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Staying on the Norte with a dip to Oviedo

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I was talking with a forum member about the Norte recently, and I suggested that she might want to avoid what is reputed to be a very industrial slog, the stage between Gijón and Avilés (I can’t tell you from personal experience, because I have never done it).

Gronze has a schematic map that shows the alternative clearly. At Villaviciosa, you can take a detour to visit the amazing church at Valdediós and continue to Pola de Siero (or, depending on where you started, you could also stop earlier at Vega de Sariego, 10 km before Pola de Siero, nice albergue). Next day into Oviedo, with a short day you have a lot of time to visit some of this beautiful city. The following day, up to Avilés on a nice path, and into Avilés without going through any of the industrial part. I have done this several times, because I would jump at a chance to visit Oviedo, which has a lot of Camino significance in its own right. Not much longer either!

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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Gijón was one of my favorite cities on the Norte. I wouldn't want to miss it. I don't remember that stretch being particularly bad to walk, but I do remember enjoying walking with fellow pilgrims those days.
 
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Craig Towers

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino de Santiago
If you get to Oviedo make sure you hear the nuns sing in the evening. Not at the Cathederal but just around the corner. If I recall correctly standing facing the Cathederal head hard left walk to the end of road where you will hit a T intersection. Turn right. Walk to next road. Entry is on your right. Early evening. Well worth it. I’m sure Cathederal office can give you better directions.
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
We dipped to Oviedo from Villaviciosa, and enjoyed Oviedo greatly! One of our preferred towns in the North.
There's a Spanish saying: "Quien va a Santiago y no al Salvador, visita al criado y no al Señor". Which means "if you go to Santiago but not to the Saviour (Oviedo's cathedral is known as El Salvador), you'll visit the servant and not the Lord"
Another reason to walk to Oviedo: on the way, stay at the convent Valdedios. It was a great experience!
Buen Camino
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Leon to Santiago (July 2018)
SJPdP to Leon followed by Primitivo (June 2019)
Planning next one...
I was talking with a forum member about the Norte recently, and I suggested that she might want to avoid what is reputed to be a very industrial slog, the stage between Gijón and Avilés (I can’t tell you from personal experience, because I have never done it).

Gronze has a schematic map that shows the alternative clearly. At Villaviciosa, you can take a detour to visit the amazing church at Valdediós and continue to Pola de Siero (or, depending on where you started, you could also stop earlier at Vega de Sariego, 10 km before Pola de Siero, nice albergue). Next day into Oviedo, with a short day you have a lot of time to visit some of this beautiful city. The following day, up to Avilés on a nice path, and into Avilés without going through any of the industrial part. I have done this several times, because I would jump at a chance to visit Oviedo, which has a lot of Camino significance in its own right. Not much longer either!

View attachment 53727
Quick question... I have 13 days to get from Oviedo to Santiago. I was considering the Primitivo, but heard it's very rainy... is the Northern from Oviedo to Santiago (via.. Aviles?) doable in that amount of time? Ideally I was hoping for no more than 28 kms a day since I'm starting at SJPdP... I'm leaving in less than 2 weeks and have to be in Santiago by July 5th. Any words of wisdom, please? Thanks!
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Quick question... I have 13 days to get from Oviedo to Santiago. I was considering the Primitivo, but heard it's very rainy... is the Northern from Oviedo to Santiago (via.. Aviles?) doable in that amount of time? Ideally I was hoping for no more than 28 kms a day since I'm starting at SJPdP... I'm leaving in less than 2 weeks and have to be in Santiago by July 5th. Any words of wisdom, please? Thanks!

It's technically feasible (based on the kms from Oviedo and walking 28 kms per day).
From Oviedo to Avilés, don't walk: it's a lot along a road (on a sidewalk). Take a bus and that will save you 30 kms.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
It's technically feasible (based on the kms from Oviedo and walking 28 kms per day).
From Oviedo to Avilés, don't walk: it's a lot along a road (on a sidewalk). Take a bus and that will save you 30 kms.
AJ, I don’t remember a lot of road walking. I think it may be for the same reason @trecile doesn’t remember the industrial slog from Gijón to Avilés — I was too engrossed in good conversation. A close friend from Madrid had come to walk a few days with me and we had just met a certain @Krimpa who thought he was on the Primitivo and just decided to keep walking.

But even if it is road, it surely wasn’t busy road, and I am sure there was no industry at all unless I was hallucinating. I used to be accutely sensitive to asphalt walking, and I still don’t like it, but with my switch to trail runners and silicone orthotics, I may be less aware of the asphalt.

But it is definitely true that I have clearer memories of my surroundings when I walk alone.

Just checked wikiloc, and it looks to me like there is hardly any road walking — maybe you got on the wrong road?
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Year of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
AJ, I don’t remember a lot of road walking. I think it may be for the same reason @trecile doesn’t remember the industrial slog from Gijón to Avilés — I was too engrossed in good conversation. A close friend from Madrid had come to walk a few days with me and we had just met a certain @Krimpa who thought he was on the Primitivo and just decided to keep walking.

But even if it is road, it surely wasn’t busy road, and I am sure there was no industry at all unless I was hallucinating. I used to be accutely sensitive to asphalt walking, and I still don’t like it, but with my switch to trail runners and silicone orthotics, I may be less aware of the asphalt.

But it is definitely true that I have clearer memories of my surroundings when I walk alone.

Just checked wikiloc, and it looks to me like there is hardly any road walking — maybe you got on the wrong road?

It's interesting how we remember parts of the Camino!
You are right, the first part of the walk between Oviedo and Avilés is not entirely road walking. Rachel's notes indicate that we walked partly along roads, and partly in eucalyptus forests.
We stopped at the Hotel Royal in La Miranda-Llanera for the night, and the second part of the walk from there to Avilés was definitely road walking. I think this is the memory that clouds the first part.
Here's pictures of that second part.
It was raining on the second day, and I remember telling Rachel that we could take the bus to Avilés.
But she preferred walking :)
I didn't have Wikiloc tracks, I used the Buen Camino app.
 

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Pilger99

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
addicted since 1999 (Aragones, CF), lots of caminos in Spain and Portugal since then
Wikiloc is just a collection of tracks that someone walked or planned. Planning is unreliable and walking tracks often show their detours, which is not what I want. You need like 10 wikiloc before you see the real path.
I don't know if OSM is much better, but you can still compare map and trail.
source: https://hiking.waymarkedtrails.org/#?map=13!43.4153!-5.8169
I would mark it 80% tarmac, 20% earth, but that's just browsing it on the map.

Also the Gijón - Avilés part is not fully road, but start and end has too much of it. Staying at the campsite on the other end of Gión makes it even worse.

PS: Independent of the company and landscape, my feet complain about longer tarmac roads. So I rather look for some extra km on dirt paths, than for the shortest connection. It often feels like 1km tarmac = 2 km dirt.
 
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