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notes on off-season accommodation

Camino(s) past & future
.
just some quick notes on what's available off-season for anyone setting off this time of year on the Norte. For guides I had the new Cicerone guide which doesn't always determine which accommodation is open off-season. Also the Northern Ways guide produced by the local government agencies. I didn't have the CSJ guide is it is out of print with a new edition imminent. I walked the 16 stages in the Cicerone guide from 24 March.
1. Irun - albergue municipal opened end of March
2. San Sebastian - Youth hostel La Sirena - at the far end of town, just off the way (look for blue and white YH logos) €15 with clean sheets and unlimited breakfast
3. No albergue open in Zarautz. Some people paid €5 to stay at the camping compound but this is 2k before centre of town. Others paid €25 for a room. We went on to excellent casa (touristica?) at Akzizu €15 room, €10 fine meal and owner has key to nearby splendid church
4. Deba. The 8-bed albergue has been closed. The new space (temporary?) is a big disused school near to the camino's entry to the town, close to the first lift. Instructions for access are still to go to tourist office (not open much) or phone local police (number on old albergue). They provide sellos and issue keys to peregrinos. The old school is just that, with three rooms of bunk beds and some elderly volunteers helping everyone to settle in. I liked it a lot.
5. Markina Xemein - albergue opens May. A couple of private albergues advertise on the route down from the hills and at the entrance to the town. One will come and collect you and apparently offers excellent quality but is about 1k from the centre. Albergue Pitis is in a 4th floor apartment. It claims to have washing machine and kitchen. The former doesn't work and the latter just has a microwave. I'm not sure if Health & Safety know about it but was OK. €12-15 depending on if you are in the dormitory or not. There's also another private albergue which opened that week charging €10. People who stayed there said it was very good with all facilities - brand new.
6. Gernika - Youth Hostel on the entry to the town, good facilities, clean and breakfast.
7. Bilbao - Youth Hostel Akelarre. Very well run but they make it clear they are not an albergue and have no facilities for cleaning boots or drying clothes. But they will order your pizza for you - which helps if you've just walked 35+k and it's pouring with rain.
8. Pobena albergue not open til May. Stayed in Portugalete at Pensione la Gui. I think it was €20 for a room. Clean and well organised.
9. Castro Urdiales - municipal albergue. A bit unloved but very helpful hospitalero, Sidia.
10. Laredo - private albergue El Buen Pastor. I think there's a communal part with a kitchen but I just got a room for €15. Exceptionally clean, with religious iconography.
11. Guemes - stunning albergue with meals included - donativo.
12. Santander - municipal albergue. A lot of bunks and cleanish.
13. Santillana del Mar - cute little municipal albergue. Has microwave but socialising area is the open garage, which isn't great in cold weather.
14. Comillas - nicely constructed municipal albergue. Microwave instead of a cooker. A free dryer! but as it is used continuously when pilgrims are there I'm not sure how long it will be working for.
15. Colombres - private albergue El Cantu €12. Off-season pilgrims don't get all the facilities, but was grateful that heating eventually came on at 7
16. Llanes - Albergue La Estacion €12. Large place like an institution. Empty and echoey off-season, but very clean and functional
17. Ribadasella - Youth hostel €12. No heating and likely to be empty off-season but with million dollar views of the sea. There's a board on the promenade which describes its history - built with flamboyant new world money around 1910, taken over by the Falange then given to the youth hostel association.
cheers, tom
 

Dave

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 2002; most recent: Via Podiensis 2015
Tom, this is awesome, thank you. When we add an updates section to the book's page on Cicerone, we'll be sure to integrate any other available albergue opening dates, or at least a specific list of year-round albergues/accommodation options (as the opening dates in some cases vary wildly from year to year).

If you walk the second half of the route at a similar time next year, I think you'll find many more albergues open.

Dave
 

Sharni

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: April/May 2011
Camino Norte/Vadiniense/Frances: April/May 2013
Camino Frances: April/May 2016
Hi Dave, a great post thank you!! Any chance you can remember the name of the nice brand new albergue that had just opened in Markina-Xemein?
 

Sharni

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: April/May 2011
Camino Norte/Vadiniense/Frances: April/May 2013
Camino Frances: April/May 2016
Sorry Tom, I addressed my post accidentally to Dave but it is to you. And now Tapatalk is not letting me post this so soon to posting my last post so I'm going to look like a gumby!!
 

george.g

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
French way 10, 11
Norte 12
Vdlp 13
Levante 14
Mozarabe/Malaga 15
Augusta 16
Mozarabe/Almeria 17
Thanks Tom, I'm starting from Irun on May 14th and this uptodate information is a great help.

Georg. G
 
Camino(s) past & future
.
Sharni
Sorry - I don't have the name of the new place. Or even of the bar that was promoting it. But I've just checked google maps. One of the streets that runs into the town square (which the yellow arrows will take you to) is called Guen Kalea. There's one bar on it about 20m from the square. The manager/owner was promoting the new place. So you could go in there and ask. But my hunch is that as there is now intense 3-way competition, you'll see some new posters/flyers long before then on the route.

PS look out earlier in the day for the bar in the lovely valley of Olatz. The owner says she switches on music when she sees the pilgrims coming her way along the road. Don't be put off by this. Have a look inside. We were met by a fresh plump perfectly formed tortilla with red pimientos sitting on the bar waiting for peregrinos. As well there was a fresh enormous deep cheesecake, portions of which were served with a wonderful dark berry sauce.

Dave - thanks for the Cicerone guide. Overall it did the job well but I have quite a lot of points to raise too, which I'll post for discussion once I've got them organised
 

Sharni

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: April/May 2011
Camino Norte/Vadiniense/Frances: April/May 2013
Camino Frances: April/May 2016
Tom thanks!! My mouth is watering at the thought of the tortilla and the cheesecake - I'll definitely follow your suggestions :)
It's good that you included prices and they seem comparable to the Frances, I had been thinking that they might be higher.
 
Camino(s) past & future
.
Sharni - I think prices are a bit higher actually, because at this time of year there are so few municipals open that might be either €5 or donativo. People on a really tight budget will notice this particularly and their daily expenses will be considerably higher because of the lack of kitchens to cook cheap meals in. And food in bars/cafés on the coast often carries a tourists' premium.
But the Youth hostels were the surprise for me - as they have next to no-one in them at this time of year, they fill the gap left by seasonal albergues and provide very reasonable good quality service.
 

trishireland

New Member
Newbie here! Just returned from short trip on Del Norte. We stayed at beautiful albergue in Pendules. It is run by Xavier, includes evening meal and is donativo. I will post details on other stays later
 

MKalcolm M

Solvitur ambulando - It is solved by walking
Camino(s) past & future
north route spring 2013
Thank you kindly for this info. I'm starting from Irun on the 16th of May, so grateful for these details.
Malcolm
 

trishireland

New Member
Ok we I nada brief 5 day trip with 65yr old friend who did 130km of Frances with me last year. We took train to Santillana and started walking. Signs are confusing but exit is up Parador and little narrow road to campsite. All went well until after a little bar, please make sure to take turn right after this or ask in bar for directions. We finally got to Cobreces where monastery was locked up. We attend 8pm vespers and spoke to monks afterwards who gave us a key. Albergue had hot showers washing and lots of drying facilities. Cost was €5 and appears to be open year round. We got food in bar across road that night. I did not see cooking facilities but try and make sure you have some food before setting out as there did not appear to be shops until Comillas.
We stayed with Sophia in St Vincente de Barquera albergue. Very friendly lots of people staying. €13 for bed dinner and breakfast. It is open year round. We headed down liebango camino from here. We only stayed in pilgrim albergue in Potes here again open year round. Cost is €5 and you all allowed stay 2 nights. You get key from tourist office. We walked to Santa Toribo monastery and we found the whole experience very humbling and beautiful. We made our way back by bus to St Vincente and continued to Pendueles. He opened this year. 4 people stayed in February, and we were first English speakers. He intends to open year round. It is donativo and includes evening meal. Very beautiful and new. We continued by coastal path to Llanes. Path beautiful ,town okay. It looks like there is a small albergue as you come off path into town with another near station.

Hope
 

Sharni

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: April/May 2011
Camino Norte/Vadiniense/Frances: April/May 2013
Camino Frances: April/May 2016
We found the cheesecake and it was lovely. Thanks for the tip :)
 

manoll

Peregrina 2013
Camino(s) past & future
CDN 2013, 2018
Camino Primitivo - 2013
Camino Sanabrés - 2016
Camino Portugués Coastal - 2019
Peregrino Tom, Your notes about accommodations along the CDN are great. Thank you so much for the heads up to those of us who will follow your footsteps in the near future. Keep us informed so we continue taking notes. The recommended Tortilla and cheesecake will be an obligatory stop for me :) I look forward to hearing more from your Camino and wish you many sunny days!
Buen Camino, Tom!

Ultreia!

Mary
 

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