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Primitivo vs Frances?

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I have 12 days to walk. I’ve already walked Astorga to SDC with my wife in 2016. Now I get to walk alone, my way. I would like opinions/suggestions on how to best utilize those days. Start at SJ and walk or Start at Oviedo and walk....but again I only have 10-12, days of walking and a total of 15 days of vacation.
 
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Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Make a conservative estimate of the distance you want to plan for (make sure to account for rest days if that's how you like to do things ... ):
If you think you'd enjoy walking an average of 20km per day over 10 walking days ... 200 km
If you're comfortable with an average of 30km per day over 12 walking days ... 360 km

Based on Godesalco's planning tool (well worth playing around with), here are a few potentially rewarding itineraries, but only you can really decide which is more to your taste:

Portugues - Porto to SdC (244,5 km)
Frances - Burgos to Astorga (231,9 km), then bus to Santiago and walk to Cabo de Finisterre (92,9 km)
Frances - Grañón to Astorga (298,6 km)
Reverse Frances - Astorga to Logroño (356 km) or however far you make it, then public transit to Madrid
Primitivo - Oviedo to SdC (319,5 km)
VDLP - Merida to Salamanca (293,8 km) or Zamora (363,4 km)
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1989
It really helps to know a bit more about you and what you are looking for in a Camino. As Raggy mentions above, how far do you like to walk in a day? How fit are you? Do you like mountainous terrain? Are you looking for more scenery or more history? Do you enjoy the company of other pilgrims or are you looking for something more solitary?

If you are quite fit and love beautiful mountain scenery and are looking for a somewhat less walked Camino, then the Camino Primitivo works really well.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for something perhaps not quite so mountainous and strenuous, with lots of history and good infrastructure and pilgrim company, then the Camino Portugues from Porto might suit the bill.

If you aren't worried about finishing in Santiago, then there are tons more options depending on preferences, time of year, etc. Raggy mentions VDLP from Merida as one. You could also do a section on one of the French Caminos, or for something even more solitary, a section on one of the Caminos from the southeast of Spain.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
For those with a limited amount of time who want to end in Santiago the walk from Porto can be ideal. One advantage that Porto has is that you can fly right into Porto and start walking the next day without having to spend any extra days traveling to your starting point. In fact, if you arrive on a morning flight you could even start the same as day. Porto to SdC can be done in 12 days.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have 12 days to walk.

I first walked the Primitivo at age 58 and walked it over 11 days. I had a bit more time than you, though, so I started in León and added on four days to include the Salvador, which has a stage or two that are unsurpassed for mountain beauty, IMO.

My stages are here.

Since you are so much younger, maybe @BeatriceKarjalainen’s stages would appeal. She walked in 8 days.

i have been back twice more, adding a day to my stages, as a concession to age and also because I got caught up with some people whose company I really enjoyed.

I totally agree with those who say that since you have walked the Francés, and especially if you are drawn to hills and small mountains, this is a great walk with a lot of infrastructure, a lot of pilgrims, and a very real “camino feel.”

Buen camino, Laurie
 

GuyA

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I first walked the Primitivo at age 58 and walked it over 11 days. I had a bit more time than you, though, so I started in León and added on four days to include the Salvador, which has a stage or two that are unsurpassed for mountain beauty, IMO.

My stages are here.

Since you are so much younger, maybe @BeatriceKarjalainen’s stages would appeal. She walked in 8 days.

i have been back twice more, adding a day to my stages, as a concession to age and also because I got caught up with some people whose company I really enjoyed.

I totally agree with those who say that since you have walked the Francés, and especially if you are drawn to hills and small mountains, this is a great walk with a lot of infrastructure, a lot of pilgrims, and a very real “camino feel.”

Buen camino, Laurie
Oh my! Have been planning Camino Primitivo but why not add the Salvador? Absolutely love walking in mountains!

Guy
 
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Pilgrim S

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2014 & 2016 (?Del Norte2019)
I have 12 days to walk. I’ve already walked Astorga to SDC with my wife in 2016. Now I get to walk alone, my way. I would like opinions/suggestions on how to best utilize those days. Start at SJ and walk or Start at Oviedo and walk....but again I only have 10-12, days of walking and a total of 15 days of vacation.
I've walked the Frances/Finnestere and Muxia twice and then returned to walk the Norte, Primitivo and out to Finnestere and Muxia. Every walk on the Camino is amazing and both options would be wonderful. Considering you've tasted the Frances, the Primitivo provides a quieter more reflective walk in stunning scenery. It is definitely more challenging physically and requires additional walking fitness, but it is breath-taking. On the 'down' side, if you can call it that, you do join the Frances for the last part of the walk, which you have already done. I walked from Oviedo to Santiago in 10 days and then walked to Muxia and Finnestere which was the perfect ending. Muxia remains one of my favourite places especially to relax and reflect after a long walk.
In contrast, if you have not experienced starting in St Jean, it is such a thrill to be absorbed into the whole village atmosphere of St Jean with all of the excitement of Pilgrims about to commence. I missed that in starting in Irun, not even able to buy a new shell, so it definitely depends on the sort of experience you're looking for. The Frances is more 'social' in that way, and Pilgrim oriented.
My advice is to take in all of the advice, then turn the head off and let the heart guide you because the Camino has a way of calling you to where you need to go. Enjoy!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1989

david46

Should be old enough to know better...
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Portugese, St. Jaume, Del Sur, Primitivo, Vadiniense, Salvador, Mozarabe
Those are beautiful photos, but they would better help someone make up their mind if there were an indication of which Camino they are from. :) Those who have already walked the Camino will know, but they don't need the photos to help them make up their mind.
Sorry! They are on the Primitivo.
 

arch

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Del Norte from Irun to Santander, Primitivo from Oviedo to Frances to Santiago September 2016
I have 12 days to walk. I’ve already walked Astorga to SDC with my wife in 2016. Now I get to walk alone, my way. I would like opinions/suggestions on how to best utilize those days. Start at SJ and walk or Start at Oviedo and walk....but again I only have 10-12, days of walking and a total of 15 days of vacation.
I walked the Primitivo in 2016 with my daughter. We are mountain hikers so it was a good choice for us. Definitely do the Hosiptales option
The only unpleasant days were the few times there was a lot of flat road walking. That’s why we decided not to do the Frances.
 
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arch

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Del Norte from Irun to Santander, Primitivo from Oviedo to Frances to Santiago September 2016
I have 12 days to walk. I’ve already walked Astorga to SDC with my wife in 2016. Now I get to walk alone, my way. I would like opinions/suggestions on how to best utilize those days. Start at SJ and walk or Start at Oviedo and walk....but again I only have 10-12, days of walking and a total of 15 days of vacation.
I walked the Primitivo with my daughter in 2016. We are mountain hikers so it was a good choice for us. The few unpleasant days were flat road walking. Probably why we chose not to do the Frances as our first Camino. Definitely take the Hospitales option.
 

elleley

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (16); Leon-Sarria, Ourense-SdC (17), Burgos-Leon (17), Porto-SdC (18), SalvadorPrimitivo(19)
I have 12 days to walk. I’ve already walked Astorga to SDC with my wife in 2016. Now I get to walk alone, my way. I would like opinions/suggestions on how to best utilize those days. Start at SJ and walk or Start at Oviedo and walk....but again I only have 10-12, days of walking and a total of 15 days of vacation.
As others have shared, you will find the Primitivo quieter, more physically challenging and more quickly changing scenery than the Frances. For all those reasons, I would highly recommend the Primitivo- my fav after 5 Camino pilgrimages. In 2019, my sister and I started in Ovideo and chose the Hospitales route, which despite some rain and scary winds, did not disappoint! Wherever you decide to walk, Ultreia!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2016), Norte (2017), Portuges (2018), Mozarabe (2019), Primitivo (2019), Via de La Plata (2
I have 12 days to walk. I’ve already walked Astorga to SDC with my wife in 2016. Now I get to walk alone, my way. I would like opinions/suggestions on how to best utilize those days. Start at SJ and walk or Start at Oviedo and walk....but again I only have 10-12, days of walking and a total of 15 days of vacation.
I found the Primitivo very beautiful but very physically demanding. If you do not need to get to SDC then I would recommend Pamplona to Burgos on the Frances. Absolutely fantastic.
 

stinmd

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - May 2015; Camino del Norte/Primitivo - July/August 2016; Camino Portugues - Sept 2017
A common response to these questions is.........

Do you need to finish in SdC? (to receive a Compostela)

If not, that opens up a lot more options.
I agree. A few years ago I hopscotched over several Caminos using Spain's very efficient - and cheap - train/bus network. Even though I didn't finish at SdC, I found the experience highly rewarding.
 

EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Those are beautiful photos, but they would better help someone make up their mind if there were an indication of which Camino they are from. :) Those who have already walked the Camino will know, but they don't need the photos to help them make up their mind.
ARE THOSE PICS FROM PRIMITIVO?
 
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