capacity, c) have their prices increased (as a consequence, likely, of reduced capacity and closures), and d) any other advice they'd like to offer 2021 pilgrims.

You can find the results for the Camino del Norte here.

Some key points of note:
  • Public albergues remain closed all along the route. Little cause for hope of short-term or medium-term reopening comes through in the communication from albergues in the Basque Country
  • Private albergues are mostly operational, often at 30-50% capacity
  • Most hotels are operating as usual, with only some minor restrictions (masks, social distancing, reduced capacity in public spaces)
  • Some albergues are still doing meals, but many have stopped for 2021
  • Very, very few accommodations have raised prices from 2020. This was a surprise to me
We've only heard back from around a quarter of the accommodations on our list thus far, so there's much more information to come. To this point, I've been encouraged by the small number of closures reported, but it stands to reason that other closed places are not checking their email too closely any longer! We'll keep tracking responses as they roll in and the spreadsheet will update automatically. We welcome on-the-ground reports as well.

One last tidbit from this initial round of communication: 2021 will be the last year for the beloved Casa Belén in Cuerres, as Manfred has decided to "retire" as an hospitalero.

More to come,
Dave

I'm planning on starting in Santander on Tuesday, budget accommodation and alburgues look hard to find. Can anyone provide a current update of the situation please?
 
I'm planning on starting in Santander on Tuesday, budget accommodation and alburgues look hard to find. Can anyone provide a current update of the situation please?
Welcome to the forum Yann .The link above will take you to the Gronze website which is an excellent source of information on the del Norte.
It is easy to understand ,provides links to Booking.com and excellent maps of each stage on this Camino.
I have used this website many times.It's invaluable.
From a fellow compatriot.
Buen Camino
 

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