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Easter crowd

Selkie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés spring 2019
#1
Hello-
We are trying to decide about crowds and weather leaving 4-22, day after spending the Easter weekend in Ferrol or starting a week later. I’m assuming that we would have 6 stages instead of 5. After years of dreaming I’m excited to have scheduled our flights to Europe. After reading about the Santa Semana festivities in Ferrol I wasn’t sure how that would affect us. We are planning on going to Portugal for 7-9 days afrerwards but could theoretically do that first and start the Camino end of April.
I’m trying to research and take in all of the information available.
Thank you so much, Annemarie
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Francés (2004-), C. Portugués, C. de Madrid, 1/2 V. Plata, 1/8 Levante, hospitalera Grado 2016.
#2
We (husband, grown-up son and I) will be walking Inglés and then to Finisterre at Easter.

We have enough Compostelas and will just be walking from A Coruña, but we will be sharing some of the road with you - probably leaving A Coruña on April 13th, if we get the tickets we want at an acceptable price.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#3
Across much of Europe, but especially in Spain and Portugal, 'Semana Santa' or Holy Week is a time of many local festivals, religious observances, public processions, and general holiday making. Also, in many European countries, including Spain and Portugal, people have off from work on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, leading into Easter Sunday. They then have and Easter Monday off as well.

Many Europeans will combine these 'free' days off with several "bridge days" to have a week to ten days to walk a Camino, with minimal charge to personal time off. During the week before and week immediately after Easter, there is a surge in traffic along the Camino routes.

This surge is most pronounced on the Camino Frances, and Camino Portuguese from Porto north. While the surge is evinced all along these popular routes during that time and accommodations become difficult at most all large towns and cities for this two-week period, it is most pronounced on the final 118 km from Sarria to Santiago.

Practically speaking, what this means for any pilgrim doing a longer walk and being there at this time of year, is that advance reservations for accommodations are near mandatory. You will see more folks walking on the trails, eating at cafes, etc. For this brief, two-week time, the surge in traffic approximates summer volumes. So, be prepared...book ahead...

Also, and for what it is worth, Semana Santa marks the 'informal' start to that year's Camino season. From Semana Santa and Easter, the Pilgrim Office goes into summer hours, more albergues are open, and the number of pilgrims starts to increase seasonally. FYI, this coming year (2019) Easter falls on Sunday, April 21.

Immediately after the two week period bracketing Easter, traffic falls off again, but not to winter levels. For example, I intentionally time the start of my Camino each year to be shortly after this window, or during the last 10 days or so of April. This avoids much of the Easter "blip" or spike in traffic. So, for 2019, I would plan to start around Sunday 28 April, 'mas or menas...'

What comes immediately after this, though is the annual "student wave." This is when university students are on escorted group trips on the Camino as part of a course. This phenomenon runs from the last half of April through the end of May.

At around the same time, there is a seasonal wave (pig in a python) of commercial travel agency organized groups. Most of these "tourigrinos" are also experiencing a 'taste of the Camino' and do mostly the Sarria to Santiago segment. These folks also stay in commercial lodging, not municipal or parochial albergues.

Together, these groups typically soak up commercial lodging along the Camino Frances especially from Sarria to Santiago. So, again, book early.

If Booking.com says they are full, contact the property directly, using e-mail to try to make a direct reservation. All properties hold back rooms.

In a pinch, ask the proprietor where you are staying today, call up-the-road to make a verbal reservation for you at your next planned stop. The innkeepers all take care of one another. This usually works, provided you can communicate your request effectively.

I suggest using either the Google or Microsoft translation apps to pose the question. Save the canned request to your smartphone and change it to suit the day and location. This works great for me.

Once you make any reservation, SHOW UP! If you cannot show up for any reason, PLEASE notify the property by e-mail, so another pilgrim can have your no longer needed bed or room.

Hope this helps.
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
#4
My wife and I walked during Holy Week 2017 and there was no issues with crowdedness or beds available. The week before Easter is break for schools so many Spanish families were walking sections of the Camino but it really didn't affect accommodations at Albergues, After Easter there were a lot less people on the trail.
 

peb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Ingles March 2018
#5
I walked the Ingles in Holy Week this year, setting off from Ferrol on the Tuesday of Holy week and arriving at Santiago 5 days later on Easter Sunday. I stayed in Ferrol for 2 nights before setting off, and the processions are worth seeing, although once you have seen one procession, the others are very similar. The tourist office in Ferrol, as well as my hotel, had English language leaflets detailing what time the processions started each night, as well as the routes. That said, I did not see too many tourists in Ferrol (most of the people lining the streets appeared to be local townsfolk) and accommodation in Ferrol was readily available even a week in advance when I booked. Restaurants in the city centre were though very full, and the noise did not enable early nights sleep.

Maybe because Easter week was early this year (March, rather than April), I saw no more than 30 pilgrims per day, and therefore, the Ingles was not exactly busy. I did though stay in pensions and casa rurals, rather than in the albergues.

If I were you, I would do the Ingles immediately after Easter, than walk at the end of April. Although the week after Easter is still school holidays, I have a hunch that the week after Easter may be quieter than Holy Week (for the obvious attractions of walking in Holy Week), and you also need to remember that May 1 is a public holiday in Spain and over most of Europe, meaning that a week's Camino starting the weekend of 27/28 April and covering the 1 May bank holiday is likely to be popular.

If doing the Ingles in 6 stages, leaving on Ferrol on Easter Sunday may work. The 'guidebook' choice of 6 stages points to breaking the first Ferrol to Pontedeume stage up an staying overnight at Xubia or Neda. An alternative 6 stages to consider is to walk the first Ferrol to Pontedeume stage by takig the short cut across the N-651 bridge from Ferrol to Fene, instead of walking all round the estuary, and then breaking the second Pontedeume to Betanzos stage up staying overnight at Mino. There is a lovely beach at Mino, but the Ingles goes 2km south of it, which is a shame, so you never normally see it. There is an albergue and a number of pensions at Mino.

On cost of flights, I found it much cheaper flying in (via Madrid) to A Coruna instead of to Santiago. Alternatively, Vueling flies direct from London Heathrow to A Coruna. You can then take a lovely train ride around the coast from A Coruna to Ferrol which, after Betanzos, covers the first couple of stages backwards. If you do this, do consider staying overnight in A Coruna, as the Tower of Hercules is well worth a visit. Going back, there are regular trains from Santiago to Ferrol, and the airport bus stop is then 5 minutes walk away from A Coruna railway station.
 

Selkie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés spring 2019
#6
Across much of Europe, but especially in Spain and Portugal, 'Semana Santa' or Holy Week is a time of many local festivals, religious observances, public processions, and general holiday making. Also, in many European countries, including Spain and Portugal, people have off from work on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, leading into Easter Sunday. They then have and Easter Monday off as well.

Many Europeans will combine these 'free' days off with several "bridge days" to have a week to ten days to walk a Camino, with minimal charge to personal time off. During the week before and week immediately after Easter, there is a surge in traffic along the Camino routes.

This surge is most pronounced on the Camino Frances, and Camino Portuguese from Porto north. While the surge is evinced all along these popular routes during that time and accommodations become difficult at most all large towns and cities for this two-week period, it is most pronounced on the final 118 km from Sarria to Santiago.

Practically speaking, what this means for any pilgrim doing a longer walk and being there at this time of year, is that advance reservations for accommodations are near mandatory. You will see more folks walking on the trails, eating at cafes, etc. For this brief, two-week time, the surge in traffic approximates summer volumes. So, be prepared...book ahead...

Also, and for what it is worth, Semana Santa marks the 'informal' start to that year's Camino season. From Semana Santa and Easter, the Pilgrim Office goes into summer hours, more albergues are open, and the number of pilgrims starts to increase seasonally. FYI, this coming year (2019) Easter falls on Sunday, April 21.

Immediately after the two week period bracketing Easter, traffic falls off again, but not to winter levels. For example, I intentionally time the start of my Camino each year to be shortly after this window, or during the last 10 days or so of April. This avoids much of the Easter "blip" or spike in traffic. So, for 2019, I would plan to start around Sunday 28 April, 'mas or menas...'

What comes immediately after this, though is the annual "student wave." This is when university students are on escorted group trips on the Camino as part of a course. This phenomenon runs from the last half of April through the end of May.

At around the same time, there is a seasonal wave (pig in a python) of commercial travel agency organized groups. Most of these "tourigrinos" are also experiencing a 'taste of the Camino' and do mostly the Sarria to Santiago segment. These folks also stay in commercial lodging, not municipal or parochial albergues.

Together, these groups typically soak up commercial lodging along the Camino Frances especially from Sarria to Santiago. So, again, book early.

If Booking.com says they are full, contact the property directly, using e-mail to try to make a direct reservation. All properties hold back rooms.

In a pinch, ask the proprietor where you are staying today, call up-the-road to make a verbal reservation for you at your next planned stop. The innkeepers all take care of one another. This usually works, provided you can communicate your request effectively.

I suggest using either the Google or Microsoft translation apps to pose the question. Save the canned request to your smartphone and change it to suit the day and location. This works great for me.

Once you make any reservation, SHOW UP! If you cannot show up for any reason, PLEASE notify the property by e-mail, so another pilgrim can have your no longer needed bed or room.

Hope this helps.
 

Selkie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés spring 2019
#7
We (husband, grown-up son and I) will be walking Inglés and then to Finisterre at Easter.

We have enough Compostelas and will just be walking from A Coruña, but we will be sharing some of the road with you - probably leaving A Coruña on April 13th, if we get the tickets we want at an acceptable price.
Thank you for the information. It is helpful and we look forward to perhaps running into you all.
 

Selkie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés spring 2019
#8
Across much of Europe, but especially in Spain and Portugal, 'Semana Santa' or Holy Week is a time of many local festivals, religious observances, public processions, and general holiday making. Also, in many European countries, including Spain and Portugal, people have off from work on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, leading into Easter Sunday. They then have and Easter Monday off as well.

Many Europeans will combine these 'free' days off with several "bridge days" to have a week to ten days to walk a Camino, with minimal charge to personal time off. During the week before and week immediately after Easter, there is a surge in traffic along the Camino routes.

This surge is most pronounced on the Camino Frances, and Camino Portuguese from Porto north. While the surge is evinced all along these popular routes during that time and accommodations become difficult at most all large towns and cities for this two-week period, it is most pronounced on the final 118 km from Sarria to Santiago.

Practically speaking, what this means for any pilgrim doing a longer walk and being there at this time of year, is that advance reservations for accommodations are near mandatory. You will see more folks walking on the trails, eating at cafes, etc. For this brief, two-week time, the surge in traffic approximates summer volumes. So, be prepared...book ahead...

Also, and for what it is worth, Semana Santa marks the 'informal' start to that year's Camino season. From Semana Santa and Easter, the Pilgrim Office goes into summer hours, more albergues are open, and the number of pilgrims starts to increase seasonally. FYI, this coming year (2019) Easter falls on Sunday, April 21.

Immediately after the two week period bracketing Easter, traffic falls off again, but not to winter levels. For example, I intentionally time the start of my Camino each year to be shortly after this window, or during the last 10 days or so of April. This avoids much of the Easter "blip" or spike in traffic. So, for 2019, I would plan to start around Sunday 28 April, 'mas or menas...'

What comes immediately after this, though is the annual "student wave." This is when university students are on escorted group trips on the Camino as part of a course. This phenomenon runs from the last half of April through the end of May.

At around the same time, there is a seasonal wave (pig in a python) of commercial travel agency organized groups. Most of these "tourigrinos" are also experiencing a 'taste of the Camino' and do mostly the Sarria to Santiago segment. These folks also stay in commercial lodging, not municipal or parochial albergues.

Together, these groups typically soak up commercial lodging along the Camino Frances especially from Sarria to Santiago. So, again, book early.

If Booking.com says they are full, contact the property directly, using e-mail to try to make a direct reservation. All properties hold back rooms.

In a pinch, ask the proprietor where you are staying today, call up-the-road to make a verbal reservation for you at your next planned stop. The innkeepers all take care of one another. This usually works, provided you can communicate your request effectively.

I suggest using either the Google or Microsoft translation apps to pose the question. Save the canned request to your smartphone and change it to suit the day and location. This works great for me.

Once you make any reservation, SHOW UP! If you cannot show up for any reason, PLEASE notify the property by e-mail, so another pilgrim can have your no longer needed bed or room.

Hope this helps.
Across much of Europe, but especially in Spain and Portugal, 'Semana Santa' or Holy Week is a time of many local festivals, religious observances, public processions, and general holiday making. Also, in many European countries, including Spain and Portugal, people have off from work on Holy Thursday and Good Friday, leading into Easter Sunday. They then have and Easter Monday off as well.

Many Europeans will combine these 'free' days off with several "bridge days" to have a week to ten days to walk a Camino, with minimal charge to personal time off. During the week before and week immediately after Easter, there is a surge in traffic along the Camino routes.

This surge is most pronounced on the Camino Frances, and Camino Portuguese from Porto north. While the surge is evinced all along these popular routes during that time and accommodations become difficult at most all large towns and cities for this two-week period, it is most pronounced on the final 118 km from Sarria to Santiago.

Practically speaking, what this means for any pilgrim doing a longer walk and being there at this time of year, is that advance reservations for accommodations are near mandatory. You will see more folks walking on the trails, eating at cafes, etc. For this brief, two-week time, the surge in traffic approximates summer volumes. So, be prepared...book ahead...

Also, and for what it is worth, Semana Santa marks the 'informal' start to that year's Camino season. From Semana Santa and Easter, the Pilgrim Office goes into summer hours, more albergues are open, and the number of pilgrims starts to increase seasonally. FYI, this coming year (2019) Easter falls on Sunday, April 21.

Immediately after the two week period bracketing Easter, traffic falls off again, but not to winter levels. For example, I intentionally time the start of my Camino each year to be shortly after this window, or during the last 10 days or so of April. This avoids much of the Easter "blip" or spike in traffic. So, for 2019, I would plan to start around Sunday 28 April, 'mas or menas...'

What comes immediately after this, though is the annual "student wave." This is when university students are on escorted group trips on the Camino as part of a course. This phenomenon runs from the last half of April through the end of May.

At around the same time, there is a seasonal wave (pig in a python) of commercial travel agency organized groups. Most of these "tourigrinos" are also experiencing a 'taste of the Camino' and do mostly the Sarria to Santiago segment. These folks also stay in commercial lodging, not municipal or parochial albergues.

Together, these groups typically soak up commercial lodging along the Camino Frances especially from Sarria to Santiago. So, again, book early.

If Booking.com says they are full, contact the property directly, using e-mail to try to make a direct reservation. All properties hold back rooms.

In a pinch, ask the proprietor where you are staying today, call up-the-road to make a verbal reservation for you at your next planned stop. The innkeepers all take care of one another. This usually works, provided you can communicate your request effectively.

I suggest using either the Google or Microsoft translation apps to pose the question. Save the canned request to your smartphone and change it to suit the day and location. This works great for me.

Once you make any reservation, SHOW UP! If you cannot show up for any reason, PLEASE notify the property by e-mail, so another pilgrim can have your no longer needed bed or room.

Hope this helps.
I so appreciate your detailed and thoughtful commentary. It helps us in planning and understanding the flow of walkers. All of this was information that is new to us. It is good to realize how both Spain and Portugal celebrate Santa Semana and appreciative that our great fare led us to arriving at such a special time. I will save the Google translation app and used it to ask for accommodation already in Ferrol. We decided to stick with our original plans and enjoy the time in northern Spain before spending the weekend in Ferrol. We will leave the day after Easter and share the route with our fellow pilgrims. Now we know that this is the start of the spring season and that waves of students will follow etc . We will also carry a Spanish phrase book as it got cumbersome to always use Google translate when we were in Colombia last
year. I may continue to ask more questions and appreciate your time and interest.
 

Selkie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés spring 2019
#9
I walked the Ingles in Holy Week this year, setting off from Ferrol on the Tuesday of Holy week and arriving at Santiago 5 days later on Easter Sunday. I stayed in Ferrol for 2 nights before setting off, and the processions are worth seeing, although once you have seen one procession, the others are very similar. The tourist office in Ferrol, as well as my hotel, had English language leaflets detailing what time the processions started each night, as well as the routes. That said, I did not see too many tourists in Ferrol (most of the people lining the streets appeared to be local townsfolk) and accommodation in Ferrol was readily available even a week in advance when I booked. Restaurants in the city centre were though very full, and the noise did not enable early nights sleep.

Maybe because Easter week was early this year (March, rather than April), I saw no more than 30 pilgrims per day, and therefore, the Ingles was not exactly busy. I did though stay in pensions and casa rurals, rather than in the albergues.

If I were you, I would do the Ingles immediately after Easter, than walk at the end of April. Although the week after Easter is still school holidays, I have a hunch that the week after Easter may be quieter than Holy Week (for the obvious attractions of walking in Holy Week), and you also need to remember that May 1 is a public holiday in Spain and over most of Europe, meaning that a week's Camino starting the weekend of 27/28 April and covering the 1 May bank holiday is likely to be popular.

If doing the Ingles in 6 stages, leaving on Ferrol on Easter Sunday may work. The 'guidebook' choice of 6 stages points to breaking the first Ferrol to Pontedeume stage up an staying overnight at Xubia or Neda. An alternative 6 stages to consider is to walk the first Ferrol to Pontedeume stage by takig the short cut across the N-651 bridge from Ferrol to Fene, instead of walking all round the estuary, and then breaking the second Pontedeume to Betanzos stage up staying overnight at Mino. There is a lovely beach at Mino, but the Ingles goes 2km south of it, which is a shame, so you never normally see it. There is an albergue and a number of pensions at Mino.

On cost of flights, I found it much cheaper flying in (via Madrid) to A Coruna instead of to Santiago. Alternatively, Vueling flies direct from London Heathrow to A Coruna. You can then take a lovely train ride around the coast from A Coruna to Ferrol which, after Betanzos, covers the first couple of stages backwards. If you do this, do consider staying overnight in A Coruna, as the Tower of Hercules is well worth a visit. Going back, there are regular trains from Santiago to Ferrol, and the airport bus stop is then 5 minutes walk away from A Coruna railway station.
Thank you peb for your perspective. We did decide to leave the day after Easter and appreciate all of the information that you shared. I did not know that May 1 was a holiday. Since the Camino is both the heart and the beginning of our extended trip I am glad to stay with my original intent I was wondering about the idea of the short cut across the bridge and wondered why it was not recommended. We had thought of staying the first night in Fene going the longer route. Mino was our thought for the second night and appreciate your information. I also appreciate the flight info - we will be flying in from London and had thought of flying into Bilbao to explore that part for a few days before arriving at Ferrol. After Santiago we will continue onto Portugal. I have enjoyed reading your earlier threads this past weekend.
 

Selkie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Inglés spring 2019
#10
My wife and I walked during Holy Week 2017 and there was no issues with crowdedness or beds available. The week before Easter is break for schools so many Spanish families were walking sections of the Camino but it really didn't affect accommodations at Albergues, After Easter there were a lot less people on the trail.
Thanks for your input. This gives us a perspective and realization that our plans should work out fine and stay with our original plan. I appreciate taking the time to reply.
 

peb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. Ingles March 2018
#11
If you walk all round the estuary on the first stage from Ferrol to Pontedeume, Xubia or Neda is a much more picturesque place to stay than Fene. Fene is a shipbuilding town, and you will see the amazing oil rig structures that they build when you pass through.

The short cut across the N-651 bridge from Ferrol to Fene is not officially part of the Ingles, simply because it is a 1980's bridge, whereas the Ingles is a historic route, which needed to work its way round the estuary in the centuries before other bridges were built. You also walk on the pavement (albeit separated by a crash barrier) alongside a dual carriageway road, for the good part of 30 minutes. That said, the compostela is given for walking 100km from Ferrol to Santiago, and if you take the short cut, you still walk the 100km, thereby qualifying for one, provided you obtain your 2 stamps per day.

For me, the stage from Ferrol all the way round the estuary to Pontedeume for a first day, was far too long, and I really suffered on the next day to Betanzos, especially after the climb out of Pontedeume. Hence recommending either staying at Xubia or Neda on the first night (if planning to walk the whole way round the estuary) or taking the N-651 shortcut to Fene, and splitting the next stage to Betanzos in two. The latter also enables you to spend more time in Pontedeume and Betanzos, both of which I found were delightful, as well as allowing your body some rest before the longest stage up to Hospital de Bruma, or beyond if you are staying in pensions (I walked Betanzos to Casa Rural Donnamaria in Buscas, again, another 10 hour walk)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles (2016) Camino Portuguese (2017) Considering Invierno 2019
#12
You can find information on Fiestas on the following site:

https://en.fiestas.net/

BTW if you considering going to Portugal after your Camino, there is possibly concessionary Bus/Rail tickets from SDC to Porto. I think you have to produce your completed Pilgrim Passport.

Good luck.
 
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