A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Luggage Transfer Correos

Starting from San Sebastian or Bilbao? + Question about Primitivo

2020 Camino Guides

Bianca

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hopefully July 2015!
Hi!

I've booked all my flights. I'll arrive in Bilbao on the 3rd of July, start walking on the 4th. My flight back from Santiago de Compostela is on the 2nd of August (arriving the 1st of August). This gives me 29 walking days.

I'm wondering whether to start from Bilbao or from San Sebastian. Honestly, I would also love a reason to hang out in San Sebastian again, I love that city so much! I've heard the stretch between the two cities is also one of the most beautiful parts. I've also heard that the walk out of Bilbao is not exactly the most scenic... Do you think it's a good idea to start in SS and then take a bus / train out of Bilbao? And what would be a good part to start again?
As I've said in a previous post, I haven't had any preparation whatsoever and my fitness is ok but not great, so definitely in the beginning I wouldn't like to walk more than 25km a day.
Any advice would be very welcome!

On to part two of my question: I've read quite a bit about the Primitivo, it looks really nice. But does it take longer than the Norte? I guess I'll decide when I get there which one to take, but I haven't been able to calculate the exact difference yet...

Thanks!

Bianca
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Hi!

I've booked all my flights. I'll arrive in Bilbao on the 3rd of July, start walking on the 4th. My flight back from Santiago de Compostela is on the 2nd of August (arriving the 1st of August). This gives me 29 walking days.

I'm wondering whether to start from Bilbao or from San Sebastian. Honestly, I would also love a reason to hang out in San Sebastian again, I love that city so much! I've heard the stretch between the two cities is also one of the most beautiful parts. I've also heard that the walk out of Bilbao is not exactly the most scenic... Do you think it's a good idea to start in SS and then take a bus / train out of Bilbao? And what would be a good part to start again?
As I've said in a previous post, I haven't had any preparation whatsoever and my fitness is ok but not great, so definitely in the beginning I wouldn't like to walk more than 25km a day.
Any advice would be very welcome!

On to part two of my question: I've read quite a bit about the Primitivo, it looks really nice. But does it take longer than the Norte? I guess I'll decide when I get there which one to take, but I haven't been able to calculate the exact difference yet...

Thanks!

Bianca
Because it's so beautiful, as you already know, I would walk from San Sebastian. Regarding leaving Bilbao, you can take the subway to Portugalete: it's only 4or 5 stops or so. And that way you will get to cross the bridge to Portugalete, a worldwide landmark of somesort. As for the Primitivo, I've just done it in 18 days, but I took it easy with 3 short days of 15 km or so. I had time, so why rush? Some do it in 13 (not if you only want to do 25 km or so), others in 15. You do have to add 2 days I think to get from Norte to Oviedo. Take a look at this online guide: http://santiago.forwalk.org/en/trail/, it will show you options depending on how strenous you want your walk to be.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
Hi!

I've booked all my flights. I'll arrive in Bilbao on the 3rd of July, start walking on the 4th. My flight back from Santiago de Compostela is on the 2nd of August (arriving the 1st of August). This gives me 29 walking days.

I'm wondering whether to start from Bilbao or from San Sebastian. Honestly, I would also love a reason to hang out in San Sebastian again, I love that city so much! I've heard the stretch between the two cities is also one of the most beautiful parts. I've also heard that the walk out of Bilbao is not exactly the most scenic... Do you think it's a good idea to start in SS and then take a bus / train out of Bilbao? And what would be a good part to start again?
As I've said in a previous post, I haven't had any preparation whatsoever and my fitness is ok but not great, so definitely in the beginning I wouldn't like to walk more than 25km a day.
Any advice would be very welcome!

On to part two of my question: I've read quite a bit about the Primitivo, it looks really nice. But does it take longer than the Norte? I guess I'll decide when I get there which one to take, but I haven't been able to calculate the exact difference yet...

Thanks!

Bianca

Bianca:

I walked from San Sebastian last year in 29 days, so it is doable in your time frame. That said, the first week is the toughest. I would recommend you start Bilbao and maybe even contact Mendiwalker a forum member who lives there. Bilbao is a beautiful city. The walk between Bilbao and Portugalete is a little dreary in places but it does run along the river. There is a hanging bridge that you cross to get to Portugalete.

The choice to walk the Primitivo or stay on the Norte comes in Villaviciosa. Either choice is good and will probably be determined by whom you have connected with along the way. The Primitivo is hillier and more rural, The Norte is Coastal to Ribadeo and then it turns inland. It should not be any more than 14-16 days either way from Villaviciosa.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

Bianca

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hopefully July 2015!
As usual quite a late answer (I was in Berlin for the week) but thanks to the both of you for weighing in. I've finally decided to start walking from Portugalete, I think starting from San Sebastian with my lack of preparation would be a bit too much, plus I'd probably be quite stressed out about making it to Santiago on time etc. Better to have more time! If I would magically find myself having some left over days I could still walk to Finisterre.
Of course I still have a question! Is it possible to stay in an albergue on the first night? Or do you have to prove you've walked to the first albergue?
And does anyone have any idea about the availability of guidebooks in Bilbao? They must have some in a local bookstore... Wasn't going to take one but had a look on Google Books at one and I really feel that it would put my mind at ease a lot. Of course it's too late to order online now :-/

Cheers!
 

Bianca

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hopefully July 2015!
PS: Sorry for all the questions, usually I'm quite capable of working things out for myself and pretty streetwise, but I'm very nervous about this whole undertaking! I've no idea what it's really going to be like (and so scared to get lost etc.) I seem to need a lot of answers to put my mind at ease... Anyway, I'm sure all that will get better after the first steps / day :) And thank you all! This forum has been invaluable so far. Hopefully I can return with some of my own tips!
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
Hi Bianca
It's perfectly normal to be a little nervous. I'm always the same until I'm underway. Once you start, it will all feel really easy.
Once you get the sense of looking for the arrows or shells, you'll feel much more confident. They really are everywhere you need them. In the pavement, on walls, on street signposts, on rocks, trees. If you don't see an indication, just stop, stand still and look about you, or let your gaze rest a little further ahead.
It's a good idea to start walking from Portugalete. But that would mean you'd start with the credential 1st stamp in Bilbao at the cathedral. You would catch the metro the few stops to Portugalete.

As Joe above posted. See if you can make contact with Mendiwalker who lives in Bilbao, and depending on the day you start he may be able to walk with you a short way. It's his city and will give you best advice. He could show you the way out of Bilbao without the metro too. You would have time with your days starting in Bilbao.

I walked the Norte last September/October. And in April may this year walked the Salvador and primitivo.
As has been said above it will probably come down to your companions at the point of making the choice (villaviciosa). I was happy to continue the Norte - it is beautiful. That meant I could come back and walk the primitive. Absolute ripper too!,
Too hard to choose.

When you start you Camino , you are okay to stay in an alburgue. No problems.

Buen Camino.
Annie
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
As usual quite a late answer (I was in Berlin for the week) but thanks to the both of you for weighing in. I've finally decided to start walking from Portugalete, I think starting from San Sebastian with my lack of preparation would be a bit too much, plus I'd probably be quite stressed out about making it to Santiago on time etc. Better to have more time! If I would magically find myself having some left over days I could still walk to Finisterre.
Of course I still have a question! Is it possible to stay in an albergue on the first night? Or do you have to prove you've walked to the first albergue?
And does anyone have any idea about the availability of guidebooks in Bilbao? They must have some in a local bookstore... Wasn't going to take one but had a look on Google Books at one and I really feel that it would put my mind at ease a lot. Of course it's too late to order online now :-/

Cheers!
Bianca:

The Gronze.com and Eroski sites can be accessed online. These are great sites for route information and accommodation. If you have a smart phone or Ipad you will not need a guidebook, imo. I personally would much rather spend my first night in Bilbao versus Portugalete. Whatever decision you make, I am sure it will be the best one for you.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

Bianca

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hopefully July 2015!
Yep, the plan is to go to the albergue in Bilbao when I arrive (I still have some practical stuff to sort out in Bilbao, getting a Spanish sim card, credencial etc), and maybe take the metro to Portugalete in the morning or walk there anyway (it's not far so might be a good warmup). I'm sure I'll find someone to help me through the first stages :) Thanks for all the tips Joe! I've visited the gronze site more than is probably healthy by now... :)
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
Bianca:

Have you tried contacting Mendiwalker. He lives in Bilbao and often walks other Pilgrims through his town.

Since the walk to Portugalete is a short one you might want to consider walking on to Pobena, only another 12 km's. It is a pretty easy walk and goes past a beautiful Beach area La Arena. I assume the bridge crossing has been repaired since 2014.

This route is pretty popular so finding other walkers will not be an issue.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

Get on our Mailing list for new products on the Camino Store and news from the Camino Forum







Advertisement

Booking.com

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter






Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.3%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 51 4.2%
  • April

    Votes: 183 15.1%
  • May

    Votes: 297 24.5%
  • June

    Votes: 86 7.1%
  • July

    Votes: 23 1.9%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.2%
  • September

    Votes: 349 28.7%
  • October

    Votes: 149 12.3%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 6 0.5%
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock