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Christmas 2023 pilgrims, gather here!

Luka

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Next: a Christmas Camino?
Moderator note: This thread has been created by merging several recent threads. This new thread can be a place to "share plans, tips, doubts and the joy of anticipation" about walking at Christmas 2023. (Quote from Luka's post #23)
________________________________________________________________

After I had to quit my Camino Sanabrés in August due to persistent Achilles tendonitis, I am now pondering a Christmas Camino. That would be my first winter camino, so I am still a bit reluctant about the weather (mostly because of the extra weight and the trouble to dry clothes). I am also if albergues would be open on Christmas and New Years day.

Next question is of course: which Camino? I could continue on the Sanabrés and start walking from Ourense, but it might make more sense to walk the Francés instead. I am also considering walking on to Finisterre (which was my original plan in August).

Any thoughts? Anyone else with similar plans?
 
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Next question is of course: which Camino?
I just looked at another interesting option: walking from Vigo to Santiago and then on to Finisterre. I have always avoided the Portugués because of the crowds, but I can imagine the climate on that route could still be rather mild in December.
 
@Luka, just on the question of albergues, both routes you have proposed seem to be well served by a combination of Xunta albergues and other accommodation options that will not be closed over winter. On the Sanabres, Gronze is still reporting the Xunta albergue at O Castro/Dozen as closed, but going a little out of the way to Oseira is an option, as might be doing a long day from Cea to Botos/Estacion de Lalin or into Lalin itself. I considered all these, but chose to go first to Oseira and then stay at the taberna at Botos. I then had a short day to Silleda.

I didn't walk from Vigo when I walked the CP, but have taken the Central route both times. There appears to be a longer gap in the Xunta network after Pontevedra, but otherwise there seem to be good options along the way.

The Xunta site at https://www.caminodesantiago.gal/en/on-the-way/network-of-public-hostels is a reasonable resource, but has some quirks. If you are using English, the site search seems patchy. To find all the albergues from Ourense, I needed to search on both the Via de la Plata and The Winter Way. I then found that searching on the Portuguese Way and The Portuguese Coastal Way gave slightly different results. I cannot work out how they are filtering these, but be aware that it isn't particularly consistent.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
After I had to quit my Camino Sanabrés in August due to persistent Achilles tendonitis, I am now pondering a Christmas Camino. That would be my first winter camino, so I am still a bit reluctant about the weather (mostly because of the extra weight and the trouble to dry clothes). I am also if albergues would be open on Christmas and New Years day.

Next question is of course: which Camino? I could continue on the Sanabrés and start walking from Ourense, but it might make more sense to walk the Francés instead. I am also considering walking on to Finisterre (which was my original plan in August).

Any thoughts? Anyone else with similar plans?
Unless you've already been on them the Mozarabe either from Malaga or Almeria might suit. I've done both to Cordoba and Granada over previous Christmas holidays and had no problems with accommodation. I did however use other types of accommodation as well as albergues. No rain, and perfect walking conditions on both occasions whereas I was thoroughly soaked many times when I walked Zamora/Astorga/SdeC over Christmas in another year. Buen Camino !🙂
 
@dougfitz Thanks so much! I did a bit of research on the Gronze website and it seems to be possible to find enough open albergues. The only question would be if they would close on Christmas evening or new years eve, but that will be a question of trying to contact them in advance.

@J Willhaus Yes, I am definitely going to invest in good rain gear. That seems more important than cold. I am always warm when walking and here in Asturias I only wear a coat a couple of days in January and February. But protection against rain is always necessary.

@milkybar93 The Mozárabe might be an option as well. I have only walked Granada - Córdoba so far. My hesitations would be travel distance (I prefer not to fly) and loneliness. It would be nice to meet some other winter pilgrims and I guess there would be more chance for that if I choose a starting point fairly close to Santiago.
 
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I have been checking out my options (as I most likely won't be able to walk long distances) and it seems a bit tricky. So far I have already found one albergue that is open 'todo el año' according to Gronze but happens to be closed and one albergue I could book through Booking, but canceled my reservation because they were only open for groups in December.

With counting on xunta albergues to be open, sometimes accepting shorter distances and/or to pay a bit more for a private room, I seem to manage my way around. I would advice planning ahead around the Christmas holidays though if you are not able (or don't want to) walk longer distances than 20-25 kms.
 
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I got response from 2 more albergues. Open according to Gronze, closed in reality. Seems that most private albergues are closed roughly in the months of December, January and February. So I suppose food/restaurants are going to be a bit problematic too...
 
https://www.gronze.com/camino-portugues is a fairly reliable resource for opening and closing dates.

At that time of year making advance direct contact with any accommodations is advisable
I am not saying I have any better source but I notice that on another thread about a Christmas Camino @Luka seems to be reporting consistently finding, when she contacts albergues that Gronze lists as open over the Christmas season, they are telling a different story.
 
Gronze is only as good as the information they are given. Unlike Tripeadvertiser they don’t have agents on the ground. Hence my advice to make direct contact. On the less populated Camino “open” means open if the local volunteer is there, with the keys, and not spending Christmas with mum and the rest of the family somewhere half a world away…

I presented myself at the old Fonda at La Hermida, Picos de Europa one Good Friday night. They laughed in a kindly way when I asked for a bed. As the evening wore off more and more cars pulled into the car park crammed with family and kids coming home from Bilbao, Santander and even Madrid and Barcelona. Somewhere around midnight I was offered the folded down back seat of a large “family carrier” to sleep in. Supper was mostly Jamon, pan and Orujo. Breakfast was coffee, pan and Orujo. The car was remarkably comfortable compared to some of the Fonda beds I’d encountered that month but the occurrence reminded me that for the Spanish family and festivo is everything. They’ll still try and accommodate a wayfarer or a pilgrim but expect to be at best second on their list of priorities
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Hola from Down Under! My beautiful daughter and I are walking Sarria to Santiago starting 26 December 2023. As this is our first (but hopefully not last Camino). We would love any guidance on:

1. Will we be able to buy food along the way? I.e. supermarkets, cafes. Or will everything be closed?

2. What are our luggage transfer options? Many of the services we have contacted will be closed along the period.

Hopefully we will see some of you on the trail! Buen Camino!
 
I was walking between Puente-la-Reina and Burgos on last december.
On 24th, we were in Logroño. We have dinners in bar (tapas), but they close one after the other. At 10pm, no open bars were remaining... But on Christmas day, leaving the town, we meet crowds of young people going back home after a festive night: they learn us that the bar have reopen after midnight !
On the 25th almost everything was closed (but a bar in Navarrete, hopefully for our breakfast), but on the other days, no problem to find food and beverages.
However you will have to book accomodations, you will find those which will be opened there:

You are very lucky, I have a nice remembering of this winter Camino.

Buen Camino !
 
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You can have luggage transferred from Sarria to Santiago in the winter. Contact Correos. There may be holiday hours so you may need to consider carrying your packs some days, but contact them to be certain. Xunta albergues are supposed to be open 365 days per year. But they don't accept bag transport or pick up. Plenty of Xunta albergues in this stretch. Consult Gronze.com to see what else may be open in winter. There are likely hotels, but grocery stores are probably going to be closed on Christmas and New Years Day.
 
I was walking between Puente-la-Reina and Burgos on last december.
On 24th, we were in Logroño. We have dinners in bar (tapas), but they close one after the other. At 10pm, no open bars were remaining... But on Christmas day, leaving the town, we meet crowds of young people going back home after a festive night: they learn us that the bar have reopen after midnight !
On the 25th almost everything was closed (but a bar in Navarrete, hopefully for our breakfast), but on the other days, no problem to find food and beverages.
However you will have to book accomodations, you will find those which will be opened there:

You are very lucky, I have a nice remembering of this winter Camino.

Buen Camino !
Gracias! This is very helpful thank you and I feel much more comfortable now with our plans! So excited for our first Camino.
 
You can have luggage transferred from Sarria to Santiago in the winter. Contact Correos. There may be holiday hours so you may need to consider carrying your packs some days, but contact them to be certain. Xunta albergues are supposed to be open 365 days per year. But they don't accept bag transport or pick up. Plenty of Xunta albergues in this stretch. Consult Gronze.com to see what else may be open in winter. There are likely hotels, but grocery stores are probably going to be closed on Christmas and New Years Day.
Thank you very much for this info. We are just beginning our bookings so this will be very helpful.
 
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There have been several new threads lately (including my own) from pilgrims who want to walk during the Chrstmas holidays. If we gather here, we can share plans, tips, doubts and the joy of anticipation. 😊

My plan: the (coastal) Portugués (border Portugal/Spain - Vigo - Pontevedra - Santiago). I hope to start walking from A Guarda on the 23rd of December and arrive in Santiago on the 31st. It will be my first winter Camino and I am very excited about it!
 
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I am taking a group of 10 university students and one other instructor Sarria to Santiago Dec. 31 to Jan. 7. This is a study abroad class for nursing students on self-care for the mind, body, and soul. Sorry we will miss you @Luka .
Sounds like a special journey for them. And yes, would have been great to meet you...
 
There have been several new threads lately (including my own) from pilgrims who want to walk during the Chrstmas holidays. If we gather here, we can share plans, tips, doubts and the joy of anticipation. 😊

My plan: the (coastal) Portugués (border Portugal/Spain - Vigo - Pontevedra - Santiago). I hope to start walking from A Guarda on the 23rd of December and arrive in Santiago on the 31rd. It will be my first winter Camino and I am very excited about it!
I hope you don't mind, I've put a link to this thread on my Camino Planning Group for anyone wanting to walk a Christmas Camino.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

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I start 3 January from SJPP on the Frances. My 2nd winter Camino, although this one starting about 7 weeks later than the last. I expect the weather will be different. Anyway, training in full swing and looking forward to it.
 
There have been several new threads lately (including my own) from pilgrims who want to walk during the Chrstmas holidays. If we gather here, we can share plans, tips, doubts and the joy of anticipation. 😊

My plan: the (coastal) Portugués (border Portugal/Spain - Vigo - Pontevedra - Santiago). I hope to start walking from A Guarda on the 23rd of December and arrive in Santiago on the 31st. It will be my first winter Camino and I am very excited about it!
Arriving into Santiago on December 31st is really special. I walked Sarria - Santiago many years back with a large group of Spanish hospitaleros. Most had started in O Cebreiro but myself and a hospi friend from Madrid took the train to Sarria on December 26th. As the Oficina de Peregrinos was closed when we arrived, we received our final stamp in the Cathedral Sacristía. Wow!

There are fire works on the 31st and everyone joins in the Plaza to eat the 12 grapes.

You will probably meet up with the group of hospitaleros as they walk every year. Manuel Rossi organizes the dinner in San Martín Pinario and most sleep there. It's a real happening and quite different from previous Caminos or any other since then!

I'm vaguely thinking of walking Almería to Córdoba after Christmas. Checking travel possibilities as we speak.
 
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@LTfit that sounds as something more to look forward to! I thought the pilgrim's office was closed on the 1st of January, so reckoned to get my compostela there on the 31st. Cathedral sounds a lot cooler of course!

I am not sure if I will meet the hospi group. I am walking a different Camino and staying in a different place in Santiago. But maybe they are easy to recognize on the Plaza.
 
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. ..That would be my first winter camino, so I am still a bit reluctant about the weather (mostly because of the extra weight and the trouble to dry clothes). I am also if albergues would be open on Christmas and New Years day.
Just a few words about packing. Besides a sleeping bag I didn't find my pack weight much different than during the summer since you will be wearing most of your clothes, at least that was my experience walking from Burgos to Sarria one winter.

Extra clothes?
Hat (on)
Gloves (on)
Fleece (on or strapped to backpack if too warm
Hard shell (on)
Pants & thermal top (on)

Extra legging, top and underwear + socks in the pack along with sleeping bag, poncho and toiletries.
 
There have been several new threads lately (including my own) from pilgrims who want to walk during the Chrstmas holidays. If we gather here, we can share plans, tips, doubts and the joy of anticipation. 😊

My plan: the (coastal) Portugués (border Portugal/Spain - Vigo - Pontevedra - Santiago). I hope to start walking from A Guarda on the 23rd of December and arrive in Santiago on the 31st. It will be my first winter Camino and I am very excited about it!
Hi Luka
Thank you very much for setting this up. We are complete novices so very grateful for any tips and hints and hopefully the chance to meetup with fellow travellers.

Can I ask about clothing. Any suggestions on what to wear at this time of year would be very welcome - we really are very new to this!!
 
@LTfit @Maxetout
I started making a packlist to get an idea. It is definitely more/heavier than what I would carry in summer. This is what I came up with:

- winter sleeping bag
- waterproof hiking boots
- 2 normal (thin) hiking pants (1 zip-off)
- 2 leggings (to wear underneath the pants if necessary and in bed on cold nights)
- 2 T-shirts
- 2 long sleeved thermoshirts
- 1 fleece jacket
- 1 shorts (to wear at night)
- socks, bra's, undies
- raincoat
- raincover
- rainponcho
- crocs for shower/evening

And the typical other stuff (meds, towel, toiletries, etc...).

The idea behind the raincoat/raincover/rainponcho: staying dry is going to be the biggest challenge in December in northern Spain. Most rainprotection doesn't have more than 2000 schmerber, which means it will keep you dry for about 2 hours in normal rain. So I came up with the idea of layers: raincoat and raincover for light rain, an extra rainponcho on top of that in heavy showers or hours of rain. It is a theory, I haven't tested this yet.

The idea behind the clothes is also layers. And (apart from the fleece jacket) 2 of everything, because clothes need a wash/can be wet.

What I am carrying extra: a heavier sleeping bag, a headlamp (less daylight), 2 leggings, 1 thermoshirt, 1 raincoat, 1 rainponcho and (fair enough, not necessary) I am going to bring my electric coil and cup again. To be able to make a hot cup of tea everywhere seems more important in winter.

Why I will be carrying more: I am always warm when walking. And it (normally) won't get really cold in December in northern Spain. So I wouldn't be suprised if I'll start stripping off layers after 20 minutes of walking and in the end walk in a T-shirt most of the day (I might sometimes even zipp the legs off). From the other hand, I will need warmer clothes every now and then and certainly after walking or when resting.

So I am pretty sure that I will be carrying the extra layers in my pack most of the time. I would only walk in T-shirt + longsleeve thermoshirt + fleece jacket + raincoat in temperatures below zero (celsius)...
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I have been checking out my options (as I most likely won't be able to walk long distances) and it seems a bit tricky. So far I have already found one albergue that is open 'todo el año' according to Gronze but happens to be closed and one albergue I could book through Booking, but canceled my reservation because they were only open for groups in December.

With counting on xunta albergues to be open, sometimes accepting shorter distances and/or to pay a bit more for a private room, I seem to manage my way around. I would advice planning ahead around the Christmas holidays though if you are not able (or don't want to) walk longer distances than 20-25 kms.
Hi Luka
I walked the Portuguese Camino December last year, finishing in Santiago around 16/12. It was certainly very quiet and often my companion and I were the only people in the albergue but we did meet people from time to time, getting busier as the central and coastal routes merged. We walked mostly on the central route and never had any problems with accomodation staying in a combination of municipal albergues and other private places, though there was always a municipal available. Many places were not staffed but had a note on the door guiding you to a nearby cafe where a person could help you check in. Apart from one place they were all heated at night though I was still glad to have a winter sleeping bag.

Food was often tricky enroute so we became accustomed to having breakfast in the town where we stayed and for lunch, snacks as we walked. It only became light around 9am and dark at 6pm so though the days are short there was plenty of time for us to get to our destination without walking in the dark. I think the hot water coil is a great idea as I often wanted a cup of tea and found it difficult to get hot water.

Lastly, the rain. The weather was fairly unpredictable but we did have some glorious days. I'd say it rained about 50% of the time but only once did I get really cold. I think winter is a great time to walk and would certainly recommend. Enjoy!
 
Thanks @RachelK for sharing your experiences! This is more or less how I imagined it would be. Apart from extra closures around Christmas and New Year.
 
I have walked a few short winter caminos but this year it's looking a bit earlier on the CF from 31st December on the mesata. (Last January I was on the latter section of the Via Bayona (Vasco) to Burgos but started on the 9th January - so missed any holidays that might cause issues).
Winter caminos are definitely quiet! One lesson learned was to ring/message to check if accommodation was open in winter (one albergue on the CP that should have been open was closed for 2 days due to some repair work after a waterleak, thankfully there were other accomodation and I had budgeted for the possible need to stay in a hotel (definitely a good idea for any winter camino to have an additional fund for a hotel or taxi in a pinch).

I am a supporter of carrying an umbrella on camino - as it means less water gets on me. Layers are key - I have had days of freezing fog on the VF in Italy in January when I had everything on, and perfect blue skies and sunshine on the CP with heavy frost in the morning but a t-shirt by midmorning. As for washing- apart from pants which I will wash out each day - I tend to only do a proper wash once a week and use a tumble dryer- it's nearly impossible to get things dry otherwise overnight- I just go into scruffy pilgrim mode. So compared to my "summer" kit, I bring an extra pair of socks, pants and top to allow for difficulties of washing and drying. I also found my feet were too cold in crocs in winter (others don't seem to have this issue) so I found a very light pair of slippers instead (about the same weight as crocs) (the trade off is some people are particular about shower shoes- I decided I liked warm feet more).

I always carry food - snacks and enough for a dinner and breakfast of some description and a microwaveable container as most albergues have one but plates and cutlery can be minimal. I will definitely being upping what food I am carrying with the New Year and Epiphany!
I also tend to carry a flask in winter (I didn't on the CP from Porto as enough open bars but on parts of the CF like the mesata and also on the VF in Italy I was glad of it!).
 
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I have walked a few short winter caminos but this year it's looking a bit earlier on the CF from 31st December on the mesata. (Last January I was on the latter section of the Via Bayona (Vasco) to Burgos but started on the 9th January - so missed any holidays that might cause issues).
Winter caminos are definitely quiet! One lesson learned was to ring/message to check if accommodation was open in winter (one albergue on the CP that should have been open was closed for 2 days due to some repair work after a waterleak, thankfully there were other accomodation and I had budgeted for the possible need to stay in a hotel (definitely a good idea for any winter camino to have an additional fund for a hotel or taxi in a pinch).

I am a supporter of carrying an umbrella on camino - as it means less water gets on me. Layers are key - I have had days of freezing fog on the VF in Italy in January when I had everything on, and perfect blue skies and sunshine on the CP with heavy frost in the morning but a t-shirt by midmorning. As for washing- apart from pants which I will wash out each day - I tend to only do a proper wash once a week and use a tumble dryer- it's nearly impossible to get things dry otherwise overnight- I just go into scruffy pilgrim mode. So compared to my "summer" kit, I bring an extra pair of socks, pants and top to allow for difficulties of washing and drying. I also found my feet were too cold in crocs in winter (others don't seem to have this issue) so I found a very light pair of slippers instead (about the same weight as crocs) (the trade off is some people are particular about shower shoes- I decided I liked warm feet more).

I always carry food - snacks and enough for a dinner and breakfast of some description and a microwaveable container as most albergues have one but plates and cutlery can be minimal. I will definitely being upping what food I am carrying with the New Year and Epiphany!
I also tend to carry a flask in winter (I didn't on the CP from Porto as enough open bars but on parts of the CF like the mesata and also on the VF in Italy I was glad of it!).
Thank you. I realise I must really do my homework to be ready for this trip. You’ve given me me some good tips.
 
I am a supporter of carrying an umbrella on camino - as it means less water gets on me. Layers are key - I have had days of freezing fog on the VF in Italy in January when I had everything on, and perfect blue skies and sunshine on the CP with heavy frost in the morning but a t-shirt by midmorning. As for washing- apart from pants which I will wash out each day - I tend to only do a proper wash once a week and use a tumble dryer- it's nearly impossible to get things dry otherwise overnight- I just go into scruffy pilgrim mode. So compared to my "summer" kit, I bring an extra pair of socks, pants and top to allow for difficulties of washing and drying. I also found my feet were too cold in crocs in winter (others don't seem to have this issue) so I found a very light pair of slippers instead (about the same weight as crocs) (the trade off is some people are particular about shower shoes- I decided I liked warm feet more).

Thanks for sharing, @roving_rufus!
- I hate to carry stuff in my hands, so no umbrella for me. I am also afraid that the Galician coast will be too windy for umbrellas. And I am going to walk with poles for the first time (sigh...) so my hands will already be full.
- Yes, I also considered spending money on washing machines and dryers. But a bit more often than once a week. Good idea to bring some extra socks.
- I need my crocs, also to (hopefully) prevent new Achilles tendons problems. I reckon they won't be too cold for me with socks in them.
 
Hola from Down Under! My beautiful daughter and I are walking Sarria to Santiago starting 26 December 2023. As this is our first (but hopefully not last Camino). We would love any guidance on:

1. Will we be able to buy food along the way? I.e. supermarkets, cafes. Or will everything be closed?

2. What are our luggage transfer options? Many of the services we have contacted will be closed along the period.

Hopefully we will see some of you on the trail! Buen Camino!
Hello! I'm walking my first camino same route as you (arriving in Sarria 26th and heading off on 27th)! Hope we cross paths!
 
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It was very rainy yesterday, so I decided to do a first gear test. I walked for 2,5 hours in the rain.
- Boots: passed the test
- Wet glasses: extremely annoying (I opened another topic about this issue)
- Raincoat: not impressed (sweaty, T-shirt got wet from the rain, water entering my sleeves when walking with poles)

It was also to test myself: how did I like it to walk for hours in the rain? It wasn't that bad. I hope to find some kind of solution for my glasses, because that was the biggest bummer. And I know now that my raincoat is not good enough for hours of rain. So the next time I would have to test raincoat plus poncho (but that will certainly make it sweatier). It was still fun to be outside though and that hot shower afterwards was heaven. 😍
 
Just a heads-up about closed albergues. I decided not to wing it and have planned my (rather short) stages on the Portugués de la Costa. And I am glad I did... This is what I found out so far:

Day 1. A Guarda: albergue municipal and albergue O Peirao closed (booked a hotel)
Day 2. A Guarda - Mougás (20,2): albergue La Cala, albergue Da Estrala and albergue Aguncheiro closed (booked A Casa de Florinda at 1 km from the Camino)
Day 3. Mougás - Sabarís (15,5): albergue Estela do Mar closed, albergue Pazo Pías seems closed/can't be booked on Booking (booked albergue Playa de Sabarís)
Day 4: Sabarís - Vigo (22,3): xunta albergue? (Sent an email to ask about opening dates.)
Day 5: Vigo - Redondela (16,0): xunta albergue temporary closed (according to Gronze), albergue parroquial closed, albergue A Casa da Herba seems closed (sent them an email), albergue Alfonso XII closed, albergue A Conserveira seems closed (sent them an email)... didn't check more albergues, but the only one that appears on Booking is albergue A Dársena do Francés.
Day 6: Redondela - Pontevedra (19,6): albergue de peregrinos Virgen Peregrina closed, a few private hostels open
Day 7: Pontevedra
Day 8: Pontevedra - Caldas de Reis (21,1): a few private hostels open
Day 9: Caldas de Reis - Padrón (18,6): Gronze lists 10 private albergues, but none of them appears on Booking, there I found just 1 albergue (A Parada do Camiño, not on Gronze) with so so reviews, xunta albergue? (Sent an email to ask about opening dates.)
Day 10. Padrón - Santiago (24,2): a few albergues open

Note 1: This is the Portgués (de la Costa), the Francés might be different.
Note 2: This is during the Christmas holidays, several albergues are only closed between (roughly) December 15 - January 7 and open the rest of winter.

But... I am glad I did some research and didn't decide to wing it. Gronze is not reliable! Many albergues are open 'todo el año' according to Gronze, but appear to be closed in reality (at least end of December).

Oh, and another heads-up: a winter camino is going to be more expensive than a summer camino. Albergues average around €17-€20 and sometimes a private room might be your only option.
 
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Lodging update: I decided to book everything ahead. So many closed albergues the end of December and I don't get an answer to my e-mail about the xunta albergues in Vigo and Padrón. I'll try to figure it out when on the road (if I can still cancel my booked accomodation then).

Oh, and I managed to book a pilgrim room in San Martín Pinario the 31st of December :)
 
Mountain Warehouse extreme. Actually, I have two. A man's and a ladies. Both are waterproof. They were discounted. I have the good fortune to have a real shop to go into, not sure how you are fixed for real shopping...
Also, I wear glasses full-time. The hoods have a kind of visor, but in any case that is something I live with...
 
Hi-- planning to do my first solo Camino on the Primitivo, Dec 10 - Dec 24. I know many albergues will be closed, but I have done the research and know that I will be able to find lodging. I know this route is one of the higher altitude options, but it's the best for the timeframe I have. Anyone know much about the weather this time on year on this route? Thanks!
 
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Hi all,
I plan to continue to santiago from Burgos from the 17th dec 23.
Anyone else starting around there & around that time?

is Gronze the best / official site for which albergues will be open? Welcome all pointers.

Last time we found both xmas and boxing days to be very quiet.

Regards

Shalin
 
Hi-- planning to do my first solo Camino on the Primitivo, Dec 10 - Dec 24. I know many albergues will be closed, but I have done the research and know that I will be able to find lodging. I know this route is one of the higher altitude options, but it's the best for the timeframe I have. Anyone know much about the weather this time on year on this route? Thanks!
Most likely rainy, foggy, windy, but it could also be sunny. Lots of fast changes (pouring rain in the morning, sunny in the afternoon). Temperatures from 0-10 °C at night till 8-18 °C during the day (also depending on altitude). But the Asturian weather is above all unpredictable...
 
Most likely rainy, foggy, windy, but it could also be sunny. Lots of fast changes (pouring rain in the morning, sunny in the afternoon). Temperatures from 0-10 °C at night till 8-18 °C during the day (also depending on altitude). But the Asturian weather is above all unpredictable...
Great, thanks! Do albergues have blankets, or should I plan to carry a thicker sleeping bag?
 
A Treasure Trove Of Interesting Pilgrim Hacks! Learn & Share Your Own Too!
Great, thanks! Do albergues have blankets, or should I plan to carry a thicker sleeping bag?
I don't know on the Primitivo, but I am going to carry a thicker sleeping bag. Also because I read that albergues aren't always heated in winter.
 
Great, thanks! Do albergues have blankets, or should I plan to carry a thicker sleeping bag?
You can't rely on albergues having blankets. Some will, some have a few spare but there will be some places that don't at all - a warm sleeping bag is needed for winter!
 
Hi all,
I plan to continue to santiago from Burgos from the 17th dec 23.
Anyone else starting around there & around that time?

is Gronze the best / official site for which albergues will be open? Welcome all pointers.

Last time we found both xmas and boxing days to be very quiet.

Regards

Shalin

I checked quite a few albergues on the Camino Portugués that are open according to Gronze but actually closed roughly from half December till the beginning of January.
 
Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
I checked quite a few albergues on the Camino Portugués that are open according to Gronze but actually closed roughly from half December till the beginning of January.
If you let Gronze know where you found it to be wrong, it won't be long before it is right for the next pilgrim who checks. :) Or so I'm told.
 
Four recent threads about walking at Christmas have been merged now, which might explain why the discussion above might seem a bit disjointed. @Luka agreed that it would be good to bring the discussions together in one place.
Are you able to link me to this? I can’t find it! 🙏🏽
 
Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
Great thread! Planning to do just 100km of the camino this Dec 28 through Jan 6. Five or seven days. Was hoping to do the primitivo from Lugo. Will be walking with my 15 year old daughter, our first time. And planning to just book hotels.

Is there a difference in weather from the CF starting in Sarria vs the primitivo starting in Lugo?
 
I just looked at another interesting option: walking from Vigo to Santiago and then on to Finisterre. I have always avoided the Portugués because of the crowds, but I can imagine the climate on that route could still be rather mild in December.
What crowds ? I walked from Porto to Santiago late September, met hardly anyone on the Portugese side.
 
Prepare for your next Camino on Santa Catalina Island, March 17-20
What crowds ? I walked from Porto to Santiago late September, met hardly anyone on the Portugese side.
The Portugues is the second most walked route after the Frances. When I walked it in early October (2018) there were plenty of fellow pilgrims between Porto and Tui, including at the beginning when I was on the Senda Litoral. Not crowds like people complain of after Sarria, but certainly not "hardly anyone" (that would be the Camino de Madrid).
 
Great thread! Planning to do just 100km of the camino this Dec 28 through Jan 6. Five or seven days. Was hoping to do the primitivo from Lugo. Will be walking with my 15 year old daughter, our first time. And planning to just book hotels.

Is there a difference in weather from the CF starting in Sarria vs the primitivo starting in Lugo?
Welcome to the Christmas Club! I suppose you'll have (roughly) the same weather as Lugo and Sarria are only 30 kms apart.
 
Has anyone done winter camino on the Arles way in France between Montpellier and Toulouse? I am considering this in January 2024. Are pilgrim accommodations there open in January?
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Has anyone done winter camino on the Arles way in France between Montpellier and Toulouse? I am considering this in January 2024. Are pilgrim accommodations there open in January?
It is probable worth asking this in the Routes in France section to actually get answers

However, while I haven't done this route - I know on several French routes many gites etc aimed at pilgrims close for the season.
 
Currently planning O Porrino to Santiago, December 26 - 31. @Luka it looks like we will likely be walking at the same time.

(Yes, I did do Sarria to SdC a few months ago, thinking it was a one-time thing. Yes, I cannot stop thinking about my next Camino).
Looks like we are going to meet each other indeed somewhere in between Redondela and Santiago :)
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Has anyone done winter camino on the Arles way in France between Montpellier and Toulouse? I am considering this in January 2024. Are pilgrim accommodations there open in January?
Hi Rosa

I’ve walked the Arles way but not in winter. As with many other camino paths, some (maybe the majority) of the pilgrim gites will have closed by end October. You may find other accommodation.e.g. Chambre d’hôtes available. You could start your research on Gronze.


Bon chemin.
 
Lodging update: I decided to book everything ahead. So many closed albergues the end of December and I don't get an answer to my e-mail about the xunta albergues in Vigo and Padrón. I'll try to figure it out when on the road (if I can still cancel my booked accomodation then).

Oh, and I managed to book a pilgrim room in San Martín Pinario the 31st of December :)
I’m just going to wing it.
Will be in Santiago for Christmas, if I can’t wing it then the Camino is not for me anymore
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Hi All,
I have reached out to all accommodation options listed Fromista for 24th december and they are all cerrado. This includes Betania which is typically open (due to lack of water & electricity).

So if anyone hears of an accommodation option in or around fromista over xmas period, this will be helpful.

Airbnb also does not result in anything useful either.

Regarda,
Shalin
 
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How are preparations going? Christmas is only a couple of weeks away...
 
For us, so far so good. All my students are signed up for their class. We've had one class meeting and have another one next week. We have reservations in Madrid, Sarria, Santiago, Muxia, and then an AirBNB in Madrid for the end. Winging it with the Xunta albergues for our nights on the Camino. Phil and I stayed in several last summer in late June and they were never full. I'll figure it out if there is somehow a crush of winter pilgrims.

The 10 students are excited. Many are really looking forward to walking with less tech. They are all looking forward to being away from our stressful nursing studies (me too.) They are reading Dave Whitson's book on Pilgrimage and the mystical parts of John Brierly's guidebook.

edited: It is cold and dry where we live. Not sure how they will adapt to the wetter climate, but everyone does have rain gear.
 
Also waiting for train and bus tickets to go on sale for our travel dates and for the tickets to be available for educational groups at the Sophia Reina Museum in Madrid for our last day of the trip.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Also waiting for train and bus tickets to go on sale for our travel dates and for the tickets to be available for educational groups at the Sophia Reina Museum in Madrid for our last day of the trip.

The joy of anticipation! Sounds like you are going to have a memorable Camino with your students. The Reina Sofia is wonderful, I visit that museum almost every time I am in Madrid.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I am getting a bit nervous about training. I have been taking it very slow after a long lasting Achilles tendons injury (it ruined my Camino in August). Two weeks ago I walked 17 kms for the first time and it went well. So now I have only a couple of weeks left to do some extra hikes. I hope to do one tomorrow, most likely in very similar weather as I'll experience in Galicia the end of this month...

I would also like to add a 2-days-hike before I am travelling to Galicia. Probably on the Norte.
 
I still have no idea if the xunta albergues on the Portugués (de la Costa) will be open between Christmas and New Year. It seems impossible to reach them by e-mail, so I might try to phone them.
 
I still have no idea if the xunta albergues on the Portugués (de la Costa) will be open between Christmas and New Year. It seems impossible to reach them by e-mail, so I might try to phone them.
They should be open 365, but you can check the night before at the place you are staying that night. This summer there were posters that indicated when one of them would be closed for some kind of work. We asked the hospitalera on duty and she confirmed. Palas de Rei was closed for work last summer so we stayed elsewhere.
 
Ideal pocket guides for during and after your Camino. Each weighs just 40g (1.4 oz).
They should be open 365, but you can check the night before at the place you are staying that night. This summer there were posters that indicated when one of them would be closed for some kind of work. We asked the hospitalera on duty and she confirmed. Palas de Rei was closed for work last summer so we stayed elsewhere.

Thanks! Quite a few albergues that should be open 365 happen to be closed somewhere between December 15 and January 7. I know that the xunta albergue in Redondela is closed, I am still hoping the ones in Vigo and Padrón will be open.
 
Yes, interesting. I compared notations for Wise Pilgrim and Buen Camino. One says the big Xunta albergue in Portomarin is open all year. The other says it is closed this winter so I need to do a bit of legwork on that.
 
FYI, I did get the tickets booked for the Sophia Reina Museum. Quite a lot of hoops to jump through, but got all the paperwork completed and the online booking registration so that our group of 12 only had to pay 5 euros total. Normally is it 12 euros per person although students can get in at reduced or free with their student ID. I think it was worth the hassle. I had to get a document signed that certified that our students were degree-seeking from an educational program.

Now just waiting on train and bus tickets to go on sale. I also contacted @wisepilgrim to see if he knows anything more about the Portomarin Xunta albergue situation.
 
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Here is my post from 2021 which may be of help/interest for Christmas 2023 plans.

In Spanish, Christmas Eve is La Noche Buena/The Good Night. In Spain it is celebrated with a large family feast eaten late in the evening and lasting several hours. Some families attend midnight mass before or after dinner. The special Christmas Eve midnight mass is called Misa del Gallo or Rooster's Mass, because a rooster is said to have crowed the night that Jesus was born.

It would be a wonderful experience for any pilgrim to attend such a service on such a special night. To help with your planning here is a Google Map of Parishes/Churches along the camino where you might attend.

Buen camino and Feliz Navidad!
 
Last edited:
Here is my post from 2021 which may be of help/interest for Christmas 2023 plans.

In Spanish, Christmas Eve is La Noche Buena/The Good Night. In Spain it is celebrated with a large family feast eaten late in the evening and lasting several hours. Some families attend midnight mass before or after dinner. The special Christmas Eve midnight mass is called Misa del Gallo or Rooster's Mass, because a rooster is said to have crowed the night that Jesus was born.

It would be a wonderful experience for any pilgrim to attend such a service on such a special night. To help with your planning here is a Google Map of Parishes/Churches along the camino where you might attend.

Buen camino and Feliz Navidad!
Wonderful context. Many long years ago, in Manila, I attended the nine day Misa del Gallo experience/ retreat. Wow! It surely was early! I recall on the first morning waking up all the other sleepers in the dormitory because I could not silence my alarm!
Cockcrow - misa del gallo.
 
Thanks! Quite a few albergues that should be open 365 happen to be closed somewhere between December 15 and January 7. I know that the xunta albergue in Redondela is closed, I am still hoping the ones in Vigo and Padrón will be open.
albergue phone numbers are often on whatsapp, and they're usually more responsive there via sms. . . wondering if you've tried this @Luka and still no luck?
 
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albergue phone numbers are often on whatsapp, and they're usually more responsive there via sms. . . wondering if you've tried this @Luka and still no luck?
I haven't tried that yet, but it sounds like a good idea. 👍
 
Here is my post from 2021 which may be of help/interest for Christmas 2023 plans.

In Spanish, Christmas Eve is La Noche Buena/The Good Night. In Spain it is celebrated with a large family feast eaten late in the evening and lasting several hours. Some families attend midnight mass before or after dinner. The special Christmas Eve midnight mass is called Misa del Gallo or Rooster's Mass, because a rooster is said to have crowed the night that Jesus was born.

It would be a wonderful experience for any pilgrim to attend such a service on such a special night. To help with your planning here is a Google Map of Parishes/Churches along the camino where you might attend.

Buen camino and Feliz Navidad!
Thanks @mspath! I will be in Sabarís then (if everything goes according to plan) and found a church at 700m from my albergue. The biggest challenge is probably going to be to stay awake until midnight... 😁
 
FYI, I did get the tickets booked for the Sophia Reina Museum. Quite a lot of hoops to jump through, but got all the paperwork completed and the online booking registration so that our group of 12 only had to pay 5 euros total. Normally is it 12 euros per person although students can get in at reduced or free with their student ID. I think it was worth the hassle. I had to get a document signed that certified that our students were degree-seeking from an educational program.

Now just waiting on train and bus tickets to go on sale. I also contacted @wisepilgrim to see if he knows anything more about the Portomarin Xunta albergue situation.
Wow, that is a real bargain! Great that you managed to make that reserveration. It is a wonderful museum.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
Bus tickets from the Santiago Airport to Sarria went on sale today so I have that checked off my list. Waiting now on train tickets and trying to get something booked for Portomarin since I can't confirm if the Xunta albergue is open.
 
Here is my post from 2021 which may be of help/interest for Christmas 2023 plans.

In Spanish, Christmas Eve is La Noche Buena/The Good Night. In Spain it is celebrated with a large family feast eaten late in the evening and lasting several hours. Some families attend midnight mass before or after dinner. The special Christmas Eve midnight mass is called Misa del Gallo or Rooster's Mass, because a rooster is said to have crowed the night that Jesus was born.

It would be a wonderful experience for any pilgrim to attend such a service on such a special night. To help with your planning here is a Google Map of Parishes/Churches along the camino where you might attend.

Buen camino and Feliz Navidad!
Do albergues generally suspend their closing hour rules to permit this?
 
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

€60,-
Alas, our group of students will be in Ferreiros that night. Hope we will find someplace to eat or it will a microwave cup of soup and early to bed for us!
 
Alas, our group of students will be in Ferreiros that night. Hope we will find someplace to eat or it will a microwave cup of soup and early to bed for us!
When in Ferreiros do check out again
this place down the hill which I mentioned to you here and you enjoyed this past summer.
 
Be part of the Camino Cleanup team! Help us pick up litter from Ponferrada to Sarria.
When in Ferreiros do check out again
this place down the hill which I mentioned to you here and you enjoyed this past summer.
Yes, I am hoping they will be open. I will call ahead from Sarria to try to check, but I will also make sure everyone has the minimum for some kind of evening meal that we can cobble together in the limited confines of the Xunta albergue kitchen. I will let you know when we get going in a few weeks.
 

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