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Crowding on the Camino Francés?

magrudman

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future TBD
Hiya! I’m planning on either doing the Norte or Frances Camino starting July 5th. I’d either start the French way in SJPP or the Norte in Irun. I don’t have a time constraint, so I’d be walking at my own pace.

The defining question is how crowded the French Camino is at the moment. Are folk on the trail right now finding it too busy? While I enjoy meeting new folk, I also want to enjoy that “I’m alone with nature” feeling- also have some concerns about the temperature. On the other hand, I’m worried about getting too lonely on the northern way (solo traveler, first Camino!) let me know your thoughts :)
 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
While I enjoy meeting new folk, I also want to enjoy that “I’m alone with nature” feeling
Judging how crowded someone else will find a route is very difficult. It is a very subjective thing. I know that I personally would find current numbers on the Frances very hard to bear. And there is little opportunity to be "alone with nature" for long.

2022 looks like being quite similar in numbers to 2019 though perhaps a little more busy. Here are part of the pilgrim office's figures for July 2019. They may give you an idea of the numbers you will encounter. As always those beginning their journey in Sarria far outnumber those who began further east and make the final 100km a radically different experience from the rest of the Frances.

Screenshot_2022-06-28-23-03-37-353.jpg
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
I walked the Francés from beginning of july in 2019. If the numbers are roughly the same this year, maybe it won't be too bad. Some days I walked for hours without seeing many pilgrims, especially when walking in the afternoon. Stopping in small places off the main stages also helps. I didn't find it too crowded, but then again, I love the Francés, just the way it is, crowds and all.
Buen Camino to you, whatever you decide!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
Hiya! I’m planning on either doing the Norte or Frances Camino starting July 5th. I’d either start the French way in SJPP or the Norte in Irun. I don’t have a time constraint, so I’d be walking at my own pace.

The defining question is how crowded the French Camino is at the moment. Are folk on the trail right now finding it too busy? While I enjoy meeting new folk, I also want to enjoy that “I’m alone with nature” feeling- also have some concerns about the temperature. On the other hand, I’m worried about getting too lonely on the northern way (solo traveler, first Camino!) let me know your thoughts :)
Welcome to the forum. I am not on a camino at present, but reading this forum, and any others you subscribe to, will give you indications re your query.
Be aware that there is a possibility - and the next statement is hearsay - that Pope Francis will pop in to Santiago around the feast of St James. Add that to the mix and see what you want to do to get there or miss that date!
Buen camino, whatever decision you make.
 
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roving_rufus

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2013-2015) Portugues (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??) Camino from Ireland (2020-??)
Having just come back from walking on Via Bayona for a week ( which is solitary), it passes through Irun, and I met or saw plenty of pilgrims doing the Norte in Irun. The Norte doesn't have the same numbers as the Frances but it is still well travelled and may give that mix of social and solitude. So I'd say pick which one your heart feels stronger on, for some it may be the Frances as its so well known, for others it would be the Norte with sea. Either one should provide a great camino experience
 

David with new Kit!

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019 SJPP to Logroño
2021 Logroño - SDC
I walked the Frances in September 2021 and it was "busy", especially the last 100kms from Sarria, which is definitely a shock to the system. I cant see it getting any quieter. (Great camino, though)

I'm doing the Del Norte from August 2022 and I am expecting it to be quieter.

It really depends on an individuals tolerance levels I suppose.
 
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Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
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Hiya! I’m planning on either doing the Norte or Frances Camino starting July 5th. I’d either start the French way in SJPP or the Norte in Irun. I don’t have a time constraint, so I’d be walking at my own pace.

The defining question is how crowded the French Camino is at the moment. Are folk on the trail right now finding it too busy? While I enjoy meeting new folk, I also want to enjoy that “I’m alone with nature” feeling- also have some concerns about the temperature. On the other hand, I’m worried about getting too lonely on the northern way (solo traveler, first Camino!) let me know your thoughts :)
A thing to consider is that the months July and August are holidays in Spain. The northern coast is a rather popular destination for beach holidays for spanish people. This means probably that privat accomodations many times will be full and more expensive. I believe I read somewhere that quite a few albergues on the Norte are closed, so the combination of this two factors might be problematic.
I started the Camino Frances on 26 April but changed over to the Via Sanabres because of the crowds. I walked the Norte and I liked it very much. In this regard I would opt for the Norte
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
You won't know until you get there. There's no predicting day to day how many pilgrims will be walking, and which parts of a route are crowded while others not. I have walked in the height of the pilgrim season before and stayed in almost empty albergues, and a few days later gotten to a town completely full.
 

LpDenver

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2018
Hiya! I’m planning on either doing the Norte or Frances Camino starting July 5th. I’d either start the French way in SJPP or the Norte in Irun. I don’t have a time constraint, so I’d be walking at my own pace.

The defining question is how crowded the French Camino is at the moment. Are folk on the trail right now finding it too busy? While I enjoy meeting new folk, I also want to enjoy that “I’m alone with nature” feeling- also have some concerns about the temperature. On the other hand, I’m worried about getting too lonely on the northern way (solo traveler, first Camino!) let me know your thoughts :)
I just walked from Sarria late May to early June this year and was shocked at how few people there were. I walked solo this time. 4 years ago I’d done the last portion of the Portuguese camino during the same week of the year and remember it being much more trafficked by both hiker and biker. Being solo I found I missed the people. Everywhere I read that it would be a more crowded route especially from sarria but this is not what I found at all.
Hiya! I’m planning on either doing the Norte or Frances Camino starting July 5th. I’d either start the French way in SJPP or the Norte in Irun. I don’t have a time constraint, so I’d be walking at my own pace.

The defining question is how crowded the French Camino is at the moment. Are folk on the trail right now finding it too busy? While I enjoy meeting new folk, I also want to enjoy that “I’m alone with nature” feeling- also have some concerns about the temperature. On the other hand, I’m worried about getting too lonely on the northern way (solo traveler, first Camino!) let me know your thoughts :)
Oh and I always left in the mornings around 8-9am which could have played a roll. Seems like a lot of people leave early early.
 

Sandra Riordan

Hobart Australia
Time of past OR future Camino
Francis 2015, Portuguese 2016, El Norte 2017 & VDLP 2019.
Hiya! I’m planning on either doing the Norte or Frances Camino starting July 5th. I’d either start the French way in SJPP or the Norte in Irun. I don’t have a time constraint, so I’d be walking at my own pace.

The defining question is how crowded the French Camino is at the moment. Are folk on the trail right now finding it too busy? While I enjoy meeting new folk, I also want to enjoy that “I’m alone with nature” feeling- also have some concerns about the temperature. On the other hand, I’m worried about getting too lonely on the northern way (solo traveler, first Camino!) let me know your thoughts :)
I am currently on Dos Faros after doing Norte. Norte was busier then it has been in other times I walked there however I tried France and for me it was unbearable. Again that is only how I like to walk, I personally would not walk Frances but again that is subjective. Enjoy whichever you choose. For me it would be Norte
 

musicman

Ensuitepilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Hiya! I’m planning on either doing the Norte or Frances Camino starting July 5th. I’d either start the French way in SJPP or the Norte in Irun. I don’t have a time constraint, so I’d be walking at my own pace.

The defining question is how crowded the French Camino is at the moment. Are folk on the trail right now finding it too busy? While I enjoy meeting new folk, I also want to enjoy that “I’m alone with nature” feeling- also have some concerns about the temperature. On the other hand, I’m worried about getting too lonely on the northern way (solo traveler, first Camino!) let me know your thoughts :)
We walked from St J P de P to Burgos from 09/22 to 22/22. No crowds at all. The Camino is still recovering from the pandemic . It was a great fortnight - one of the next of the several I have walked - don’t miss it! Buen camino
 
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Frances/SJPP '15,'16,'18,'19,('20)
Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018, 2019
Just finished Burgos to Leon section and the Camino is as empty as I’ve seen it…. 5th Francis. Evidently there was a large wave ahead of us that started in May. Except for a few small albergues, most have only been half full. Contrary to popular the opinion July and August normally have the fewest number starting from SJPdP. You can expect that it will be very crowded on the last 100km. It was in October on my last Camino Francis and my friends who just finished said it was changed dramatically after Sarria.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Welcome to the forum. I am not on a camino at present, but reading this forum, and any others you subscribe to, will give you indications re your query.
Be aware that there is a possibility - and the next statement is hearsay - that Pope Francis will pop in to Santiago around the feast of St James. Add that to the mix and see what you want to do to get there or miss that date!
Buen camino, whatever decision you make.
what day is the feast of st. james
 

Quinranda

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2016)
I just finished the Frances (May 10-June 15) and I didn't find it too crowded even though there were many people starting in May. The first few days felt busy (but exciting), and I had many days walking in which I saw few people during the day, but had great social interactions (if I wanted them) once I'd arrived for the night. I found many people left super early in the am, so unless there was a heatwave, I'd leave a bit later and found the way much quieter than when I left super early. Hope this helps.
 
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kimgaspesie

Quebec, Canada
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances done in 2001 and 2022.
Hiya! I’m planning on either doing the Norte or Frances Camino starting July 5th. I’d either start the French way in SJPP or the Norte in Irun. I don’t have a time constraint, so I’d be walking at my own pace.

The defining question is how crowded the French Camino is at the moment. Are folk on the trail right now finding it too busy? While I enjoy meeting new folk, I also want to enjoy that “I’m alone with nature” feeling- also have some concerns about the temperature. On the other hand, I’m worried about getting too lonely on the northern way (solo traveler, first Camino!) let me know your thoughts :)
Not crowded at all. We've been walking for almost two weeks and haven't booked ahead. On the meseta today (Ledigos) and crossed paths with maybe eight people while walking. We also started walking during the heat wave (41 degrees) and survived. It's quite pleasant now in the mid 20s.
 

Schamber

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May and June 2022
Hiya! I’m planning on either doing the Norte or Frances Camino starting July 5th. I’d either start the French way in SJPP or the Norte in Irun. I don’t have a time constraint, so I’d be walking at my own pace.

The defining question is how crowded the French Camino is at the moment. Are folk on the trail right now finding it too busy? While I enjoy meeting new folk, I also want to enjoy that “I’m alone with nature” feeling- also have some concerns about the temperature. On the other hand, I’m worried about getting too lonely on the northern way (solo traveler, first Camino!) let me know your thoughts :)
We’re in the Frances now in O’Cebreiro and it hasn’t been crowded at all!!
 

makingtrax

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
El norte2010
Portuguese 2014
Primativo 2016
Frances sept 2017!
Hiya! I’m planning on either doing the Norte or Frances Camino starting July 5th. I’d either start the French way in SJPP or the Norte in Irun. I don’t have a time constraint, so I’d be walking at my own pace.

The defining question is how crowded the French Camino is at the moment. Are folk on the trail right now finding it too busy? While I enjoy meeting new folk, I also want to enjoy that “I’m alone with nature” feeling- also have some concerns about the temperature. On the other hand, I’m worried about getting too lonely on the northern way (solo traveler, first Camino!) let me know your thoughts :)
July and august busy on both routes due to spanish students on vacation and surfers along the coast. Unfortunately they use the albergues as cheap accom and become fake pilgrims to access the facilities often partying into the night. I found late july and thru august the worst for overcrowding.
 

Isabelpilgrim

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
Hiya! I’m planning on either doing the Norte or Frances Camino starting July 5th. I’d either start the French way in SJPP or the Norte in Irun. I don’t have a time constraint, so I’d be walking at my own pace.

The defining question is how crowded the French Camino is at the moment. Are folk on the trail right now finding it too busy? While I enjoy meeting new folk, I also want to enjoy that “I’m alone with nature” feeling- also have some concerns about the temperature. On the other hand, I’m worried about getting too lonely on the northern way (solo traveler, first Camino!) let me know your thoughts :)
I just finished the Frances yesterday. Even being in Sarria on a Sunday with lots of families and groups of teens walking for the week, there didn't seem to be a shortage of beds, though if you look on booking sites it might seem that way. I didn't try to get Compostela yesterday, but I waited less than 10 minutes today, and walked through the Puerta de Person into the pilgrim's mass today without any wait.
 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Be aware that there is a possibility - and the next statement is hearsay - that Pope Francis will pop in to Santiago around the feast of St James. Add that to the mix and see what you want to do to get there or miss that date!

The Pope is scheduled to be in Canada then, so unlikely he'll be at Santiago!

John Paul II visited Santiago during the 1982 Holy Year - though in November rather than July. The papal visit and Holy Year combined caused a huge spike in Compostela numbers which jumped to nearly 2,000 that year. I think a papal visit nowadays might even beat that... :cool:
 

JustJack

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
Not crowded at all. We've been walking for almost two weeks and haven't booked ahead. On the meseta today (Ledigos) and crossed paths with maybe eight people while walking. We also started walking during the heat wave (41 degrees) and survived. It's quite pleasant now in the mid 20s.
Such big differences in what people are reporting! I've read many reports about the difficulty finding accommodation this year, and the absolute necessity of booking well ahead (and even then sometimes having trouble).

I've also read many reports that the crowds are similar to 2019.

I've read some reports that the crowds are smaller than 2019, some that the crowds are larger.

And some reports - like yours - that say there's no problem finding accommodation.

No doubt all those reports are correct, despite being contradictory. But it's enough to drive a first-time pilgrim crazy wondering what to expect! Yeah I know - everyone's mileage may vary, and there are many variables that can impact the availability of a bed. But still surprised how different peoples' experiences have been this year.
 

geraldkelly

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Vía de la Plata / Camino Sanabrés, Camino del Baztán, Camino Aragonés, Chemin du Puy
Such big differences in what people are reporting! I've read many reports about the difficulty finding accommodation this year, and the absolute necessity of booking well ahead (and even then sometimes having trouble).

I've also read many reports that the crowds are similar to 2019.

I've read some reports that the crowds are smaller than 2019, some that the crowds are larger.

And some reports - like yours - that say there's no problem finding accommodation.

No doubt all those reports are correct, despite being contradictory. But it's enough to drive a first-time pilgrim crazy wondering what to expect! Yeah I know - everyone's mileage may vary, and there are many variables that can impact the availability of a bed. But still surprised how different peoples' experiences have been this year.
Any reports I've seen from people actually walking say that it looks like a normal year and there's nothing to worry about, at least until Sarria.

September is another matter. There are always problems in September all along the Camino.
 

Schamber

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May and June 2022
Such big differences in what people are reporting! I've read many reports about the difficulty finding accommodation this year, and the absolute necessity of booking well ahead (and even then sometimes having trouble).

I've also read many reports that the crowds are similar to 2019.

I've read some reports that the crowds are smaller than 2019, some that the crowds are larger.

And some reports - like yours - that say there's no problem finding accommodation.

No doubt all those reports are correct, despite being contradictory. But it's enough to drive a first-time pilgrim crazy wondering what to expect! Yeah I know - everyone's mileage may vary, and there are many variables that can impact the availability of a bed. But still surprised how different peoples' experiences have been this year.
Yep! Depends on what day you start and then the stages or miles you walk. And how picky you are. 😂
 

Isabelpilgrim

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
Any reports I've seen from people actually walking say that it looks like a normal year and there's nothing to worry about, at least until Sarria.

September is another matter. There are always problems in September all along the Camino.
I think if you look on booking sites it will seem as if there is a shortage, but from talking to people who had been walking since SJPP and not pre-booking, they always were able to find a place, even if that required trying a couple different places. But, it might be different in the fall when the weather is better for walking. And also, keep an eye out for festivals which might add to crowding.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2023
Such big differences in what people are reporting! I've read many reports about the difficulty finding accommodation this year, and the absolute necessity of booking well ahead (and even then sometimes having trouble).

I've also read many reports that the crowds are similar to 2019.

I've read some reports that the crowds are smaller than 2019, some that the crowds are larger.

And some reports - like yours - that say there's no problem finding accommodation.

No doubt all those reports are correct, despite being contradictory. But it's enough to drive a first-time pilgrim crazy wondering what to expect! Yeah I know - everyone's mileage may vary, and there are many variables that can impact the availability of a bed. But still surprised how different peoples' experiences have been this year.
That is because there are two short but very large waves of people starting in St. Jean. If you start from SJPdP during the first two weeks of May and September then you will find it is very busy. Outside of these times it generally isn't busy.

Also, because most people take around five weeks to walk from SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela then you continue to hear from people about how busy it is through May to June and September to October but what isn't often obvious is that these reports are coming from people within those waves.

Then in August the Spanish take their annual Summer holidays and many choose to walk a Camino. Mostly the locals walk shorter Caminos and so from O Cebreiro to Santiago gets busy in August and particularly from Sarria to Santiago.

Then you have people who preplan their walk as if it is a walking holiday and they follow guide book stages and as a result the suggested stopping points mentioned in the guide books get much busier than the towns either side of those suggested stopping points.

Then you have the people who will only stay in a private room that they can reserve. There seems to be more of these people this year. These are mainly the people who are saying that it is busier than usual and that "you must reserve".

Pilgrims who are prepared to stay in dormitory type accommodation (that often can not be reserved) rarely have these problems finding a bed.

Lastly, for most people the Camino Frances is 100 metres wide and they never look for accommodation that is off the route.

You need to decide where you are comfortable in terms of uncertainty and organise your Camino around that.

For some people a Camino is a pleasant holiday walk through a beautiful part of Spain.

For others it is an opportunity to challenge yourself in a way that is not dangerous but which will often result in a breakthrough in some part of your life.

If you are walking a Camino because you want to have a pleasant holiday in Spain then reserve your accommodation as you would for any holiday.

If you are walking a Camino as a personal challenge then part of the challenge is trusting in yourself that you can find a solution to the daily question of where shall I sleep tonight?

Allowing your daily activities to be simplified into:
Get up
Wash then pack my bag
Walk
Stop to eat when hungry
Walk
Stop for the day when tired
Wash
Eat
Sleep
.... Then repeat
Powerfully shows you what are the important things in your life and what is the fluff.

Doing this for 30+ days also shows you what you can achieve by putting one step in front of another (you can walk 800klms).

As you will hear, over and over, it is your Camino. How you choose to do it is up to you. AND if you want to challenge yourself then consider not reserving every night and consider trusting yourself to get you through.

After all, Spain is a beautiful, highly civilised, first world country. If something goes wrong, help is never far away
 

Sheesh

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2009, 2013, (2022)
If you are walking a Camino because you want to have a pleasant holiday in Spain then reserve your accommodation as you would for any holiday.

If you are walking a Camino as a personal challenge then part of the challenge is trusting in yourself that you can find a solution to the daily question of where shall I sleep tonight?

Au contraire; a pilgrim who books ahead can most definitely walk the Camino as a personal challenge. And they "find a solution to the daily question of where shall I sleep tonight" by booking ahead. There is nothing wrong with it and one is not a second class pilgrim for having done so.

Such unveiled animus toward those who book ahead is so unfair and fails to take into account the MANY reasons a pilgrim may choose to do so.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
For others it is an opportunity to challenge yourself in a way that is not dangerous but which will often result in a breakthrough in some part of your life.
Yes, that might be ONE way to challenge yourself, but there are surely many others. Who is to say which particular challenge is the "proper" one? A person's accommodation status is not exactly the most important element of a camino, and it seems strange to put so much significance on it.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
There is nothing wrong with it and one is not a second class pilgrim for having done so.
I agree completely and I was very careful not to talk about pilgrims in this manner.

Anyone who declares themselves a pilgrim is a pilgrim and there are no second class pilgrims.

There is however a difference between those people who need to have their world predefined and those people who are prepared to trust their own ability to deal with whatever comes towards them.
 

geraldkelly

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Vía de la Plata / Camino Sanabrés, Camino del Baztán, Camino Aragonés, Chemin du Puy
There a post on Facebook today from someone who's currently volunteering in the Pilgrims Office in Santiago.
 
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mjal

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
I agree completely and I was very careful not to talk about pilgrims in this manner.

Anyone who declares themselves a pilgrim is a pilgrim and there are no second class pilgrims.

There is however a difference between those people who need to have their world predefined and those people who are prepared to trust their own ability to deal with whatever comes towards them.
May I say immediately that, especially since the advent of Covid, I am almost always in agreement with your posts? However...

There is definitely a pejorative flavour to the idea of a difference between those who need to have their world predefined and those who trust to their own abilities to solve, on the spur of the moment, accommodation (and other) problems.

Some of us have spent a professional lifetime thinking on our feet, often with inadequate information and resources - family physician, for example.

We travelled extensively in Europe when younger - no bookings, camping, initially together and then with increasing numbers of children (first such expedition was with a child under 4 months of age...). Perhaps we are happier to plan ahead when we can afford to do so and not endure unpleasant surprises.

This leads to the topic of costs in general and the more particular concept of those with a good disposable income occupying cheap lodgings i.e. albergues. I raised this question several years ago but there was very little response.
If we can afford hotels, should we be occupying "pilgrim" beds and making life more difficult for those less fortunate?
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
That is because there are two short but very large waves of people starting in St. Jean. If you start from SJPdP during the first two weeks of May and September then you will find it is very busy. Outside of these times it generally isn't busy.

Also, because most people take around five weeks to walk from SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela then you continue to hear from people about how busy it is through May to June and September to October but what isn't often obvious is that these reports are coming from people within those waves.

Then in August the Spanish take their annual Summer holidays and many choose to walk a Camino. Mostly the locals walk shorter Caminos and so from O Cebreiro to Santiago gets busy in August and particularly from Sarria to Santiago.
I hate the way threads get off track because of objections to the way people express themselves. I think this post by @DoughnutANZ makes some very important observations, particularly the second paragraph which is very relevant to planning. It had not occurred to me.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
May I say immediately that, especially since the advent of Covid, I am almost always in agreement with your posts? However...

There is definitely a pejorative flavour to the idea of a difference between those who need to have their world predefined and those who trust to their own abilities to solve, on the spur of the moment, accommodation (and other) problems.

Some of us have spent a professional lifetime thinking on our feet, often with inadequate information and resources - family physician, for example.

We travelled extensively in Europe when younger - no bookings, camping, initially together and then with increasing numbers of children (first such expedition was with a child under 4 months of age...). Perhaps we are happier to plan ahead when we can afford to do so and not endure unpleasant surprises.

This leads to the topic of costs in general and the more particular concept of those with a good disposable income occupying cheap lodgings i.e. albergues. I raised this question several years ago but there was very little response.
If we can afford hotels, should we be occupying "pilgrim" beds and making life more difficult for those less fortunate?
There is no criticism of those people who chose to prebook their accommodation but for what ever reason people choose to do that does not change that there is a difference (for whatever reason) between the people who prebook and those that rely on their own actions to define their own journey and as a consequence where they sleep for the night.

It can not be questioned that those people who choose to take things as they come and to rely on themselves to deal with whatever that throws up have a greater challenge than those people who plan each day well ahead of time.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
There is definitely a pejorative flavour to the idea of a difference between those who need to have their world predefined and those who trust to their own abilities to solve, on the spur of the moment, accommodation (and other) problems.
Look, if that is the meaning that you took from what I wrote then I apologize unreservedly. It was not my intention to value one above another but it certainly was my intention to invite people who are considering their first Camino to think deeply about why they are doing their Camino.

If, like myself, people are doing their first Camino because of a personal challenge then I want those people to consider that they are capable of resolving the issues that occur from day to day and to believe in themselves. I invite those people to walk their Camino without too much preparation.

If for what ever reason they choose not to do that then they are not second class people but they have missed an important opportunity.

I am committed to assisting people to be the best that they can be.

When I did my Camino I was privileged to meet a number of extraordinary people who had embraced the challenge of a Camino for them. They were using the experience to influence major decisions in their life.

Some of us have spent a professional lifetime thinking on our feet, often with inadequate information and resources - family physician, for example
I absolutely salute you for the difference that you have made in the lives of others. Thank you.
 
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SabineP

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
There is no criticism of those people who chose to prebook their accommodation but for what ever reason people choose to do that does not change that there is a difference (for whatever reason) between the people who prebook and those that rely on their own actions to define their own journey and as a consequence where they sleep for the night.

It can not be questioned that those people who choose to take things as they come and to rely on themselves to deal with whatever that throws up have a greater challenge than those people who plan each day well ahead of time.


I do believe this is the first time I tend to disagree with you @DoughnutANZ.

You write :

" It can not be questioned that those people who choose to take things as they come and to rely on themselves to deal with whatever that throws up have a greater challenge than those people who plan each day well ahead of time."

I am now thinking of the recovering cancer patient ( and Chrohn disease ) who knew that he could only manage to walk a Camino if he planned it all carefully, saved up enough funds ( living very frugally on the Camino too ) to make it possible in the first place. And with the assurance that he would have a private bathroom to tend to his needs.
Rest assured that during his whole life he took or " choose " to take things as it came and that with his illness he had to deal more than enough with unexpected things.

I also know a younger female student who comes from a well off financial background and took the Camino " as it came " in the knowledge she could always mum & dad to transfer her some money. So yes she " took things as they came " ( sleeping mostly in the municipales ) but with a bigger backup plan than the first pilgrim I described.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
I am now thinking of the recovering cancer patient ( and Chrohn disease ) who knew that he could only manage to walk a Camino if he planned it all carefully, saved up enough funds ( living very frugally on the Camino too ) to make it possible in the first place. And with the assurance that he would have a private bathroom to tend to his needs.
What you write here does not dispute that there is a difference in the challenge of walking a predefined Camino and a Camino that someone takes as they find it. In fact you seem to be agreeing.

I have never said that everyone should walk an unplanned Camino. For some people the extra challenge is a step too far.

For most people it is an opportunity and if they are prepared to embrace that opportunity then they have a chance to make an even more significant difference in their own life.

Unfortunately, for almost everyone it is an opportunity that only occurs once because once you have walked your first Camino you have a significant knowledge advantage if you choose to walk a second or more Caminos.

There is only one first Camino, I invite you to use it in the most profitable manner for you.
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
For most people it is an opportunity and if they are prepared to embrace that opportunity then they have a chance to make an even more significant difference in their own life.
That is an interesting point you write : " an even more significant difference in their own life".

I personally do not see the Camino as a means for obtaining more significant differences in my life. Life in itself throws me enough challenges as it is. I really do not need a Camino to tell me that.

Edit :
Some people feel completely ok with their life as it is and embrace the status quo.
 
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geraldkelly

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Vía de la Plata / Camino Sanabrés, Camino del Baztán, Camino Aragonés, Chemin du Puy
This thread is about how many people are walking the Camino Francés at this time. It's about providing people with accurate information. Everybody who's trying to send it off in a different direction is doing us all a disservice. Please stop.

Maybe the mods would consider deleting some of the comments which don't contribute in any way to the purpose of the thread? Thank you.
 
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mjal

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
This thread is about how many people are walking the Camino Francés at this time. It's about providing people with accurate information. Everybody who's trying to send it off in a different direction is doing us all a disservice. Please stop.

Maybe the mods would consider deleting some of the comments which don't contribute in any way to the purpose of the thread? Thank you.
As one who has taken up points made in earlier posts, I disagree : if remarks are made which, in a member's opinion, are contentious (or on other threads, frankly inaccurate) should they simply be ignored?
Deleting comments is not useful - later posts may make no sense and, in the case of correcting inaccuracies, (again, not on this thread) if deletions are undertaken then corrections will disappear.
I have made these points in PMs to at least one moderator...
 

Bob Howard

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2016 2018 2022
Arrived Buurgos today. The CF is not crowded. Leaving after-Sarria aside, I have repeatedly inquired at accommodations and bars as too demand/crowds and the uniform response is that (as most veteran Pilgrims know), May and September are the crowded months.

By the way, if you can, arrive in Burgos on a Saturday. It’s like a contemporary Monet painting—Spaniards strolling about, cafes lively, weddings, and dozens of Plein Air artists throughout the Cathedral and river promenade environs. Was here in 2016 and 2018 and it is even more enchanting than ever. Almost magical.
 

JustJack

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
That is because there are two short but very large waves of people starting in St. Jean. If you start from SJPdP during the first two weeks of May and September then you will find it is very busy. Outside of these times it generally isn't busy.
I've tentatively picked May 15 (2023) as the date to start walking from SJPDP. Do you think there would be a noticeable difference if I waited another week, and started walking on May 22? If no discernible difference I'll stick to May 15, but if waiting a week means avoiding a large wave of pilgrims I'm happy to wait. But hopefully by May 15 the large wave you mention will have moved on...
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
I've tentatively picked May 15 (2023) as the date to start walking from SJPDP. Do you think there would be a noticeable difference if I waited another week, and started walking on May 22? If no discernible difference I'll stick to May 15, but if waiting a week means avoiding a large wave of pilgrims I'm happy to wait. But hopefully by May 15 the large wave you mention will have moved on...
This post from @Kathar1na includes a graph of numbers collected by the organisation that helps pilgrims in St. Jean https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/it’s-busy.74621/#post-1039619

It includes a graph of numbers and the numbers have been updated and regraphed here:

https://blogger.googleusercontent.c...1vICqUi2DhX7cAxA/s5456/13-juin-saint-jean.jpg

13-juin-saint-jean.jpg

Unfortunately they don't seem to publish their numbers weekly although @Kathar1na may have some magical way of finding them.

The graphs show two things.

1) 2022 has continued recent trends where the numbers leaving from St. Jean peaked around 2017 and have been dropping slightly each year since then.

2) The drop off in numbers after both the June and September peaks is quite rapid.

I know that this doesn't really answer your question.

I would guess that starting a week later would see a significant drop off in numbers.

How this might affect you is hard to tell. If you walk at a slightly faster or even an average pace then you will soon start catching up with the slower walkers in front of you.

If you have not walked before then the bottleneck between St. Jean and Pamplona will seem very busy to you regardless.

I left St. Jean on the 14th of May 2019, which would have been one of the busiest days that year.

I reserved my first night in St. Jean, then when I got there and talked to the helpers in the pilgrim office I decided to use Express Bourricot to break the walk over the Pyrenees into two days and tried to book another night in St. Jean and found it fully booked. I then looked on AirBnB and found a room in St. Jean.

The second day Express Bourricot dropped me off almost at the top of the Pyrenees (where I had finished the day before) and this put me towards the front of the huge wave heading into Roncesvalles and meant that I had no problems getting a bed in Roncesvalles without a reservation.

In 2019 the Roncesvalles albergue was keeping back two thirds of its beds for walk in pilgrims (these beds could not be reserved). This year they changed that and there were a whole lot less beds for walk in pilgrims. I don't know what they are planning for next year. If they will go back to keeping most of the beds for walk in pilgrims or if they will continue to allow most beds to be reserved. There is one of the volunteers there who is regularly on the forum, maybe they will chime in if they know what the plans are for next year.

Walking on, I got the second to last bed in Zubiri without reservations and the gossip amongst the pilgrims was that Pamplona was fully booked the next night (a Saturday night).

For my own reasons I had to hang around in Pamplona until Monday morning and so the next day I stopped for the night in Zabaldika and I am very pleased that I did as it was one of the highlights of my Camino. It was not possible to reserve at Zabaldika.

Zabaldika is only about 5 klms before Pamplona and so I got to Pamplona really early the next day (Sunday) and plonked my backpack outside the front door of the German albergue in Pamplona and was the first in the queue for a bed there (they also did not accept reservations). In general, Pamplona gets busy on weekends.

After Pamplona things tend to spread out and it is easier to get a bed without a reservation, especially if you don't stop at the established end of stage points.

I hope that this helps you.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Francés
Any reports I've seen from people actually walking say that it looks like a normal year and there's nothing to worry about, at least until Sarria.

September is another matter. There are always problems in September all along the Camino.
Oh my, problems in September? Do you mean due to crowding? Planning to start from St Jean 9/13, have booked through Pamplona, wondering what to expect after that
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Generally, it's the first couple of weeks in September that have huge numbers of pilgrims starting from St Jean. I think that your plan of having reservations through Pamplona is a good one. After that the pilgrim traffic tends to spread out.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2023
Oh my, problems in September? Do you mean due to crowding? Planning to start from St Jean 9/13, have booked through Pamplona, wondering what to expect after that
You will be fine. The people who prebook will have filled up all the private rooms, conveniently leaving the shared room albergues for you and your friends.
 

geraldkelly

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Vía de la Plata / Camino Sanabrés, Camino del Baztán, Camino Aragonés, Chemin du Puy
Oh my, problems in September? Do you mean due to crowding? Planning to start from St Jean 9/13, have booked through Pamplona, wondering what to expect after that
I presume 9/13 means 13 September.

Relax, you'll be fine. After Pamplona play it by ear, you may need to book a couple of days in advance, you may not. Buen Camino!
 

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