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Busiest Start Days from St Jean?

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Planning is now well under way for 2018. Well truth be known it has been for 12 months or since we got back from our last Camino :oops:

But it's getting to the 'real' bit now as I start to look for flights!

That brings me to start dates.

I realise that our plans will go out the window after the first day, but can anyone suggest what the busiest start days are out of St Jean? As in 'days of the week'. Just so we can try to start in a trough rather than a peak..... (well a less 'peaky' peak at least)

I'm looking at starting out late April, maybe 24th, a Tuesday.

And as for the other major cities, that are popular start points. Do people tend to start more on a Sat/Sun?

On my first CF from St Jean I can't really say I noticed any large peaks that might have been due to major start points, but then I wasn't really in any big cities at the weekend..... just by chance.

I suspect a lot of the 'waves' along the CF though are rather like traffic jams on motorways. Not obvious in terms of cause!
 
Last edited:

HedaP

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
Interesting question. I walked this year in beginning April through May staying mostly in albergues. It was wonderfully busy in Semana santa and busy but not quite so busy towards the end heading to Santiago where I arrived on 23 May. Never had a problem getting a bed in an albergue but I did tend to stop reasonably early and avoided the Brierley stages. The only times I had a problem getting beds was when I wanted a private room as they seemed to fill up quickly especially in the smaller towns. Otherwise it was a fairly lonely camino because I walk slowly and got some sort of recurring flu in SJPdP so had to hole up for a couple of days here and there at intervals along the way. I've been following @JillGat's thread https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/sept-oct-2017-pilgrims-check-in.49246/ with interest. The peak of the wave seems to be at the beginning of the month. Whether that holds true for April/May I don't know. But as you would know, it is a wonderful time to walk because the wildflowers are blooming and the cuckoos are calling.
Buen camino.
 

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
As a GENERAL thing, the main starting days of any week from any major starting node, such as: St. Jean Pied de Port, Pamplona, Logrono, Burgos, Leon, Astorga, Ponferrada, O'Cebreiro, Sarria, etc. will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The day before a holiday, the holiday proper, and the immediate day after the holiday, are also popular starting days.

Across Europe, most nations still honor the Catholic Holy Days as national holidays and people are off work. Many combine personal holiday time to stretch this further.

For example, around Easter, most European folks have Holy Thursday and Good Friday off, as well as Easter Monday. Thus, someone wanting to walk a stretch of the Camino. could start walking on the Thursday and continue walking for ten days, and only have four days chargeable to personal holiday time.

Personally, when walking the Camino Frances, I usually leave a week or more AFTER the Easter holiday, to avoid this phenomenon.

The holiday stretch and bridge holidays notwithstanding, I urge people to avoid arriving at a major departure node on a Friday, or Saturday to be able to obtain a bed. Again, and as an example, if you were concerned that there will be a surge of folks leaving from SJPdP on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you would plan your arrival by train and departure on Camino so you left St. Jean on a Thursday or a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. In the case of Easter, departing on the Tuesday after Easter would be the earliest I could recommend.

The same "surfing" paradigm holds true all the way down the Camino Frances. You can reliably presume that there will be a surge or larger wave of pilgrims starting on Friday, Saturday or Sunday from any of the major train and bus-connected places mentioned above.

This creates a concomitant greater demand for bed space of all kinds down the trail. To avoid much of the unpleasantness this entails, at any time of the year, just arrange your travel plans to arrive at St. Jean on a Sunday or Monday, with a Monday or Tuesday departure.

Your goal is to keep the wave of weekend Camino starters either a day or two in front of you, or a day or two behind you. Just remember that you are trying to walk in the trough, or low point, between the larger waves. As you walk West, you may need to schedule a rest day, or a bus skip-ahead over industrial areas, to maintain this pattern of congestion avoidance.

I hope this helps.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Planning is now well under way for 2018. Well truth be known it has been for 12 months or since we got back from our last Camino :oops:

But it's getting to the 'real' bit now as I start to look for flights!

That brings me to start dates.

I realise that our plans will go out the window after the first day, but can anyone suggest what the busiest start days are out of St Jean? As in 'days of the week'. Just so we can try to start in a trough rather than a peak..... (well a less 'peaky' peak at least)

I'm looking at starting out late April, maybe 24th, a Tuesday.

And as for the other major cities, that are popular start points. Do people tend to start more on a Sat/Sun?

On my first CF from St Jean I can't really say I noticed any large peaks that might have been due to major start points, but then I wasn't really in any big cities at the weekend..... just by chance.

I suspect a lot of the 'waves' along the CF though are rather like traffic jams on motorways. Not obvious in terms of cause!
I have heard pretty logical explanation: Spaniards would start on Friday, rest of the Europeans would fly out on Fridays and start on Saturdays and overseas pilgrims would fly out on Fridays and start walking on Sundays. Meaning you should avoid weekends, Easter week and bigger local fiestas as San Fermin in Pamplona.
Maybe this can be of some help:
https://www.paxinasgalegas.es/fiestas/
http://www.spanish-living.com/fiestas-festivals-spain/calendar
 
Last edited:

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Many thanks K1. Seems logical.
 

Dorpie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
One thing you might want to consider, depending on how you feel about cities, is what day of the week you're likely to arrive in Pamplona, Burgos, Leon etc. I seem to have a remarkable talent for arriving in these cities on a Sunday when everything is closed which for me at least is pretty annoying.
 

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