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Route markers on routes other than Frances?

ChrisGall

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
October 2022
I walked solo from Pamplona to Burgos Oct 2022. The route was well marked all along the way, only two or three times was I concerned, briefly, about whether I was still on the right track -- and then I spotted a yellow arrow or other sign confirming that I was.
Are the other routes to Santiago also well signed? The interior Portugués, for example, and the route that goes through Bilbao?
I heard from a friend who tried to do the pilgrimage from Canterbury to Rome that it was extremely difficult to make his way through France. There were hardly any markers or indications of where to go at forks in the road, or leaving a town, and other decision points. The locals were oblivious and couldn't help. He finally took a train to the Italian border, and from there it was clear where to stay on the Camino to Rome.
 
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I can't answer for the Interior Portugues or the Norte - haven't walked either of those. But I've rarely had problems with route marking on other less-travelled routes like the Ingles, Via de la Plata, Sanabres, Mozarabe, Primitivo or the Finisterre/Muxia paths. My own experience has been that where signage is most likely to fail is when passing through larger towns where it can simply be lost in the background clutter. These days I usually carry a smartphone with a mapping app and where possible a GPS track of the Camino I'm walking. If I lose the marked trail I just aim for the next point I know to be on it. Going accidentally off-piste for a km or two is not the end of the world! :cool:

I walked from Canterbury to Rome in summer 2015. At the time I thought the official marked route was over-complicated and far from intuitive. So I made my own way as far as Besançon mostly along canal towpaths and followed the well-marked and quite sensible official trail from there. Unless you are particularly keen on following a prescribed route I see no good reason why you should not improvise when the waymarked trail makes little sense.
 
Routes in France are marked far differently than the CF, usually incorporating fewer and smaller waymarks that are easily missed or often go missing. If walking there, definitely bring a mapping program on your phone.

Other Spanish routes are marked better than that, but still not the overwhelming proliferation of yellow arrows one sees on the CF. In my experience, Portuguese routes fall somewhere between, with better official markings then in France, but far fewer unofficial arrows than Spain.

Since every route is different, though, either pack a paper route map or take a phone/gps one of you fear going off-track, especially on the less-traveled routes.
 
I walked solo from Pamplona to Burgos Oct 2022. The route was well marked all along the way, only two or three times was I concerned, briefly, about whether I was still on the right track -- and then I spotted a yellow arrow or other sign confirming that I was.
Are the other routes to Santiago also well signed? The interior Portugués, for example, and the route that goes through Bilbao?
I heard from a friend who tried to do the pilgrimage from Canterbury to Rome that it was extremely difficult to make his way through France. There were hardly any markers or indications of where to go at forks in the road, or leaving a town, and other decision points. The locals were oblivious and couldn't help. He finally took a train to the Italian border, and from there it was clear where to stay on the Camino to Rome.
Thé Camino Mozarabe from Almeria to Cordoba is EXCEPTIONALLY well-marked.
 
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I walked the Norte this year and did have a few issues with the waymarking, however I didn't always stick to the 'official' route. The GR121 goes in the same general direction and I often walked on that trail, following the GR signs, which had very few Camino arrows.
I walked the coastal option before Santander and didn't see an arrow for the last 10kms, until the road to the ferry. Similarly, I took the coastal option out of Santander and saw only 2 arrows in 33kms. Some of the larger towns were a little tricky to walk through, though Bilbao was fine but I used mapy.cz and the gpx files on the Buen Camino app and all was fine.
The Camino office in Santander has arrows in both directions 😀.
 
Inglès has very good markings, unless you take an alternative option, then it's about 80% marked, but then I used the app and that helped tremendously.
Norte - once you're on the actual route, it is pretty well marked. But I started a little way off the route and it was pretty hard to find my way on the first day. Also, going through cities is hard, I lost my way several times but wasn't too worried - if you keep moving in the general direction, you can across an arrow at one point or another.
 
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The Via Francigena in France is marked as GR route, but its a few years since I walked and would say a guide or downloaded gps tracks are needed. Part of the VF's issue in France was about it becoming a GR route, and French bureaucracy around such routes. But I certainly didn't find the VF impossible, its a matter of realising that the C. Frances made it overly easy to follow in comparison to many other marked trails.

Having walked a camino route in France this summer, it was easier to follow then the VF, and even met a local volunteer touching up signs in woods along the way. In Spain the main routes are fairly well marked as is the main Portuguese route from Lisbon up, and even many of the more minor routes like the Vasco Interior are well marked. But as gps/gpx download of tracks is easily done and are available in some form for most routes it's useful to download and have them available using an offline map (there're a multitude of options of these now). But any route needs a little more independent thinking as arrows are not as common as the plethora of yellow painted ones plus signs as on the Frances.
 
“gps/gpx download of tracks is easily done and are available in some form for most routes it's useful to download and have them available using an offline map (there're a multitude of options of these now)”

Can you please name two or three of these for those of us who are new to Camino walking? Just a few to get us started in getting familiar with them. Much appreciated.
 
Offline maps apps include maps.me, osm maps.cz, organic maps and many others. You can download sections of map that are relevant.
 

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