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"Worst" stages- if you had to skip a few....

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#1
Hello,

My family has 28 days from June 1-29 to complete the Norte and I doubt we'll be able to squeeze it all in. We plan to skip the stage before and after Bilbao (Lezama to Bilbao and Bilbao to Portugalete). We will take a rest day in Castro Urdiales. Can anyone suggest other stages that are not super appealing? We would like to stay out of the big cities. Would you recommend simply cutting out the last 100km and forgoing the compostela?

Thanks!
Joe
 

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Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
#2
Hi Joe, I think that if you're walking for close to a month with your family, it would be a shame not to get all the way to Santiago. It would be great to have the Compostela, if only to serve as a momento of the amazing adventure you have experienced and accomplished together as a family.

Are you booking all of your accommodation in advance? If not, I would recommend seeing how you feel as you go along. From San Vicente onwards the lovely narrow-gauge Feve train runs very close to the camino (all the way to Ribadeo), and it's very cheap and easy to use if for any reason you're having an "off" day and want to skip a stage. Speaking for myself: I find that if I wake up with a lot of energy, I am likely to enjoy even the "worst" bits of the camino - for example, I remember really enjoying the alternative path along the river from Bilbao to Portugalete, passing the Guggenheim and then the shipyards as you follow the river to the sea, even though many others recommended skipping that part. (That said, I didn't enjoy the last few kms into Aviles: very industrial and polluted, felt a bit like Mordor...)

If you're planning on booking accommodation ahead, then of course the logistics will be more complicated. Sorry I can't recommend particular stages to avoid off the top of my head. The ones that would stick out for me are the days of walking hard surfaces (lots of road and asphalt) which can be very tough on the feet and joints. I know it's recommended to take the GR E9 hiking route (which takes the local or "fisherman's" paths often as possible), but on some stages you just can't avoid taking the road, and this can be very tedious.

A final point: you might also consider taking the Primitivo from Oviedo. I haven't done it personally as a pilgrim, but I know the area, and it's meant to be a very special and beautiful walk.
 

intrepidtraveler

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
#3
Gijon to Aviles was not one of the most beautiful days on the Norte. Quite a bit of walking through industrtial areas and alongside a highway. If you're looking for sections to skip, this one might be worth considering.
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#4
Thank you for the responses. We plan to book in advance since we will have our 2 young kids with us. Our first week is booked/ San Sebastián to Castro urdiales(skipping Bilbao). I think we will reassess after a few days to see if the family can keep with our planned pace. We will be pushing a double Chariot, which might determine our route on some days.

I have looked briefly at the Primitivo. It is a bit appealing due to the remoteness. Does it shorten the route? I'm wondering if the kids would enjoy it as much as being near a beach and being able to swim.

Thanks for the info on the train. This is the first I've heard of it.
We will most definitely skip the Gijon to Aviles stage!
Thanks!
 

intrepidtraveler

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
#5
If you are pushing a double chariot, the mountainous terrain of the Primitivo might be a bit much.
 

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Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
#6
If you are pushing a double chariot, the mountainous terrain of the Primitivo might be a bit much.
Yes I agree. Didn't know this was the case! The Norte from Gijon/ Aviles onwards has a lot of road options (basically, the coastline is very hilly so you can choose whether you want to go take the 'official' off-road path down into the valleys and then up again, or else just continue along the much flatter road that goes slightly more inland).

By the way, are you using any sort of guide?
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#7
Yes, I think the Primitivo may be a bit much for our first camino. Pounding the pavement along the road might be a bit too monotonous, so we'll try to stay on the "official" route. Due to the size of the double chariot, we may have to alter the route as we go.

As for a guide- we currently have "The Northern Ways to Santiago" handbook, which I wouldn't really call a guide. We have used Gronze and other sites as well. We plan to purchase the new Northern Caminos (Perazzoli, Whitson) book for the IPAD-- we live in Qatar and it is hard to obtain hard copy books without paying outrageous shipping costs.

Here is our current itinerary. I would like to get it down to 27 days to account for at least 1 rest day. Feedback is appreciated!

Camino del Norte (Northern Way)

1. From San Sebastián to Zarautz- 20km, 12.5m

2. From Zarautz to Deba- 23km, 14m

3. From Deba to Markina- 23km, 14m

4. From Markina to Gernika- 23km, 14m

5. From Gernika to Lezama- 21km, 13m

*. From Lezama to Bilbao (SHORT STAGE 10km, 6m-skip this stage and bilbao altogether.)

*. From Bilbao to Portugalete (SKIP This stage 15km)

6. From Portugalete to Castro Urdiales- 29km, 18m

7. From Castro Urdiales to Laredo- 29km, 18m

8. From Laredo to Güemes- 29.5km, 18m

9. From Güemes to Santander- 12km, 7.5

10. From Santander to Santillana del Mar- 37km, 23m (not a good stretch-consider walking on coast the entire way to Beau de

11. From Santillana del Mar to Comillas- 22km, 13.8m

12. From Comillas to Colombres- 29km, 18m

13. From Colombres to Llanes- 23km, 14m

14. From Llanes to Ribadesella- 31.5km, 19.5m

15. From Ribadesella to Sebrayo- 32km, 20m

16. From Sebrayo to Gijón- 39km, 24m

*. From Gijón to Avilés- 25km SKIP THIS STAGE

17. From Avilés to Muros de Nalón- 22.6km, 14m

18. From Muros de Nalón to Soto de Luiña- 16km 10m

19. From Soto de Luiña to Cadavedo- 16km 10m (take route along Ballota rather than camino signed route- more difficult but amazing views of the sea. Perhaps best part of the Norte…no resources this route- do it if it’s sunny!)

20. From Cadavedo to Luarca- 30km 18.5

21. From Luarca to La Caridad- 22km 13.8

22. From La Caridad to Ribadeo- 21.5km 13m

23. From Ribadeo to Lourenzá- 28.4km 17.5m

24. From Lourenzá to Gontán- 25km 15.5m

25. From Gontán to Vilalba- 21km 13m

26. From Vilalba to Baamonde- 19km 12m

27. From Baamonde to Sobrado dos Monxes-41km 25.5m

28. From Sobrado dos Monxes to Arzúa- 19km 12m

29. Join Camino Frances for final stage (39k into Santiago) 24m
 

AJGuillaume

Pélerin du monde
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis, Via Podiensis, Camino Del Norte 2018
#8
As for a guide- we currently have "The Northern Ways to Santiago" handbook, which I wouldn't really call a guide. We have used Gronze and other sites as well. We plan to purchase the new Northern Caminos (Perazzoli, Whitson) book for the IPAD-- we live in Qatar and it is hard to obtain hard copy books without paying outrageous shipping costs.
We're walking the Camino del Norte in September & October (we're doing it in 58 days with 4 days rest, we're slow walkers :))
In preparing our walk, we have used the Buen Camino app, and the Wise Pilgrim Norte app, both have been invaluable in helping us sort out stages, distances, etc, and we'll be using them on the Camino, with both apps installed on our smartphones.
Buen Camino!
Andrew
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#9
I think I like your pace better than ours! We have a friend visiting us in San Sebastian the first of July, so we need to be back for that. Then, family is visiting us in Crete. Otherwise, we would probably be doing it at your pace and taking two months!

Thank you for the info on the apps. We have the Wise Pilgrim app, but I had not heard of the Buen Camino App. I'll be downloading that one today!
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
#10
Hi Joe, just a quick comment about your day 19 - when they say "more difficult" they're not kidding - I was there a couple of weeks ago, see attached pic of the path via Ballota. Not trying to deter you, just wanted to give you a head's up. There are also a lot of steep declines and inclines in this section, and lots of mud if it's been raining. I'd recommend taking the quiet road that runs parallel to the path. (By the way, the 'original' camino route was closed when we walked this stage, as it was impassable due to weather-related damage. But even if it's open when you walk, I doubt it would be easier on the chariot).
 

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Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#11
Thanks Jan. Is the quiet road running parallel to the path the "original" camino or does it run parallel to the original camino? Appreciate the info!
 
Camino(s) past & future
StJPdP to Santigo 18/09/17 - 16/10/17
Santiago to Muxia to Finisterre 18/10/17 - 22/10/17
#12
Hi Joe, composed and attempted to send a reply to you 5 times, and every time it wiped everything I wrote for you. Since then busily travelling South Pacific and England. Will be starting out on 16th April at Irun and will keep you posted about anything helpful to you. As this is a new route for us I am sure we will be learning heaps along the way. Now to walk off all the extra weight gained in England.......
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
#13
Thanks Jan. Is the quiet road running parallel to the path the "original" camino or does it run parallel to the original camino? Appreciate the info!
It's the N632/ N632a which you can see clearly on Google Maps. Since they built the A-8 highway next to it, it's become a bit of a ghost road. It zigzags a bit to avoid the steep declines/ inclines, so it's slightly longer, but it'll get you to Cadavedo more 'smoothly' for want of a better word. In any case the off-road path usually coincides with the N632 in the villages so there are many opportunities to make a choice.

As for the 'original' camino for this stage - in fact this only 'opened' a couple of years ago, based on evidence that this might have been the way medieval pilgrims went. It's basically through the hills slightly more inland and as far as I understand there's NOTHING along the way - no villages, services, nada. The shells and arrows actually all point you towards the Ballota route, and this is the way most Norte pilgrims tend to go.

[p.s. the road, the coastal path, and the mountain path, all take you from Soto de Luina to Cadavedo. The idea of an 'original' camino is difficult to defend (although the municipalities try their best to discover/ maintain the very old routes) as the fact is, millions pilgrims have simply been making their way to Santiago from wherever they started, for over a millennium. They would usually have taken the path of least resistance, and usually the path of greatest safety. The shells/ arrows are guides, and even though they sometimes coincide with very old routes, often they're the only routes the current local municipalities could negotiate with landowners, or routes that manage to avoid dangerous geographical features or highways!]
 
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Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#14
Hi Joe, composed and attempted to send a reply to you 5 times, and every time it wiped everything I wrote for you. Since then busily travelling South Pacific and England. Will be starting out on 16th April at Irun and will keep you posted about anything helpful to you. As this is a new route for us I am sure we will be learning heaps along the way. Now to walk off all the extra weight gained in England.......
Hi Dean. I'll look forward to hearing from you! Thanks for keeping us in the loop. Enjoy the rest of your vacation and we'll hope for good weather on the Camino. Regards, Joe.
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#15
It's the N632/ N632a which you can see clearly on Google Maps. Since they built the A-8 highway next to it, it's become a bit of a ghost road. It zigzags a bit to avoid the steep declines/ inclines, so it's slightly longer, but it'll get you to Cadavedo more 'smoothly' for want of a better word. In any case the off-road path usually coincides with the N632 in the villages so there are many opportunities to make a choice.

As for the 'original' camino for this stage - in fact this only 'opened' a couple of years ago, based on evidence that this might have been the way medieval pilgrims went. It's basically through the hills slightly more inland and as far as I understand there's NOTHING along the way - no villages, services, nada. The shells and arrows actually all point you towards the Ballota route, and this is the way most Norte pilgrims tend to go.

[p.s. the road, the coastal path, and the mountain path, all take you from Soto de Luina to Cadavedo. The idea of an 'original' camino is difficult to defend (although the municipalities try their best to discover/ maintain the very old routes) as the fact is, millions pilgrims have simply been making their way to Santiago from wherever they started, for over a millennium. They would usually have taken the path of least resistance, and usually the path of greatest safety. The shells/ arrows are guides, and even though they sometimes coincide with very old routes, often they're the only routes the current local municipalities could negotiate with landowners, or routes that manage to avoid dangerous geographical features or highways!]
So, to be clear...you are recommending I take the N/632(A) route, which is the most popular route at this time? And, this is the route that the shells/arrows point to? Reading other posts, it sounds like people recommend the coastal route rather than the road. Nonetheless, it looks like they all have great views and are on quiet roads.
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#16
So, to be clear...you are recommending I take the N/632(A) route, which is the most popular route at this time? And, this is the route that the shells/arrows point to? Reading other posts, it sounds like people recommend the coastal route rather than the road. Nonetheless, it looks like they all have great views and are on quiet roads.
Also, for our purposes, the journey is more about the scenerey, topography and joy of walking. We are not too interested in what is the "real" camino. We also need to consider ease of travel with a chariot and two young ones. Thanks so much for all the info. It's helpful coming from an experienced walker:)
 

Barbara06

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - Pamplona (2011-14)
VDLP (2015)
Portuguese (2015)
Francigena (2016)
Primitivo (2017)
#17
If you want to skip some stages, you can skip the stages that happen to be there when you are getting tired or have sore feet.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#18
Hi Joe, just a quick comment about your day 19 - when they say "more difficult" they're not kidding - I was there a couple of weeks ago, see attached pic of the path via Ballota. Not trying to deter you, just wanted to give you a head's up. There are also a lot of steep declines and inclines in this section, and lots of mud if it's been raining. I'd recommend taking the quiet road that runs parallel to the path. (By the way, the 'original' camino route was closed when we walked this stage, as it was impassable due to weather-related damage. But even if it's open when you walk, I doubt it would be easier on the chariot).
From Soto de Luiña, I am pretty sure that the road alternative is marked "Ballota" and the Camino takes you up on the higher route, which is beautiful, but which I would not want to walkwith a chariot. Someone else should confirm whether I am right about this, but I would hate for you to take the Camino direction thinking you were going to wind up on the low road route.

Jan, it sounds like you are saying there are three options -- the "original" Camino route up high (and yes you are right there are no services up there but it is gorgeous); the Ballota road route and the Ballota off-road route?

In general, there is an awful lot of road walking on thi.s Camino. You may be one of the ones for whom this is a good thing! It's not along busy highways, since the national highway has been upstaged by the fancier faster A routes (autovia), but it is asphalt.
 

Jan_D

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones (2011)
Frances (2012)
Norte (2013, 2014)
Hospitalera (2014)
Portugues (2017)
#19
Jan, it sounds like you are saying there are three options -- the "original" Camino route up high (and yes you are right there are no services up there but it is gorgeous); the Ballota road route and the Ballota off-road route?
Hi, well I wouldn't necessarily recommend the N632 as a route for most pilgrims but with a chariot it's probably the best option. And yes, there is indeed an off-road option via Ballota. Basically: after the steep climb out of Soto de Luina (just follow the shells/arrows) you'll pass a casa rural/ hotel and see an arrow left for the mountain route, and an arrow right for the costa (just found exact spot on Google maps, see pic!) If you decide to go the costa route, keep going along the road for a while towards Albuerne, and then from Albuerne onwards the path goes off-road between the little villages. Pretty coastal woodland paths, mostly eucalyptus of course, and a couple of secret coves and beaches (probably more photogenic than swimmable). Interestingly, this is the 'official' route according to the Gronze site (they have the inland mountain path as the alternative!) - posted a screenshot if interested.

I would have loved to have done the mountain route by the way, but there had been a mudslide and a lot of other damage when I was there last week so it was closed off.

[p.s. sorry edited my post a bit, first effort was attempted on phone on the bus home]
 

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#20
Hello,

My family has 28 days from June 1-29 to complete the Norte and I doubt we'll be able to squeeze it all in. We plan to skip the stage before and after Bilbao (Lezama to Bilbao and Bilbao to Portugalete). We will take a rest day in Castro Urdiales. Can anyone suggest other stages that are not super appealing? We would like to stay out of the big cities. Would you recommend simply cutting out the last 100km and forgoing the compostela?

Thanks!
Joe

Big question no answer
How do you skip cities?
28 days can get you to Santiago on foot
 

Dinah Shaw

Volcano Climber
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
#21
You also might consider starting at a different point instead of Irun although you would miss San Sebastian which is a faubulous city.
Hi Joe, I think that if you're walking for close to a month with your family, it would be a shame not to get all the way to Santiago. It would be great to have the Compostela, if only to serve as a momento of the amazing adventure you have experienced and accomplished together as a family.

Are you booking all of your accommodation in advance? If not, I would recommend seeing how you feel as you go along. From San Vicente onwards the lovely narrow-gauge Feve train runs very close to the camino (all the way to Ribadeo), and it's very cheap and easy to use if for any reason you're having an "off" day and want to skip a stage. Speaking for myself: I find that if I wake up with a lot of energy, I am likely to enjoy even the "worst" bits of the camino - for example, I remember really enjoying the alternative path along the river from Bilbao to Portugalete, passing the Guggenheim and then the shipyards as you follow the river to the sea, even though many others recommended skipping that part. (That said, I didn't enjoy the last few kms into Aviles: very industrial and polluted, felt a bit like Mordor...)

If you're planning on booking accommodation ahead, then of course the logistics will be more complicated. Sorry I can't recommend particular stages to avoid off the top of my head. The ones that would stick out for me are the days of walking hard surfaces (lots of road and asphalt) which can be very tough on the feet and joints. I know it's recommended to take the GR E9 hiking route (which takes the local or "fisherman's" paths often as possible), but on some stages you just can't avoid taking the road, and this can be very tedious.

A final point: you might also consider taking the Primitivo from Oviedo. I haven't done it personally as a pilgrim, but I know the area, and it's meant to be a very special and beautiful walk.
ough
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#23
I have looked briefly at the Primitivo. It is a bit appealing due to the remoteness. Does it shorten the route? I'm wondering if the kids would enjoy it as much as being near a beach and being able to swim.
Don't think of this route with the kids

I would firstly find the best places for the kids to enjoy the beach and the culture [ think associated tapas bars] Whilst you are on the water for most of the way many beaches are surfers only and are rocky.
We stayed an extra day in San Sebastian and also Deba for their beaches because of the hard days prior.

I would visit Oviedo and would leave by bus/train or plane @ Villaviciosa or if you are not interested in Oviedo then skip from Ribadesella to Cadavedo and from that moment on you can take your time.
 
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Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#24
ould you recommend simply cutting out the last 100km and forgoing the compostela?
The kids will love SDC and also standing in line for their compostela , as you will Joe.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte April/May 2016
Norte May 2018
#25
For Santander to Santilliana del Mar - we would shorten by taking regional train to Boo as the walk out of town is missable- or take the coastal route that sounds better all round.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte Sept 2013
Camino del Norte Sept 2014
Camino del Norte 2015,16,17,18
#26
Hello,

My family has 28 days from June 1-29 to complete the Norte and I doubt we'll be able to squeeze it all in. We plan to skip the stage before and after Bilbao (Lezama to Bilbao and Bilbao to Portugalete). We will take a rest day in Castro Urdiales. Can anyone suggest other stages that are not super appealing? We would like to stay out of the big cities. Would you recommend simply cutting out the last 100km and forgoing the compostela?

Thanks!
Joe
Hi Joe
I have been doing El Camino del Norte in stages since 2014. Currently I have got as far as Ribadeo and hope to complete the last 200 km approx in September I can't recommend you forgo getting the Compostela. I haven't got mine yet? If you want to miss cities you could miss Aviles/ Gijon I have done this . As I haven't been there don't know what I missed. Very challenging walking into Bilbao from Lezama. Enjoyed walking out of Bilbao to Portugal eye. The fantastic bridge. Maggie
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte Sept 2013
Camino del Norte Sept 2014
Camino del Norte 2015,16,17,18
#27
Hi Joe
I have been doing El Camino del Norte in stages since 2014. Currently I have got as far as Ribadeo and hope to complete the last 200 km approx in September I can't recommend you forgo getting the Compostela. I haven't got mine yet? If you want to miss cities you could miss Aviles/ Gijon I have done this . As I haven't been there don't know what I missed. Very challenging walking into Bilbao from Lezama. Enjoyed walking out of Bilbao to Portugal eye. The fantastic bridge. Maggie
Portugalete
 

khiker9

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, '12; Frances, '14; Port, '15; Frances, Norte, Fisterre, '16; Ingles, Fisterre/Muxia '17
#29
I did the Norte for the coastal views, so once the route turns inland at Ribadeo I skipped ahead by bus to Vialalba saving 3 - 4 days but still walking in 100K+ to Santiago to get my Compostella.
 

arch

New Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Del Norte from Irun to Santander, Primitivo from Oviedo to Frances to Santiago September 2016
#30
Thank you for the responses. We plan to book in advance since we will have our 2 young kids with us. Our first week is booked/ San Sebastián to Castro urdiales(skipping Bilbao). I think we will reassess after a few days to see if the family can keep with our planned pace. We will be pushing a double Chariot, which might determine our route on some days.

I have looked briefly at the Primitivo. It is a bit appealing due to the remoteness. Does it shorten the route? I'm wondering if the kids would enjoy it as much as being near a beach and being able to swim.

Thanks for the info on the train. This is the first I've heard of it.
We will most definitely skip the Gijon to Aviles stage!
Thanks!
Can't imagine skipping Bilbao and missing the Guggenheim.
When my daughter and I turned the corner and had the first sight of the Museum it was breath taking!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#31
Hi, well I wouldn't necessarily recommend the N632 as a route for most pilgrims but with a chariot it's probably the best option.
Having driven this road last year heading east towards Soto de Luiña we would be concerned about being able to walk it safely with a pushchair/chariot. There are a number of blind bends, as shown in @Jan_D 's screenshot, and we were constantly on the look-out for pilgrims either road walking or crossing it. We drove slowly not knowing what might be round the next bend, locals who know the road might not drive as slow and there is no space to jump out of the way.
It is not particularly scenic along the road so it might be best to skip this section and walk where the road is both wider and more direct.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#32
I did the Norte for the coastal views, so once the route turns inland at Ribadeo I skipped ahead by bus to Vialalba saving 3 - 4 days but still walking in 100K+ to Santiago to get my Compostella.
We actually enjoyed the NON water villages after Ribadeo , back to normal country life away from the tourists.
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#33
Can't imagine skipping Bilbao and missing the Guggenheim.
When my daughter and I turned the corner and had the first sight of the Museum it was breath taking!
At the end of our trip, we will be heading back to San Sebastian and staying there for 9 days with friends. We'll definitely head into Bilbao to see the sights there.
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#35
Hi Joe
I have been doing El Camino del Norte in stages since 2014. Currently I have got as far as Ribadeo and hope to complete the last 200 km approx in September I can't recommend you forgo getting the Compostela. I haven't got mine yet? If you want to miss cities you could miss Aviles/ Gijon I have done this . As I haven't been there don't know what I missed. Very challenging walking into Bilbao from Lezama. Enjoyed walking out of Bilbao to Portugal eye. The fantastic bridge. Maggie
THank you for the advice. We will indeed skip Aviles/Gijon stage and Lezama all the way to Castro Urdiales. We are thinking about walking on a 4-5 days on, 2 days off schedule. The toughest part for us is the accommodations. With young kids, we just don't want to be spending our time and energy thinking about where we're going to stay at the end of the day. Do you think we could get away with finding accommodations just one or two days in advance? Albergues are out of the question, but we'd still like to keep the cost down around 80Euro for the four of us. We also don't know just how much ground we'll be able to cover each day. In training, we've done 2 days of four hours each, 8 miles one day, 11 miles the next. This is on very flat terrain since we live in Qatar. We're getting some time on 15% incline on the treadmill.
 

Mournes

Active Member
Donating Member
#36
Hi Joe ,I can recommend the Hôtel Casa Fernando in Ballota.They do a special room rate for pilgrims.Stayed there in October last year.The room was very comfortable and unbelievably was only 15/ 16 euro for the night.The restaurant / bar is close by but they serve breakfast in the hôtel.
Peregrina 2000 ,I believe ,has also stayed in this hôtel.To get to the hotel you have to follow the main road.You will find contact details on the Gronze web site.
As regards skipping stages ,I have never personally done this but everybody's circumstances are different..If I were in that situation, as others have said, it would definitely be Gijón / Avilés.
Can I also recommend a Room in the City in San Sebastian ,it is fabulous.I stayed for 3 nights.I just love San Sebastian..
I hope whatever choice you make that you and your family have a great camino experience..Ultreia and Buen Camino.
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#37
Having driven this road last year heading east towards Soto de Luiña we would be concerned about being able to walk it safely with a pushchair/chariot. There are a number of blind bends, as shown in @Jan_D 's screenshot, and we were constantly on the look-out for pilgrims either road walking or crossing it. We drove slowly not knowing what might be round the next bend, locals who know the road might not drive as slow and there is no space to jump out of the way.
It is not particularly scenic along the road so it might be best to skip this section and walk where the road is both wider and more direct.
Where would you say this section begins? Don't you take the 632-A route rather than the main highway? Is this route dangerous as well?
Don't think of this route with the kids

I would firstly find the best places for the kids to enjoy the beach and the culture [ think associated tapas bars] Whilst you are on the water for most of the way many beaches are surfers only and are rocky.
We stayed an extra day in San Sebastian and also Deba for their beaches because of the hard days prior.

I would visit Oviedo and would leave by bus/train or plane @ Villaviciosa or if you are not interested in Oviedo then skip from Ribadesella to Cadavedo and from that moment on you can take your time.
Thanks, Thornley. is that the least interesting "long" stretch from Ribadesella to Cadavedo? It looks like you've got a bit of experience on these routes. Can you advise on the topic of how early to book accommodations since we will not be staying in albergues? Our kids are a bit too young. Also, would you be so kind as to take a look at our current itinerary, minus Ribadesella to Cadavedo? I'm wondering if there is a way to even out these stages so we don't have any 20+ mile days? Finally, we may have 3 or 4 rest days to throw in there with this current itinerary. Knowing we'll be staying in San Sebastian for 9 days, are there any other good beach towns where kids can swim and we can enjoy good food and drinks? Thanks again!

1. From San Sebastián to Zarautz- 20km, 12.5m

2. From Zarautz to Deba- 23km, 14m

3. From Deba to Markina- 23km, 14m

4. From Markina to Gernika- 23km, 14m

*. From Gernika to Lezama- 21km, 13m SKIP

*. From Lezama to Bilbao (SHORT STAGE 10km, 6m-skip this stage and bilbao altogether.)

*. From Bilbao to Portugalete (SKIP This stage 15km)

*. From Portugalete to Castro Urdiales- 29km, 18m (SKIP)

5. REST DAY IN CASTRO URDIALES (maybe 2 days)

6. From Castro Urdiales to Laredo- 29km, 18m

7. From Laredo to Güemes- 29.5km, 18m

8. From Güemes to Santander- 12km, 7.5

9. From Santander to Santillana del Mar- 37km, 23m (Take regional train to Boo, walk rest to Santillana del Mar—17.5km)

10. From Santillana del Mar to Comillas- 22km, 13.8m

11. From Comillas to Colombres- 29km, 18m

12. From Colombres to Llanes- 23km, 14m

13. From Llanes to Ribadesella- 31.5km, 19.5m

*. From Ribadesella to Sebrayo- 32km, 20m

*. From Sebrayo to Gijón- 39km, 24m

*. From Gijón to Avilés- 25km SKIP THIS STAGE

*. From Avilés to Muros de Nalón- 22.6km, 14m

*. From Muros de Nalón to Soto de Luiña- 16km 10m

*. From Soto de Luiña to Cadavedo- 16km 10m (stay on 632(A) Route along road is quite busy)

14. From Cadavedo to Luarca- 30km 18.5

15. From Luarca to La Caridad- 22km 13.8

16. From La Caridad to Ribadeo- 21.5km 13m

17. From Ribadeo to Lourenzá- 28.4km 17.5m

18. From Lourenzá to Gontán- 25km 15.5m

19. From Gontán to Vilalba- 21km 13m

20. From Vilalba to Baamonde- 19km 12m

21. From Baamonde to Sobrado dos Monxes-41km 25.5m

22. From Sobrado dos Monxes to Arzúa- 19km 12m

23. Join Camino Frances for final stage (39k into Santiago) 24m
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte Sept 2013
Camino del Norte Sept 2014
Camino del Norte 2015,16,17,18
#38
THank you for the advice. We will indeed skip Aviles/Gijon stage and Lezama all the way to Castro Urdiales. We are thinking about walking on a 4-5 days on, 2 days off schedule. The toughest part for us is the accommodations. With young kids, we just don't want to be spending our time and energy thinking about where we're going to stay at the end of the day. Do you think we could get away with finding accommodations just one or two days in advance? Albergues are out of the question, but we'd still like to keep the cost down around 80Euro for the four of us. We also don't know just how much ground we'll be able to cover each day. In training, we've done 2 days of four hours each, 8 miles one day, 11 miles the next. This is on very flat terrain since we live in Qatar. We're getting some time on 15% incline on the treadmill.
Hi there
It's a shame you can't stay in albergues. All part of the adventure. What time of year are you travelling ? Some of your stages look quite long . Getting into Llanes is challenging . Best of luck x
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#39
Hi there
It's a shame you can't stay in albergues. All part of the adventure. What time of year are you travelling ? Some of your stages look quite long . Getting into Llanes is challenging . Best of luck x
We are traveling with a 2 and 4 year old. I just don't see them getting the best night sleep in the Albergue. Plus, it won't be fair to everyone else to have our family rising at 5AM every morning! We will be on the trail from June 3-30. I would like to shorten at least day 21 (Baamonde to Sobrado dos Monxes) and day 23 (Arzua to Santiago). Can I split these into two stages? If I did this, I would still have an additional 3 days for rest days or shortening other stages. Any thoughts? Thanks!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#40
Where would you say this section begins? Don't you take the 632-A route rather than the main highway? Is this route dangerous as well?
Hola Joe
I am talking about the N-632 and N-632A, not the new autovia. They are the narrow grey lines on the map section (A-8 is the wider grey line) and there are few straight stretches anywhere between Soto de Luiñas and Cadavedo.
(As in @Jan_D 's screenshot - This needs opening in a new tab!)
We drove it more than once and were very concerned for the few peregrinos we met walking it. Also for those keeping to the Camino track and crossing the road round sometimes blind corners without stopping to look. If you want a scenic ride you could take the FEVE - only 4 trains per day - but very cheap.

Many hotels, even small ones, have family rooms and for a small extra charge will put in another bed or cot. Booking.com might help you to find places and then search their own websites for further details and phone numbers if you need more information.

Stay safe and God bless you all.
Buen Camino
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte Sept 2013
Camino del Norte Sept 2014
Camino del Norte 2015,16,17,18
#41
We are traveling with a 2 and 4 year old. I just don't see them getting the best night sleep in the Albergue. Plus, it won't be fair to everyone else to have our family rising at 5AM every morning! We will be on the trail from June 3-30. I would like to shorten at least day 21 (Baamonde to Sobrado dos Monxes) and day 23 (Arzua to Santiago). Can I split these into two stages? If I did this, I would still have an additional 3 days for rest days or shortening other stages. Any thoughts? Thanks!
On my guide Baamonde to Sobrado de Monxes can be broken at Miraz which is the half way stage. After Arzua the next stop is Arca or O Pedrouzo. Does this help? I am concerned about mention of large roads below. It is a good suggestion to use El feve to avoid walking along highways . Buen Camino
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF011, CF012, CP013, CF014, CA015, S.Anton015, CF015, CI015
Ditch Pig016, CF017, CP017, CdN(018)
#42
I am walking the Norte from Laredo to SdC between 13 May and 13 June after attending the European Rugby Cup in Bilbao. I have walked a number of Caminos and the Compostela is no longer my objective. I want to enjoy the walk and the scenery above anything else. After I read the title to your post I was going to be cheeky and say the days to skip are the ones when the rain and the mud take the joy out of walking. Considering you are walking with a chariot and small children, I would offer that as sound advice. I plan to skip certain section, I'm not sure which yet, I'll decide that on the go, but I don't enjoy walking through cities and industrial areas, so I will hop on a bus and move ahead. I have medical issues with my right foot so I have to be careful picking my terrain and I had already consulted with Laurie (Pelegrina 2000) about the Primitivo and have decided against it. I have made some notes from things I've learned in this thread and Jan D has offered some very good advice. Ultreya.
 

Mournes

Active Member
Donating Member
#43
On my guide Baamonde to Sobrado de Monxes can be broken at Miraz which is the half way stage. After Arzua the next stop is Arca or O Pedrouzo. Does this help? I am concerned about mention of large roads below. It is a good suggestion to use El feve to avoid walking along highways . Buen Camino
Hi Maggie,Baamonde to Sobrado 40 kms
Baamonde to Miraz 15 kms
Miraz to Sobrado 25 kms
I had the pleasure of volunteering in the Albergue San Martin in Miraz .This albergue is managed by the Confraternity of St James.Up until 2015 it was the only albergue in Miraz and we often had people waiting outside from 9a.m because they had walked 15 kms from Baamonde and they couldn' t face walking another 25 kms to Sobrado.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#44
Can you advise on the topic of how early to book accommodations
One or two days in advance
The distances you are walking are foreign to me mate , we are 18---22 km pilgrims.
We hope to see more and enjoy the villages.
We never walk past 1.00 pm where we enjoy our main meal for the day.
 
Camino(s) past & future
StJPdP to Santigo 18/09/17 - 16/10/17
Santiago to Muxia to Finisterre 18/10/17 - 22/10/17
#47
Yes, I think the Primitivo may be a bit much for our first camino. Pounding the pavement along the road might be a bit too monotonous, so we'll try to stay on the "official" route. Due to the size of the double chariot, we may have to alter the route as we go.
Here is our current itinerary. I would like to get it down to 27 days to account for at least 1 rest day. Feedback is appreciated!

Camino del Norte (Northern Way)

1. From San Sebastián to Zarautz- 20km, 12.5m

2. From Zarautz to Deba- 23km, 14m

3. From Deba to Markina- 23km, 14m

4. From Markina to Gernika- 23km, 14m

5. From Gernika to Lezama- 21km, 13m

*. From Lezama to Bilbao (SHORT STAGE 10km, 6m-skip this stage and bilbao altogether.)

Hi Joe,

Well we made it yesterday to Bilbao and I thought I'd send you some feedback on what we have walked so far. The Norte so far we feel is much more mountainous compared to the Frances from Roncevalles onwards, and well deserving of its reputation of being more difficult. The regular climbs in elevation are matched by some serious declines, most rough and rocky, some narrow, some very boggy, some concrete but dangerously slippery in spots. The downward section into Marrkina is so steep that one needs to zigzag across to take the load off legs and feet. We have tried to imagine negotiating a chariot through the narrow rocky track between San Sebastion and Orio, or the ancient cobblestone parts down to Deba, or the uphill climbs to Markina. The mud and slime will dry up eventually but the rocks, cobblestones and climbs will remain. We have used an all-terrain jogging chariot with our daughter, and done some serious hikes and there is no way we would have considered taking one through a lot of what we have covered so far. All said, It has been a interesting walk with stunning ocean and inland views and very few pilgrims, and the ones we have met along the way are all great people. There are limited albergues and even now they fill fast. I also think you will need to book ahead to have the certainty of a place to stay as there are 4 of you. And you would be wise to carry lunch and snacks are there are sections where nothing is available. I'll keep you updated as we travel along and try and give you honest feedback as it really is a great adventure you are preparing for.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte Sept 2013
Camino del Norte Sept 2014
Camino del Norte 2015,16,17,18
#48
Hi Maggie,Baamonde to Sobrado 40 kms
Baamonde to Miraz 15 kms
Miraz to Sobrado 25 kms
I had the pleasure of volunteering in the Albergue San Martin in Miraz .This albergue is managed by the Confraternity of St James.Up until 2015 it was the only albergue in Miraz and we often had people waiting outside from 9a.m because they had walked 15 kms from Baamonde and they couldn' t face walking another 25 kms to Sobrado.
Would you still recommend this Albergue? I presume there are others as well but I like the sound of this one and hope to stay at it. My son is called Martin. Thanks for your answer
 

Mournes

Active Member
Donating Member
#49
Would you still recommend this Albergue? I presume there are others as well but I like the sound of this one and hope to stay at it. My son is called Martin. Thanks for your answer
Hi Maggie,Refugio San Martin in Miraz is an excellent albergue .It has a lovely,well equiped kitchen where pilgrims can prepare a meal,a spacious dormitory,separate showers for females and males,a large garden at the rear.It is staffed by volunteers who come from all over the world.
Breakfast is provided in the morning and payment is by donation.
The private albergue which opened in 2015 and took some pressure of San Martin is at the top end of the village on the way to Sobrado.It has an excellent bar/ restaurant.
Albergue San Martin does not accept any réservations it is on a first come,first served
basis only.Hope this helps.
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#53
Hi Dean, Sounds like you're having quite the adventure. Thanks so much for your informative and thorough message. We will have quite the load in the chariot, so I'm sure it will be very difficult on the terrain you experienced. Are you using the Buen Camino App? I have it downloaded and it shows two different routes, one green and one yellow. It appears that on the section from San Sebastian to Orio the two routes parallel one another, one following a country road and the other traversing the hillside on a trail. We will take the road in that section. I'm also wondering if we follow the bicycle route, although that might get hard on the feet.
We have decided to shorten our days tremendously, sticking in the 15-22 km range every day. We will heed your advice on packing plenty of snacks and water for the family. As for accommodations, we will make reservations for the first 5 or 6 nights (San Sebastian to Castro Urdiales, skipping the stage before and after Bilbao). Can you advise on the stages around Bilbao? Would you advise skipping them?

We sure look forward to your next message as we are in serious planning mode now. The big question for us remains whether or not to skip ahead to obtain the compostela, or simply enjoy the journey and see where we end up.

Again, we are super appreciative of your note. ENjoy the journey.

Buen Camino.

Joe & Family
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Route (last 100+kms) (2011)
Finisterre Route (2012)
French Way (first 100+ kms) (2014)
Northern Coastal Route (first 100+kms) (2015)
French Way (last 100+kms) (2017)
#54
Hello,

My family has 28 days from June 1-29 to complete the Norte and I doubt we'll be able to squeeze it all in. We plan to skip the stage before and after Bilbao (Lezama to Bilbao and Bilbao to Portugalete). We will take a rest day in Castro Urdiales. Can anyone suggest other stages that are not super appealing? We would like to stay out of the big cities. Would you recommend simply cutting out the last 100km and forgoing the compostela?

Thanks!
Joe

Hi Joe, I really admire your optimism & the 'challenge' you are setting for yourself, wife, & 2 little kids. As anyone will tell you, no matter what 'prep' you do beforehand, there will always be 'situations' that you hadn't planned/prepped for. I met a couple on the Frances with a pushchair last year. They also had others in their group, so they were taking turns with the pushchair. It was quite muddy in some sections, so there was lots of clambering over, through and around some large puddles. They were making more 'stops' than most people, understandably, and I mention this because, looking at your itinerary, you have three days of 29km in succession, and later on, a few 30km+ days. I could be wrong, and you may both be incredibly fit, but travelling with a 2 & 4 year old, I personally wouldn't be that ambitious. I think you mentioned it's your first Camino, which is a great 'adventure' for you all, and I in no way want to 'burst your bubble', but I would possibly be reconsidering your daily mileage, especially the 'bigger ones'. 'Less' can often be 'more', and I know you want this to be an amazing experience for you all, but the mother in me needs to mention this. I did a section of the North a few years ago and the scenery is indeed spectacular, and of course fab beaches at San Sebastian and Sarrautz ... we swam at both; so I am definitely not putting you off, just maybe consider any 'eventualities' that could arise (especially with the kids, or the pushchair!) and maybe factor those into your optimistic agenda. I think you're amazing to undertake such an adventure, and by all means consider setting up a blog to keep us all informed. I wish you a Buen Camino, safe travels to get to your starting point, and of course, once you take your first steps that ... the Camino provides!
May the road rise with you; the wind be always at your back; and the sound of your children's laughter lift the spirits of everyone they meet along the way. God Bless Joe!
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#55
Hi Joe, I really admire your optimism & the 'challenge' you are setting for yourself, wife, & 2 little kids. As anyone will tell you, no matter what 'prep' you do beforehand, there will always be 'situations' that you hadn't planned/prepped for. I met a couple on the Frances with a pushchair last year. They also had others in their group, so they were taking turns with the pushchair. It was quite muddy in some sections, so there was lots of clambering over, through and around some large puddles. They were making more 'stops' than most people, understandably, and I mention this because, looking at your itinerary, you have three days of 29km in succession, and later on, a few 30km+ days. I could be wrong, and you may both be incredibly fit, but travelling with a 2 & 4 year old, I personally wouldn't be that ambitious. I think you mentioned it's your first Camino, which is a great 'adventure' for you all, and I in no way want to 'burst your bubble', but I would possibly be reconsidering your daily mileage, especially the 'bigger ones'. 'Less' can often be 'more', and I know you want this to be an amazing experience for you all, but the mother in me needs to mention this. I did a section of the North a few years ago and the scenery is indeed spectacular, and of course fab beaches at San Sebastian and Sarrautz ... we swam at both; so I am definitely not putting you off, just maybe consider any 'eventualities' that could arise (especially with the kids, or the pushchair!) and maybe factor those into your optimistic agenda. I think you're amazing to undertake such an adventure, and by all means consider setting up a blog to keep us all informed. I wish you a Buen Camino, safe travels to get to your starting point, and of course, once you take your first steps that ... the Camino provides!
May the road rise with you; the wind be always at your back; and the sound of your children's laughter lift the spirits of everyone they meet along the way. God Bless Joe!
Thank you for the words of wisdom. We have indeed swallowed our pride and decided to decrease our daily mileage to 8-12 miles. I will repost our new itinerary, which includes a long section to be skipped and the longest day around 15 miles. Once we get to the flat(er) sections, we may plan to run some. We will have nothing on our backs and the kids will have their bikes. We have both run ultramarathons and done week long backpacking trips. Different story with the kids, which we understand! Plus, we would hate to bite off too much and leave a sour taste in the kids’ mouths. We can always increase mileage as we go.
You can expect to hear from us minimally on this forum and possibly through our blog, which is currently private. Thanks for the well wishes!
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#56
We have indeed swallowed our pride and decided to decrease our daily mileage to 8-12 miles.
No pride involved mate , its hard at the start and the chariot will make things more difficult.
You and the family will have a wonderful vocation in a beautiful area.
Enjoy each section and whatever you decide each day / week it will be for the families benefit.
Enjoy the people .....they love kids.
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#57
Thank you all for your information and advice. We are going to take our time and simply try to complete about the first half of the Camino. We will be back to finish it next summer or at some time! Can anyone recommend a good ending point that is near halfway? If it isn't too much trouble, I'd like to try to get into Picos de Europa National park, which might be near the halfway point?
We're super appreciative for all the feedback!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#58
If you aim for LLanes or Ribadasella you can use the FEVE or bus to continue to the Picos.
If you aim for Arriondas this way there is a good walking route to Covadonga, easy for your chariot and with accommodation approx every 10kms.
See posts in our blog Walking Around, May and June 2013. Link in list below this post.☺
 
Last edited:

DenisH

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
27th August "2015"
#59
Hello,

My family has 28 days from June 1-29 to complete the Norte and I doubt we'll be able to squeeze it all in. We plan to skip the stage before and after Bilbao (Lezama to Bilbao and Bilbao to Portugalete). We will take a rest day in Castro Urdiales. Can anyone suggest other stages that are not super appealing? We would like to stay out of the big cities. Would you recommend simply cutting out the last 100km and forgoing the compostela?

Thanks!
Joe
Hello

I am just reading your thread now. I have not looked at the Camino Forum for a few months. I am also staring the Northern Route with my wife on the 31st May. Are you still starting in San Sabastian on the 1st ?

Denis & Bernie
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#60
Hello
I am just reading your thread now. I have not looked at the Camino Forum for a few months. I am also staring the Northern Route with my wife on the 31st May. Are you still starting in San Sabastian on the 1st ?
Denis & Bernie
 

MLB

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013
Camino Norte (2017)
#61
Hello,

My family has 28 days from June 1-29 to complete the Norte and I doubt we'll be able to squeeze it all in. We plan to skip the stage before and after Bilbao (Lezama to Bilbao and Bilbao to Portugalete). We will take a rest day in Castro Urdiales. Can anyone suggest other stages that are not super appealing? We would like to stay out of the big cities. Would you recommend simply cutting out the last 100km and forgoing the compostela?

Thanks!
Joe
Hi Joe,
You and your wife sound very fit and can probably manage the difficult terrain. my husband, friend and I walked September 2017. We are all in our late 50’s. My husband loves walking and walks daily and does some very long walks near orur home, 47 KMs. I found the Norte quite challenging. We did eventually take the guide and divide up some of the days. It took us 35days without any transportation. What I remember being difficult were the steep uphills at the beginning. I can’t imagine pushing a carriage up those hills. THe other difficult days that stick out in my mind are the down hills into the cities on the old Roman Roads. They were so difficult on the feet. The worst I remember was into Deba. It was a very steep downhill walk and uneven. We had also scheduled 2 days in case of injury but used them up to shorten the days to prevent injury.
I think with young children you will have to be adaptable and take transit when they need it. No matter How far you get I would leave a couple days to make sure you get to Santiago. Even if you don’t get a compostella,arriving there is amazing. When we were there the cathedral was covered in scaffolding which was disappointing. Going into the cathedral, hugging St. James, participating in the service was special. It is the destination, the end of the path. That feeling of acccomplishment is worth it. The other thing I loved about this Camino was actually in the city plazas. Families, people of all ages together eating, drinking ,playing. I loved that part of the Spanish culture. Everyone was out in the evening.
I wish you all the best. Buen Camino
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#63
Hello. We will be starting in San Sebastian on June 3. We plan to walk at relaxed pace--our first nights are in Orio, Zumaia, Deba, Markina, Bolibar (Cenaruzza), Gernika, Lezama. WE may see you out there!
 

Joe Query

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to walk Camino del Norte (possibly) in June/July 2018 with family of four.
#64
Hi Joe,
You and your wife sound very fit and can probably manage the difficult terrain. my husband, friend and I walked September 2017. We are all in our late 50’s. My husband loves walking and walks daily and does some very long walks near orur home, 47 KMs. I found the Norte quite challenging. We did eventually take the guide and divide up some of the days. It took us 35days without any transportation. What I remember being difficult were the steep uphills at the beginning. I can’t imagine pushing a carriage up those hills. THe other difficult days that stick out in my mind are the down hills into the cities on the old Roman Roads. They were so difficult on the feet. The worst I remember was into Deba. It was a very steep downhill walk and uneven. We had also scheduled 2 days in case of injury but used them up to shorten the days to prevent injury.
I think with young children you will have to be adaptable and take transit when they need it. No matter How far you get I would leave a couple days to make sure you get to Santiago. Even if you don’t get a compostella,arriving there is amazing. When we were there the cathedral was covered in scaffolding which was disappointing. Going into the cathedral, hugging St. James, participating in the service was special. It is the destination, the end of the path. That feeling of acccomplishment is worth it. The other thing I loved about this Camino was actually in the city plazas. Families, people of all ages together eating, drinking ,playing. I loved that part of the Spanish culture. Everyone was out in the evening.
I wish you all the best. Buen Camino
Hi MLB- Thank you very much for your encouraging words and informative message. We have changed our plans to simply take on the first half of the camino this summer and the second half next summer. This summer we hope to walk about 10 miles per day, starting in San Sebastian and finishing in Llanes. WE will leave a couple days at the end to either walk up to Covadanga (Picos de Europa NP) or perhaps take your advice to continue on to SDC. We will make accommodations to Llanes, with a couple days to spare at the end. We hope that the shortened stages will relieve the pressure of feeling like we need to "push" to make it to our destination. We envision starting early, stopping when our kids need to, and enjoying the journey. If we enjoy it enough, perhaps the family will want to do it again!
For us, this is a dream we didn't think would happen for many years to come. We're teachers from Seattle who until recently were stuck in student loan debt. We had a 10 year plan for the Camino. This last year we decided enough was enough, sold our house and cars, and moved to Qatar to start again. Loans are paid off, we're saving and we've got the opportunity to travel Europe. My wife is a Spanish major and has always dreamed of walking the Camino and enjoying Spanish culture she has learned so much about. This will be our first time in Europe!
We know that the best way to really see a place and get to know the people is by slowing down and "smelling the roses." We also know this is best way to get to know ourselves and one another. If we planned well and take each day as it comes, perhaps this will be the first of many family pilgrimages!T Thanks again!
 

Mournes

Active Member
Donating Member
#65
A very wise decision.The north coast of Spain is beautiful.I am sure that you and your family will have a wonderful time.Buen Camino.
 

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