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Stages from Bilbao

KerryW

Member
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean PDP to Santiago de Compostela 2016
Via Podiensis 2017
Hi everyone
I'm wondering which steps you have taken after Bilbao - are there 'you must stay here' stops? Portugalete or push through to Pobena? Is Castro Urdiales a must stop, or move through to Islares? thanks everyone
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
In my opinion the del Norte does not have the same monumentally significant places as does the Frances, and is a different sort of experience. The Frances is all about the Camino, but on the del Norte, the Camino passes through..

Portugalete is a northern suburb of Bilbao, about 10km from the city centre, useful as a starting-off point the next day. There is an albergue and a church, but nothing remarkable (the bridge is a World Heritage Site, and a fun ride). Castro Urdiales is 28km further, with an albergue by the bull ring and other facilities, but has nothing notable about it, although the plaza by the harbour is nice. Islares is a relaxed little seaside village, 9km further-- I suppose that you can push on to it if you wish.

The scenery is worth it, and some of the seaports have mediaeval quarters (Laredo) worth seeing. Some love the cities (Santander and Gijon) and others of us skate through. Church-going pilgrims will find it more difficult to locate daily evening masses, although it is possible with some looking around and asking (Spanish churches have an interesting approach to the idea of letting anyone know if there are services)-- See if you can check out the cathedral in Mondenedo in Galicia, and the Cistercian monastery in Sobrado dos Monxes. The coastal variations, if the weather is at all decent, are spectacular (as are the beaches, but swimmers must be very careful about the Biscay undertow, which regularly takes swimmers off to the coast of Kerry and justifies a huge expenditure on Guardia Civil search and rescue teams).

Everyone seems to love the albergue in Guemes, and the one in Comillas. As towns, Comillas has one of Gaudi's first buildings, and a palace which justifies a look: the albergue is located right behind a sculpture museum. Santillana del Mar has become a bit of a tourist trap, but at night or first thing in the morning, has a magic to it. Other towns, normally summer resorts for the Spanish, have a certain charm out of season-- Tapia de Casariego, Luarca, Cudillero...

But don't look for another Frances. You won't find it.
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
We're only back from the Norte for a few weeks and already I've forgotten which beach was which and what towns we loved... we only did half of the camino so it's one that we'll go back to one day.

I agree with all the above... the things we did that I would recommend...

We stopped at Portugalete ... it meant we could take our time in the morning in Bilbao and also linger at the Guggenheim. There isn't a great deal at Portugalete but we did wander around the town... rode the escalators up the hills, took the ferry across to the other side and meandered and then took the bridge/ferry/lift thing back. We stayed in a hotel right beside the bridge. I'm glad we did as it gave us longer in Bilbao.

Also, in Santandar we followed the estuary promenade all the way up to the university and beyond up to Cueto and walked along the coast... LOVED Cueto! So glad we went off the camino. We even returned to cueto at the end of the walk as we loved it so much. Also I really liked Santillana del Mar.

Castro Urdiales we found a little disappointing... it's a really lovey town but we felt a bit lost with all the tourists... I wish we'd stopped at the little town before Miono, just because the beach looks so inviting!

It was very different that the Frances... and also for us it was perhaps more of a walking holiday on the Camino rather than walking as pilgrims... but it's beautiful for sure!

Happy walking
 

KerryW

Member
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean PDP to Santiago de Compostela 2016
Via Podiensis 2017
In my opinion the del Norte does not have the same monumentally significant places as does the Frances, and is a different sort of experience. The Frances is all about the Camino, but on the del Norte, the Camino passes through..

Portugalete is a northern suburb of Bilbao, about 10km from the city centre, useful as a starting-off point the next day. There is an albergue and a church, but nothing remarkable (the bridge is a World Heritage Site, and a fun ride). Castro Urdiales is 28km further, with an albergue by the bull ring and other facilities, but has nothing notable about it, although the plaza by the harbour is nice. Islares is a relaxed little seaside village, 9km further-- I suppose that you can push on to it if you wish.

The scenery is worth it, and some of the seaports have mediaeval quarters (Laredo) worth seeing. Some love the cities (Santander and Gijon) and others of us skate through. Church-going pilgrims will find it more difficult to locate daily evening masses, although it is possible with some looking around and asking (Spanish churches have an interesting approach to the idea of letting anyone know if there are services)-- See if you can check out the cathedral in Mondenedo in Galicia, and the Cistercian monastery in Sobrado dos Monxes. The coastal variations, if the weather is at all decent, are spectacular (as are the beaches, but swimmers must be very careful about the Biscay undertow, which regularly takes swimmers off to the coast of Kerry and justifies a huge expenditure on Guardia Civil search and rescue teams).

Everyone seems to love the albergue in Guemes, and the one in Comillas. As towns, Comillas has one of Gaudi's first buildings, and a palace which justifies a look: the albergue is located right behind a sculpture museum. Santillana del Mar has become a bit of a tourist trap, but at night or first thing in the morning, has a magic to it. Other towns, normally summer resorts for the Spanish, have a certain charm out of season-- Tapia de Casariego, Luarca, Cudillero...

But don't look for another Frances. You won't find it.
Thank you so much! This is so helpful. It's interesting doing the Frances first ... it is unique. We loved the Via Podiensis, but it is a very different experience. It's all about enjoying the uniqueness of each camino :)
 

KerryW

Member
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean PDP to Santiago de Compostela 2016
Via Podiensis 2017
We're only back from the Norte for a few weeks and already I've forgotten which beach was which and what towns we loved... we only did half of the camino so it's one that we'll go back to one day.

I agree with all the above... the things we did that I would recommend...

We stopped at Portugalete ... it meant we could take our time in the morning in Bilbao and also linger at the Guggenheim. There isn't a great deal at Portugalete but we did wander around the town... rode the escalators up the hills, took the ferry across to the other side and meandered and then took the bridge/ferry/lift thing back. We stayed in a hotel right beside the bridge. I'm glad we did as it gave us longer in Bilbao.

Also, in Santandar we followed the estuary promenade all the way up to the university and beyond up to Cueto and walked along the coast... LOVED Cueto! So glad we went off the camino. We even returned to cueto at the end of the walk as we loved it so much. Also I really liked Santillana del Mar.

Castro Urdiales we found a little disappointing... it's a really lovey town but we felt a bit lost with all the tourists... I wish we'd stopped at the little town before Miono, just because the beach looks so inviting!

It was very different that the Frances... and also for us it was perhaps more of a walking holiday on the Camino rather than walking as pilgrims... but it's beautiful for sure!

Happy walking
Thank you so much ... I really value your comments .. so helpful :)
 

Niels

camino mi privio
Camino(s) past & future
Ca. del Norte and Ca. Primotivo in 2016 + Santiago to Muxia; Ca. Frances and Ruta Dragonte in 2018.
The Camino Frances is unique; Camino del Norte is unique - but they're very different. I love them both - and I have to say, I do remember if not every little spot on the first part of Camino del Norte, the most. Then I went to Camino Primitivo, which - if I have to choose one - is the most unique of the lot.
 

Bob from L.A. !

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
I echo the Guggenheim idea and staying in Portugalete. Both are interesting places to check out.
 

Frank1963

New Member
Hello

I will start my camino at the end of april.
I want to go from Guernicka to Bilbao in 1 day.
Is this possible and not to hard ?

Greetings
 

Bob from L.A. !

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
Yes, it can be done, depending on your level of fitness. I would also caution this time of year can be cold and wet. Taking all of this into consideration you'd be looking at a looong day on the trail. Between the two locations you'd also have a considerable gain and loss in elevation.

Good luck
 

Bob from L.A. !

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
Good to hear. Lezama is a good place to stop for lunch
 

Bob from L.A. !

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
I will send you a PM (Private Message)
 

Niels

camino mi privio
Camino(s) past & future
Ca. del Norte and Ca. Primotivo in 2016 + Santiago to Muxia; Ca. Frances and Ruta Dragonte in 2018.
Hello

I will start my camino at the end of april.
I want to go from Guernicka to Bilbao in 1 day.
Is this possible and not to hard ?

Greetings
Yes, it can probably can be done depending on your state of fitness. But I wouldn't. It is a pretty tough route. Very much up and down, and may be a bít muddy, too, at that time of the year. AND walking that long for your first day is really not adviseable except you've done that for some time up to the start of the Camino.
 

Frank1963

New Member
On my 10th day on the camino I intend to walk from Laredo to Santander. Is this possible ? By then I should adapted to the rhythm and my fysical condition should be allright.
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
On my 10th day on the camino I intend to walk from Laredo to Santander. Is this possible ? By then I should adapted to the rhythm and my fysical condition should be allright.
Well, that would be a 40km day (although by disagreeable road-walking from Berria along the C-141 to the church of Santa María de Bareyo you might snip off about 4km) which, to my mind, is a very long day. It also depends where you stay in Laredo; there are some hotels at the west end of the peninsula from where the ferry leaves for Santona-- that could snip off another 4km from the centre of Laredo (as would the city bus to the ferry).
 

Camino Chris

One step forward...
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
And miss staying at the best albergue on the Norte in Güemes??!
I loved the experience at Guemes with Ernesto! It's one that really stands out in my mind to this day if I reflect on the awesome albergue he has built!
 

Frank1963

New Member
Hello,

is there an option when starting on my 8th day from Castro Urdiales to stop in Santoña instead of Laredo ? In that case the trip to Santander will be 5 km shorter.

Greetings,
Frank
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018

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