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The hardest camino route? Need advice!

AngieOttawa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - Leon to Santiago (October2017)
Portuguese de la Costa - Tomar to Finisterre (May 2018
I was planning on walking the Camino Del North (starting in late-April) but I am getting very worried with the description of extreme hills and highway walking. Is this still the case? Ideally, I'd like to follow the coast line as much as possible.

I am a bit out of shape due to recent illnesses (pneumonia that put me in bed for a month).

I've walked from Leon to Santiago, from Santiago to Finisterre and from Tomar (Portugal) to Santiago (the coastal route) - to kind of give you a bit of my experience).

Any other suggestions of routes to take, if indeed this camino is could be too much for someone who's spent the last month in bed? I'm walking as much as I can at home in the meantime but 3 weeks isntt much.

Thank you in advance
 

Raggy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
I know a few people who had to abandon a walk because they pushed too hard after injury or illness. My advice is to consciously "under-achieve." Be the tortoise not the hare.
Start with small stages at first - Plan short stages, or use public transportation to cover partial stages.
Build distance up gradually - Don't expect to walk distances in the first two weeks that you would consider "normal" when you were at full strength
Be extra cautious when you feel tired - Ignore the voice that tells you to push through the wall. Take rest days.
 

andralynn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I am leaving for Barcelona May 20th, 2019 and will begin my Camino in San Sebastian May 27th, 2019
I am walking the Camino Norte as well my pilgrimage beginning May 27th. I plan to be kind to myself and rest when needed. My plan is to do 15 miles a day broken up into 3 segments of 5 miles each then rest. If that turns out to be too much I will reduce down to 10 miles a day. I feel this is more of a marathon than a sprint and it should be glorious NOT painful. GOD bless. BTW I'm 70.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
If that turns out to be too much I will reduce down to 10 miles a day
You may find that there are areas where you have to walk farther than 10 miles a day, as the towns aren't as close together as they are on the Francés.
 

AJGuillaume

Pélerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I was planning on walking the Camino Del North (starting in late-April) but I am getting very worried with the description of extreme hills and highway walking. Is this still the case? Ideally, I'd like to follow the coast line as much as possible.

I am a bit out of shape due to recent illnesses (pneumonia that put me in bed for a month).

I've walked from Leon to Santiago, from Santiago to Finisterre and from Tomar (Portugal) to Santiago (the coastal route) - to kind of give you a bit of my experience).

Any other suggestions of routes to take, if indeed this camino is could be too much for someone who's spent the last month in bed? I'm walking as much as I can at home in the meantime but 3 weeks isntt much.

Thank you in advance
My wife and I walked the Norte last year, as part of a longer walk. My wife was recovering from cancer, and we walked an average of 16km per day.
We didn't find it "extreme" at all, and we enjoyed it. We didn't blindly follow the yellow arrows, we took many coastal alternatives.
We also stayed more in pensiones and casa rurales, so that we could have a decent rest.
Buen Camino!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
There are many coastal deviations you can take and there are lots of descriptions from pilgrims here if you search for it. There are a lot of up and downs and as someone else said there are no where near as many choices. You cant compare caminos very well but Leon to Santiago is very hilly and the O'Cebreiro is the toughest day by far. I thought there were some days as hard as that one . The walk to Finisterre and the Coastal Portuguese are much easier walks for sure. Take it slow and if you need to take a taxi sometimes do it. Just walk it and dont push yourself and end up in the hospital. It is a beautiful camino but only you know your fitness level and what is tough for one person is another's cakewalk.
 

backpack45scb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2001 CF, 04-6 LP, 07 Port, 08-10 Arles, 11 Mozá,12-13 Gen-LP. 00-10 PCT, 15 Norte, 16 Primi
You may find that there are areas where you have to walk farther than 10 miles a day, as the towns aren't as close together as they are on the Francés.
There are only a few places where there are no accommodations for 10 miles or more. If in those situations you feel you cannot go quite that distance, have a taxi at the START of the day drop you off a few kilometers down the trail to the point where you can walk the rest of the way.
 

saara kinnunen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata (Sevilla-Salamanca 2015) Via de la Plata (Salamanca- Santiago de Compostela 2016)
You can begin from Bilbao. From there there are not that much ups and downs as From Irun to Bilbao.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: (2016), Del Norte: (2018), Finisterre: (2018)
Olvidado/San Salvador/Primativo: (2019)
I was planning on walking the Camino Del North (starting in late-April) but I am getting very worried with the description of extreme hills and highway walking. Is this still the case? Ideally, I'd like to follow the coast line as much as possible.

I am a bit out of shape due to recent illnesses (pneumonia that put me in bed for a month).

I've walked from Leon to Santiago, from Santiago to Finisterre and from Tomar (Portugal) to Santiago (the coastal route) - to kind of give you a bit of my experience).

Any other suggestions of routes to take, if indeed this camino is could be too much for someone who's spent the last month in bed? I'm walking as much as I can at home in the meantime but 3 weeks isntt much.

Thank you in advance
I walked Del Norte to Finesterre last year. There is a lot of pavement but it was beautiful. In all but a few places it was possible to break it into shorter stages. Buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis June '16 Ingles July '17
Portuguese Sept'18 El Norte Sept '19
I managed it and if I can, anyone can. Break it up into short stages if necessary - eg the first day we stopped at Passajes and did not try to walk any further
Kanga
I managed it and if I can, anyone can. Break it up into short stages if necessary - eg the first day we stopped at Passajes and did not try to walk any further
Kanga thank you for the quick and direct reply. I too am planning to walk the El Norte in September and due to a dodgy hip and knee was considering starting from San Sebastian so as to miss the ascents and descents from Irun that are being discussed here. But hey ho having read your reply am starting from Irun!
 

AngieOttawa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - Leon to Santiago (October2017)
Portuguese de la Costa - Tomar to Finisterre (May 2018
Kanga

Kanga thank you for the quick and direct reply. I too am planning to walk the El Norte in September and due to a dodgy hip and knee was considering starting from San Sebastian so as to miss the ascents and descents from Irun that are being discussed here. But hey ho having read your reply am starting from Irun!
I am on the Camino Norte at the moment (yup - decided to do it). I started in Bilbao for lack of time... but everyone tells me the best part is between Irún and Bilbao that i basically missed the most beautiful part.

Just a thought. Lots of options to do short stages if you have the time and don’t mind spending a bit more once in a while for a casa rural or a pension.
 

Delphinoula

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C Franconia 2019
Camino desde Algeciras Sevillia (2019)
Here for not pushing yourself.
A golden rule, seems to easy but I worked with it on asthma rehab. Monitor your puls. It’s 180 minus your age. That’s the maximum of heartbeats per minute you should have, that means uphill you go really slow. The great thing is you will make your goal not being exhausted and only slightly slower that the runner that arrive buffed on the top of the hill. Over time you will have to walk a bit faster to reach you puls limit and so on.
Good luck
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
I am on the Camino Norte at the moment (yup - decided to do it). I started in Bilbao for lack of time... but everyone tells me the best part is between Irún and Bilbao that i basically missed the most beautiful part.

Just a thought. Lots of options to do short stages if you have the time and don’t mind spending a bit more once in a while for a casa rural or a pension.
My wife and I walked the first part of the Norte last year. For her it was her first Camino and she did not know what she could "manage". We decided to start in Bilbao, because that would be easier. All went so well that after 8 days walking we traveled back to Irun and walked to Bilbao and even took the high route over the Jazkibelmountain. It was beautiful. If you've got the time I would consider following the coast after Santander. It will be 25 kilometer more but we found it very beautiful.
 

andralynn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I am leaving for Barcelona May 20th, 2019 and will begin my Camino in San Sebastian May 27th, 2019
My wife and I walked the first part of the Norte last year. For her it was her first Camino and she did not know what she could "manage". We decided to start in Bilbao, because that would be easier. All went so well that after 8 days walking we traveled back to Irun and walked to Bilbao and even took the high route over the Jazkibelmountain. It was beautiful. If you've got the time I would consider following the coast after Santander. It will be 25 kilometer more but we found it very beautiful.
Is that an alternate route over the Jazkibel Mtn? I’m going to try to avoid as much pavement as I can. I’ve been training with a full pack, 2 miles up a mountain and 2 miles back every day and btw I’m 70. I do want to try to save my knees and feet as much as I can.
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
My wife and I walked the first part of the Norte last year. For her it was her first Camino and she did not know what she could "manage". We decided to start in Bilbao, because that would be easier. All went so well that after 8 days walking we traveled back to Irun and walked to Bilbao and even took the high route over the Jazkibelmountain. It was beautiful. If you've got the time I would consider following the coast after Santander. It will be 25 kilometer more but we found it very beautiful.
It is not an alternative route. After Irun you have to choose between the high and the low route. I do not know the low route, but on the high road, I don't remember any asphalt. On the point where the split occurs, the high road is called "ruta alpinista", this term might be misleading, it is a walking route. Steep in some places, but the views on top are very rewarding
 
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
Kanga's suggestion to stop at San Juan de Pasaje is useful. It has the added advantage of being a lovely place to spend some time staring at the water. I was not in great shape when I did the Irun to Pasaje stretch 2 years ago and it was quite enough for one day. As well, the ascent from the harbour the next day needs to be taken slowly-- do not sprint up the steps!

The first week on the del Norte is the most difficult on the whole Camino. I would underlined the advice others have given, to take shorter days (15-25km) and to use transport if necessary.
 

andralynn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I am leaving for Barcelona May 20th, 2019 and will begin my Camino in San Sebastian May 27th, 2019
It is not an alternative route. After Irun you have to choose between the high and the low route. I do not know the low route, but on the high road, I don't remember any asphalt. On the point where the split occurs, the high road is called "ruta alpinista", this term might be misleading, it is a walking route. Steep in some places, but the views on top are very rewarding
My plan is to start in San Sebastián. How is the route from there To Bilbao
 
Camino(s) past & future
.
I am on the Camino Norte at the moment (yup - decided to do it). I started in Bilbao for lack of time... but everyone tells me the best part is between Irún and Bilbao that i basically missed the most beautiful part.

Just a thought. Lots of options to do short stages if you have the time and don’t mind spending a bit more once in a while for a casa rural or a pension.
Hi Angie - thanks for coming back and letting us know what you decided to do and what you've found. Sounds like you made a good decision based on your situation.
Forget about Irun-Bilbao - work with what you have and make it the best. Ultreya!
 

Thomas V

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
FRANCES, St. Jean to Santiago, 2016
Camino Frances #2 Pamplona to Leon 2017
I am on the Camino Norte at the moment (yup - decided to do it). I started in Bilbao for lack of time... but everyone tells me the best part is between Irún and Bilbao that i basically missed the most beautiful part.

Just a thought. Lots of options to do short stages if you have the time and don’t mind spending a bit more once in a while for a casa rural or a pension.
Thanks for the update,,, my wife and I are starting August 23, it’s good to know there are many options for short stages! We plan on taking our time. I am a bit worried about that first day from Irún. I hope there are beds available in Pasajes!
Burn Camino
 

andralynn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I am leaving for Barcelona May 20th, 2019 and will begin my Camino in San Sebastian May 27th, 2019
There are only a few places where there are no accommodations for 10 miles or more. If in those situations you feel you cannot go quite that distance, have a taxi at the START of the day drop you off a few kilometers down the trail to the point where you can walk the rest of the way.
 

andralynn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I am leaving for Barcelona May 20th, 2019 and will begin my Camino in San Sebastian May 27th, 2019
Are taxis available in all the towns?
 

AngieOttawa

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - Leon to Santiago (October2017)
Portuguese de la Costa - Tomar to Finisterre (May 2018
Are taxis available in all the towns?
They are - but in the remote towns they charge you from wherever they leave to pick you up... so the meter may start before you get on....

Also LOTS of city bus options even in most remote towns since the Norte is almost always close to a small highway.
 

andralynn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
I am leaving for Barcelona May 20th, 2019 and will begin my Camino in San Sebastian May 27th, 2019
Thank you for that info. At 70 I might need to take a bus now and then. I certainly won’t rule it out😉
 

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