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Camino Frances conditions in September

treehorse

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014)
#1
Dear Forum,

I am planning to make my first Camino this year.

Right now, I am planning to arrive in Paris in late August and travel via train to SJPP. Will this be problematic? I know that most of Europe is on holiday in August.

The bulk of my walking will be done in September. I am hoping to avoid the summer crowds and heat yet still be warm enough not to have to take a lot of heavy clothing.

Can someone advise me about how crowded the Camino Frances is in September? And what is the weather like that time of year?

Many thanks.

-TH
 
P

PANO

Guest
#2
Welcome to the forum, TH. As you will travel in opposite direction of the returning French holidayers, you should be OK regarding traffic. (Choosing Madrid or Barcelona instead of Paris could be your alternatives, you'll find plenty of tips in this forum, how to proceed from there)

September would definitely be my choice again, if I were to repeat the Camino. With pleasant temperatures rarely going to extremes in either way, you'll start walking in summer to finish in a splendid and colourful Galicia. Checking my last year's log of 31 days from Pamplona to SdC, I counted 27 sunny to mostly sunny days, the rest overcast with one cumulated day of rain. Coldest was about 10°C (O'Cebreiro), warmest 28°C (the Meseta).
During the days, the clothes "layer"-principle worked perfectly, at night, my extra-light merino-wool liner kept me sufficiently warm at all times. (In worst case you could always keep your sweater on) My biggest struggle would be choosing the shoes: I started off with solid hiking shoes and cursed them for causing a real bad tendinitis; changing midways to light Mizuno runners without any water protection. 60 points would swing toward the latter, as they dry fast enough and are so comfortable.
The traffic on the CF? There was company, yes, I enjoyed it tremendously, but when I wanted to be alone, I was alone.
My $ 0.02. Buen camino!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

santiago_67

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Camino Frances, Via de La Plata & Camino Portuguese
Future: Via de la Plata
#3
Welcome TH, I started my Camino last year on Sept 24 in Roncesvalles. The albergue ( http://www.alberguederoncesvalles.com/index.php?idioma=2 ) has around 183 beds and it filled to capacity that evening and even some pilgrims were put in the overflow building . You can reserve a bed - I've given you the link above. But that was the biggest number of pilgrims that I encountered - late Sept and Oct I never had a problem finding a place to sleep (no "race for a bed"). The first 2 weeks were hot and almost no rain. As Pano said, "layers" were important as I walked in Oct and into Galicia - mornings and evenings cool, but great temps during the day. I highly recommend walking in October because there are less pilgrims and great weather. I only had a 36.5 liters backpack and it held everything plus what I needed for the cooler temps (light weight merino wool sweater and windbreaker were my cool weather stuff). You are going to have an incredible experience. Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012,
2013, 2018
Camino Portuguese 2014
Camino Ingles, Finisterre/Muxia 2017
#4
We walked the Camino twice in Sept and had the best weather ever. We only had 2 nights of rain while we slept and a light drizzle one day. It can still be quite warm in early sept and cool in the mountains, we needed jackets only a couple of days.
 

kmrice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago - Fisterra 2008
St. Jean Pied de Port - Santiago 2013
#5
September was a great time to walk the Camino, at least last year. We walked the Camino last August 28 - October 3 and the weather was great. Only one day of rain before we reached Galicia. I think you'll almost always get rain in Galicia, though.

It was hot enough that it was best to start and finish walking early, but not nearly as bad as I understand it can be in July or August.

Karl
 

Canucks

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances, SJPDP to Santiago (2013), Le Puy to SJPDP (2014)
#6
We left mid September last year. Other than the first hellish rainy day to Roncesvalles, it was smoking hot until October. Then it cooled comfortably to the point where we would head out in shorts and shirt and we would see others bundled up in big jackets, toques etc.
Then the rain in Galicia. It was psychologically tough to wake up to a rainstorm but, frankly, once we started out, it was fine as long as we had our trusty Altus ponchos on. No need for excessive clothing. Make up for it by layering.
 

Monk Moses

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept. 2014
#7
Do you think a sleeping bag is required or would a liner suffice? I'm walking Sept 8 thru Oct 18th and can't decide.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#8
Do you think a sleeping bag is required or would a liner suffice? I'm walking Sept 8 thru Oct 18th and can't decide.
Monk Moses,

At that time a liner should suffice. If it turned chilly at night just wear more to bunk/bed. By late October however it will be chilly in the mountains and then many albergues will close for the winter season.

Margaret Meredith
 

WildPlace

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2013, 2015
#9
Do you think a sleeping bag is required or would a liner suffice? I'm walking Sept 8 thru Oct 18th and can't decide.
Hi there, i walked the Frances last year from 13th September to 23rd October and only used my sleeping bag twice - each time i was too warm - just my liner would have been fine. This year i'm going to save weight and pack space and take just my liner and will wear extra if chilly. Most places had blankets available.

Buen camino
 

Monk Moses

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept. 2014
#10
Hi there, i walked the Frances last year from 13th September to 23rd October and only used my sleeping bag twice - each time i was too warm - just my liner would have been fine. This year i'm going to save weight and pack space and take just my liner and will wear extra if chilly. Most places had blankets available.

Buen camino
Thanks!
 
#11
Hi Fellow Pilgrim, I walked from September 8th through October 14th last year. As I read through the comments others have offered I found myself thinking, with a smile, of a response a veteran had offered to a question about the weather (unfortunately, I can't remember who): "The weather will be the same next year as it was this year ... only on different days". :) While I have very fond memories of many sunny days (none of which were too hot), I also remember VERY clearly the rainy days, the soaked-through-to-the-skin kind of rainy days, that made me very grateful I had taken my poncho (which I had considered leaving at home). I did, however, leave my sleeping bag at home, based on comments I'd read about walking at that time of year ... and ended up buying one at the pilgrim shop in Pamplona. For me, the liner wasn't sufficient and not all refugios had blankets. A friend who travelled the Frances at the same time the previous year had a completely different weather experience. No rain. No need for a poncho. No need for a sleeping bag. Liner was sufficient. I guess the veteran was right ... same weather from one year to the next but on different days. :)
 

Monk Moses

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept. 2014
#13
Monk Moses,

At that time a liner should suffice. If it turned chilly at night just wear more to bunk/bed. By late October however it will be chilly in the mountains and then many albergues will close for the winter season.

Margaret Meredith
Thanks Margaret!
 

treehorse

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014)
#14
Thanks for all responses. Conclusion: YMMV :)

I will likely proceed with plan A and hike through September, though I'm a bit concerned about the post about the "blazing hot" days.
 
P

PANO

Guest
#15
Thanks for all responses. Conclusion: YMMV :)
I will likely proceed with plan A and hike through September, though I'm a bit concerned about the post about the "blazing hot" days.
I didn’t intend to come back on this subject, but that «blazing heat» statement needs to be put in a broader context. Here some statistics for September:

(lowest / highest / Ø average)
SJPdP 14.4°C / 22.9°C / 18.6°C
Pamplona 11.7°C / 24.4°C / 18.0°C
Leon 9.9°C / 22.9°C / 16.4°C
Sarria 10.0°C / 22.3°C / 16.1°C
SdC 11.7°C /22.3°C /17.0°C

Of course, these averages vary considerably, but on my last September walk, never ever did I experience «blazing heat», which for me would start at above 30°C. (The hottest day was at about 28°C).
Likewise, many consider temps around 10°C as «cold» and would justly take along a sleeping bag, whereas for others, «cold» starts at about 5°C.
It is all very subjective, therefore read the stats and determine yourself, what is good for you; www.yr.no provides very detailed information
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Camino(s) past & future
CF summer-06, SJPP to Burgos Sept-13, Burgos to Astorga Sept-14 (Astorga to Santiago de Compostela sept 15)
#17
According to some statistic I saw September was the busiest month of the camino last year, so be prepared for it to be busy. I walked 10 days in September (SJPP to Burgos) and was a little bit chocked by how crowded it was even though I did not stop at the Brierly stages.

Will continue my camino in September and hope for less crowds this year.

As for sleeping I had a liner + super thin small size blanket and that was perfect!

Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
#18
I cycled part and walked part in late September/ October and it was lovely... I always carry a sleeping bag. I just feel better knowing I will always have my own bedding. It did get chilly on a few occasions. Some of the albergues where I stayed were questionable in terms of cleanliness. I'm just neurotic like that.
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
#19
We have walked several times between September and October. The most memorable was 2011, when we walked from Roncesvalles to Santiago, arriving in Santiago on 9th October. We didn't see one drop of rain! However, the temperature for about 5 days from about Pamplona was way over 30 degrees. Way over. We walked for days under the shade of our umbrella! We always read the local newspaper when in a bar when having coffee or drink and the first thing we check is the weather and the temperature.;). One day it was reported at 35degrees and that's hot for walking!
All our other Camino's in the Autumn have been quite wet and most definitely fresh in the nights by the end of September. The latest we have arrived in Santiago was 23rd October. When we spent the first two weeks of October last year working in the Pilgrim's office, it got definitely fresher to colder and it rained quite a lot.
As Falcon wrote, " same weather, different days"!
For me, I just wouldn't go without my sleeping bag, although I have thought of the possibility of posting it further along the Camino ( say to Burgos), to pick it up at the post office there, by then, I'm well accustomed to walking with the weight in my pack. Of course, I would then need to take a liner with me. Anne
 
#20
Dear Forum,

I am planning to make my first Camino this year.

Right now, I am planning to arrive in Paris in late August and travel via train to SJPP. Will this be problematic? I know that most of Europe is on holiday in August.

The bulk of my walking will be done in September. I am hoping to avoid the summer crowds and heat yet still be warm enough not to have to take a lot of heavy clothing.

Can someone advise me about how crowded the Camino Frances is in September? And what is the weather like that time of year?

Many thanks.

-TH
Hi Treehorse
I followed the same same timeframe and itinerary 2 years ago and I found the weather pleasant, the route not too busy and all of the albergues and cafes were open and happy to see the pilgrims.
I needed warmer clothing as I approached O'Cebreiro, but by that time I felt fit and strong enough to carry the extra weight. There is an excellent store in Astorga where you can kit out with warmer rainproof gear if needed

Have fun ; it is an amazing experience
 

Pamb

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011 & 2014). Camino Ignaciano (just to be different) (Sept 2016). Portuguese 2018
#21
We did the Camino through Sept /October in 2011. The weather was fantastic. On the one day we took out our ponchos, we put them away 5 minutes later. We go again this year starting on Sept 10. I expect rain. That way I am prepared and pleasantly surprised if it doesn't eventuate. Our days were very hot so we started walking very early. I don't work well in heat, despite coming from Australia. Light weight layers are best. Merino is very warm and light weight. I take a very light weight but warm sleeping bag, but I like to be warm at night. I would book your train to StJean early, that way you will get the best price. Accept what comes, even if it is not what you would choose and enjoy every minute. Some of the things we experienced were not what we planned, but turned out to be great.
 
#22
I am doing my first Camino this year and I have been doing a lot of homework on when to go. After much reading (and my son getting married on Sept 20th), I booked my plain ticket for 23rd Sept returning on 29 Oct. I am pleased to see that many of you agree that it is a great time of the year to hike. In South Africa it is now Autumn and each time I see the colourful trees I get very excited to think that my next autumn will be in Spain!
 

honeyb

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013
#23
Dear Forum,

I am planning to make my first Camino this year.

Right now, I am planning to arrive in Paris in late August and travel via train to SJPP. Will this be problematic? I know that most of Europe is on holiday in August.

The bulk of my walking will be done in September. I am hoping to avoid the summer crowds and heat yet still be warm enough not to have to take a lot of heavy clothing.

Can someone advise me about how crowded the Camino Frances is in September? And what is the weather like that time of year?

Many thanks.

-TH
Hi there,
I completed my camino in 2013. Arrived in Paris 27th August. Train to St JPdP and began my walk on 28th. Walked thru September arriving at Santiago de compostella 28th Sept. Only 1 rainy day. weather was amazing. I think I was lucky. Did not find it to be too busy. Hope you enjoy your walk as much as I did. Happy to communicate with you and answer any questions.
 
Camino(s) past & future
September 2014
#24
I cycled part and walked part in late September/ October and it was lovely... I always carry a sleeping bag. I just feel better knowing I will always have my own bedding. It did get chilly on a few occasions. Some of the albergues where I stayed were questionable in terms of cleanliness. I'm just neurotic like that.
How did you manage to get a bike (did you hire or buy one enroute) ? did you start at St Jean? Because I had wanted to cycle but was put off by the uphill start!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
#25
How did you manage to get a bike (did you hire or buy one enroute) ? did you start at St Jean? Because I had wanted to cycle but was put off by the uphill start!
I brought my bike with me. I began in Dieppe on the coast of France. But you could probably rent a pretty good one from one of the outfits in Spain. They have improved immensely on the quality of the equipment. I think some of the companies will even pick it up at the other end. But do your research carefully.
I did leave from San Jean but I was so put off by the traffic from Bayonne that I took the train. It's still the French side so that was easy. The Spaniards are not so accommodating about bikes on trains which baffles me to no end. In any case the uphill from San Jean was certainly an ass kicker. I pushed in sections where it was very steep. I was also carrying a full camping kit that added weight. If you are not carrying gear maybe it's not so hard. I stayed at Orrison but I would not stay there again. If you are in decent cycling shape, you should do alright. I stuck to the sendero the entire way with one exception on a single track somewhere out of Pamplona on the way up to Alto de Perdon. It was not too steep to ride but between the pitch and the rocks it became bone jarring.
Hope this helps...
Buen Camino
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#26
Yes, September is one of the busiest months for the towns near to the start. Although there will be more pilgrims nearer to SdC these towns will be past their peak, which is high summer. Check out my ‘How busy is the CF?‘ spreadsheet in the Camino Resources section and put in your dates. (Sorry - I can't add a link on my mobile!)
 

Janetlm

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
French Way September 2017
#27
Welcome TH, I started my Camino last year on Sept 24 in Roncesvalles. The albergue ( http://www.alberguederoncesvalles.com/index.php?idioma=2 ) has around 183 beds and it filled to capacity that evening and even some pilgrims were put in the overflow building . You can reserve a bed - I've given you the link above. But that was the biggest number of pilgrims that I encountered - late Sept and Oct I never had a problem finding a place to sleep (no "race for a bed"). The first 2 weeks were hot and almost no rain. As Pano said, "layers" were important as I walked in Oct and into Galicia - mornings and evenings cool, but great temps during the day. I highly recommend walking in October because there are less pilgrims and great weather. I only had a 36.5 liters backpack and it held everything plus what I needed for the cooler temps (light weight merino wool sweater and windbreaker were my cool weather stuff). You are going to have an incredible experience. Buen Camino!
Can you tell me what you wore hiking through the Pyrenees's from SJPDP? Do I need a wsrm hiking jacket? I'm going Sept6 2017
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
#28
Can you tell me what you wore hiking through the Pyrenees's from SJPDP? Do I need a wsrm hiking jacket? I'm going Sept6 2017
Some sort of warm layer plus a windbreaker is certainly a good idea! Buen Camino, SY
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#29
Can you tell me what you wore hiking through the Pyrenees's from SJPDP? Do I need a wsrm hiking jacket? I'm going Sept6 2017
You do not need a specific "warm hiking jacket" for the Pyrenees. You need some layers that will work for a wide range of possible conditions. See this thread, for example.
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
#30
Layers I am taking for Mid Sept through end of Oct.
1st layer: long sleeve t-shirt that fits close to the body.
2nd layer: long sleeve wicking t-shirt, loose fitting.
3rd layer: short sleeve t-shirt, just big enough to fit over the other two.
4th layer: light weight wind jacket that fits over everything.

Buff
Knitted beeny hat
Sun hat if really cold on top of it all as it is adjustable
Gloves
Warm socks (can go over liners and thin nylon socks.
In freezing cold or cold rain, water proof socks. (not sure if these will work)
(Hiking sandals that will adjust for thickness factor)

Leggings to wear under hiking pants.

I live in the desert, so will feel the cold. Everyone is different.
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
#31
One thing I learned from camping: stay head of the cold and heat curves. Layer on and off BEFORE you get hot or cold. Chilly or a bit to warm, adjust layers.
 

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