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Primitivo vs 2nd half of Norte

Laura the Explora

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
Hello!
Any insights on the second half of the Norte? We are currently on the Norte and are coming to the split for the Primitivo vs Norte. We did the Primitivo in 2019 and loved it, so we are tempted to turn onto the Primitivo again. However, it would be nice to do something new and actually finish the Norte.

Has anyone done both and have insights to share?

Thanks much!!
 
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norelle

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2011 April, 2014 March) San Salvador, Primitivo, Finisterre, Muxia (June 2015) Del Norte (Sept/Oct 2016)
Hello @Laura the Explora!
When I walked the Norte, I had already walked the Primitivo 2 years earlier. So, I decided to continue on the Norte and I wasn’t disappointed at all!
The second half of the Norte has some very nice parts and was quieter than the Primitivo.
I’m a few weeks, I will find myself in Oviedo after walking the San Salvador and needing to make the same decision. I will be interested to see what other pilgrims think!
Enjoy!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
When I walked the Norte, I switched to the Primitivo and I found them both outstanding. I liked that they were completely different experiences and terrain. That said, I still planto finish the 2nd half of the Norte in order to finish it.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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I walked Primitivo in September and a couple of years later Norte (second part) in August. Both were amazing experiences, but quite different. If you've done the Primitivo already then I strongly recommend you do the Norte. The coastal parts approaching Ribadeo are fab, and great for swimming this time of year. And although it's mainly walking on small roads I particularly enjoyed the section between Ribadeo and Mondonedo, with its gentle hills and traditional hamlets. And Sobrado - just wonderful.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
Hello!
Any insights on the second half of the Norte? We are currently on the Norte and are coming to the split for the Primitivo vs Norte. We did the Primitivo in 2019 and loved it, so we are tempted to turn onto the Primitivo again. However, it would be nice to do something new and actually finish the Norte.

Has anyone done both and have insights to share?

Thanks much!!
Could you please comment the current availability of albergues/hostals on Norte? I will be doing it next September and frankly have been spooked by some reports of full albergues and no places in pensions and hostals. I am actually making reservations -two months before! It is time consuming and a bit annoying.
I used to walk and look for the nearer albergue when I wanted to stop, or at most calling the day before arriving. But we are in new times, apparently.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2020
I just finished the Norte. I agree with @trecile. After the detour to the Primitivo it was much quieter with fewer pilgrims. I stayed in a combination of albergues and private rooms. On the second half of the Norte, for the most part I started just walking up to albergues and hotels and asking if they had available beds or rooms. I never had a real problem finding a place. In some towns where there was a limited number of lodgings some albergues filled up. So, I did some preliminary research and reserved in towns where the selection was limited. When I walked up to get a private room, many times I got a much lower price than advertised on web sites or booking.com.
To me, it is hard to make generalizations about the Norte. It’s a long Camino and there are so many differences in towns (in size and costal vs non coastal), differences depending on which variant you took, differences in weekend vs weekday, differences in spacing of albergues (many are still closed). There are so many variables it’s hard to generalize.

I do know a pilgrim who just walked from Irun to Santiago and did not have access to cellular data. He only stayed in albergues. He never reserved. Indeed, he sometimes had to walk longer distances to find a bed. I think he wanted to have a camino that was free, spontaneous, and not tied to technology.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2020
Hello!
Any insights on the second half of the Norte? We are currently on the Norte and are coming to the split for the Primitivo vs Norte. We did the Primitivo in 2019 and loved it, so we are tempted to turn onto the Primitivo again. However, it would be nice to do something new and actually finish the Norte.

Has anyone done both and have insights to share?

Thanks much!!
I knew many pilgrims in June that changed to the Primitivo. I felt the call to walk the entire Norte this time. I have walked the Primitivo before. After Villaviciosa I began to feel some regrets about continuing on the Norte as there were going to be less mountains and less coastal views as the path turned south in Galicia. I felt it might be boring, but it was anything but that. The mountain route after Mondanedo was equal to some of the Primitivo, a quasi- hospitales type route, and Galicia was filled with beauty on a smaller scale. The rivers and stone bridges, the moss covered stone walls, the numerous medieval churches, the ferns, the summer flowers, the roadside crucifixes, and the general tranquility of the rural sections were wonderful.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
I knew many pilgrims in June that changed to the Primitivo. I felt the call to walk the entire Norte this time. I have walked the Primitivo before. After Villaviciosa I began to feel some regrets about continuing on the Norte as there were going to be less mountains and less coastal views as the path turned south in Galicia. I felt it might be boring, but it was anything but that. The mountain route after Mondanedo was equal to some of the Primitivo, a quasi- hospitales type route, and Galicia was filled with beauty on a smaller scale. The rivers and stone bridges, the moss covered stone walls, the numerous medieval churches, the ferns, the summer flowers, the roadside crucifixes, and the general tranquility of the rural sections were wonderful.
Oh good, you make the 2nd half sound lovely with all your details!
 
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shefollowsshells

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Several alone and with children
Hello!
Any insights on the second half of the Norte? We are currently on the Norte and are coming to the split for the Primitivo vs Norte. We did the Primitivo in 2019 and loved it, so we are tempted to turn onto the Primitivo again. However, it would be nice to do something new and actually finish the Norte.

Has anyone done both and have insights to share?

Thanks much!!
Primitivo
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese from Lisbon Apr 29, 2023
Hello!
Any insights on the second half of the Norte? We are currently on the Norte and are coming to the split for the Primitivo vs Norte. We did the Primitivo in 2019 and loved it, so we are tempted to turn onto the Primitivo again. However, it would be nice to do something new and actually finish the Norte.

Has anyone done both and have insights to share?

Thanks much!!
I have done both. Staying on the Norte would be a great choice. There’s actually an option to go back over the Pyrenees or around the end where it’s a bit flatter and longer when you get closer to Santiago.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
I have only done the entire Norte so I cannot compare and when I hit the split with the Primitivo it was already November of 2018. After the split you still have some great days on or near the coast. The only place I was not crazy about was Gijon and spent the night there. The walk in isn't so great but that is about it. It was super quiet and there were many nights I was either alone or with just a few pilgrims but remember it was November and it seemed like every other pilgrim I met before the split was taking the Primitivo. I enjoyed the solitude. About Baamonde it gradually got a little more crowded in the albergues but during the day there was still solitude but if there were some pilgrims. If you choose to do the Norte I would recommend you staying here:
This albergue is in the middle of the woods and is about 6K past Abadin. It just appears out of nowhere but you can't miss it. The couple that own this beautiful albergue could not have been nicer. There were just three of us in a beautiful and super clean house. There is a large yard and I t a swimming pool.
There is a small selection of food to buy. We all chose the dinner that they prepared and it was wonderful with really good conversation. The house and the beds are so comfortable. It rained almost the entire night and was raining hard when I woke up for breakfast. I still left and before I was out of the yard it went from pouring rain to only hearing the dripping of water off of trees.
The second recommendation is this one:
It is a beautiful monastery with an albergue. I intended to stay here but two days earlier I slept in Baamonde in another stone public albergue and it was so cold we could see our breath. I slept in EVERYTHING I had as I only brought a silk sleep sack. Not too smart huh??? A friend stayed here and said it was a good experience and he enjoyed it a great deal. But he said without a sleeping bag I made the right choice. Gronze shows it was remodeled in 2021. I walked the grounds and saw everything and it seems really like a place to stay on camino.
I ended up staying here:
It was an excellent and clean albergue. Very typical of the newer albergues you find all over the different caminos. I would stay there again. It is a good choice if the monastery is full or you would rather not stay there.
The Norte was always quiet and peaceful. It was not until I got to Arzua and rejoined the CF that the crowds, even for November descended on me. I am sure nothing like in August or September. The great thing was that more than made up for the crowds were 5 friends I met on the Norte that took the Primitivo were sitting in a great little Pizza Restaurant. I also stayed in a wonderful albergue in Arzua the last time year in late November.
Not a comparison but only my experience.
I do not think you will be disappointed staying on the Norte.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I have done both. Staying on the Norte would be a great choice. There’s actually an option to go back over the Pyrenees or around the end where it’s a bit flatter and longer when you get closer to Santiago.
???
Back over the Pyrenees? Are you thinking of a different mountain range?
 

shefollowsshells

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Several alone and with children
Hello!
Any insights on the second half of the Norte? We are currently on the Norte and are coming to the split for the Primitivo vs Norte. We did the Primitivo in 2019 and loved it, so we are tempted to turn onto the Primitivo again. However, it would be nice to do something new and actually finish the Norte.

Has anyone done both and have insights to share?

Thanks much!!
I’m bad, now realize I didn’t read the full
Post, Norte! I change my response…
 
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Eamonrodden

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
French, Norte, Primitivo, portuguese, via del plata, madrid
Hello!
Any insights on the second half of the Norte? We are currently on the Norte and are coming to the split for the Primitivo vs Norte. We did the Primitivo in 2019 and loved it, so we are tempted to turn onto the Primitivo again. However, it would be nice to do something new and actually finish the Norte.

Has anyone done both and have insights to share?

Thanks much!!
Do the Norte. I have done both, the Norte is the best
 

Lynn C O'Hara

Mainelynn
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2016) Norte, Primitivo (2017), Portugues (2018), Finisterre/Muxia (2016)
When I was walking del Norte some years back, my plan was to break off and do the Primitivo, but I was delayed helping another pilgrim and was afraid I wouldn’t have enough time to enjoy it. So, I stayed on del Norte. No regrets!
It seemed it was mostly Spaniards on it, and they all commented that they didn’t understand why other Peregrinos always chose the Primitivo. And I loved the people I met along that section.
Primitivo can always be done easily as a stand-alone, but the last part of del Norte is not considered as such. It is quiet, peaceful, and beautiful. I’m glad my path took that turn!
 

Lunchmeat337

Submariner
Time of past OR future Camino
2015, Camino Frances, May
2017, Camino Frances, May
2018, Camino Portuguese, May
We have done both, the complete Norte in 2019 and this year the Norte to Oviedo then the Primitivo. To me the Primitivo is better than the last part of the Norte.
 

MarkyD

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
Hello!
Any insights on the second half of the Norte? We are currently on the Norte and are coming to the split for the Primitivo vs Norte. We did the Primitivo in 2019 and loved it, so we are tempted to turn onto the Primitivo again. However, it would be nice to do something new and actually finish the Norte.

Has anyone done both and have insights to share?

Thanks much!!
A friend of mine did what you are contemplating to do, but later felt the need to come back and finish El Norte. He picked a bad time to do it though, October 2020, when he experienced a fair bit of rejection and restrictions along the way - having to do stealth camping on several occasions.
Thankfully, it's not like that now, but there is a nasty heatwave at the moment. As you've already done El Primitivo, I would opt for continuing on El Norte and get the benefit of seeing some beaches (perhaps walking along them and swimming too), cliff walks and the wonderful sea breeze.
 

Babyboomergirl

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017
Primitivo 2018
Finisterre/Muxía 2018
Norte 2019
Like many others who had already walked the Primitivo we continued along the Norte and had no regrets . It was a very scenic and peaceful camino.
 
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Mera

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF, El Norte, Primitivo, Porto, Madrid, Ingles
Hello!
Any insights on the second half of the Norte? We are currently on the Norte and are coming to the split for the Primitivo vs Norte. We did the Primitivo in 2019 and loved it, so we are tempted to turn onto the Primitivo again. However, it would be nice to do something new and actually finish the Norte.

Has anyone done both and have insights to share?

Thanks much!!
From Ribadeo, you can follow the coastline all the way to Camino Ingles, and to Santiago. Really beautiful and not so crowded.
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Is this route marked? Have a name?
I believe that it's the Ruta do Mar. There are several threads on it on the forum.
Here are a couple


There's also a Cicerone guidebook written by @Dave
 
Time of past OR future Camino
See signature. Too many to list here.
I believe that it's the Ruta do Mar. There are several threads on it on the forum.
Here are a couple


There's also a Cicerone guidebook written by @Dave
Ok. I'll have to look at the threads then. Thank you.
 

Eamonrodden

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
French, Norte, Primitivo, portuguese, via del plata, madrid
Hello!
Any insights on the second half of the Norte? We are currently on the Norte and are coming to the split for the Primitivo vs Norte. We did the Primitivo in 2019 and loved it, so we are tempted to turn onto the Primitivo again. However, it would be nice to do something new and actually finish the Norte.

Has anyone done both and have insights to share?

Thanks much!!
The Norte is the best
 

John Holland

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016
I have walked both. Both are excellent. As you have already walked the Primitivo I would suggest the second half of the Norte. It has a beautiful coastline, including good beaches. It is definitely a bit quieter than the first half of the Norte. Why not try something new for a somewhat difference experience?
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I've walked both and I agree with @John Holland. The Primitivo you know, but the second part of the Norte is equally good. Some amazing beaches and fishing ports, and beautiful walking once you turn south, with unmissable towns and sites - the Monastery of San Salvador in Villanova and the small but exquisite museum of sacred art, Mondenado with its Cathedral and the beautiful "English Madonna", and of course Sobrado dos Monxes. Some of my favourite days. Quiet walking and we only came across a couple of other pilgrims.

We particularly remember that the food was fabulous, much better than on the Primitivo! I think because the restaurants and bars are catering to regular patrons, rather than pilgrims. We could have lived on the free tapas that came with every drink, and one of our best overnight stays was in a room over a bakery - the deal included an amazing breakfast consisting of freshly cooked treats.
 

Canche

Volcano Climber
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte/Frances 2016, San Salvador & Primitivo 2021
When I walked the Norte, I switched to the Primitivo and I found them both outstanding. I liked that they were completely different experiences and terrain. That said, I still planto finish the 2nd half of the Norte in order to finish it.
Me, too
 

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