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Considering Roncesvalles-Burgos Oct-Nov 2022? Or Wait Until March or April 2023?

Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019, Coastal Portuguese 2022, 1/2 CF Fall 2022
Hi pilgrims!

I walked the French Way solo May 2019 and Portuguese Coastal with my husband, Marcus in May 2022. On the Portuguese Way we pre-booked private rooms as 1) I wanted Marcus to have a good experience (he's a newbie walker) and 2) COVID prevention. He's diabetic and it was our first international trip since COVID and we wanted to err on the side of caution.

On the Portuguese Way, I thought I'd miss the spontaneity of seeing where we landed, but must admit, I really loved the pre-bookings : ) It saved a lot of stress---we just walked and enjoyed.

Well, it worked for Marcus, too, as now we're considering a short Camino from Roncesvalles to Burgos this October or November 2022, taking 14 days (we don't like to hurry), and maybe taking the bus to Sarria and doing the last 100 km Navarre and Rioja were some of my favorite regions in 2019, and I'd love to share that section with Marcus! I wish we had time to walk the whole French Way together, but it's not in the cards this autumn.

Weather

Forgive me, I cannot find the weather and planning resources! I checked other posts, and sounds like October in Navarre and Rioja might have cool mornings (down to 0 C?) and maybe rain, but warmer days. Is that right? How about November?

Bookings

Also, from what I'm reading (and seeing on https://www.aprinca.com/alberguesinvierno/), November to end of February is considered winter and lodging might be more limited ( and places might be closed). Is that right?

Do you think we'd be OK winging it with albergues during October or November? How about private lodging? I just did an initial check at Booking.com and looks like a lot of private lodging is already booked in Roncesvalles mid-October. I know you can email or call the directly, and Booking.com does not reflect the whole inventory. Still, there's not a ton available and I know it takes awhile for folks to spread out after SJPP.

We are also considering March or April 2023, if y'all think that might be more favorable.

**Thanks in advance for any information you can provide**
 
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If you want private rooms book a day or two ahead. In October some albergues begin to close, but it does not sound like you want to stay in albergues really. Some private albergues do have private room options, but rarely municipals, etc. Look in your guide book or on your app for places with this option. Walking this summer we were able to find places with only a day or two lead time. Last fall my husband had no problems in September and October. He did not stay in private rooms all the time though. Watch out for Spanish holidays as that may effect private room availability.
 
If you want private rooms book a day or two ahead. In October some albergues begin to close, but it does not sound like you want to stay in albergues really. Some private albergues do have private room options, but rarely municipals, etc. Look in your guide book or on your app for places with this option. Walking this summer we were able to find places with only a day or two lead time. Last fall my husband had no problems in September and October. He did not stay in private rooms all the time though. Watch out for Spanish holidays as that may effect private room availability.
Thank you! We thought of staying in albergues this time, or mixing it up with private rooms.

Will a lot of places with private rooms be closed in November?

Great tip on Spanish holidays, thank you!
 
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There are quite a few discussions about walking in October-November. You can use the Search function, enter "october" (or "november") and click Search titles only. You will need to glance through threads about other routes too, but you should quickly find discussions of the Camino Frances in October- November.

I have walked the Camino Frances 3 times in October-November and thought it was a great time to walk. I don't think you will have difficulty finding beds. The crowds from SJPP drop off sharply at the beginning of October. However, it is best not to count on walking into a random small town in November where there is only one albergue, and expect beds to be available. However 1 or 2 days in advance should be no problem.

As for any time of the year, be aware of the public holidays when Spaniards often travel and accommodation gets booked up.
 
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There are quite a few discussions about walking in October-November. You can use the Search function, enter "october" (or "november") and click Search titles only. You will need to glance through threads about other routes too, but you should quickly find discussions of the Camino Frances in October- November.

I have walked the Camino Frances 3 times in October-November and thought it was a great time to walk. I don't think you will have difficulty finding beds. The crowds from SJPP drop off sharply at the beginning of October. However, it is best not to count on walking into a random small town in November where there is only one albergue, and expect beds to be available. However 1 or 2 days in advance should be no problem.

As for any time of the year, be aware of the public holidays when Spaniards often travel and accommodation gets booked up.
Many thanks for the search tip!! I *knew* there were weather related discussions, but could not find anything with "weather." Thanks for the tip on putting the month name in the search titles only, much appreciated!!
 
Thank you! We thought of staying in albergues this time, or mixing it up with private rooms.

Will a lot of places with private rooms be closed in November?

Great tip on Spanish holidays, thank you!
Yes albergues will likely start to close early to mid October. Use an app or a guide book to see when. Use Gronze.com in the Google app for automatic translation or use an app like wisepilgrim. They close because pilgrims drop off at this time. Some albergues are open all the time, but the aprinca.com site is not active until Dec 1 to see the winter albergue list.
 
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I’ve usually walked in the ‘off season’ and in a normal year (which this is not - at least as yet) I’ve always found sufficient availability. I book the first couple of nights then take the advice of the hospitaleros and; if necessary; book ahead as I go. I prefer private rooms; but not exclusively.
 
I don’t think you’ll have trouble with accommodations in March-April. I walked Burgos to Rabanal in late March 2022 without booking ahead and had no trouble with accommodations. I stayed in private rooms and was the only pilgrim in several places I stopped. A couple of times, there was not an obvious accommodation open, but a stop in a local bar found one quickly.
It was a very solitary walk, very few pilgrims, and a wonderful time.
 
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Hi pilgrims!

I walked the French Way solo May 2019 and Portuguese Coastal with my husband, Marcus in May 2022. On the Portuguese Way we pre-booked private rooms as 1) I wanted Marcus to have a good experience (he's a newbie walker) and 2) COVID prevention. He's diabetic and it was our first international trip since COVID and we wanted to err on the side of caution.

On the Portuguese Way, I thought I'd miss the spontaneity of seeing where we landed, but must admit, I really loved the pre-bookings : ) It saved a lot of stress---we just walked and enjoyed.

Well, it worked for Marcus, too, as now we're considering a short Camino from Roncesvalles to Burgos this October or November 2022, taking 14 days (we don't like to hurry), and maybe taking the bus to Sarria and doing the last 100 km Navarre and Rioja were some of my favorite regions in 2019, and I'd love to share that section with Marcus! I wish we had time to walk the whole French Way together, but it's not in the cards this autumn.

Weather

Forgive me, I cannot find the weather and planning resources! I checked other posts, and sounds like October in Navarre and Rioja might have cool mornings (down to 0 C?) and maybe rain, but warmer days. Is that right? How about November?

Bookings

Also, from what I'm reading (and seeing on https://www.aprinca.com/alberguesinvierno/), November to end of February is considered winter and lodging might be more limited ( and places might be closed). Is that right?

Do you think we'd be OK winging it with albergues during October or November? How about private lodging? I just did an initial check at Booking.com and looks like a lot of private lodging is already booked in Roncesvalles mid-October. I know you can email or call the directly, and Booking.com does not reflect the whole inventory. Still, there's not a ton available and I know it takes awhile for folks to spread out after SJPP.

We are also considering March or April 2023, if y'all think that might be more favorable.

**Thanks in advance for any information you can provide**
I have walked the Camino Frances 3 times in October-November and thought it was a great time to walk. I don't think you will have difficulty finding beds.
I too have walked the CF in late October and into December. I never had an issue finding a bed. Aprinca is a good site that is very up to date regarding albergue availability. I think it comes online in October. I will say that NO sight is complete or 100% accurate when it comes to available albergues in each town or village and whether they are open or closed. I would say that the general accuracy is about 65-70% at best. When I walk I refer to Gronze.com/Buen Camino and Wise Pilgrim apps to search out albergues and which are open. I think Gronze and Wise Pilgrim try to stay really up to date but you never know when an owner will close on a whim. I would call ahead the day before to check on open/closed albergues. Some days I call a few towns to check on availability because weather may come into play or just because I never know how far I want to go on any particular day.
I personally feel that more and more albergues will start to stay open longer now that it seems more and more people are walking later into the year. A good number of albergues close at the end of October. I have also noticed when an albergue is listed as closing the end of October some close a week or so before the end of the month.
I don't think it is ever too cold to walk. I would always check beforehand and talk to albergue or bar owners about the severity of storms that may be coming. It seems the local people know better than the weather forecasters if it is safe to walk. I only worry about heavy snow or really intense and cold rain. Otherwise, freezing temperatures and even gusty winds (to me are not a problem) Walking for 10 or 15 minutes with gloves a good beanie and buff you warm up quickly, even in these conditions . In fact I often take clothes off pretty quickly because it can be dangerous to start sweating in your clothes as you walk.
Take what I say with a grain of salt as I would prefer -5C or 25F over a 35C+ or 90+F day. I really do not like walking in hot weather. You can always put clothes on to warm up but there is a limit to taking them off and being cool and protecting your body and skin from dehydration, sunstroke or sunburn.
 
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Yes albergues will likely start to close early to mid October. Use an app or a guide book to see when. Use Gronze.com in the Google app for automatic translation or use an app like wisepilgrim. They close because pilgrims drop off at this time. Some albergues are open all the time, but the aprinca.com site is not active until Dec 1 to see the winter albergue list.
Unless things have changed I remember clearly referring to it at the end of October. But my clarity is sometimes unclear!
 
Layers are perfect for this time of year, but you are correct the mornings can be very cold.
I will mention 2 things that will be very different from your May Camino:
1) until the time change at the end of October it will be very dark in the morning. The sun doesn’t rise until between 8:30-9:00. You will need a headlamp. I never take one in the spring but find one necessary in the fall.
2) The landscape will be very different. What was green in the spring will be brown in the fall, but the vineyards that were just getting leaves in the spring will be changing to gold and red in October.

If you decide on the spring, and go in March you may have some accommodations challenges, but I’m sure with some planning you can find places that are open. The earliest I’ve started is mid-April in SJPdP. If you start much earlier there is the real possibility of snow in Roncevalles.
 
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We walked 2016 in march/April and walked in 3 weeks of snow. You can never predict the weather.
 
Thank you! We thought of staying in albergues this time, or mixing it up with private rooms.

Will a lot of places with private rooms be closed in November?

Great tip on Spanish holidays, thank you!

Since I will be walking during this time too, I googled Spanish Bank Holidays. The list had:

Oct 12th (National Day of Spain)

Nov 1st (All Saints Day).

Jim
 
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.
<snip> I really do not like walking in hot weather. You can always put clothes on to warm up but there is a limit to taking them off and being cool and protecting your body and skin from dehydration, sunstroke or sunburn.
...or arrest!
 
Since I will be walking during this time too, I googled Spanish Bank Holidays. The list had:

Oct 12th (National Day of Spain)

Nov 1st (All Saints Day).

Jim
Before every camino I check for all holidays in Spain not just national ones. I need to be prepared if a region or city or town is having a celebration. I think it is especially important to do if you are walking a less traveled camino.
 
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Before every camino I check for all holidays in Spain not just national ones. I need to be prepared if a region or city or town is having a celebration. I think it is especially important to do if you are walking a less traveled camino.
Good point, i had trouble booking a room in Pamplona on Saturday September 24. I found out it is the Feast of the Martyrdom of San Fermin. No running of the Bulls for this feast though. Got a place 4km before the city that night.

Jim
 
In Pamplona Casa Paderborn will be open until October 31st.
They do not take reservations. But that late in the season it should not be difficult to find a bed there.
¡Buen Camino!
 
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