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Live - Camino Francés Valcarlos

Dave C.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2016)
SJ to Santo Domingo (2017)
Santo Domingo to Fromista (2018)
SJPdP to Burgos (2019)
Short walk from SJPdP to Valcarlos today. Rained off/on with some strong winds at times. 9 PM and it appears my son and I have the Municipal Alb. to ourselves.
As always, a GREAT day on the Camino (and I think my son has “the fever”).
Another short day tomorrow, only to Roncesvalles, I want my son to experience the Pilgrim blessing.
Then on to Zubiri the next day.
Very few Pilgrims, maybe the time of year and weather. Walked with a guy from Detroit and Holland. Met two Australians at dinner.
Buen Camino
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I really like that little town of ValCarlos and that albergue there is nice and I had a good stay there. Allowed me to sleep in, leave Saint Jean around noon, walk relaxed and arrived there with plenty of time before dinner. Was only six of us I believe in the albergue and that was in the middle of the popular season.
 

Colette Z

Happy Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
I loved Valcarlos and the albergue in mid March 2018.....felt bad for the rescue guys (one who came to lay out our breakfast supplies) as some Brazilian boys needed rescuing that same wet night up on the Napoleon route. I’m glad that they’ve made it an illegal act to take the Napoleon route when it’s officially closed.....a few big fines to reinforce that they’re serious. Buen Camino and enjoy!
 

Jimmy Smith

Jimbob
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017
Planning for 2021
I enjoyed Valcarlos. The Village is very interesting, great food shops and the albergue was good.

I liked the idea that I was following the original route rather than the more modernist Route Napoleon.

To each, their own, though.
 

Gumba

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF March 2018
CF Dec 2019/2020
Hi Dave C, we will be a few weeks behind you so am following with interest! Do you have a blog I can follow? I for one would love details!!!

Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Has anyone here walked BOTH routes?
I have a lady in 2021 who is afraid to walk the Napoleon because of the inclines and declines.
How much different/easier is the Valcarlos route?
 

truenorthpilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Podiensis/Le Puy (2019)
Camino Frances (2019)
Camino Norte (post covid)
Has anyone here walked BOTH routes?
I have a lady in 2021 who is afraid to walk the Napoleon because of the inclines and declines.
How much different/easier is the Valcarlos route?
I’ve walked both. The Valcarlos route can also be split up into two days like the Napoleon. The first day is absolutely lovely, with a climb up into the town. The next day to Roncevalles is a tough climb, mostly continuous uphill with a brief downhill into the village. I specifically chose to do this route because the Napoleon has the 5KM downhill and I just wasn’t in the mood for it this time. I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily easier, but easier on the knees. Also, MUCH less pilgrims with the Valcarlos route, something I preferred, having already walked from Le Puy and enjoying the quiet.
 
Last edited:

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Has anyone here walked BOTH routes?
I have a lady in 2021 who is afraid to walk the Napoleon because of the inclines and declines.
How much different/easier is the Valcarlos route?
I have walked both routes multiple times. Do not have a favorite, but if one is looking at it in the sense of inclines and declines, the Valcarlos has less overall. It does have that steep section the last third of the way as you are going into Roncesvalles.
The Valcarlos route does require a lot of walking along the roadway and while not as busy as a rally race, you still need to keep your ears and eyes open for traffic.
 

The 5 McC's

the 6mcs
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago July 2014 and SJJP to estella 2015. Planning Estella to Bolerado 2016
Has anyone here walked BOTH routes?
I have a lady in 2021 who is afraid to walk the Napoleon because of the inclines and declines.
How much different/easier is the Valcarlos route?
Hi we walked both routes and if given a choice I’d walk the Napoleon. We absol loved it. Where as we did not like the Valcarlos route. We found the road very dangerous and stressful with the fear of heights and no barrier in places along the road. The mist was down and we were using torches but still the fear of the lorries coming at speed. The Napoleon was lovely if you give yourself plenty of time walk slowly and enjoy the scenery.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I think the weather plays a significant role on how much either route is to be enjoyable.
So many speak of the dangerous road on the Valcarlos' first day. I recall it being a relatively short stretch and had no problem the two times I've walked to V.
 

The 5 McC's

the 6mcs
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago July 2014 and SJJP to estella 2015. Planning Estella to Bolerado 2016
I think the weather plays a significant role on how much either route is to be enjoyable.
So many speak of the dangerous road on the Valcarlos' first day. I recall it being a relatively short stretch and had no problem the two times I've walked to V.
Sorry I found it more dangerous on the stretch from valcarlos to roncesvalles
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Hi we walked both routes and if given a choice I’d walk the Napoleon. We absol loved it. Where as we did not like the Valcarlos route. We found the road very dangerous and stressful with the fear of heights and no barrier in places along the road. The mist was down and we were using torches but still the fear of the lorries coming at speed. The Napoleon was lovely if you give yourself plenty of time walk slowly and enjoy the scenery.
I've walked the Napoleon about 20 times :😆:: but never taken the Valcarlos route.
Some day . . .
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Last year, in early May, I took the Valcarlos route as I had gone the Napolean Way two years before. The Valcarlos Albergue was wonderful after walking from SJPP. And, even though it was the beginning of the busy season, there were only four of us that night, myself from Canada, one lady from USA and two young ladies from France. Very, very enjoyable all round.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Last year, in early May, I took the Valcarlos route as I had gone the Napolean Way two years before. The Valcarlos Albergue was wonderful after walking from SJPP. And, even though it was the beginning of the busy season, there were only four of us that night, myself from Canada, one lady from USA and two young ladies from France. Very, very enjoyable all round.
Agree! A very nice experience and I loved the nice big bathroom, too!
 

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)
Has anyone here walked BOTH routes?
I have a lady in 2021 who is afraid to walk the Napoleon because of the inclines and declines.
How much different/easier is the Valcarlos route?

I have walked both routes. The major differences are:

The start of the ValCarlos route is not as steep as the Napoleon route.

Valcarlos is 11 km's from SJPdP with accommodation.

There are restaurants and a grocery store in Val Carlos if you forgot anything.

The remainder of the route is steep but not as steep as the Napoleon.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I have walked both routes. The major differences are:

The start of the ValCarlos route is not as steep as the Napoleon route.

Valcarlos is 11 km's from SJPdP with accommodation.

There are restaurants and a grocery store in Val Carlos if you forgot anything.

The remainder of the route is steep but not as steep as the Napoleon.

Ultreya,
Joe
And how many k from Valcarlos to Roncesvalles?
I have a client with bad knees. She doesn't want to attempt the Napoleon.
Would the Valcarlos route be any easier for her?
 

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)
And how many k from Valcarlos to Roncesvalles?
I have a client with bad knees. She doesn't want to attempt the Napoleon.
Would the Valcarlos route be any easier for her?
Annie:

The section to Valcarlos is definitely easier. I would estimate 15km's to 17 km's to Roncesvalles. Difficulty from Valcarlos is about the same as Napoleon. I walked from SJPdP to Espinal the first day. Easy is in the mind of the walker. They could stick to the Highway and a taxi might be an option if to difficult.

Joe
 

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