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Camino Frances or primitivo as a solo older woman

Ponygirl1961

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances or primitivo (2019)
I was originally planning to walk the Frances route in July 2019 and have booked airfare and taken time off. Now I am reading about the Primitvo route and trying to decide between the two. I have a fear that one may be too crowded but the alternate fear is that the other may not be as safe for a solo woman who is winging it.... I dont want to be part of a tourist trap group but also don't want to feel unsafe. I have 5 weeks and am flying into Paris and out of Lisbon. Any guidance would be welcome. TIA
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
Welcome to forum.

On any camino you’ll be relatively safe crowds or no.

If this is your first time on camino I vote for the CF. Lots and lots of infrastructure: cathedral and church tours, plenty of bars, and many pilgrims with whom to pass a day, an hour, or quite a lot time.

The real crush is from Sarria to Santiago. But, you should still find a bed and piece of mind and time to yourself if you so desire.

Buen camino whatever route you take.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
I would go for the CF - marvellous intro into the peripatetic pilgrim life. It isn't a tourist trap! it is a pilgrimage.
Though - depends upon what you want ... and there have been reports on this forum about solo females having problems on the Portugeuse Camino.

What do you want?? Ah - decisions ;) - don't try and over-think it .. just let go and go .. if your first decision for your first pilgrimage was the CF and you go elsewhere you just may spend the whole time wondering what you might be missing!

Buen Camino!
 

Terry W

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017
April 2018
You will never be a tourist. You will be part of a supportive family called the Camino family If you want space you will get it. If you want or need help you will get it. I would do the France going back 9th April third time all the France. On one walk an older lady asked if she could walk with me till it got properly light in the mourning. I did not mind in fact it was a privilege . Good luck God bless And yes as David says don't over think it Just Go.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Leon to Santiago June 2019
I am going alone in June and doing the Frances due to the higher level of infrastructure and just because it feels like the 'original' or 'main' route which might not be historically accurate of course! If 1961 is your birth year then you aren't much older than me 😄
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
Unsafe in what way? It doesn't matter whether you're male or female. It's what you're comfortable with. The Primitivo has plenty of pilgrims but depending on when you go you will have stretches by yourself. So if you get lonely easy, then that may not be the best choice.
 

Mynewnorth

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués 2019
Unsafe in what way? It doesn't matter whether you're male or female. It's what you're comfortable with. The Primitivo has plenty of pilgrims but depending on when you go you will have stretches by yourself. So if you get lonely easy, then that may not be the best choice.
... totally agree, but if you already feel uneasy, just go CF... and don’t question your intuition if you don’t have peace with the primitivo.
 

NorthernLight

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
The Primitivo is considerably shorter than the Frances. Perhaps you could start on the Frances, and if you aren't liking it because of crowds, you could hop a bus over to Oviedo and follow the Primitivo. Or hop a bus to somewhere earlier on the Norte, depending on where you might want to switch.

I met a woman of graceful years, in Castrojerez, who wasn't liking the Frances and thinking of quitting. The next time I saw her was in Santiago, and she had switched to the Primitivo and loved it.

As women, the greatest risk to our safety is intimate partner violence. The odds of something serious happening on the camino are very small. Keep your wits about you and trust your gut.

Buen camino
 

ISABEL linares

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances,camino del norte,camino frances
You will never be a tourist. You will be part of a supportive family called the Camino family If you want space you will get it. If you want or need help you will get it. I would do the France going back 9th April third time all the France. On one walk an older lady asked if she could walk with me till it got properly light in the mourning. I did not mind in fact it was a privilege . Good luck God bless And yes as David says don't over think it Just Go.
Yes when you walk the Camino you will have the Camino family.
 
Camino(s) past & future
del Norte/Primitivo May 2019
don't try and over-think it .. just let go and go
I am a woman of graceful years also and plan on walking the Norte/Primitive route solo May-June 2019. The quote above is exactly the mentality I am using for this pilgrimage. I know I am meant to go and this is the right time...what will be will be and I will embrace it all.

Hope I see you out there!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: (2016), Del Norte: (2018), Finisterre: (2018)
Olvidado/San Salvador/Primativo: (2019)
I walked the Frances for my first camino alone at 59 in Late March-May. I did not feel unsafe. It was a wonderful experience. I walked alone part of the time and with others I met along the way at other times. Don't worry.
 

ISABEL linares

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances,camino del norte,camino frances
I walked the Frances for my first camino alone at 59 in Late March-May. I did not feel unsafe. It was a wonderful experience. I walked alone part of the time and with others I met along the way at other times. Don't worry.
Peregrina well done
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
I am a woman of graceful years also and plan on walking the Norte/Primitive route solo May-June 2019. The quote above is exactly the mentality I am using for this pilgrimage. I know I am meant to go and this is the right time...what will be will be and I will embrace it all.

Hope I see you out there!
“A woman of graceful years”, I love that expression.

Buen camino.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Was the photo taking in the month of august
It was September 4th. The trail looked similar when I was there in July. Actually, until I got to O Cebreiro the Camino was quieter in July/August than September.
According to this graph September has been the most popular month for starting from St Jean. The peaks are in May and September.
Screenshot_20190315-232013_Firefox.jpg
 

Lise Z

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (August 2018)
I walked the Primitivo on my own last year in August and did not feel unsafe for one moment. There were a few younger females who also walked solo. Next year I am planning to walk the Invierno on my own - I cannot wait!
 

nickymd1

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdN 2017
CFisterra 2017
Via Imperii + Via Regia | Berlin-Leipzig-Naumburg '18
Future: CF 4/5.2019
I was originally planning to walk the Frances route in July 2019 and have booked airfare and taken time off. Now I am reading about the Primitvo route and trying to decide between the two. I have a fear that one may be too crowded but the alternate fear is that the other may not be as safe for a solo woman who is winging it....
Hey Ponygirl,

I did CdN "alone" in July/August 2017 and am headed back to Spain to do the Meseta in just 2 weeks. France to Finisterre took me a very chilled 35 days. Safety is unlikely to be an issue, regardless of which route you do. I would suggest thinking more about fitness, and how long/far you want to walk. Also, you'll only walk alone if you want to - making friends/family on the Camino takes no time at all if you're open to it, and these people could become a permanent part of your life. I still have contact with many of the people I walked with and travel to meet up with some of them every 2-3 months. It's up to you how solo you want to walk.
You have 5 weeks, which is a wonderful amount of time! ;) The Primitivo is a lot like the Basque country on the CdN - which means it is a lot of up and down, and the the weather might be unpredictable. That being said, it is said to be beautiful and you will bond with the people even more because you're in the struggle together and the stages are pretty standard (unlike the CF). I'm assuming you're wanting to walk for most of those 5 weeks; if you're willing to walk a few weeks before the Primitivo - from Bilbao or San Sebastian for example - in order to build up your fitness, the Primitivo should be no issue. That being said, the CF will be fuller, which means both safer (numbers and all that...) and well... fuller.
At the end of the day, I'd say consider the information, and then go with your gut. Buen Camino.
 
Last edited:

ISABEL linares

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances,camino del norte,camino frances
It was September 4th. The trail looked similar when I was there in July. Actually, until I got to O Cebreiro the Camino was quieter in July/August than September.
According to this graph September has been the most popular month for starting from St Jean. The peaks are in May and September.
View attachment 54119
[/QUO..The fields remind me of the song the Fields of gold,i did 2 caminos in September and sow all the beautiful fields
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
It was September 4th. The trail looked similar when I was there in July. Actually, until I got to O Cebreiro the Camino was quieter in July/August than September.
According to this graph September has been the most popular month for starting from St Jean. The peaks are in May and September.
View attachment 54119
September is the best time to walk!
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
September was lovely, but I'm really looking forward to starting in May - I'm excited to see the Meseta when it's green!
It will give you best of both worlds: spring and fall on camino.

Have a terrific time.

Buen camino.
 

Camino Chris

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I've walked both routes in April/May with a family member. As an older woman if I were walking alone, my vote would still be the Frances, hands down. There were many rather isolated stretches on the Primitivo in 2016, even though lodging was pretty filled at night, as there is less infrastructure.
That said, I did love both routes for different reasons.
 

ciditcharlotte

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: Frances; Future: Norte? Primitivo? Paris/Tours?
I have just come back from the Primitivo, and am *so* glad I didn't make that my first Camino! It's so different from the Frances: the days are much longer and there is much less infrastructure. If you fancy a short walk made up of longer days and bigger climbs with fewer places to stop, then go for it, but I would recommend the Frances any time (especially as you have already taken time off to do so). Buen camino!
 

AlainC

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Primitivo (2017)
Hi Ponygirl1961. I walked the Primitivo from Oviedo in September 2017 and can assure you that it is safe. I met two women who were walking solo and felt safe as well. We ended up forming a small group and walked together for most of the 14 days it took to get to Santiago. There is plenty of infrastructure on the Primitivo. You should be prepared for the physical challenge as you spend a lot of days walking up and down the Pico the Europa, with changes in elevation, which can be demanding. However, it looks like I am about 15 years older than you and I managed to do it, and follow the "younger" crowd by pacing myself and resting when I needed. Buen Camino
 

mahz

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo 2017
North 2016
French 2014
French 2012
Here's a picture of the "crowded" Camino Francés. In early September, which is a busy time on the Camino.View attachment 53814
That picture could be misleading. What time was it taken? Not the early rush hour, for sure.

First Camino, try the French. But none would be disappointing.
 

Beeman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
Ponygirl, I also walked the Primitivo in september of 17,and loved it. I am 74 and did not find it too hard. I only remember one day when I got pretty tired. It has some ups and downs,but the scenery is a real draw. There were usually some people within sight. I formed a family in Boyenada and walked with most of them to Santiago. Most of them walked the camino verde,and alternative route all the way to Santiago.Never had trouble finding a bed, and managed to stay fed always. I saw young and not so young women walking alone,but also with a pardner. BUEN CAMINO
 

André Walker

Never lost my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2011 on my own, 2014 with my wife), Del Norte to Finisterre (2016). 2018: Via de la Plata.
You already have a lot of replies that will help you make up your mind. So you don't need my advice as well.

Nevertheless, I do feel the need to reply. What do you mean when you refer to yourself as being an 'older' woman?

You're not an older woman, you're just a woman with a bit more years added to her youth.

So: go take a walk!!
Or 'buen Camino'.
 

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