An early start! That is my advice for those walking the Camino del Norte from San Sebastián during the busy summer. As opposed to the Camino Francés, the albergues are not as frequent or often don’t have many beds. If you enjoy walking into the evening, like I do, you just may find yourself out of luck, or sleeping under a tree.
At 20 kilometers away, the large town of Zarautz is a popular spot to spend your second night (or first) on the Camino del Norte. However, awaiting you is over 300 meters of elevation gain with numerous ups and downs, and a steep descent to Zarautz. It’s certainly a different track compared to the relatively easy walk that those on the Camino Francés experience on their second day from Roncesvalles to Larrasoaña or Pamplona. As for me, I would continue past Zarautz, and learn a lesson on how different the del Norte is from the Camino Francés in terms of difficulty and accommodation availability.
I left my last post, An Evening in San Sebastian, Spain, On and off the Camino del Norte, facing Monte Igueldo from Playa de Ondarreta. I stayed near this spot at the municipal albergue which was fine but a little overcrowded. I didn’t sleep well and had trouble getting my tired body moving in the morning. My walking companions who I had met the previous day waited, but I told them to go ahead and I’ll catch up.