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28 walking days in March / April '24 - which Camino routes would be possible?

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Dear all,

Sometimes you don't see the forest for all the trees, so I'm seeking some advice here. My partner and I have the chance to walk a Camino route next spring but now that - after years of waiting - the opportunity presents itself I feel surprisingly un-enthusiastic about possible routes. A bit about our plans here:

- my third (Frances, VdlP), his first Camino

- experienced long-distance hikers

- carrying a tent (we are hiking the Fishermen's Trail first, happy to send our camping gear to Santiago if we don't need it) but otherwise we are looking for albergues to stay in

- start from somewhere accessible from the end of the FT - Madrid would likely be the most eastern point possible but obviously flexible on that

- end in Santiago because our onward flights leave from there. Ending in Santiago is also important to me on a more pilgrim-based level and I would be looking into getting a vicare pro Compostela

- 28 walking days. We are fast walkers and enjoy that - it's just our natural walking rhythm - and happy to do long stages

- mid March to mid April - dates are not flexible unfortunately

I know that the obvious answer is the Camino Portuguese from Lisbon but there are two things that make me hesitate. a) We are both learning Spanish so spending time in Spain would lead - obviously - to speaking more Spanish. b) We both normally prefer more remote locations than what you find on a typical Camino but Portugal seems even more so?

Adding to that, for me personally a Camino means a certain degree of "suffering" / penance - hence I'd prefer somewhere with less facilities, more basic accommodation, possibly more challenging terrain... This will be the last time - for the foreseeable future -- that we'll have the chance to walk a Camino and I would like it to be more of a bare-bone pilgrimage instead of a route full of facilities.


Any pointers would be much appreciated!
 
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Going from you calling yourself a fast walker, i guess something like the Frances would be possible. While 28d from SJPDP is quite fast, nothing is preventing you from starting in Pamplona or Logrono.
But since you done that already and you are looking for a more "basic" experience, some other route might be more interesting. But then, you might have the problem with open albergues in March/April. No idea how the situation would be on something like the Camino del Madrid or Primitivo in that time of year. Maybe best to look at a map of caminos in Spain, pick a place thats the distance of 28d times the amount of km each day you are comfortable with and then check gronze.com how the situation of albergues is.

(Personally i'd go with the frances since pretty much all the others will be quite deserted in Mar/Apr. But the choice is yours.)
 
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Getting from Lisbon to many Spanish cities is not always straightforward, but it can be done! You could walk the FT from north to south, but I don’t think that getting to Spain from Sagres or Faro is much easier than from Lisbon.

Starting to walk in March or April would lead me to consider starting in the south.

The Mozárabe from Almería sounds like it would be a good choice for you. Excellent albergue infrastructure, a great Camino Association who manages all the albergues up to Granada with love and caring. Suffering possible on the rocky river beds if they are dry. :p

Lots of long stretches through olive groves, which I personally love but some have a different opinion. Many castles popping out at you from kms away, all open for afternoon exploration. I started in mid April and it was perfect weather. Wild flowers galore, though if the drought persists your display will be less spectacular.

The Almería Amigos have a guide that is updated regularly. Here is a link to September’s edition.

Take a look at all the posts in the Mózarabe subforum.

I don’t know if you have 28 days in addition to the FT, but walking from Almería gives you lots of possible stopping points. After a few weeks you will be back on the Vdlp, which it joins with in Mérida, but there are a few alternatives that go through Trujillo that would keep you on new terrain for a while longer.

Other possible starting points would be the Ebro from Deltebre or the Lana from Alicante or Villajoyosa. The forum has good info on those routes too.

Good luck with your decision, I’m sure lots of forum members will have plenty of different opinions!
 
Getting from Lisbon to many Spanish cities is not always straightforward, but it can be done! You could walk the FT from north to south, but I don’t think that getting to Spain from Sagres or Faro is much easier than from Lisbon.

Starting to walk in March or April would lead me to consider starting in the south.

The Mozárabe from Almería sounds like it would be a good choice for you. Excellent albergue infrastructure, a great Camino Association who manages all the albergues up to Granada with love and caring. Suffering possible on the rocky river beds if they are dry. :p

Lots of long stretches through olive groves, which I personally love but some have a different opinion. Many castles popping out at you from kms away, all open for afternoon exploration. I started in mid April and it was perfect weather. Wild flowers galore, though if the drought persists your display will be less spectacular.

The Almería Amigos have a guide that is updated regularly. Here is a link to September’s edition.

Take a look at all the posts in the Mózarabe subforum.

I don’t know if you have 28 days in addition to the FT, but walking from Almería gives you lots of possible stopping points. After a few weeks you will be back on the Vdlp, which it joins with in Mérida, but there are a few alternatives that go through Trujillo that would keep you on new terrain for a while longer.

Other possible starting points would be the Ebro from Deltebre or the Lana from Alicante or Villajoyosa. The forum has good info on those routes too.

Good luck with your decision, I’m sure lots of forum members will have plenty of different opinions!
I am thinking about doing the VDLP again starting in late October. But instead of starting in Sevilla, I would start in Cordoba on the Mozarabe. To be honest I would have to skip two stages on the Mozarabe as I can no longer walk over 30K in one day. Just wondering if the landscape is pretty similar to the VDLP leaving Sevilla up to Merida. I am one of those people who find that kind of starkness, isolation, and endlessness, peaceful and I can walk happily for days. Also with the way climate change is rapidly causing catastrophic temperature, fire, etc changes Is October 20 or so too early to begin walking? When I walked from Sevilla I found the first 8-10 days tough because of the high temperatures and relentless sun. In November it started to become absolutely perfect walking weather. I would much rather walk in snow and wind than 90+ temperatures with a relentless sun beating down on you.
 
Dear all,

Sometimes you don't see the forest for all the trees, so I'm seeking some advice here. My partner and I have the chance to walk a Camino route next spring but now that - after years of waiting - the opportunity presents itself I feel surprisingly un-enthusiastic about possible routes. A bit about our plans here:

- my third (Frances, VdlP), his first Camino

- experienced long-distance hikers

- carrying a tent (we are hiking the Fishermen's Trail first, happy to send our camping gear to Santiago if we don't need it) but otherwise we are looking for albergues to stay in

- start from somewhere accessible from the end of the FT - Madrid would likely be the most eastern point possible but obviously flexible on that

- end in Santiago because our onward flights leave from there. Ending in Santiago is also important to me on a more pilgrim-based level and I would be looking into getting a vicare pro Compostela

- 28 walking days. We are fast walkers and enjoy that - it's just our natural walking rhythm - and happy to do long stages

- mid March to mid April - dates are not flexible unfortunately

I know that the obvious answer is the Camino Portuguese from Lisbon but there are two things that make me hesitate. a) We are both learning Spanish so spending time in Spain would lead - obviously - to speaking more Spanish. b) We both normally prefer more remote locations than what you find on a typical Camino but Portugal seems even more so?

Adding to that, for me personally a Camino means a certain degree of "suffering" / penance - hence I'd prefer somewhere with less facilities, more basic accommodation, possibly more challenging terrain... This will be the last time - for the foreseeable future -- that we'll have the chance to walk a Camino and I would like it to be more of a bare-bone pilgrimage instead of a route full of facilities.


Any pointers would be much appreciated!
Madrid to Oviedo via Madrid route, short section on Frances and Salvador from Leon.
 
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I am thinking about doing the VDLP again starting in late October. But instead of starting in Sevilla, I would start in Cordoba on the Mozarabe.
I think Córdoba to Mérida would seem familiar in terms of landscape in comparison to Sevilla to Mérida. And I think late October would get you past the worst of the heat, but who knows these days. A very doable and logical alternative, IMHO.

Though you didn’t ask, but since you know me well enough to know that I am just throwing this out in the FWIW category, I think you would miss the best parts of the Mozárabe. Almería to Granada is Association territory, incredible camino hospitality with albergues all along the way. Typical southern Spain scenery. Granada to Córdoba is castle territory, I think there are 4 or 5 or even more towns with beautiful castles perched up on the hill whetting your appetite to explore as you inch closer to them from afar. Córdoba to Mérida has some beautiful scenery, so it’s not that I think it’s an “ugly” part, but it just doesn’t have the same pull (to me) as those earlier sections. But I know time is not unlimited so choices have to be made. If you walk part of the Mozárabe this year, you may find yourself pulled back for next year!

I know you are a diehard “no bus in the middle” kind of peregrino, so my solution for the foreseeable future will not appeal to you — I hope to walk a few weeks in the south, then bus or train up to a northern starting point (Zamora, Ponferrada for instance) and then make my way into Santiago. Maybe someday I’ll have 6 or 7 weeks to walk again, but that’s not likely for a while.
 
- carrying a tent (we are hiking the Fishermen's Trail first, happy to send our camping gear to Santiago if we don't need it) but otherwise we are looking for albergues to stay in
You don't need camping gear for the FT either, FWIW. If you're bringing it because you like camping, then fine, but there's budget accommodation (often in the form of youth hostels) along the route.
 
My suggestion for 28 days of good walking: start in Irun and do your homework here on the forums to find the paths that stay along the bay of Biscay as much as possible. Near Gijon cut south to Oviedo and walk the Primitivo down to the Camino Frances. When you arrive in Santiago if you have the time to spare continue to Fisterra.
if you are fit and experienced walkers you can definitely do the part to Santiago in the time less than 28 days provided you are not subject to any real delays or problems.
if you are fast and lucky I think you could do the entire thing in 28 days!
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
I think Córdoba to Mérida would seem familiar in terms of landscape in comparison to Sevilla to Mérida. And I think late October would get you past the worst of the heat, but who knows these days. A very doable and logical alternative, IMHO.

Though you didn’t ask, but since you know me well enough to know that I am just throwing this out in the FWIW category, I think you would miss the best parts of the Mozárabe. Almería to Granada is Association territory, incredible camino hospitality with albergues all along the way. Typical southern Spain scenery. Granada to Córdoba is castle territory, I think there are 4 or 5 or even more towns with beautiful castles perched up on the hill whetting your appetite to explore as you inch closer to them from afar. Córdoba to Mérida has some beautiful scenery, so it’s not that I think it’s an “ugly” part, but it just doesn’t have the same pull (to me) as those earlier sections. But I know time is not unlimited so choices have to be made. If you walk part of the Mozárabe this year, you may find yourself pulled back for next year!

I know you are a diehard “no bus in the middle” kind of peregrino, so my solution for the foreseeable future will not appeal to you — I hope to walk a few weeks in the south, then bus or train up to a northern starting point (Zamora, Ponferrada for instance) and then make my way into Santiago. Maybe someday I’ll have 6 or 7 weeks to walk again, but that’s not likely for a while.
Thanks so much for your input. I think there are others who share your opinion regarding the allure and pull of the first part of the Mozarabe. It is all just planning and thinking about the next camino when I haven't even done my camino this year! It may all be for naught as one of my best friends is talking about walking with his wife and I for 3 weeks next year. I have told him that they can pick the camino they want to do. I have no problem. Walking with a friend of over 50 years and his wife (45 years of friendship) would be wonderful. Although I thought I was completely sure what I was going to do this year I have second thoughts. But my original plan was to bounce around for the first time. Doing the Vasco from Bayonne to Burgos. Then the meseta (love the Meseta) to Leon, then hopping on a bus and doing the coastal Portuguese, and if it is feasible add the Espiritual Variante. Will consult with @jungleboy regarding that. It will be November when I get to the variant. Take care and thanks so much again.
 
You don't need camping gear for the FT either, FWIW. If you're bringing it because you like camping, then fine, but there's budget accommodation (often in the form of youth hostels) along the route.
That's exactly what I was about to post. I walked the Fisherman's Trail North - South March 2016 and stayed in wonderful surfer's albergues for about €15 a night with towels and sheets included! I certainly wouldn't want to carry camping gear unless absolutely necessary.

At that time a year I would concur with others that starting in the south would be ideal. When walking the Mozárabe I found landscape between Córdoba and Mérida very similar to the Via de la Plata. Before that between Granada and Córdoba there are about 3 days, maybe more through endless olive groves. I don't know how many days you would need to get to Santiago but you could start in Granada instead of Almería. But you would be repeating the Vía de la Plata from Mérida on.

If it weren't for the time of year (snow in the mountains?) I would suggest the Madrid, short stretch on the Francés to León then onto the San Salvador followed by the Primitivo from Oviedo to Santiago filling your desire to receive a vicare pro Compostela. I have no idea about the number of days needed as I've done all three but not together.

Good luck with the planning!
 
Hi all,

thank you so much for the incredible detailed help! I've discounted the Invierno right from the start because I've read someone with our walking style finishing it in nine days - but @J Willhaus is of course right, adding on Muxia and Finisterre might solve that "problem". The path looks absolutely stunning and with the small expected pilgrim-amount and the reduced infrastructure very much what I'm looking for.

@peregrina2000 - thank you so much for the detailed description! I've wanted to walk either the Elbro or the Lana before Covid but back then I didn't have enough holidays. Now it still seems that 28 days would not be enough to arrive in Santiago unfortunately. But the Mozárabe might be an option. As you, I was thinking that the southern routes would make more sense at that time of the year. I loved the vast stretches of open land on the VdlP so there's certainly that.

@jungleboy - I know :) Portugal seems to have a great network of accomodation around its hiking trails. But we really want to camp. We are selling all our things back at home to spend six months hiking / camping in various regions of Europe / Northafrica. The Camino would be an exception to the "camping preferred" routine because I very much appreciate all the work and love people / municipalities put into the albergue network.

Lots of food for thought everyone! Thank you.
 
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We've also looked at the San Salvador / Primitivo combo ( that's been my dream since walking the Frances well over a decade ago) but I'm a bit worried about snow too @LTfit. We have snow gear available (heading of to the Atlas mountains in Morocco after) but I need to look at more climate tables for that. Or anyone else that started in Leon around the 15th of March might weight in?
 
You could also look at Primitivo with Finesterre/Muxia. The Hospitales route might not be passable at that point but the Polande de Allende section may be. As you say, someone with experience walking the San Salvador/Primitivo route may add their experiences. There is also a FB group for the Primitivo where you can access others quickly.
 
You could also look at Primitivo with Finesterre/Muxia. The Hospitales route might not be passable at that point but the Polande de Allende section may be. As you say, someone with experience walking the San Salvador/Primitivo route may add their experiences. There is also a FB group for the Primitivo where you can access others quickly.
Those two caminos look beautiful (they were on our list for 2020 but you know…). At the moment it looks like we‘ll go for a combination of the Invierno - Finisterre - dos Faros. So many wonderful paths to choose from - so little time 😅
 
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Dear all,

Sometimes you don't see the forest for all the trees, so I'm seeking some advice here. My partner and I have the chance to walk a Camino route next spring but now that - after years of waiting - the opportunity presents itself I feel surprisingly un-enthusiastic about possible routes. A bit about our plans here:

- my third (Frances, VdlP), his first Camino

- experienced long-distance hikers

- carrying a tent (we are hiking the Fishermen's Trail first, happy to send our camping gear to Santiago if we don't need it) but otherwise we are looking for albergues to stay in

- start from somewhere accessible from the end of the FT - Madrid would likely be the most eastern point possible but obviously flexible on that

- end in Santiago because our onward flights leave from there. Ending in Santiago is also important to me on a more pilgrim-based level and I would be looking into getting a vicare pro Compostela

- 28 walking days. We are fast walkers and enjoy that - it's just our natural walking rhythm - and happy to do long stages

- mid March to mid April - dates are not flexible unfortunately

I know that the obvious answer is the Camino Portuguese from Lisbon but there are two things that make me hesitate. a) We are both learning Spanish so spending time in Spain would lead - obviously - to speaking more Spanish. b) We both normally prefer more remote locations than what you find on a typical Camino but Portugal seems even more so?

Adding to that, for me personally a Camino means a certain degree of "suffering" / penance - hence I'd prefer somewhere with less facilities, more basic accommodation, possibly more challenging terrain... This will be the last time - for the foreseeable future -- that we'll have the chance to walk a Camino and I would like it to be more of a bare-bone pilgrimage instead of a route full of facilities.


Any pointers would be much appreciated!
Why does no one mention the Camonho Portuguese Interior when considering Portugal? Tough and utterly beautiful and remote and you need GPS but so much better than the other options. Or the Fatima trail? I know, Spanish, but just want to plug alternate routes in Portugal.
 
Why does no one mention the Camonho Portuguese Interior when considering Portugal? Tough and utterly beautiful and remote and you need GPS but so much better than the other options. Or the Fatima trail? I know, Spanish, but just want to plug alternate routes in Portugal.
Most pilgrims just don’t know about the CPI. At best many people think there is just one ‘Portuguese camino’ from Porto with two route options (central/coastal).

To try to create a bit of awareness of other routes in Portugal, I wrote this piece a couple of years ago:

https://spiritofthecamino.com/camino-de-santiago-portugal
 
Thank you @karidadpoethig and @jungleboy for these great insights! I’ve spend the last few days reading all of @jungleboy ‘s fantastic resources about the different Portuguese options.

Does any of you have an idea how feasible / nice the PCI would be at the beginning of February?

Language is a bit of a concern as well though. While picking up some Portuguese (polite words, basic shopping and ordering food) shouldn’t be a problem I won’t have time to do a deep-dive into the language unfortunately.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Thank you @karidadpoethig and @jungleboy for these great insights! I’ve spend the last few days reading all of @jungleboy ‘s fantastic resources about the different Portuguese options.
Thank you! :)

Does any of you have an idea how feasible / nice the PCI would be at the beginning of February?
Feasible I think yes, as a lot of the accommodation options are municipal albergues which I guess would be open. Nice? There’s always the risk of bad weather at that time of year so it probably depends on how much that would bother you. Personally I’d look at a southern camino at that time to increase the chances of better weather, but I’m picky about weather.
 
Thank you! :)


Feasible I think yes, as a lot of the accommodation options are municipal albergues which I guess would be open. Nice? There’s always the risk of bad weather at that time of year so it probably depends on how much that would bother you. Personally I’d look at a southern camino at that time to increase the chances of better weather, but I’m picky about weather.
Your description of the Caminho Nascente looks fantastic too but the lack of albergues might be a financial issue. I might try to push for another holiday towards fall to explore Portugal to improve chances of sunshine.

Regardless, thanks for spreading the word about these (still) lesser known routes! Your pictures really make it hard to choose the next target.
 

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