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Norte - Lebaniego - Vadiniense - Frances

Mugatu

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
To preface, this trip, at some point, must lead me to Cruz de Ferro. I have done the CF-Finisterra-Muxia last year and wouldn't mind doing it all over again (theres a couple of stones left unturned), but a part of me is intrigued with the Camino Norte; in either case I will continue onto Finisterra & Muxia.

Has any one done this route, would I hit most of the highlights of the Norte before splitting off?

Or

Would it be preferable to do the Norte in its entirety (if so why),hence I would save this trip for a later time?
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Sorry if my question is dumb, but i got a bit confused by the itinerary you put in the title (Norte-Salvador-Frances). To be able to connect the Norte and Frances and still pass by the Cruz de Ferro, maybe did you mean Norte-Vadiniense-Frances?

I have not walked the Norte, but only heard beautiful things about it. Especially about the first stages from irun.

I will walk the initial part of the Vadiniense (known as the 'Lebaniego') this April, so I may be able to comment on that later, if in your interest :)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
It sounds like you want to walk the Norte to Oviedo, then take the Salvador south to León and connect with the Frances there?
 

Mugatu

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
It sounds like you want to walk the Norte to Oviedo, then take the Salvador south to León and connect with the Frances there?
Yes, thats what I was thinking as an option if I decide on the Norte being my starting point.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Yes, thats what I was thinking as an option if I decide on the Norte being my starting point.
I'm thinking of doing Frances to León, Salvador to Oviedo, then connect to the Norte to continue on to Santiago.
Last year I walked on the Norte from Irun to Vilalba, where I had to stop due to my stupidity shin splints, so I want to finish it up next time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo
Has any one done this route, would I hit most of the highlights of the Norte before splitting off?
Many people walk the Norte and then turn off onto the Primitivo. In fact, I get the impression that most people do that. The Norte certainly went very quiet after the fork when I was on it. If you take the Salvador to Leon instead, you will be walking “backwards” with no way-markings, so take some kind of route-finder with you so that you don’t get lost.
 

Mugatu

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
Many people walk the Norte and then turn off onto the Primitivo. In fact, I get the impression that most people do that. The Norte certainly went very quiet after the fork when I was on it. If you take the Salvador to Leon instead, you will be walking “backwards” with no way-markings, so take some kind of route-finder with you so that you don’t get lost.
Thanks for the heads up, on the way markings, I have only briefly begun to read up on the route. Are the way markings non-existent? I assumed I could just fallow the arrows pointing towards me back towards Leon
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo
Thanks for the heads up, on the way markings, I have only briefly begun to read up on the route. Are the way markings non-existent? I assumed I could just fallow the arrows pointing towards me back towards Leon
Hi, the way-markings are from Leon to Oviedo, not in the other direction as well, as far as I know. It is not easy walking “backwards”. At each junction, if nobody is coming the other way to ask, you have to walk down each path or track in turn, and keep turning around to see if the yellow arrow is on the other side of a tree, telegraph pole, etc, until you find the right track. Very time consuming! It’s also easy to “assume” which is the correct path, and after a km or so realise you must have gone wrong somewhere. That’s why I suggest taking a gps or an app that will assist you with staying on the camino path.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo
That’s why I suggest taking a gps or an app that will assist you with staying on the camino path.
As an example, this is the path on the Salvador between Buiza and Poladura. If you don’t spot one of these markers, which could well be hidden behind a rock or tree if approaching it from the opposite direction, you could very quickly get lost in these mountains.
432BuizaToPoladura2.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
I'm thinking of doing Frances to León, Salvador to Oviedo, then connect to the Norte to continue on to Santiago.
Last year I walked on the Norte from Irun to Vilalba, where I had to stop due to my stupidity shin splints, so I want to finish it up next time.
Somewhat similar, I plan to take CF SJPdP to Leon, C Salvador Leon to Oviedo, then Primitivo Oviedo to SdC.
 

Mugatu

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
Here’s another example. You literally cannot see the yellow arrows if walking in the opposite direction.

View attachment 50939
I see what you mean, it would definitely eat up time, not to mention potentially giving me whiplash by the time I reach Leon.

The single track trails through the valleys and mountain passes look amazing, which makes this choice that much more difficult.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
I see what you mean, it would definitely eat up time, not to mention potentially giving me whiplash by the time I reach Leon.
The "opposite direction" route was what made me confused in my first post, hence why I mentioned starting in the North, going down Vadiniense to Leon (especially if you like mountains), passing by Cruz de Ferro and finishing through the Frances. That way you always go in the directions of the arrows :)
 

Mugatu

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
The "opposite direction" route was what made me confused in my first post, hence why I mentioned starting in the North, going down Vadiniense to Leon (especially if you like mountains), passing by Cruz de Ferro and finishing through the Frances. That way you always go in the directions of the arrows :)
I don’t know how I missed this! This Camino Vadiniese has me so excited after reading

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/resources/ruta-vadiniense-guide-pdf.59/

Thank You 🙏🏽
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
This Camino Vadiniese has me so excited after reading
Looks awesome, doesn´t it?
The initial part (from SanVicente/Serdio in the Camino del Norte until the Monastery in Potes) is called the "Camino Lebaniego" and I intend to walk it along 4 days this April. All going well I may have some notes to share in the forum.
I do not have the time to walk the entire Vadiniense until Leon, unfortunately. But will surely finish that trail someday in the future! @peregrino_tom posted some amazing photos in another thread: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/photos-caminos-lebaniego-and-vadiniense-june-2016.41927/
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
And you probably have seen this website before, but Gronze has maps, accomodation lists and a brief comment (in Spanish) on all those caminos: https://www.gronze.com/#todos
 

HighlandsHiker

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015 & 2016); Portuguese (2017); Le Puy/Norte/Primitivo/Verde (2018). 2019 - San Salvador+
To preface, this trip, at some point, must lead me to Cruz de Ferro. I have done the CF-Finisterra-Muxia last year and wouldn't mind doing it all over again (theres a couple of stones left unturned), but a part of me is intrigued with the Camino Norte; in either case I will continue onto Finisterra & Muxia.

Has any one done this route, would I hit most of the highlights of the Norte before splitting off?

Or

Would it be preferable to do the Norte in its entirety (if so why),hence I would save this trip for a later time?
Mugatu, as Trecile said, it sounds like you want to go Norte-to-at least Ribadesella-Oviedo-Leon-onward. I did the LePuy + some carefully-chosen coastal days on the Norte on the way down to Oviedo to do the Primitivo, but although many really like the entire Norte, these "best coastal days" on the Norte (not following the regular Norte, but specifically the coastal route) were good days, but not days I'd have gone way out of my way to do had I known that the marking wasn't good and the views not that inspiring except in a few places. Some days had tons of road-walking, and not especially safe road-walking. Naturally, others won't have found it so, but to me, it had limited appeal despite having tried to string together some of the most recommended days. Although I met nice people and mostly enjoyed the days, I wouldn't do the entire thing based on what I saw. By that point, I viewed it as a transition between two other Caminos and not a walk in itself, if that makes sense, so that might have some influence on my experience of it. San Sebastian, however, was a wonderful city to visit, and I wouldn't have wanted to have missed it! The walk Andrin to Llanes (YAH-nez) was beautiful and high above the coast, but is a place where developing shin splints or stress fractures is not unheard of. Llanes is fun to visit. Oviedo is a very welcoming town and the Hotel Favila actually takes credit cards and is close to the rail station and cathedral in Oviedo. It's inexpensive and the rooms are better than expected for the price. Please post what you decide to do and how it went for you, as you're considering a somewhat unusual but probably rewarding way of doing things. Happy planning!
 

Mugatu

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
BDA3EAA8-B662-4D88-9F89-42E672E288A2.png
This is a really rough plan, but I’m curious what’s the average time frame it takes people to go from Irun to San Vicente de la Barquera?

I’m still waiting for the guide book to see the actual km in respects to elevation gains to fully flush things out; so for now I’m going with what’s recommended online
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I don’t know how I missed this! This Camino Vadiniese has me so excited after reading

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/resources/ruta-vadiniense-guide-pdf.59/

Thank You 🙏🏽
I walked the Lebañiego/Vadiniense back in 2011 http://caminovadiniense.blogspot.com and I enjoyed it very much. The days from Potes to Fuente Dé and then on the Senda da Remoña are really beautiful, inspiring mountain days. From the end of that Picos path, there is a LOT of roadside walking and much less spectacular scenery. Gradefes monastery is very nice, San Miguel de la Escalada one of my favorite churches in Spain, and the Riaño reservoir interestng, but the large amount of asphalt might keep my from going back. I would have accommodation planned. The albergues in Cistierna and Gradefes are pilgrim-specific. The albergue in Portilla, for instance, is not, and I almost got unlucky there. If you are flexible and can stay in pensiones, you will not have to worry, but there is some advance planning required. Happy to help with that.
 

Mugatu

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
I walked the Lebañiego/Vadiniense back in 2011 http://caminovadiniense.blogspot.com and I enjoyed it very much. The days from Potes to Fuente Dé and then on the Senda da Remoña are really beautiful, inspiring mountain days. From the end of that Picos path, there is a LOT of roadside walking and much less spectacular scenery. Gradefes monastery is very nice, San Miguel de la Escalada one of my favorite churches in Spain, and the Riaño reservoir interestng, but the large amount of asphalt might keep my from going back. I would have accommodation planned. The albergues in Cistierna and Gradefes are pilgrim-specific. The albergue in Portilla, for instance, is not, and I almost got unlucky there. If you are flexible and can stay in pensiones, you will not have to worry, but there is some advance planning required. Happy to help with that.
I tend to preplan in order to afford myself the flexibility to go off plan while on the trail if that makes any sense 🥴; I tend to skip my intended stops from time to time and push on extra km.

I’m getting the sense I probably won’t be able to do this as much once on the Camino Vadiniense. From the recommended stages I’ve seen so far online, it’s shorter than what I’m used to hiking, which is between 35-45km, and from what I gather there aren’t many small towns in between those stages to accommodate those kinds of distance, would you agree?

I’ll be starting on June 28th on the Norte and will like be on the Vadiniense in July, what’s the whether like, temps in the early AM, say 4:30am.

Also are there any Monastery’s or Convent’s along the Vadiniense that allow pilgrims to stay in? Any albergues that’s a “must” stay in?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Catalan, Aragones, part of Frances, Ruta del Salavador, Primitivo, and Finisterre (2012);
Cammino San Pellegrino, Italy (2013);
Lebaniego, Vadiniense, and Invierno (July 2014)
We walked the Lebaniego and Vadiniense (followed by the Invierno) in 2014. I'll echo what Peregrina2000 said about a lot of pavement walking. But the mountains are beautiful if weather cooperates. The monasterio at Santo Toribio (between Potes and Fuente De) has pieces of the true cross, and is therefore a pilgrimage destination in its own right. You can check out my blog from that Camino here.

We also walked the Ruta del Salvador in 2012, and agree that it would be tricky to follow the markings in the reverse direction (going north to south).

Buen Camino

Dan
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
I have not walked the Norte yet, but I would guess it takes in average 15-17 days to go from Irun to San Vicente de La Barquera? @Mugatu seems to walk a bit further than others though, with a 35km+ pace :)
 

Mugatu

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
The deeper I get into researching the Camino del Norte, a little voice inside me is beginning to surface, saying, "You should probably do this in its entirety since you've haven't even done this Camino yet (I'd have to save this for a later time and do the Frances instead)... If you do this Camino Mixto, you're going to go home wondering what it would have been like to finish the Norte to Santiago" ...
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I tend to preplan in order to afford myself the flexibility to go off plan while on the trail if that makes any sense 🥴; I tend to skip my intended stops from time to time and push on extra km.

I’m getting the sense I probably won’t be able to do this as much once on the Camino Vadiniense. From the recommended stages I’ve seen so far online, it’s shorter than what I’m used to hiking, which is between 35-45km, and from what I gather there aren’t many small towns in between those stages to accommodate those kinds of distance, would you agree?

I’ll be starting on June 28th on the Norte and will like be on the Vadiniense in July, what’s the whether like, temps in the early AM, say 4:30am.

Also are there any Monastery’s or Convent’s along the Vadiniense that allow pilgrims to stay in? Any albergues that’s a “must” stay in?
The Vadiniense is very much a less-frequented trail. I met no other pilgrims when I went on it in 2011 using Rebekah Scott's excellent guide. I have not heard of anyone staying at the friary at Santo Toribio de Liébana, which is the only one I know of on the route, aside from the enclosed convent in Gradafes. I have just gone through the friary's website, and there is no mention of hospitality. They might be persuaded to take someone in, but maybe not.

I would also note that the first part of the Vadiniense is not an easy hike, and so unless you are well accustomed to mountain walking, 35km stages would be very difficult indeed. There is not the succession of small pueblos to which we are accustomed on the Francese (or the Norte) so the stages are what they are, and there is little to no flexibility after Fuente De.

As far as temperature goes, be aware that the transit of the Picos is through a mountainous area, and weather can be changeable and disagreeable. I was quite lucky and every day I had on the Vadiniense was startlingly wonderful (my lungs were flabbergasted with the clarity of the air and I think my vision was sharpened by the experience), but you would be wise to pay close attention to local advice. Actually, I think I'll be blunt: you would be extremely stupid and irresponsible not to pay close attention to local advice. @peregrina2000 slap me down if I've been too insensitive and rude with this sentence.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
If you do this Camino Mixto, you're going to go home wondering what it would have been like to finish the Norte to Santiago" ...
If you don't do this Camino Mixto, you will go home wondering what it would have been to experience four caminos in one journey.

Well, you did say you were intrigued by other routes in your opening statement. So a camino mixto allows you to have a taste of the Norte, do two full caminos (Lebaniego and Vadiniense) and to pass by the Cruz de Ferro, which was also in your initial request. You can always go back to the Norte to do it entirely later. The idea of "entire camino" is very arbitrary - people used to start walking from their homes until they reached Santiago. Considering Irun, SJPP, Porto as "starting points" is just a thing now that people have access to travelling long distances much easier. You can start anywhere, the camino del norte wont be sad if you "leave it in the middle" because there is no middle. Just your journey.

I don't know if that is an option, but if you enjoy the Norte, you can always keep on walking that route - no one will judge you for that. You can leave your stone in a place that is meaningful and make a mental image of the Cruz de Ferro and its significance to you.

Sorry if i was too verbose in this post, but I hugely advocate that people should experience and enjoy their journeys to the maximum, without being constrained by ideas of "what a camino should be" :)
 

Mugatu

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia (2018)
Camino Frances or Norte (2019 , June 27-Aug 8)
The Vadiniense is very much a less-frequented trail. I met no other pilgrims when I went on it in 2011 using Rebekah Scott's excellent guide. I have not heard of anyone staying at the friary at Santo Toribio de Liébana, which is the only one I know of on the route, aside from the enclosed convent in Gradafes. I have just gone through the friary's website, and there is no mention of hospitality. They might be persuaded to take someone in, but maybe not.

I would also note that the first part of the Vadiniense is not an easy hike, and so unless you are well accustomed to mountain walking, 35km stages would be very difficult indeed. There is not the succession of small pueblos to which we are accustomed on the Francese (or the Norte) so the stages are what they are, and there is little to no flexibility after Fuente De.

As far as temperature goes, be aware that the transit of the Picos is through a mountainous area, and weather can be changeable and disagreeable. I was quite lucky and every day I had on the Vadiniense was startlingly wonderful (my lungs were flabbergasted with the clarity of the air and I think my vision was sharpened by the experience), but you would be wise to pay close attention to local advice. Actually, I think I'll be blunt: you would be extremely stupid and irresponsible not to pay close attention to local advice. @peregrina2000 slap me down if I've been too insensitive and rude with this sentence.
My plan once on the Vadiniense is to keep it to its stages, 7 days. Hiking the sierras JMT is over 10,000ft and I don’t think the Vadiniense even comes close to that, as far as local knowledge, I cannot agree more...Thank god im beefing up my Espanol and taking classes 😬.

We’ll see how this all turn out, I have mixed feelings about a Camino Mixto anyway.
 

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