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Question about Valcarlos Route from SJPDP

2020 Camino Guides

ktchnofdngr

Member
Camino(s) past & future
December/January 2013/2014
So, I'm about a month out from my 2nd Camino, and because of foot issues, do not plan to even attempt the Route Napoleon, in spite of the fact that it is supposed to be the prettier of the 2 routes. I also plan to stop for the night in Valcarlos.

First, has anyone walked this way, and can they tell what the way is like?

Second, does anyone know if there is a way to reserve a bed in the Valcarlos Albergue? If, for some reason, it is full when I get there, are there any other accommodations in Valcarlos?
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
I have walked the Valcarlos route and found it a lovely route, country roads and lanes, farm footpaths and a little climbing up to Valcarlos. After that it mostly on the main road, which is ok because the Napoleon is also on roadway 'till past Orisson. As to reserving a bed, even though I didn't stay there, I believe you can but someone else might clarify that. Have a great Camino.
Buen Camino.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Yes you can reserve a bed in the Valcarlos albergue and there are other accommodations in the village. See the www.Gronze.com list for the town. Hit each entry for further info including telephone and email. For the albergue you can email in English. Be sure to also read this earlier Forum thread for more re the Valcarlos route.

Do be aware that there are no services on this rooute after you leave Valcarlos. Just east of Ibaneta this is a water spigot marked non-potable. Thus do carry trail supplies and water in order to be prepared.

Buen camino!
 
Last edited:

Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
So, I'm about a month out from my 2nd Camino, and because of foot issues, do not plan to even attempt the Route Napoleon, in spite of the fact that it is supposed to be the prettier of the 2 routes. I also plan to stop for the night in Valcarlos.

First, has anyone walked this way, and can they tell what the way is like?

Second, does anyone know if there is a way to reserve a bed in the Valcarlos Albergue? If, for some reason, it is full when I get there, are there any other accommodations in Valcarlos?
Hi, it's a very nice route according to my wife anyway she walked this route a few years ago. She didn't stay in Valcarlos, she walked till Roncesvalles.
Wish you a wonderful journey and a Buen Camino, Peter.
 

Sole To Soul

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
St. Jean (2015), 2016
I walked the Valcarlos route roughly mid September last year. My preference was to do Napolean but the camino office indicated very poor weather that day for that route and they strongly advised Valcarlos. Ok. I figured I would be walking with many others. I didn't see another pilgrim for approx 2 hrs. A total of 4-5 the whole Valcarlos route and then many more of course once united with the Napolean route. As noted above the route was mostly flat, there was road walking (take care in the winding sections), farm lanes, foot paths. Roughly the last few kms were through a lovely forest where it is more hilly. Just remember slow and steady to keep a comfortable pace. You definitely want to allow yourself some TLC. You're just starting out. Don't risk injury, especially this early on.

Buen Camino!
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Valcarlos is a good route, will get you there for sure. Foot problems? Look above and do plan stopover, don't try all in one go. That first day is always marked by great excitement, wonderful views, new experiences, new found pilgrim friends, a tad of uncertainty and even second thoughts - taken all together may throw you off your usual walking pace and make the stage even harder. Go easy to test you foot and to build your confidence your strength and then - SURPRIZE! - a month later you are in Santiago!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014), Camino Mozarabe, (3-days then aborted (2016), Via de la Plata/Sanabres (2018)
Similar to Sole to Soul above, the Valcarlos route was clear, where the Napoleon Route was "not suggested" by the Pilgrim Office in late April 2014. The
Valcarlos route is a beautiful walk from SJPDP to Roncevalles. Easy going through Valcarlos, then I found the going much steeper going uphill on a trail along an Electrical Utility Pole right-of-way, rather than the paved roadway. At the pinnacle point is a small chapel like building and the wonderful downhill walk into Roncevalles. I understand the Valcarlos route is slightly longer and not quite as steep, but a healthy challenge none the less. The smart thing to do would have been to stay overnight in Valcarlos, but I was hellbent to go all the way to Roncevalles and over the mountain on day-one, in keeping with the popular guidebook. It didn't take very many days on the Camino to discover that it was OK not stay in sync with the "suggested stages" of the guidebook, and to trust my instincts and body. On the earlier stages of the Camino Frances, I found great and adequate opportunities for beds in Albergues going off-sync from the guidebook.

Buen Camino
 

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