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A winter camino? Why not!

Jean Ti

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
I love to walk a making photography too. I did 3 camino's in the past in spring and in fall and I wonder how it would be in winter? I imagine that the camino france must be very impressive in winter and the landscapes incredible!!! I am targeting the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.

Knowing that not many albergues will be open In winter I wonder about findings rooms in winter condition and considering the impacts of covid-19 on the private albergues network?

I would love to get the impression of people who walk in winter times.

Thank you
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Jean Ti,

To further your research re Walking in Winter see these earlier threads filled with useful links and tips.

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/logrono-to-burgos-in-january.50991/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/november-december-cf.50932/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/walking-the-camino-in-december-january.37261/


Sillydoll who is a Forum member has in her blog compiled encyclopedic information on Winter Walking.
http://amawalker.blogspot.fr/2009/10/walking-in-winter.html?m=1

Twice during winter caminos I have sat out true blizzards; in Villafranca Montes de Oca, February 25, 26, 2006 and Foncebadón, March 5,6, 2009. Even late November 2012 the climb up to O Cebreiro was packed with snow. You can see the snow and read my blog accounts of these three memorable storms here. http://mermore.blogspot.fr/p/memories.html
Luckily open albergues offered welcoming shelter, heat and companionship.

Most who walk in late autumn and winter wear and carry lightweight but warm layers which can easily be added or removed while walking. Each pilgrim develops a favorite combo. Scan the Forum's Equipment topic http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/forums/equipment-questions.30/
to see a multitude of varied approaches. Here's mine
http://mermore.blogspot.fr/p/kit-and-tips.html

Remember winter is a great time to walk, but you must be PREPARED!

Although now at 81 I am unable to easily walk long distances I still remember with pleasure those long winter caminos.

Happy planning, stay safe and Buen camino!
 
Last edited:

jozero

Been there, going again...
Year of past OR future Camino
CF x 3
On a normal year, I’ve never had an issue finding a place to stay. Much harder to speculate about next winter however. We will have to see what Albergues are still open as the restrictions ease. From a photography point of view, you will find many gems along the way!

681D852E-10E1-4C9C-9977-2305FBC5BC6D.jpeg AB436CE6-C267-4650-9282-6ABFFB5D055F.jpeg BC659BB1-F3DA-480D-8DA9-3B31F3C0AF57.jpeg F800DC40-88A8-455C-B699-093F3EF6D51F.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Jean Ti

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
Silver Oxide Camino de Santiago pendent
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John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
This guide is one of the ones that has been around for over 15 years. Updated yearly. Please read the reviews.

Arn

Veteran Member
Jean Ti,

To further your research re Walking in Winter see these earlier threads filled with useful links and tips.

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/logrono-to-burgos-in-january.50991/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/november-december-cf.50932/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/walking-the-camino-in-december-january.37261/


Sillydoll who is a Forum member has in her blog compiled encyclopedic information on Winter Walking.
http://amawalker.blogspot.fr/2009/10/walking-in-winter.html?m=1

Twice during winter caminos I have sat out true blizzards; in Villafranca Montes de Oca, February 25, 26, 2006 and Foncebadón, March 5,6, 2009. Even late November 2012 the climb up to O Cebreiro was packed with snow. You can see the snow and read my blog accounts of these three memorable storms here. http://mermore.blogspot.fr/p/memories.html
Luckily open albergues offered welcoming shelter, heat and companionship.

Most who walk in late autumn and winter wear and carry lightweight but warm layers which can easily be added or removed while walking. Each pilgrim develops a favorite combo. Scan the Forum's Equipment topic http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/forums/equipment-questions.30/
to see a multitude of varied approaches. Here's mine
http://mermore.blogspot.fr/p/kit-and-tips.html

Remember winter is a great time to walk, but you must be PREPARED!

Although now at 81 I am unable to easily walk long distances I still remember with pleasure those long winter caminos.

Happy planning, stay safe and Buen camino!
mspath, 81? Gosh, how time flies when you're having fun, or on Camino.
The response to Jean Ti is a classic example of what is required of an intelligence analyst. You make your key point(s), support them with varied sources and all without concern for divergence from your own conclusions or experience.
You are a jewel among many round rocks. All important in their role, though few as brilliant.
Buen “Winter Wonderkand” Camino
Arn
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
Jean Ti,

To further your research re Walking in Winter see these earlier threads filled with useful links and tips.

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/logrono-to-burgos-in-january.50991/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/november-december-cf.50932/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/walking-the-camino-in-december-january.37261/


Sillydoll who is a Forum member has in her blog compiled encyclopedic information on Winter Walking.
http://amawalker.blogspot.fr/2009/10/walking-in-winter.html?m=1

Twice during winter caminos I have sat out true blizzards; in Villafranca Montes de Oca, February 25, 26, 2006 and Foncebadón, March 5,6, 2009. Even late November 2012 the climb up to O Cebreiro was packed with snow. You can see the snow and read my blog accounts of these three memorable storms here. http://mermore.blogspot.fr/p/memories.html
Luckily open albergues offered welcoming shelter, heat and companionship.

Most who walk in late autumn and winter wear and carry lightweight but warm layers which can easily be added or removed while walking. Each pilgrim develops a favorite combo. Scan the Forum's Equipment topic http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/forums/equipment-questions.30/
to see a multitude of varied approaches. Here's mine
http://mermore.blogspot.fr/p/kit-and-tips.html

Remember winter is a great time to walk, but you must be PREPARED!

Although now at 81 I am unable to easily walk long distances I still remember with pleasure those long winter caminos.

Happy planning, stay safe and Buen camino!
I am going thru your info and it is a real mine of information.

I imagine that your packsack must be heavier in winter. Your day distance most also be shorter to. Did you have to open your way in the snow at some point?

I am from Canada and use to the cold. Are crampon or snow shoe's required?
 

Arn

Veteran Member
Jean Ti, I hesitate to comment for @mspath but here is my two cents. I know of few occasions where the use of snowshoes or crampons are worth the encumberment. I would rather suggest that, should you find yourself faced with a sudden storm, get off the Camino ASAP and seek shelter. Or, delay starting out that day. A classic example is pilgrims departing SJPDP enroute to Roncesvalles, or just to Orisson. Check with the Pilgrim office. They are in continuous contact with Refuge Orisson and you should listen to them if they say DONOT attempt today.
Buen "Instead, I'll stay here and make snow angels" Camino
Arn
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I walked November/December 2019. We had high winds from Pamplona to Logroño. But blue skies, rain to Burgos.
Winds, rain and cold on the Meseta. Rain cold and snow in After Leon and into Galicia. When we woke up in Astorga we were told that Rabanal was closed and they bussed people back the night before to Astorga as the Albergue was full. The police in Rabanal told pilgrims is they tried to continue to Cruz de Ferro they would not send a rescue party if they had trouble. Lots of people got sick. I had Bronchial Spasms. Had to go twice to clinics for oxygen and had an inhaler, and knew at
Least 4 pilgrims that went home due to illness.
Still I loved it. Would go again in an instant. It is overall a little different type of pilgrim in my experience. A little more independent I think. But because there are less albergues and often weather dictated distance I saw a lot of the same pilgrims. About a week in I spoke to an owner of a private albergue and she told me she had more pilgrims the first week of November than the entire month in 2018. So I bet when we can walk again there will still be an uptick in pilgrims. I would recommend to call ahead to make sure albergues are open. Who knows how many albergues may have closed permanently. I checked Gronze and also downloaded Wise Pilgrim and Buen Camino apps. Just to have a more complete list of albergues. I never really had a problem except twice when I just had to walk a few k further because the alberguesin a village were closed. None of these sites were more than about 60% accurate when it came to whether an albergue was open or closed. Again I would still do a winter Camino again without hesitation.
Plenty of solitude plenty of wonderful pilgrims and I came home with plenty of memories and smiles.
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Year of past OR future Camino
CF x 3
My first winter Camino I took no traction for my boots, and I paid the price a couple of times. Now I always carry icetrekkers that I bought at MEC. They are a little heavier than I would like (+/- 1lbs) but there are several really treacherous stretches and I can walk them confidently with no slippage or falls. Worth the extra pound for me. Link HERE. I always use trekking poles as well which adds great stability to you in icy conditions too. Good luck!
Screen Shot 2021-02-15 at 10.40.16 AM.png
 
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Arn

Veteran Member
I walked November/December 2019. We had high winds from Pamplona to Logroño. But blue skies, rain to Burgos.
Winds, rain and cold on the Meseta. Rain cold and snow in After Leon and into Galicia. When we woke up in Astorga we were told that Rabanal was closed and they bussed people back the night before to Astorga as the Albergue was full. The police in Rabanal told pilgrims is they tried to continue to Cruz de Ferro they would not send a rescue party if they had trouble. Lots of people got sick. I had Bronchial Spasms. Had to go twice to clinics for oxygen and had an inhaler, and knew at
Least 4 pilgrims that went home due to illness.
Still I loved it. Would go again in an instant. It is overall a little different type of pilgrim in my experience. A little more independent I think. But because there are less albergues and often weather dictated distance I saw a lot of the same pilgrims. About a week in I spoke to an owner of a private albergue and she told me she had more pilgrims the first week of November than the entire month in 2018. So I bet when we can walk again there will still be an uptick in pilgrims. I would recommend to call ahead to make sure albergues are open. Who knows how many albergues may have closed permanently. I checked Gronze and also downloaded Wise Pilgrim and Buen Camino apps. Just to have a more complete list of albergues. I never really had a problem except twice when I just had to walk a few k further because the alberguesin a village were closed. None of these sites were more than about 60% accurate when it came to whether an albergue was open or closed. Again I would still do a winter Camino again without hesitation.
Plenty of solitude plenty of wonderful pilgrims and I came home with plenty of memories and smiles.
Again, @It56ny, presents a first person set of examples and results of : well thought out action, first responder support in an emergency and, the willingness of albergues to go the extra mile to ensure the safety of pilgrims.
That said, when a pilgrim(s) chooses to ignore the well meaning advice, or directives of those familiar with the situation, they put themselves, and the possible rescuer in needless jeopardy.
All weather related situations come with their own particular set of emergency preparedness and precautions.
Buen "Better safe that sorry" Camino
Arn
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Please remember that the Valcarlos route is the only route up to Roncesvalles open in winter.
The high level Route Napoleon is closed by law from the beginning of November until 1 April each year

Rather that walkung on the Valcarlos camino path from SJPdP to Valcarlos and Roncesvalles in snow I always walked up the road.

In bad weather ie fog, rain or snow I walked on the left side verges of the N135 road and did not follow any passages into or through the wood. You can read those accounts more fully here.

Whatever the season or weather it is important to remember that beyond Valcarlos there are neither services nor water until Roncesvalles. Be prepared
 
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jozero

Been there, going again...
Year of past OR future Camino
CF x 3
One year I would like to do a winter Camino. The Camino Invierno seems an obvious choice for a route.
I was very tempted last time around, especially after reading many of @peregrina2000 's posts about it. My main hesitation was lack of language skills as I understand that there is limited waymarking and limited (formal pilgrim) accommodation so being able to adequately communicate with locals sounded imperative. In the winter I was not confident enough to pull that off. I'm saying the winter camino for a summer camino instead :D
 

GaryAus

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF December 2017
I would do it again in winter at a heartbeat. 13 Nov - 17 Dec 2017. Weather obviously varies each year and probably worse later in the season but we had snow at Roncesvalles, Meseta and O'Cebriero. Weather generally magnificant - max 8 degrees C and coldest -8 degrees coming out of Burgos one morning (soon warmed a little once we got walking). Rained on 5 days out of 33. No issues with albergues. Up to 15 people each night, and that group generally stayed on the same timetable SJPP to Santiago. Walked between 20 and 35km each day. Sun up a bit after 8am and down about 4.30pm, but at no time did we walk in the dark. Pack weight about 9kg (I felt winter was actually easier for packing because you are wearing layers). All up no hassles with language or following the Camino markers (this was my first/only time in Spain and I don't speak Spanish). The local people will be very happy to see you and are extremely helpful and nice (even if you can't understand each other - communication still seems to happen). It will be a fantastic experience. If only I could jump on a plane....
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
One year I would like to do a winter Camino. The Camino Invierno seems an obvious choice for a route.
@David Tallan
You might watch @Sara_Dhooma 's video on youtube of her Invierno walk, done in Dec. 2019, the month after I walked it, to get an impression of what it is like in that season.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
@David Tallan
You might watch @Sara_Dhooma 's video on youtube of her Invierno walk, done in Dec. 2019, the month after I walked it, to get an impression of what it is like in that season.
I've watched it. (I've watched pretty much all of her Camino videos.) I expect the best Camino to do in the winter would be the Mozarabe or something like that but I don't think I could resist the linguistic pull of the Camino Invierno's name.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I am going thru your info and it is a real mine of information.

I imagine that your packsack must be heavier in winter. Your day distance most also be shorter to. Did you have to open your way in the snow at some point?

I am from Canada and use to the cold. Are crampon or snow shoe's required?

No snowshoes or Crampons required. If the paths get too deep with snow, the few pilgrims usually follow the road from Rabanal to Molineseca or from Villafranca up to Ocebriero once the snow trucks come through. Till then pilgrims typically sit it out in the accommodation they are in.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I've watched it. (I've watched pretty much all of her Camino videos.) I expect the best Camino to do in the winter would be the Mozarabe or something like that but I don't think I could resist the linguistic pull of the Camino Invierno's name.
Having walked the Invierno in November and watched Sara's video of her walk in December. I can say that she could have walked in more daylight if she shifted her days, to get up and go to bed earlier.
 
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Tony Calhoun

Frances 2016 and 2014.
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances
I love to walk a making photography too. I did 3 camino's in the past in spring and in fall and I wonder how it would be in winter? I imagine that the camino france must be very impressive in winter and the landscapes incredible!!! I am targeting the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.

Knowing that not many albergues will be open In winter I wonder about findings rooms in winter condition and considering the impacts of covid-19 on the private albergues network?

I would love to get the impression of people who walk in winter times.

Thank you
View attachment b7d2c551-d6c3-4ab5-9ad9-4e9d4e8d8d1b.mp4
 

steve 217

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino frances planning via del la plata

Tavo18

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2016)
This is a video I made of the Camino Frances in February 2016. It sums up my experience. Hope it helps.

 

selebi51

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances (2012), porto (2013), VdlP Seville (2014)
I was very tempted last time around, especially after reading many of @peregrina2000 's posts about it. My main hesitation was lack of language skills as I understand that there is limited waymarking and limited (formal pilgrim) accommodation so being able to adequately communicate with locals sounded imperative. In the winter I was not confident enough to pull that off. I'm saying the winter camino for a summer camino instead :D
Hi. I speak no Spanish and had no problems on the Invierno October 2019 using off line translater app on phone. Beautiful route.
 
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