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Camino Frances - time to walk with most albergues open

skevin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept/Oct 2015 - SJPP to SdC
Hi all,

So I’ve walked the St Jean to SdC (Sept - Oct 2015) and Lisbon to SdC ( Aug - Sept 2018). In the Frances, it was crowded, lining up for beds in many towns and having to finish for the day at about 2.00pm to be guaranteed a bed.This was the case for the most part, not all. It was a bit unpleasant really.
Total opposite in Portugal - was often alone for days at a time and sometimes only 3 or 4 people in an albergue - also because it was summer and in many ways not a good time to walk.

I’d like to wall the Frances again - this time a bit slower to smell the roses. Also I’ve a dodgy knee issue and Frances makes it easier as the next town is generally not too far away.

my question is this - what month do most albergues open to start their season? This would mean fewer pilgrims and an almost 100% chance of nabbing a bed in each town without the stress of thinking about accom each and every day. Is it March?Feb? And then Oct/Nov?I remember then months were on that awesome white gold out sheet the pilgrims office gives you must I lost mine somewhere along the way......

thank you kindly in advance for your help.
Shaun
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
April/May.
If you are walking short stages you are likely to arrive early enough to get a bed so long as the albergue is open. If you go in February/March you might encounter albergues that are still closed for the winter.
 

Kiernan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés febr/march (2012)
Camino Francés febr/march (2019)
Camino Francés febr/march (2020)
I'm in my "21-days-to-go" moment now ;), and the only thing regarding the Camino that I know for sure, is that I'll never see pilgrims waiting for a bed. Although until March 1st there are lots of albergues opening season, in February I never had any problem to find one open.
Less options to choose, for sure, but the price is worthy: no crowd, no tourists, calm everywhere,...
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
It will be April most likely. Remember it will be very busy during Semana Santa.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
We've hiked CF three times, always from mid-Sept to late October. First camino, we had no reservations and did fine. Second and third, there were many more pilgrims walking and we were glad we made advance reservations. We're hiking CF again this fall during the same timeframe and once again have reservations every night. I'm sure there are fewer pilgrims that start in early October, but the weather may be mixed and albergues start closing in late October. Bob
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I suggest that starting in March to early April would work well. In fact, I think there are enough beds available throughout the year on the Frances, that you don't need to worry, as long as you check each day for the route ahead and what stopping options you might want or need. (Don't expect to arrive in a small village in January and find the only albergue open. You might need to plan the stages a bit, but there should be no problem in doing so if you have a bit of flexibility in your schedule.) There are two points to note for March-April:
  1. The Napoleon route from SJPP will be closed, so you would walk via Valcarlos or perhaps start in Roncesvalles or Pamplona.
  2. You should determine where you will be during Semana Santa, and work out a bit of a plan for the key dates - especially from Wednesday to Easter Sunday. It is a very interesting time to be in Spain, but the lodging in some towns becomes scarce.
I have walked several times in late-October-November and found it to be an excellent time to walk. The same considerations (except Easter) apply.
 

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
Gronze.com lists open dates that I have found to be quite accurate. Walking in 2018, we found most albergues open in April with a few starting May 1 (I’m looking at your San Aton!...nothing worse than being one day too early to stay.😔)

Found the route to be pleasantly uncrowded but not empty.
 

skevin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept/Oct 2015 - SJPP to SdC
Gronze.com lists open dates that I have found to be quite accurate. Walking in 2018, we found most albergues open in April with a few starting May 1 (I’m looking at your San Aton!...nothing worse than being one day too early to stay.😔)

Found the route to be pleasantly uncrowded but not empty.

Excellent advice, thank you.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
In March you will need to take the lower route via Valcaros from SJPDP.
Also check when Holy Weelk and Easter occurs. The route from Sarria to SdC will be like high season...you will definitely be competing for beds then.

Also, despite indications that albergues are open in Feb + March, call ahead to verify. In bad weather some places simply close up shop...it happened to us!
 
Last edited:

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
I walked in July '19 and did found 1 Albergue closed on the whole CF from SJPdP to SdC.
 

RennieArchibald

New Member
Hi all,

So I’ve walked the St Jean to SdC (Sept - Oct 2015) and Lisbon to SdC ( Aug - Sept 2018). In the Frances, it was crowded, lining up for beds in many towns and having to finish for the day at about 2.00pm to be guaranteed a bed.This was the case for the most part, not all. It was a bit unpleasant really.
Total opposite in Portugal - was often alone for days at a time and sometimes only 3 or 4 people in an albergue - also because it was summer and in many ways not a good time to walk.

I’d like to wall the Frances again - this time a bit slower to smell the roses. Also I’ve a dodgy knee issue and Frances makes it easier as the next town is generally not too far away.

my question is this - what month do most albergues open to start their season? This would mean fewer pilgrims and an almost 100% chance of nabbing a bed in each town without the stress of thinking about accom each and every day. Is it March?Feb? And then Oct/Nov?I remember then months were on that awesome white gold out sheet the pilgrims office gives you must I lost mine somewhere along the way......

thank you kindly in advance for your help.
Shaun
Just finished a short walk On the Maseta. Next time I’ll wait until March. Even a number of municipal s were closed.
 

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