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Anyone care to share their experience walking CF in April?

pokeman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 2017: Sarria --> Santiago
April/May 2019: SJPP --> Santiago --> Finistierre
Hi All,
My last day at work is this Friday. I wish that I could start the Camino next week but will wait at least a couple of months to wait for the weather to warm up and for many of the Albergues and restaurants to open back up. In the meanwhile, I plan to get my activity level up a bit to try to prepare myself at least a little bit for the Camino. I've been a desk jockey for years and woefully out of shape.

I am wanting to start my Camino in April to beat the crowds and because I don't want to be out of work for too long. I'm a little worried though that it still might be a little early (ie some Albergues/restaurants might still be closed, still a little cool where clothes may not dry over-night, etc). Has anyone who walked in April care to share their experience wrt support services, weather and crowds? Thanks...
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
You can PM me for follow up or specific questions, but in general April was a great time to walk the CF in 2018 (despite a bit of snow at the beginning due to a late winter).

MOST albuergues and restaurants were open and not crowded - we didn’t make reservations for nearly any of the route. It was occasionally cold, but that gave way to pleasant (not hot) temps on the Meseta.

Airfares were cheaper in April, so that was an added bonus!
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 1/2 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
April is great - the first time we walked we felt we were walking into spring, later spring had already "sprung" and there were flowers everywhere.

Albergues that close in the winter generally open at Easter - freshly painted and less jaded about the number of pilgrims they have to take care of every day...
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Must agree with Vacajoe. April is fantastic. You begin the camino with knee-high wheat in the fields and naked vineyards only sticks and branches no leaves. Snow covered mountains on the horizon cold in the morning - a good thing as you set off at pace to keep warm, afternoons 15 degrees good walking weather. As you walk the wheat grows, the vineyards suddenly sprout, and the first wild flowers begin to bloom - primavera or in English primroses later the rosebushes of the grapes bloo to attract the bees to the vines. Slowly warming slowly blossoming and blooming. After Astorga the wildflowers are prolific, many I recognize from here in the Middle East many I don't and sadly the Spanish usually reply to questions about the names of flowers simply - "Flor". The towns and villages come alive with pansys, tulips, wisteria, iris, amazingly colorful. And don't forget the storks clack clack clacking as they applaud your efforts. Might see some rain especially in Galicia I've never had a problem with lodging then again I always stop just before or just after the guidebook recommendations - something to remember if crowds suddenly appear. Food is plentiful, just off the Camino and certain far from asphalt (considered not fit to eat) you will see the Spanish armed with plastic bags out collecting edible snails which you may find in your soup or your salad-these are also found in Israel escapees from the Roman legions cook tents - not so kosher but in my opinion a treat. For a short period, lamb is suddenly a menu option since it's cheaper after Easter. Buen Camino
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Yes, you literally “watch the grass grow” over the weeks and weeks of walking. Seeing it go from sprouts to waist high is wonderfully organic.
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Hi All,
My last day at work is this Friday. I wish that I could start the Camino next week but will wait at least a couple of months to wait for the weather to warm up and for many of the Albergues and restaurants to open back up. In the meanwhile, I plan to get my activity level up a bit to try to prepare myself at least a little bit for the Camino. I've been a desk jockey for years and woefully out of shape.

I am wanting to start my Camino in April to beat the crowds and because I don't want to be out of work for too long. I'm a little worried though that it still might be a little early (ie some Albergues/restaurants might still be closed, still a little cool where clothes may not dry over-night, etc). Has anyone who walked in April care to share their experience wrt support services, weather and crowds? Thanks...
Great month, but it can be cold at time in the meseta, I got snow mid April in Burgos. ALSO beware it will be Easter between 14th and 21st, so you might have problems with accommodation in large cities or in tourist places, be careful! I would choose to start right after Easter, if you can wait that long!
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
All the comments above are true and correct IMHO and direct experience. I will further offer that:

1. Early mornings can be in the single digits (celsius), so do bring a fleece, light gloves and a watch cap. Remember that Santiago is not coming to you. You have to walk to him. On some cold days (4 - 5 degrees celsius outside), getting up in a place with no heat, getting motivated to move forward can be daunting. But there is no option. You have to get going. I prefer synthetic fiber, neon colored gloves and a hat from a runner's store. They double as high-vis safety items when road walking in low light conditions.

2. At heights above about 700 meters ASL you can experience some snow until late May. So, be aware. Usually, we are talking about a few cm of wet snow that disappears as soon as the sun is fully up. This is another reason why using walking sticks is a wise idea. The added traction and confidence is priceless.

3. Because this is both Spring, and in the northwest of Spain, rain is very likely on many days. Some folks get lucky in April and only have a couple of days of rain over a month's walk. Personally on both my late April - into May walks from SJPdP, I have had more than 20 days of some rain. Sometimes you also get wind with rain. This can be 'fun.'

4. As a result of this seasonal weather, you will encounter MUD. Plan on getting muddy. Plan on your trousers getting muddy. If you slip and fall, prepare to get mud all over yourself and your gear. This is a fact of life along the Camino. Personally, and IMHO, I find boots superior to lower hiking shoes or trail runners for this and other purposes. I can even step in deep puddles to clean my boots off. Can't do that in low shoes...

5. Also, I found REI's Sahara convertible pants to be ideal for dealing with muddy lower pants. These cargo pants come with TWO zips per leg. One runs top to bottom. The other runs around the lower thigh. So, you can open the vertical zip seam, then remove the lower leg without having to remove the pants entirely. This means you can wash the mud off the lower pants leg while wearing the tops. it works great! They are available in both men and women's sizes.

So, work out a waterproof protection scheme for your rucksack and YOU. Personally, I use a rucksack cover, and a poncho. Remember that warm and wet is good, and sometimes VERY good. But, cold and wet is NEVER good. Focus on keeping your hands, head and feet warm. Even if wet, they will be okay if warm.

Also, I find that wearing a ball cap under my poncho helps channel water away from running down the inside of my poncho and drenching me in cold water. I will be drenched in sweat anyway. But, at least it is warm. it also keeps rain off my eyeglasses...windshield wipers are extra weight...;)

In the end, the solution that you will use and which works for YOU is the correct one. All we can do here in the Forum is offer observations and advice.

I hope this helps.
 
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Arlene Laskey

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April-May 2018
Camino Portuguese ?2021? maybe
I too walked in April of 2018, my profile photo is from April 14, our first day leaving St Jean. The Napoleon route was just newly opened after snowfall, so check in with the pilgrim office. Mostly good weather, we actually got snow at O Cebreiro in early May. Everyone's remarks and suggestions are right on track. Dress in layers is my best tip for weather - we usually started with jackets and gloves, and removed after we warmed up. I just echo the wonderful experience of watching spring bring everything to life as you walk. We did book ahead sometimes, mostly for weekends if we would be in a larger centre, and for the last bit after Sarria as it did get busier. Buen Camino!
 

Bama Geezer

Bama Geezer
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances/Finisterra/Muxia (mid Apr-May 2018)
I too walked in April of 2018, my profile photo is from April 14, our first day leaving St Jean. The Napoleon route was just newly opened after snowfall, so check in with the pilgrim office. Mostly good weather, we actually got snow at O Cebreiro in early May. Everyone's remarks and suggestions are right on track. Dress in layers is my best tip for weather - we usually started with jackets and gloves, and removed after we warmed up. I just echo the wonderful experience of watching spring bring everything to life as you walk. We did book ahead sometimes, mostly for weekends if we would be in a larger centre, and for the last bit after Sarria as it did get busier. Buen Camino!
Hi Arlene. We meet the two of you on the CF several times. We called you the “twins”. We started our St Jean/Santiago/Finisterre/Muxia trip on 14 Apr as well and completed on 28 May in Muxia. We were the three old amigos Frank/Rick/Pete. I agree with all the comments—layering is the key, but watch the weight. Nice to see your post.
 

caminoagogo

http://camino-a-go-go.blogspot.com/
Camino(s) past & future
Francés from Leon(2014)
Frances & Sanabres from Ourense (2018)
Portugués (2020)
Has anyone who walked in April care to share their experience wrt support services, weather and crowds? Thanks...
I walked it over April and May last year, same time as @Vacajoe actually (we never did cross paths and buy each other that beer!), and it was a G R E A T time to walk it. You can follow my whole journey here if you're really keen: https://camino-a-go-go.blogspot.com/
 
Camino(s) past & future
partial Frances spring 2015
more of Frances spring 2017
2019 Frances SJPdP to SDC April 1 - May 4
Pokeman: In 2017 I started in SJpdp on April 11 There was some snow around cruz de ferro and cold on the meseta in the mornings. I found it to be very pleasant walking. One morning it was freezing rain and windy. I walked just 6km, The next day it was very pleasant and I made up some time. This year my wife and I will be starting on April 1 , we are not afraid of a little cold. I hope to see you on the way. Buen Camino!
 

howlsthunder

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
Camino Francés (2020)
Hi! I walked April 6-May 14th. It was wonderful and I'd recommend it for sure.

Temperatures from 3°C/37°F to nearly 29°C/85°F. I experienced every kind of weather you can think of, though I only briefly had snowflakes fall on me (some friends hit O'Cebriero a few days ahead of me and had snow while I had sun). Where others said the Meseta was cold, that's where I had the worst heat and no shade in most places. Had ridiculous amounts of rain from Roncesvailles to Logroño (it flooded in a lot of places, closing the Camino in areas). One of the coldest times was after Pamplona, heading to Ciraqui in mid-April; another time was out of León.

As others mentioned, elevation plays a part; as you go up, you lose your greenery as spring hasn't quite hit higher elevations, and the wind can have more bite. On higher peaks there can be snow patches (or it can even snow on you!) Lower elevations tended to be warmer.

For clothing I'd bring a fleece or other insulated layer; I also had gloves and a wool cap, though in Burgos I ended up mailing those and my rainpants to myself in Santiago as the forecast started to look good. This is the nice thing about walking in spring; you can bundle up and as it gets warmer you can send your stuff to yourself if you can't bear to part with it.

Accomodations were easy to come by. Most places are open beginning in April, or at least after Easter. I only ever booked my first night in SJPdP and my nights in Santiago and Finisterre (Santiago was a must for me as there were local festivals happening back-to-back so it was hard to find somewhere to stay sequentially; I ended up in 3 different places in a row). I tried to stay off the Brierley stages and many nights there were empty beds in the places I stayed. There were 2 occasions where it was a close call but it always worked out. Those were usually due to there being a local fiesta that I didn't know about and everything was booked up.

As far as crowds go, usually there were lots of pilgrims leaving the larger areas in the mornings. So at the start of the Camino, everyone was leaving SJPdP, Roncesvailles, and Zubiri at the same time so it was a string of pilgrims in each direction, but I got "off-stage" after that and it was a different story where it was only one or two pilgrims in sight. Later in the Camino there were times I would walk most of the day and never see anyone unless I stopped. The albergues I'd stay in would still have pilgrims in them at night so I'd still get the nice social atmosphere in most cases. So I'd highly recommend avoiding staying in larger towns or Brierley guide stages.
 

Ecuador12

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018,2019
I started from SJPDP on April 11, 2018 and will walk again starting April 8, 2019. The Camino was not crowded until you reached Leon, but it was still very nice, with lots of pleasant people. The weather was cool at the start of most days but warmed up on most to end up in a t-shirt. Due to it being crowded toward the end I am considering walking the Primitivo, if I can find others who are going from Leon to Oviedo to start. I know this is a more difficult route, but very doable if you're in decent shape.
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
Colder and wetter then I had hoped for but green, green, green and yellow fields of grape seed flowers as far as the eye can see. So beautiful. Everything was open when I started mid April 2016. All and all it’s a great time to go. 👣 Enjoy planning.
 

Arlene Laskey

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April-May 2018
Camino Portuguese ?2021? maybe
Hi Arlene. We meet the two of you on the CF several times. We called you the “twins”. We started our St Jean/Santiago/Finisterre/Muxia trip on 14 Apr as well and completed on 28 May in Muxia. We were the three old amigos Frank/Rick/Pete. I agree with all the comments—layering is the key, but watch the weight. Nice to see your post.
That is so nice to hear from you! I loved being called a "twin". Thanks!
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Caminoagogo: I'm still looking for you...I'll get that beer yet!
 

pokeman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 2017: Sarria --> Santiago
April/May 2019: SJPP --> Santiago --> Finistierre
Thanks everyone for your responses. It was all very helpful. I'll need to play this by ear. While the camino and messeta sounds nice in April, I think that I would prefer the weather to be a bit warmer so will try to hold off at least until after Easter like Amancio suggested. Hopefully, I can minimize the amount of rain/mud/cold weather by postponing by just a few weeks. When I went in Oct 2017, we were blessed with unusually warm weather for that time of year and it was nice just needing a long sleeved shirt for most of the ams and pms. I also plan to avoid the larger cities to sleep and to try to stay at some of the smaller cities in between the larger stages. I did that during my previous trip and enjoyed it very much.
 

caminoagogo

http://camino-a-go-go.blogspot.com/
Camino(s) past & future
Francés from Leon(2014)
Frances & Sanabres from Ourense (2018)
Portugués (2020)
Caminoagogo: I'm still looking for you...I'll get that beer yet!
I'm doing the Portuguese in 2020, so we can resume that game of tag then if you're super-keen :)
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
I enjoyed my April CF so much last year that my wife are walking part of it again this year plus reverse-walking part of the Aragonnes: Biarritz-SJPdP-Pamplona-Jaca-Lourdes. Don’t let the threat of bad weather dissuade you from this time of year; I walked in shorts and a camp shirt on most days, with a long sleeve and very light jacket on a handful of days.
 

tsher09

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Beginning of March (2019)
After reading these posts it appears that most of the route is opening up early April and then more opens past Easter. Is it safe to say that the beginning of March would be less than ideal for the last part of the route, starting in Sarria? My only two options are beginning Feb 28 (I have 5 days) or the beginning of April. Solo walker here, and would prefer not to be completely alone on the route (or have difficulty finding a place to sleep! :) Any info is greatly appreciated!
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Sarria to Santiago has plenty of walkers year-round and multiple options of places to stay. Consult any of the guides for what is specifically open (Brierly, Gronze, Wisely, etc)
 

pokeman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 2017: Sarria --> Santiago
April/May 2019: SJPP --> Santiago --> Finistierre
Sarria to Santiago has plenty of walkers year-round and multiple options of places to stay. Consult any of the guides for what is specifically open (Brierly, Gronze, Wisely, etc)
+1. I think if you stick to the bigger cities, you should be fine. They're actually the recommended destinations for the daily stages from Sarria to Santiago so it works out perfectly. Coincidence? I think not...

It's usually the smaller and/or more remote albergues/restaurants that close down due to lack of traffic. I remember seeing an outdoor beer garden with all the empty bottles lining the fence and adorning the trees. It looked like many a people stopped there for a beer or two and I would have gladly done the same but alas, it wasn't open. Womp womp...
 

tsher09

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Beginning of March (2019)
+1. I think if you stick to the bigger cities, you should be fine. They're actually the recommended destinations for the daily stages from Sarria to Santiago so it works out perfectly. Coincidence? I think not...

It's usually the smaller and/or more remote albergues/restaurants that close down due to lack of traffic. I remember seeing an outdoor beer garden with all the empty bottles lining the fence and adorning the trees. It looked like many a people stopped there for a beer or two and I would have gladly done the same but alas, it wasn't open. Womp womp...
Great, thank you, that is good information. I'm trying to line up my days and I may only have four full days I can devote to this route- is there a suggested stop after Sarria wherein I could complete the remainder in 4 days without pushing it over the 22 km per day mark? I know I won't have enough distance to be "official" but would really like to be able to do as much as possible in the time that I do have. Thanks!
 

pokeman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 2017: Sarria --> Santiago
April/May 2019: SJPP --> Santiago --> Finistierre
So four days is your actual camino time? Getting to Sarria or another starting point is about a 1/2 day or longer on its own depending on your bus. I believe Sarria - PortoMarin was the first stage. If you start from here, you should reach Santiago by the mid-end of the fourth day assuming an average fitness level.

You can do a search for 'Sarria Santiago stages' and you'll get a bunch of hits that break it down. I happened to click on this link: https://www.penguintravel.com/Offer/SelfguidedWalks/1117/CaminodeSantiagoFrenchWay-Part8SarriatoSantiagodeCompostela.html
You can see that they actually reserve a whole day for getting to Sarria. I was on the first flight from Barcelona to Santiago and then two busses to get to Sarria. I arrived in the early afternoon so I was able to start walking right away and got ~18 km in that first day. A guy I met and started walking with was trying to make it to Portomarin that night which was probably doable but I wanted to pace myself. I was fortunate to stop at a nice small albergue right on the path in the middle of nowhere but those are the types of albergues which I can foresee would close up in the off-season.
 
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tsher09

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Beginning of March (2019)
So four days is your actual camino time? Getting to Sarria or another starting point is about a 1/2 day or longer on its own depending on your bus. I believe Sarria - PortoMarin was the first stage. If you start from here, you should reach Santiago by the mid-end of the fourth day assuming an average fitness level.

You can do a search for 'Sarria Santiago stages' and you'll get a bunch of hits that break it down. I happened to click on this link: https://www.penguintravel.com/Offer/SelfguidedWalks/1117/CaminodeSantiagoFrenchWay-Part8SarriatoSantiagodeCompostela.html
You can see that they actually reserve a whole day for getting to Sarria. I was on the first flight from Barcelona to Santiago and then two busses to get to Sarria. I arrived in the early afternoon so I was able to start walking right away and got ~18 km in that first day. A guy I met and started walking with was trying to make it to Portomarin that night which was probably doable but I wanted to pace myself. I was fortunate to stop at a nice small albergue right on the path in the middle of nowhere but those are the types of albergues which I can foresee would close up in the off-season.
Thank you. It would be four full walking days, as day zero (so to speak) would be travel from Madrid to the starting point (still debating on whether to do a flight to Santiago, then bus, or just bus from Madrid as I would like to store my suitcase somewhere near Santiago for my outbound flight and only carry my backpack), and day five would be travel on to Milan from Santiago. I am volunteering in Spain before and another area after, and unfortunately just don't have any more than four full days, with the first day of walking being March 1. Is this tight of a schedule less worthwhile than when I could come back and do a longer period? I'd love to fit it in, though I do understand there are a lot of variables with the time of year and length of time I have to actually devote to the walk. Thanks again for your help!
 

tsher09

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Beginning of March (2019)
Thank you. It would be four full walking days, as day zero (so to speak) would be travel from Madrid to the starting point (still debating on whether to do a flight to Santiago, then bus, or just bus from Madrid as I would like to store my suitcase somewhere near Santiago for my outbound flight and only carry my backpack), and day five would be travel on to Milan from Santiago. I am volunteering in Spain before and another area after, and unfortunately just don't have any more than four full days, with the first day of walking being March 1. Is this tight of a schedule less worthwhile than when I could come back and do a longer period? I'd love to fit it in, though I do understand there are a lot of variables with the time of year and length of time I have to actually devote to the walk. Thanks again for your help!
I should add, that I am a distance runner, currently training for a half marathon, so I'd like to think that would help, fitness wise. However, definitely don't want to overdo it.
 

Mocha01

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Same dates March/April
Great month, but it can be cold at time in the meseta, I got snow mid April in Burgos. ALSO beware it will be Easter between 14th and 21st, so you might have problems with accommodation in large cities or in tourist places, be careful! I would choose to start right after Easter, if you can wait that long!
Walked part of the Camino last year ended in Lograno and took the train back to Barcelona. Well I am religious, but Barcelona actually open Good Friday stores til noon. Holy Saturday 9-5, Closed Easter Sunday and Holy Monday. Just a little fun fact in case your a shopper.
 

Lucy Keenan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Northern Route - 2016
Santiago to Finestiere and Muxia - 2017
Frances Route - May 2018
Camino Ingles
Hi All,
My last day at work is this Friday. I wish that I could start the Camino next week but will wait at least a couple of months to wait for the weather to warm up and for many of the Albergues and restaurants to open back up. In the meanwhile, I plan to get my activity level up a bit to try to prepare myself at least a little bit for the Camino. I've been a desk jockey for years and woefully out of shape.

I am wanting to start my Camino in April to beat the crowds and because I don't want to be out of work for too long. I'm a little worried though that it still might be a little early (ie some Albergues/restaurants might still be closed, still a little cool where clothes may not dry over-night, etc). Has anyone who walked in April care to share their experience wrt support services, weather and crowds? Thanks...
Walked part of the Camino last year ended in Lograno and took the train back to Barcelona. Well I am religious, but Barcelona actually open Good Friday stores til noon. Holy Saturday 9-5, Closed Easter Sunday and Holy Monday. Just a little fun fact in case your a shopper.
I started the CF mid April last year. Bits of it were very busy. It was cold in the mornings.
 

Matthew Merten

What yellow arrow?
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
Frances (2021)
Hi All,
My last day at work is this Friday. I wish that I could start the Camino next week but will wait at least a couple of months to wait for the weather to warm up and for many of the Albergues and restaurants to open back up. In the meanwhile, I plan to get my activity level up a bit to try to prepare myself at least a little bit for the Camino. I've been a desk jockey for years and woefully out of shape.

I am wanting to start my Camino in April to beat the crowds and because I don't want to be out of work for too long. I'm a little worried though that it still might be a little early (ie some Albergues/restaurants might still be closed, still a little cool where clothes may not dry over-night, etc). Has anyone who walked in April care to share their experience wrt support services, weather and crowds? Thanks...
I started in the last week of April, 2018, from SJPD. We ran into a problem finding open albergues and hotels due to an elongated national Spanish holiday at the end of April, beginning of May. Really, there were so many citizens on the Camino that it was necessary to reserve the next days bed before 3 PM the day prior. I don’t know if this holiday happens the same time each year, but keep it in mind. We got turned away several times and had to walk to the next town.

I like the cold temperatures , so when I go back in 2021 I will start in mid-April.
 

amocatnerak

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April 2018
I started right after Easter last year, skipping parts in the middle as I only had three weeks. Lots of cold and wet days. Rain, sleet, snow and muddy trails. My rain gear got a good workout. The last two days walking into Santiago were downright beautiful.

Not too many crowds. Plenty of beds available. I tended to stay away from the “Brierley stages.”

Enjoy!!
 

Rusty walker

Walking is traveling at the Speed of Life.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Spring 2018
I walked it from March 29 to May 3. Was a delight. Had some winter weather around Burgos, so just be prepared for all seasons. Days earlier I was in shorts. It was not too crowded at all.
Take a very lightweight winter jacket and layers. Almost all Albergues have blankets, so you can get by with a light sleeping bag or even a liner. I don't recall any closures, since almost everything is open by April 1. One thing to keep in mind is that the Spaniards have holidays for the week before and after Easter, so they crowd it during that time, as well as May 1 (May Day). The biggest crush was around Sarria, but if you walk a bit "off stage" from that point on, you'll not find it overcrowded.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's planned April-May 2019
I'm planning to start out from St Jean on Sunday 28th April and stay at Orisson the first night just to take care of my feet and break up what people say is the most challenging stage. I'm listening to all the advice I can about weather, foot care, kit, bed bugs and layers - also about reducing weight carried which if I adhere to the 10% rule should be 6kgs...! Having done self supported long distance cycling trips by listing (on a spreadsheet) all kit, weigh each item, add up - I'm hoping the same principal may be useful....a little OCD I know.

Advice please?
Has anyone used small bin liners on their feet when wading through mud?
Would a bin liner be good to bag my rucksack at night in the hostels to avoid bed bugs?
Has anyone used a PAYGo Free SIM card from France successfully in Spain?
Thank you for all the encouraging advice thus far.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
Hi All,
My last day at work is this Friday. I wish that I could start the Camino next week but will wait at least a couple of months to wait for the weather to warm up and for many of the Albergues and restaurants to open back up. In the meanwhile, I plan to get my activity level up a bit to try to prepare myself at least a little bit for the Camino. I've been a desk jockey for years and woefully out of shape.

I am wanting to start my Camino in April to beat the crowds and because I don't want to be out of work for too long. I'm a little worried though that it still might be a little early (ie some Albergues/restaurants might still be closed, still a little cool where clothes may not dry over-night, etc). Has anyone who walked in April care to share their experience wrt support services, weather and crowds? Thanks...
Pokeman:

I have walked three times from SJPdP. Twice on the Napoleon route and once on the ValCarlos.

Twice, I walked the Napoleon (2010, 2011) starting on March 23rd. In 2010 and 2011 there were fewer than 20 Pilgrims starting that day. The pass was open and there was just some remnants of snow on the ground. There was never any accommodation issues and the weather ranged from 20's F (-5C) in the mountains and 80's F (30c) on the Meseta.

In 2017 I walked the ValCarlos route, starting on April 11th. There were at least 300 Pilgrims starting that day. I walked past Roncesvalles to Espinal the first day. I never had any trouble with accommodation and the weather was in the same range as the first two times. Now snow except melting remnants.

I am sure others experience was different. My advice is to just be prepared for a range of weather conditions.

Get a good pair of hiking shoes or boots and walk at least 50 miles, 80 km's in them prior to your Camino. This should give you a good idea if there are any problems.

Pack as light as possible. My first pack was 12kg's (26lbs), current pack 8kg's (18lbs). Everyone is different and will pack items that give them a comfort level. You will find that you need very little.

Listen to your body. If you feel a rub, stop and address it. Walk at your pace, do not push yourself to keep up with others. It will take 5-7 days to get your body into Camino condition (walking a half marathon a day for a month).

Try not to go with expectations of what you want. Just let the Camino be your guide. I guarantee you will learn some things about yourself along the way.

In trying to explain the Camino to others, I rely on two thoughts. The movie "Ground Hog Day". Where Bill Murray gets up and repeats the same day over and over until he learns what he is supposed to learn.

The othe comes from the great Philosopher Mick Jagger. "You dont always get what you want but you will find sometimes you get what you need.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
I'm planning to start out from St Jean on Sunday 28th April and stay at Orisson the first night just to take care of my feet and break up what people say is the most challenging stage. I'm listening to all the advice I can about weather, foot care, kit, bed bugs and layers - also about reducing weight carried which if I adhere to the 10% rule should be 6kgs...! Having done self supported long distance cycling trips by listing (on a spreadsheet) all kit, weigh each item, add up - I'm hoping the same principal may be useful....a little OCD I know.

Advice please?
Has anyone used small bin liners on their feet when wading through mud?
Would a bin liner be good to bag my rucksack at night in the hostels to avoid bed bugs?
Has anyone used a PAYGo Free SIM card from France successfully in Spain?
Thank you for all the encouraging advice thus far.
Vendee52:

I have used small plastic bag that I wear between two pairs of socks to keep feet dry in heavy rain or if I expect to walk through water. I spray my backpack and sleeping bag with permethrin 48 hours before my trip. Never had a problem with bedbugs in multiple Camino's. Never used Paygo.

Ultreya,
Joe
 

amocatnerak

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April 2018
Advice please?
Has anyone used small bin liners on their feet when wading through mud?
Would a bin liner be good to bag my rucksack at night in the hostels to avoid bed bugs?
Has anyone used a PAYGo Free SIM card from France successfully in Spain?
Thank you for all the encouraging advice thus far.
I wore waterproof socks with my sandals.
My pack liner was dyneema/cuben fiber made by Zpacks. I think a lot of people use bin liners or trash compactor bags with good results.
I also sprayed the outside of my pack and the outside of my sleeping bag with permethrin and had no issues.
I didn’t use any SIM cards.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
I think this text stream is proof positive that you never really know what you will get in terms of crowds, weather, or accommodations! Many of these posts are from people who walked in April 2018 (myself included), but the experiences are radically different since they were days apart on the same Camino.

In short, you never can tell what you’ll get. If it’s crowded, you’re probably in a “bubble” and would benefit by letting the crowd move on a day ahead of you. If it’s raining, wait out the weather in a nice cafe.
 

Firedriver

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April, 10, (2019)
Thank you, I plan on starting from St. Jean the second week of April, 2019. Very helpful information. Can't wait to get started.
 

Geert VC

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (from Leon to Santiago , april 2019)
Hi all,
Together with my wife Eveline , I'm going to walk the Camino Frances from Léon to Santiago. We're starting in Léon , april 1th. About 14/15 days of walking.
Kr,
Geert
 

mai

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 18/4 Pamplona-S
CF 19/4-5 SJPP-S
Last year I started from Pamplona on March 26. It was cold but bearable. Most of the time the weather was good...sunny, some light shower, windy before n after Belorado, snow day between Hornillos/Castrojeriz (2C) on April 9. I didn’t book any accommodation and it was fine.

This year I will arrive at SJPP from Bilbao on 3/30 if weather be ok for camino. I plan about 40-45 days from SJPP to Santiago. I enjoyed walked in April last year and want to walk the whole camino. I am not a fast walker, so plan to walk early to avoid crowd (maybe) in late May.
 
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to walk all camino commencing 3rd april
Hello i plan to start from st jean on 3rd April- I also am a slow walker - have walked all camino in stages - this time will do all - in 8 or 9 weeks - hopefully we will meet along the way
 

mai

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 18/4 Pamplona-S
CF 19/4-5 SJPP-S
Hi Maura, good to know people will walk in early April. Maybe we’ll meet. Everything is possible on the camino.
 

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